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ACF awards more than half a million dollars in first round of addiction-focused grants


Applications open Dec. 1 for second round of grants 

At a time when drug-related deaths and overdoses are on the rise again, Akron Community Foundation's board of directors approved five grants totaling $565,216 from the newly created HSC/Summit County Community Health Fund, which was established to distribute a total of $1 million to local nonprofit organizations and research and medical institutions for addiction-related programs. 

"Following a brief glimmer of hope in 2018 when overdoses and drug-related deaths were decreasing, we've heard from so many of our nonprofit partners that the addiction crisis has been worsening in recent months, no doubt due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic," said John T. Petures Jr., president and CEO of Akron Community Foundation. "These grants come at a key time for our community and are helping these organizations expand and enhance the critical addiction-related services they provide."

Akron Community Foundation established an advisory council composed of individuals with extensive expertise in pain management and addiction treatment to evaluate the proposals and determine the best opportunities for long-term, systemic improvements.  

A $150,000 grant to Portage Path Behavioral Health will help the agency increase the number of addiction clients it serves in its Dual Diagnosis programs, which focus on residents who suffer from both addiction and mental illness. It will also allow the agency to expand its services through the creation of a family support program and a men's trauma group.  

"This generous grant will increase access to our services and enhance programming and the longevity of recovery," said Tracy Yaeger, Ph.D., president of Portage Path Behavioral Health. "In addition, this grant will enable us to fully implement a valid assessment tool, the CORE-10, a simple yet robust means to periodically measure psychological distress. Preliminary use of this measure, with several hundred Portage Path clients, shows that their reported level of distress dropped over 40% while in treatment."

In addition, Cleveland Clinic Health System and Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) Foundation both received six-figure grants for, among other programs, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) training.  

NEOMED will use its $115,000 grant to expand its proprietary MAT training program to students and area physicians. According to the university, less than half of the physicians who are MAT certified actually treat patients with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). NEOMED surveyed physicians to determine the barriers to offering this treatment and developed a four-hour supplemental training program specifically to address these barriers. The program has already provided positive results.  

"Evaluation of the physicians who participated in our training showed a statistically significant increase in provider confidence to prescribe. A one-year follow-up showed that 57% of prescribers had implemented OUD treatment, and another 10% intended to implement MAT in the next year," said Stacey L. Gardner-Buckshaw, Ph.D., MPA, director of community engagement and assistant professor for the Department of Family and Community Medicine at NEOMED. 

The HSC/Summit County Community Health Fund will award a second round of grants in early 2021, with the next application cycle opening on Dec. 1 and closing Jan. 15. Individual grants of up to $75,000 will be considered, along with multi-year grants for up to $150,000.  

For more information about the grant program, visit Questions should be directed to John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation, at 330-436-5624 or  

Grant recipients include:  

Akron Children's Hospital, for the Peer Recovery for Addicted Mothers program, which will provide peer-based recovery services to new mothers with infants in the neonatal intensive care unit due to neonatal abstinence syndrome, $100,216 

Cleveland Clinic Health System, to expand access to addiction and recovery treatment and to increase the number of staff who are MAT certified, $150,000 

Friends of 91.3, to support addiction relapse prevention efforts and alleviate mental health or emotional challenges that accompany addiction through Rock and Recovery™ Everyone Needs a Lil' RNR, $50,000 

Northeast Ohio Medical University Foundation, to offer its proprietary clinical MAT training to students and physicians throughout the region to not only meet MAT training requirements, but to eliminate barriers to implementation, $115,000  

Portage Path Behavioral Health, to increase capacity, effectiveness and objective measurement of dual diagnosis/addiction recovery, $150,000 

About Akron Community Foundation 
Celebrating 65 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $222.5 million with a growing family of more than 680 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation's funds have awarded more than $180 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit

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