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Akron Community Foundation awards $4.3 million in quarterly grants


Health & Human Services grants support mental health, wellness programs

Akron Community Foundation awarded $4.3 million in grants during its past quarter, with its board approving $755,000 to 68 nonprofits in competitive health and human service grants during its board meeting on Friday. The foundation also awarded $40,000 in grants that impact two of the foundation's six proactive priorities – mental health and the aging senior population.

Among the nonprofits funded this quarter is Love Akron, which was awarded $16,000 to support mental health and wellness programming for Akron Public Schools students, including the Locker Room Experience, which helps mentor and empower high schoolers. According to Love Akron, the program has yielded increased school attendance for participating students, and decreased violence and vandalism.

"The Locker Room Experience is a violence reduction and prevention program where we're working with six high schools in Akron Public Schools, 24 students per school, to ask (students), 'Hey, what does it look like within your school?'" said Kemp Boyd, executive director of Love Akron. "Some of our schools have identified that attendance, that some of the expulsions or some of the fights that are occurring in their schools, is something that they want to help to reduce." He added that Love Akron's coaches are trained in grief recovery methods, as many students are processing trauma and grief from experiencing violence, which affects their behavior in school.

In total, 68 organizations received funding during the Health & Human Services cycle, including $30,000 to the Akron Police Department for a health and wellness mobile app that provides officers, civilian personnel, and their families access to comprehensive mental and physical health resources, many of which are specific to law enforcement. Support for this project will be divided between ACF's health and human services grantmaking and proactive grantmaking.

"Our officers routinely have to respond to really traumatic incidents, and that consistent, traumatic response that they have can affect them emotionally, as well," said Deputy Chief Brian Harding from the Akron Police Department, who added the app provides not only wellness tools, but peer support.

Another benefit to the wellness app is the anonymity, according to Lt. Eric Wood, also from the Akron Police Department. "No one wants to be cataloged or categorized as being weak or not able to handle their own issues or problems," he added. "So, the anonymity of the application actually is helpful for us." Additionally, the app's resources are tailored to law enforcement, with training from experts in the field. "So, you're buying not just the reference material, but you're buying these expert opinions that are well-respected in the field of law enforcement," said Wood.

Also receiving a proactive grant this quarter is the Humane Society of Summit County, which will receive a $25,000 proactive grant to pair aging adults with local pets needing adoption. The agency will take its mobile pet adoption center to visit with seniors, who can interact with and potentially adopt animals in need of homes. The program addresses the loneliness and cognitive decline many older adults face, while providing socialization and homes for dogs and cats.

A portion of the health and human services funding was contributed by the Tifft Family Fund, the Charles E. and Mary Kay Booth Family Fund, the Howard Atwood Family Fund, and an anonymous fundholder through the community foundation's grant co-investment program, which enables donor-advised fundholders to review the board's competitive grant applications and support initiatives that align with their charitable interests.

Grants will support the following health and human services and proactive programs:

A Kid Again Northern Ohio, to maintain the Adventure programming for Summit County families, providing children who have a life-threatening condition and their families with a cost-free day at a local, accessible venue like Cedar Point or the I-X Center, $7,000

Adaptive Sports Ohio, to provide wheelchairs for the creation of an interscholastic wheelchair basketball team in the Green Local School District, $6,000

Adult Guardianship Services of Summit County, to recruit volunteer guardians, who serve as decision-makers for older adults with developmental delays and severe mental health issues, while increasing the knowledge base of current guardians, $5,000

Akron Blind Center, to offer programs, resources and classes for people who are blind and visually impaired in Summit County, including Braille, computer literacy, physical fitness, crafts and volunteerism, $10,000

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, to support Summit County food distribution through Akron on-site pantry and Summit County direct distribution, $46,000

Akron Children's Hospital, to support a Photovoice project, which will engage North Hill youth to examine and document health equity through photography, writing and a presentation, $8,000

Akron Police Department, to support a comprehensive health and wellness program that provides sworn officers and other personnel with mental, emotional and physical wellness, $30,000

American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region, to support disaster cycle services in Summit County, including preparedness classes, disaster response and recovery assistance, $17,500

ARC Recovery Services, to provide certified peer support to individuals in early recovery from a substance use disorder, $7,500

Autism Society of Greater Akron, to support inclusive social and recreational opportunities through social clubs for individuals of all ages with autism, $6,000

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, to support health and wellness in individuals from marginalized communities throughout Summit County through medical care, education and outreach, $11,000

Battered Women's Shelter, to support the Hope & Healing Case Management Program for people who have experienced domestic/sexual violence or human trafficking, $37,000

Ben Curtis Family Foundation, to address the food insecurity of children and families in Summit County by distributing Birdie Bags containing nonperishable meals and snacks, $5,000

Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry, to support programs like residential recovery, mentoring and workforce development for former offenders in Summit County, helping to remove barriers that lead to recidivism, $13,000

Canine Companions, to support service dog teams in Summit County, $5,000

Carve Your Own Path, for inclusive, certified culturally competent, trauma-informed counseling services for uninsured individuals and those with low incomes, $5,000

Catholic Charities of Summit County, to support emergency assistance services, like medical bills, home repairs, medical supplies, phone bills and other basic needs, $17,500

Celiac and Allergy Friendly Food Initiative, to support a food pantry that serves allergy-friendly food to families with low incomes, $5,000

Christ Child Society of Akron, to provide school-appropriate clothing for students in need, $11,000

Community Legal Aid Services, to support the HEAL medical-legal partnership work in Summit County, helping families whose legal needs have adverse effects on their health, $25,000

CORE Furniture Bank, for operating support, like the transport and handling of donated furniture for families in need in Summit County, $10,000

