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ACF, City of Akron introduce 'Beyond the Table' grant program

Young adults sitting at table talking

The City of Akron and Akron Community Foundation recently announced "Beyond the Table," a collaborative, neighborhood-based grant award program, which will replace the former Neighborhood Partnership Program (NPP) that has played a critical role in fostering grassroots initiatives in Akron for more than 20 years.

Beyond the Table will encourage new, creative neighborhood efforts aligned with some of the priorities that emerged from Akron Community Foundation's On The Table Greater Akron: Diversity, Equity, and Social Inclusion; Drugs and Addiction; and Education and Youth.

"It's wonderful to see the voice of the people emerging in the form of dollars back into the community," said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation. "On the Table is all about encouraging action, both from individuals and organizations, and we're excited to see the action the city is taking. We look forward to seeing the needle move on these pressing issues."

Beyond the Table will accept applications for grant awards ranging between $10,000 and $20,000, and will require 1:1 matching funds. Applications will open on Monday, June 17 and are due to the Akron Community Foundation no later than Aug. 1.

Given the redesign of Beyond the Table, City Council leadership expressed a strong interest in continuing to support neighborhood based initiatives through a revamped Council-based grant program, as well. Therefore, Akron City Council will adopt and administer the "Akron City Council Neighborhood Partnership," which will adopt many of the parameters of the former NPP. This will also replace and improve upon the former Council grant program named My Neighborhood Our Akron. A total of $80,000 is available ($8,000 per City ward), and no matching funds are required.

"By eliminating the matching requirement, shortening the grant cycle, and doubling the funding in every ward, we believe the Akron City Council Neighborhood Partnership will be more effective and impactful," Council President Margo Sommerville said. "Our goal in redesigning the program is to make the process easier and more efficient for residents seeking to start or continue neighborhood-based programs all across our City."

The Akron City Council Neighborhood Partnership (ACCNP) will provide grants ranging between $1,000 and $8,000 for neighborhood events/parades, community gardens, beautification projects, after school programs, mentoring programs, and other neighborhood initiatives. Ward Council representatives will have direct input in grant awards within their district, with the final decisions being made by a committee of representatives from the Mayor's administration and City Council.

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