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Akron Community Foundation awards $5 million in quarterly grants  


Record amount distributed for competitive health and human services grants  

A young autistic boy shows off a lego creation he made as part of the Autism Society of Greater Akron's social clubs
The Autism Society of Greater Akron

Akron Community Foundation's board recently announced quarterly grants totaling $5 million and approved $722,609 in competitive health and human services grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee, the largest distribution for this grant process in the foundation's history.   

Among the nonprofits funded this quarter is the Autism Society of Greater Akron, which was awarded $5,000 to help expand inclusive social and recreational opportunities for individuals with autism. The nonprofit started a variety of social clubs for children and adults due to increased social isolation stemming from the pandemic. The clubs include a mix of virtual and in-person activities, from online games and talent shows to tennis and yoga.    

"It's been great watching how these groups have evolved, and how participants have naturally taken ownership of their clubs," said Laurie Cramer, executive director of the Autism Society of Greater Akron, who added that the clubs have become so popular that more participants are preferring in-person activities over virtual meetups. "A lot of times people with autism don't have friends," Cramer added. "This is a place where they feel safe and belong and find friendship."

In total, 66 organizations received funding during the health and human services cycle, including $19,500 to ACCESS Shelter, to support the emergency shelter for unhoused women and children; and $23,000 to OPEN M, which will help support free medical and dental services for uninsured residents in Greater Akron.  

A portion of the health and human services funding was contributed by the Tifft Family Fund; the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Fund; the Dawley Family Fund; the Summit Portage Area Health Education 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 programs:   

A Kid Again Northern Ohio, to support therapeutic recreation opportunities for families with children who have life-threatening conditions, $5,750  

ACCESS, to support the emergency shelter for unhoused women and children, $19,500  

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

Akron Children's Hospital, to support child injury prevention through home safety kits for low-income families, $8,000  

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, to support food distribution and hunger relief programs in Summit County, $46,000  

American Red Cross Northern Ohio Region, to support disaster cycle services in Summit County, including preparedness classes, disaster response and recovery assistance, $15,000  

Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA), to imbed mental health programming and activities within the International Community Empowerment Project (ICEP) that serves immigrants and refugee youth, $17,500  

Autism Society of Greater Akron, to expand inclusive social and recreational opportunities for individuals with autism, $5,000  

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, to support health and wellness in individuals from marginalized communities throughout Summit County through medical care, education, and outreach, $12,000  

Battered Women's Shelter, to support crisis intervention services for victims of domestic and/or sexual violence, $37,500  

Ben Curtis Family Foundation, to address the food insecurity of children and families in Summit County by providing non-perishable meals and other items to local students, $2,500  

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, $12,500  

Buddy Up For Life, to offer tennis, fitness, and summer camps for people with Down Syndrome, $2,000  

Canine Companions, to provide service dogs at no cost to children, adults, and veterans with disabilities in Summit County, $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 low-income families, $3,000  

Christ Child Society of Akron, to provide school appropriate clothing to low-income students, $11,000  

Cleveland Clinic Akron General, to improve healthcare access for refugees in the North Hill neighborhood, including referrals, health screenings, and Medicaid enrollments, $10,750   

Community Legal Aid Services, to support Project HEAL, a medical-legal partnership that helps 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, $9,000  

Crown Point Ecology Center, to support increased fresh produce and vegetable plant donations to the community with farm interns, $10,000  

Embracing Futures, to provide orthodontic treatment for children in poor and working poor families, $4,000  

Empower Her Network, to help human trafficking survivors achieve fiscal independence, $13,000  

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

Family Promise of Summit County, for the Survive to Thrive program, which helps families facing homelessness achieve sustainable homeownership, $10,000  

First Glance Student Center, to support mentoring and outreach programs for teens in Kenmore, $8,000  

Forever R Children, to assist children and their immediate families with basic food needs, $2,500  

