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ACF awards $250K in first capital grant cycle


Major renovations to the Akron Civic Theatre, a training facility for commercial driver's license seekers, and building improvements for agencies combating homelessness are just a few of the 27 grants approved during Akron Community Foundation's first-ever capital grant cycle. The grants, totaling $250,000, were part of more than $2.3 million in grants and distributions approved today by the community foundation's board of directors.

The capital grants will be awarded every two years and will address needs like building renovations and equipment improvements that strengthen the missions of local nonprofits.

"Akron Community Foundation and its board of directors recognize that specific needs in our community extend far beyond those we see in our traditional, quarterly grant requests," said John T. Petures Jr., president and CEO of Akron Community Foundation. "These capital grants will provide much needed resources throughout greater Akron which will have a positive impact on the actual brick and mortar needs of so many worthwhile nonprofit organizations."

Among the organizations receiving capital funding this year is the Akron Civic Theatre, which was awarded $25,000 for its $8.5 million renovation that encompasses upgrades to the Grand Lobby, a new box office, an outdoor deck and giant video screen, and the creation of an additional performance venue. The theater's improvements are tied to a larger $42 million redevelopment plan known as the Bowery Project, which will revitalize a section of buildings along South Main Street in downtown Akron.

Another capital grant was awarded to Stark State College to support the construction of a new training facility for students seeking commercial driver's licenses. The project will include the development of nearly 7 acres of property at the new Akron Executive Airport and will feature a driving range and classrooms. The college created this new training program in response to the high regional demand for commercial truck drivers, coupled with the impending workforce shortage projected over the next decade, said Stark State President Dr. Para Jones.

"About a year ago, Stark State College, Summit County, and the City of Akron began looking at the huge shortage in commercial driver's license holders and the impact that the lack of CDL drivers was having on businesses in the region, because this is a place where we make and move things," Jones said. "And what we were hearing from companies, and continue to hear from companies, is that they have products sitting. Trucking companies are desperate for quality training that focuses on safety and really prepares drivers to work for them and keep all of us on the road safe."

The following organizations will receive capital grants:

Akron Civic Theatre, to support the capital campaign to renovate the theater and create an additional performance venue, $25,000

Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, for a permanent office facility and warehouse, $7,600

Akron SCORE, to purchase new conference room equipment and computers, $3,600

Asian Services in Action, to renovate a new community room that will host language and citizenship classes and other large group gatherings, $20,000

The Blick Center, to improve accessibility to the building by widening and automating the doors in the main entryway and restroom, $5,000

Bounce Innovation Hub, to support first-floor renovations for The Generator, a public innovation hub that will feature coworking space, a makerspace and the University of Akron's eSports lab, $15,000

Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry, to purchase kitchen equipment for the Urbean Café, a workforce development program for formerly incarcerated residents, $5,000

CASA Board Volunteer Association, to create a respite space for child advocate volunteers, $5,500

Crown Point Ecology Center, to support greenhouse renovations and the creation of a new honey extraction facility for local beekeepers, $5,000

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, to convert a train car into an "Edu-Trainment Car" that will host interactive exhibits, hands-on activities and educational programs for area children, $10,000

East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation, to construct a new storage facility, $10,000

Easter Seals of Northeast Ohio, to purchase an adaptive vehicle to transport clients to the Adult Day Center and to create a sensory room for adults with disabilities, $5,000

Family Promise of Summit County, to secure a new transitional housing building for families facing homelessness, $10,000

Freedom House for Women, for external building improvements to the New Journey Recovery Housing for women, $6,200

Good Neighbors, for internal building improvements, including new refrigeration equipment and energy-efficient lights for the food pantry, $4,600

Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, for improvements to the Romig Road campus, including loading dock repairs and parking lot resurfacing, $10,000

H.M. Life Opportunity Services, for roof replacements at two supportive housing locations, $10,000

Legacy III, to renovate the agency's new administrative building, including electrical and plumbing upgrades and roof repairs, $10,000

OPEN M, for food pantry improvements, including energy-efficient lighting and new doors and flooring for the walk-in freezer and cooler, $5,000

Portage Path Behavioral Health, for repairs to the Akron outpatient clinic, including masonry work, weather sealing and painting, $5,000

Stark State College, for the construction of a commercial driver's license training facility, $20,000

Summit County Historical Society, to improve accessibility at the John Brown House for people with disabilities, $10,000

Summit Metro Parks Foundation, to convert a historic barn into a welcome center at the new Valley View park, $10,000

Truly Reaching You, to renovate the agency's new employment training facility on East South Street, $12,500

VANTAGE Aging, for capital improvements to the behavioral health center on Romig Road, $10,000

Victim Assistance Program, for construction and relocation costs to combine the agency's service providers and administrative staff under one roof, $7,500

Weathervane Community Playhouse, to replace wireless microphones for theatrical productions, $2,500

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