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Akron Community Foundation approves nearly $120K in fifth round of emergency response funding during COVID-19 outbreak


Akron Community Foundation announced $118,500 in grants to assist nonprofits during the coronavirus outbreak through its Community Response Fund for Nonprofits. This latest round of grants was approved by a sub-committee of the foundation's board of directors and brings the foundation's cumulative emergency nonprofit funding to $365,590 since the response fund was established in mid-March. The fund has also grown to nearly $620,000 in assets.  

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This round of funding includes a $5,000 grant to Cleveland Clinic Akron General to provide COVID-19 educational resource kits to areas disproportionately affected by the health crisis. Summit County Public Health's preliminary analysis shows 36% of confirmed COVID-19 cases are African American individuals, which is more than twice the percentage of the overall African American population in Summit County (15%). Though the public office states there is still more to learn about the current health crisis, the report indicates racial disparities are historically recorded across a wide range of health outcomes. The analysis further explains that health disparities are strongly influenced by social, cultural, economic, and environmental factors and have little to do with biology or individual behaviors. 

"We are extremely thankful to receive Akron Community Foundation's grant to help us distribute COVID-19 resource kits to the local African American and minority communities that have been improperly affected by this pandemic," said Andre Lessears, director of diversity and inclusion for Cleveland Clinic Akron General. "These kits will provide masks, hand sanitizer, and educational materials about how residents can protect themselves and the community during this time. We want to have boots on the ground to distribute these kits, answer questions, and connect with those who may not have a primary care physician. Because of COVID-19, many patients have avoided visits to the doctor as well as the emergency room. We want to make sure they have the resources to get the help they need."

An additional $5,000 grant to H.M. Life Opportunity Services will help provide safe housing and support services for Greater Akron's homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the health crisis became locally prevalent, the organization has seen an increase for its services and has incurred unexpected expenses for advanced technology, personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and more.  

"This grant will enable us to make sure our team and residents have access to much needed personal protective equipment as we work to be a fully integrated residential community in the months ahead," said Fred Berry, president and CEO, of H.M. Life Opportunity Services. "In the long term, the grant will enable us to purchase essential items so we can better respond to occurrences like this with enhanced sanitization practices and technology that promotes safe interactions for both residents and our team members."

The Community Response Fund for Nonprofits has been bolstered by donations from a variety of organizations, foundation fundholders and community members, including: Akron Marathon, Bath Community Fund of Akron Community Foundation, Giant Eagle, Huntington Bank, KeyBank, Leppo Rents, Medina County Community Fund of Akron Community Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, OMNOVA Foundation, Roetzel and Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation. 

Akron Community Foundation will award grants through its Community Response Fund for Nonprofits on a continual basis to help combat the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic in Summit and Medina County. For more information about the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits, visit  

Below is a complete list of the fifth round of grants awarded:  

Akron Development Corporation, to support alternative City of Akron recreation and entertainment programs during COVID-19, $3,000 

Akron Public Schools, to support effective, district-wide online learning through the deployment of 42 hotspot devices in weak internet areas, $5,000 

Akron Soul Train, to support the Akron Artists Relief Fund, providing micro-grants to supply basic needs for local vulnerable artists who have been affected by the current health crisis, $5,000 

Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, to augment its daily meal pick-up packs to include essential items, including shampoo, toothpaste and toilet paper throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, $5,000 

Buchtel Community Learning Center PTA, to provide grandparents raising grandchildren and other non-traditional family arrangements with funds for groceries and essential items, $5,000 

Caring Hands Charity, to support Greater Akron and the National Guard with cooked meals and/or groceries, $5,000 

Cleveland Clinic Akron General, to provide COVID-19 educational resource kits to areas disproportionately affected by the health crisis, $5,000 

Community Legal Aid Services, to provide legal services and education to help low-income clients navigate immediate challenges arising from COVID-19, $1,000 

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, to provide cleaning supplies and building improvements to safely reopen the center in July, $1,500 

Dreams Academy International, to support virtual mentoring and music programming for African-American males, $5,000 

Fathers and Sons of Northeast Ohio, to support online programming and software to deliver fatherhood education classes, $3,000 

The Final Farewell Project, to assist with final expenses for financially strained individuals who have lost a loved one to COVID-19, $5,000 

Grace Academy of Small Wonders, to provide Barber Community Learning Center students with gift cards to purchase food and essential items to relieve some financial burden from parents, $3,000 

Harmony House, to support Summit County homeless youth and transition-aged youth housing, $2,500 

H.M. Life Opportunity Services, to provide safe housing and support services for Greater Akron's homeless population during the COVID-19 pandemic, $5,000 

Interval Brotherhood Home, to support telehealth technology, services and personal protective equipment for its clients and staff, $5,000 

Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, to support small business recovery in the Kenmore Boulevard Historic District, $4,000 

Kidney Foundation of Summit County, to support Summit County kidney patients with medication, nutritional and emergency needs, $2,500 

Lodi Family Center, to purchase freezers for food storage and expand its distribution efforts, $3,000 

Medina Creative Housing Inc., to purchase personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies, and to feed its resident clients, $5,000 

Oaks Family Care Center, to provide family supportive services for Medina County residents and respond to increased needs as a result of COVID-19, $3,000 

The Society for Handicapped Citizens of Medina County Inc., to support staff and individuals with developmental disabilities with additional technology, equipment and resources to ensure safety during the current health crisis, $4,000  

Stow-Munroe Falls Neighborhood Improvement & Community Enrichment, to provide tangible support and emergency needs for underserved families in Stow and Munroe Falls, $5,000 

Students With A Goal, to support Akron students and families with basic needs deliveries, $5,000 

Summit Artspace, to provide rent assistance to local artists and artist-serving organizations, $5,000  

The Village of St. Edward Foundation, to purchase personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and food for vulnerable independent living residents to prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19, $3,000 

Tri-County Jobs for Ohio's Graduates, to provide personal health and safety supplies to safely maintain the organization's current operations, $5,000 

Truly Reaching You, for reimagining reentry and recovery based on COVID-19, $5,000 

Western Reserve Playhouse, to support online arts education and workshops as a safe alternative to youth summer camps, $5,000 

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