Crown Point Ecology Center, to support increased fresh produce and vegetable plant donations to the community by training paid farm interns, $12,000

Embracing Futures, to provide orthodontic treatment for children in need, $4,000

Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity, to provide food and other resources to Akron-area residents, $5,000

Family and Community Services, to address older adult hunger in Summit County by providing home-delivered and congregate meals, $20,000

Family Promise of Summit County, to support the organization's growth, including the evolution of Survive to Thrive and implementation of a new strategic plan, $15,000

First Glance Student Center, to support children and families in the Kenmore community through free meals, youth mentorship, and after-school programs for local teens, $8,500

Forever R Children, to assist children and their immediate families with basic needs, like toiletries, clothes and household items, $7,500

Forget-Me-Not Baskets, to support a bereavement program at local hospitals for families who have experienced a loss during pregnancy or childbirth, $5,000

Freedom House for Women, to provide substance abuse treatment, recovery housing and supportive services to women in Summit County, $9,000

Girls On the Run Northeast Ohio, to support a running-based youth enrichment program for Summit County girls with an interactive curriculum that builds confidence and character, $10,000

Grace House Akron, to provide caregiving, housing and for the basic needs of unhoused individuals with a terminal illness, $9,500

Greenleaf Family Center, to support parents of children with mental health and other complex needs, $10,000

GriefCare Place, for support groups and other programs for residents grieving the loss of a loved one, $3,000

Guy's and Gal's Community Partnership, to support the Hoop for Coop adult and youth health fair and basketball sports clinics, $10,000

Hope Meadows Foundation, to provide social and emotional learning through equine-assisted services for youth in Summit County, $5,000

Hospice of the Western Reserve, to support Summit County residents by reducing inequality in hospice and palliative care utilization through outreach, communications, education/awareness, and reducing health care costs, $5,000

Humane Society of Summit County, to pair aging adults with local pets needing adoption, $25,000

IBH Addiction Recovery, for support of addiction treatment, including case management, referrals and counseling, $10,000

International Institute of Akron, to support housing services for refugees and immigrants, $23,000

Jewish Family Service of Akron, to support general operations, including older adult and mental health services in Akron, $10,000

Let's Grow Akron, to create and support community food gardens in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy food, $15,000

Love Akron, to support mental health and wellness and to empower young adults to help reduce violence across Greater Akron, $16,000

NAMI Summit County, to support the Reedy Housewarming Project, which provides basic household items for people with a serious mental illness who are transitioning to independent living, $7,500

North Coast Community Homes, to support the Akron/Summit County Residential Services Program, which provides home goods and skill development programs for individuals with disabilities and severe and persistent mental illness, $2,500

NEOMED, to support the Student-Run Free Clinic to provide integrated health care services to Summit County residents who are uninsured or underinsured, $12,500

OhioGuidestone, to support the expansion of evidence-based therapeutic approaches by enhancing training for Summit County staff members, $7,500

Open Arms Adoptions, to support the recruitment of Summit County individuals and families to adopt children from foster care, $7,000

OPEN M, to support free medical and dental services for uninsured residents of Greater Akron, $21,000

Pathway Caring for Children, to support targeted foster parent recruitment efforts in Summit County, $2,500

Pegasus Farm, to support the Military and First Responders Center's equestrian program, $3,000

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to ensure stable access to affordable contraception for Akron patients in need, $25,000

Prevent Blindness Ohio, for the Vision Care Outreach Program, which offers vision screenings and access to eye care for Summit County residents in need, $9,000

Project Outrun, to provide custom shoes and apparel that empower and strengthen children and their families as they battle life-threatening illnesses, $5,000

RAHAB Ministries, for intervention services for people who have experienced human trafficking, $20,000

Red Oak Behavioral Health, to address the behavioral health workforce shortage through an on-the-job training program for behavioral support specialists who work with Akron Public Schools students, $10,000

Regina Health Center, to support recreational programming for older adults, $1,000

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio, to support the Family Meal Program, which provides home-cooked meals to families staying at the Akron Ronald McDonald House, $10,000

Second Chance Village, for peer recovery support services and mobile outreach drop-in services for people experiencing homelessness, $3,000

Stewart's Caring Place, to increase awareness of no-cost cancer support services in communities that experience cancer-related health disparities, $6,000

Summit County Community Partnership, to support the Deterra Project, which provides free medicine disposal bags and educational materials to help residents safely use, store and dispose of prescription medicine, $10,000

Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, to support free fatherhood classes and services through a community partnership, $15,000

United Disability Services, to support employment services like job exploration, skills assessment, interviewing and soft-skills training for Summit County residents with severe disabilities, $15,000

United Way of Summit & Medina, to support the 2-1-1 Information and Referral helpline for Summit County residents, $15,000

VANTAGE Aging, to support Home Wellness Solutions, which includes home care, Meals on Wheels, behavioral health, and other services to help older adults remain in their homes, $21,000

Victim Assistance Program, to assist individuals who have experienced crime or trauma through advocacy, education, and support, $22,500

Victory Gallop, for operating support, including a therapeutic horseback riding program for children with behavioral challenges and life-threatening illnesses, $6,000

Women Revived Ministries, to support the Total Life Wellness program, which provides mentorship, professional development, and coaching for people who have experienced human trafficking, $5,000

Women's Auxiliary Board, Summit County Children Services, to support the Beds for Kids Program, which aims to prevent rollover deaths by providing beds and cribs to families in need, $8,000

About Akron Community Foundation
For 68 years, Akron Community Foundation has been our community's champion and generator of enduring philanthropy. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of $260 million with a growing family of more than 830 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 $231 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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