Forget-Me-Not Baskets, to support Akron hospitals' pregnancy bereavement program for families that experience a loss during pregnancy or childbirth, $5,000  

Freedom House for Women, to decrease the barriers of addiction and homelessness by providing substance abuse treatment, recovery housing and supportive services to women in Summit County, $10,500  

Girls On the Run Northeast Ohio, to support a physical activity-based youth development program for Summit County girls in high poverty neighborhoods that integrates running with an interactive curriculum that promotes confidence, character, and contribution, $9,750  

Grace House Akron, to provide access to end-of-life care for low- to moderate-income residents in Greater Akron, $6,000  

Greenleaf Family Center, to expand the PEERS program to meet the growing need for support by parents of children challenged with mental health and other complex needs, $11,000  

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  

Harmony House, to provide case management, independent living skills development, legal support, financial literacy, and employment and career advancement for young people ages 18-26 facing homelessness, $8,250  

H.M. Life Opportunity Services, to provide support programming for young people whose families are living in the organization's permanent supportive housing while transitioning out of homelessness, $6,000  

Hope United, to support families grieving the loss of a loved one to overdose or addiction, $5,000  

International Institute of Akron, to support an extended social services program for refugees and immigrants, $21,000  

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

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

Let's Grow Akron, for operating support, including access to healthy food, for low-income residents, neighborhood farmers markets, community gardens, and educational programs, $12,500  

LINKS Community and Family Services, to support the LINKS Senior Connection Program, including meals, cognitive care, medical resources, and community activities, $12,500  

The Mode, to provide addiction treatment programs such as intensive outpatient, individual sessions, family education and support, and partial hospitalization, $5,000  

NAMI Summit County, to support the Reedy Housewarming Project, which provides new, basic household items for people with serious mental illness who are transitioning to independent living, $5,000  

Open Arms Adoptions, to support adoption of infants and children with special needs, along with the Keeping Siblings Together program, $7,000  

OPEN M, to support free medical and dental services for uninsured residents of Greater Akron, $23,000  

Pegasus Farm, to support the Military Family Center Equestrian Program, $2,500  

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs) for low-income women at Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio's Akron Health Center, $23,000  

Popeye's Boxing Gym, to promote the sport of boxing by providing opportunities to underprivileged children, adults, and families, $3,000  

Prevent Blindness Ohio, for the Vision Care Outreach Program, which offers vision screenings and access to eye care for high-risk individuals in Summit County, $8,000  

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 victims of human trafficking, $20,000  

Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeast Ohio, to support Summit County families staying together and near their hospitalized children, $10,000  

Safe Families for Children Alliance, to help reduce the number of children in foster care in Summit County by mentoring parents and helping families in crisis, $5,000  

Sarah's House, to support the continuation of Senior Community Circles, a program that allows the older adult population to gather for guest speakers, social interaction, and activities, $2,500  

Second Chance Village, to support mobile services for local people facing homelessness, $2,500  

Stewart's Caring Place, to create awareness of free support services available to individuals and families impacted by cancer in low-income, refugee, and LGBTQ+ communities, $5,000  

Summit County Community Partnership, to support the Deterra Project, providing free medicine disposal bags and educational materials to help residents safely use, store, and dispose of unused prescription medicine, $10,359  

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, for support of 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 are victimized by crime, and those who have experienced trauma, through advocacy, education, and support, $20,000  

Victory Gallop, to support a therapeutic horseback riding program for children ages 3 through 18 who face behavioral challenges and illness, $6,250  

Women Revived Ministries, to support the Total Life Wellness program, which provides mentorship, professional development, and coaching for survivors of human trafficking, $3,000  

Women's Auxiliary Board, Summit County Children Services, to support the Beds for Kids Program, which aims to help prevent rollover deaths by giving out beds and cribs to at-risk children, $8,000  

About Akron Community Foundation 
Celebrating 67 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 $260 million with a growing family of more than 800 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 nearly $214 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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