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Akron Community Foundation distributes $3.4 million in quarterly grants


Competitive grants include arts and culture programs in Summit County

Akron Community Foundation's board of directors recently announced grants totaling $3.4 million and approved $664,650 in arts and culture grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee.

This quarter's arts and culture funding included a grant to Project RISE, which offers immersive arts experiences for Akron Public Schools students facing homelessness and their families. The $8,250 grant will support activities like dinner theater, live concerts, performing arts workshops, yoga, and art and music therapy, among other opportunities.

"A lot of our interventions are just focused on the students and their academics, which is obviously very important, but (the grant) allows us to include the arts, and it also allows us to include the whole family," said Rachel Breece, special programs coordinator for Project RISE, who added that while federal funds help remove the educational barriers to homelessness, there's not a lot of wiggle room in the budget for the arts. "That's why the support of Akron Community Foundation is so beneficial, because we know how important the arts are and we do see how students (benefit), and we know it does help their grades and their academic performance."

Akron Community Foundation's board approved 60 arts and culture grants in total, including $12,500 to GroundWorks DanceTheater, which will support its 25th anniversary activities, like performances at the Akron Civic Theatre's Knight Stage, workshops, and artist residencies.

"One of the things I'm really excited about is a new project we're going to inaugurate in the spring of our upcoming season, working in collaboration with (Akron composer and pianist) Theron Brown and his musicians," said GroundWorks founder and Executive Artistic Director David Shimotakahara. "We're going to create a kind of live music dance format that will be presented in alternative venues both in Cleveland and Akron, so it won't be like a traditional theater repertory concert evening."

A portion of the arts and culture funding was contributed by the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund and the This Town is My Town Fund 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 arts and culture programs:

  • Akron Art Museum, for general operating support, including exhibits, hands-on art-making, community events and free performances, $50,000
  • Akron Civic Theatre, to support community-based programming, including free admission tickets for residents in need, $35,000
  • Akron Soul Train, to support a multi-disciplinary residency program that awards 12 artists with paid residencies each calendar year, $8,000
  • Akron Symphonic Winds, to support free performances for Akron Public Schools students and the community, $7,350
  • Akron Symphony Orchestra, to support the Akron Symphony's youth music and community outreach programming during the 2023-24 season, $15,000
  • Akron Urban Arts Academy, to provide a comprehensive arts and media education experience for Akron youth ages 13-18, $10,000
  • Apollo's Fire the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, to support the 2023-24 Summit County concert series and Community Access Initiative, $12,500
  • Art Sparks, for Dynamite Duos, a peer-based inclusive dance and music curriculum for Akron Public Schools students with developmental disabilities, $10,000
  • ArtsNow, to help advance Summit County's arts and culture sector through events, partnerships and advocacy, including leveraging online resources, $17,500
  • Ballet Excel Ohio, to support 2023-24 Reach Out and Dance (ROAD) program at Akron Public Schools and the pre-professional ballet training scholarship program, $6,000
  • Ballet Theatre of Ohio, for the Akron Public Schools outreach program "Take Me Out to the Ballet," which includes students attending a performance of The Nutcracker, along with classroom educational activities, $6,000
  • BLU Jazz+ Masterclass Foundation, for performing arts masterclasses and performances, in partnership with local schools and music programs, $2,500
  • The Center for Applied Drama and Autism, to support the relaunch of the in-person educational "Theatre on the Spectrum" programming, $3,500
  • Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, for operating support for the 2023-24 season at The Balch Street Theatre, including professional development, performances, and DEI work, $12,000
  • Chianti Idley Music and Art Foundation, to support education in the fine arts for students in grades 5 through 12, including art and music lessons and donated instruments, $1,000
  • Children's Concert Society of Akron, for the Akron Public Schools In-School Concert Series, which brings free live concert experiences of culturally diverse music to students in an informal, hands-on setting, $10,000
  • City of Akron, to support the 16th annual Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron, $50,000
  • City of New Franklin Tudor House Commission, to support the Frank Mason Raymond House, known as Tudor House Civic Center, an historic property, through community engagement events and opportunities, $2,500
  • Cleveland Ballet, to support programming at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and Akron Art Museum, $6,000
  • Cleveland International Film Festival, for FilmSlam & FilmSlam Streams 2023-24, an educational program for Summit County students that offers a chance to view foreign language movies and participate in live or pre-recorded Q&A sessions with filmmakers, $5,000
  • Cleveland Orchestra, to support the 2023 Blossom Music Festival, $18,000
  • Curated Storefront, to support public art initiatives that increase accessibility to contemporary art, promote economic development, and support the artist, $12,500
  • Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, for operating expenses, including exhibits, events and workshops for artists and residents in the Cuyahoga Falls area, $5,000
  • DANCECleveland, to support dance outreach activities in Summit County with visiting artists, $10,000
  • Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, for the Dancing Classrooms residency project, teaching ballroom dance to help improve 5th- and 8th-graders' educational experiences, $5,000
  • Friends of The Summit, for general operations, including support of its community service programming Music Alive, The 330, Next Gen Public Media and on-air music education, $15,000
  • FRONT Exhibition Company, to support curatorial research in Akron for FRONT's 2025 Triennial public art festival, $2,500
  • GroundWorks DanceTheater, to celebrate its 25th Anniversary and support Summit County programming and educational outreach activities, $12,500
  • Highland Square Neighborhood Association, to support arts and culture activities in Highland Square, including PorchRokr and Film Fest, $8,500
  • Himalayan Arts Language & Cultural Academy (HALCA), for operating support, including music, language and dance classes and after school programs, $7,500
  • Keepers of the Art Education, to support the Hip-Hop Preservation Project's (HHPP) "50th Birthday Celebration of Hip-Hop Culture," including a weekend of concerts, movies, DJ and breakdancing competitions and other activities, $12,500
  • Les Délices, to support concerts and educational outreach in Summit County, including 17th- and 18th-century Scottish music, holiday carols from French, German and English, and French Baroque music, $4,000
  • The Lippman School, to support experiential learning of Indigenous culture and history for Akron students, $5,000
  • Magical Theatre Company, for operating support, including student matinees, touring programs, student scriptwriting and educational programs, $12,500
  • Master Singers Chorale of Northeast Ohio, for general operating support, including free classical choral concerts in Summit County, $5,000
  • MooreDunsonCo, LLC, to support the second season of "InCOPnegro: Black and Blue," a podcast series and companion piece to choreographer/dancer Dominic Moore-Dunson's dance theatre project, "inCOPnegro: Aftermath," $5,250
  • The Movement Project, to support an annual residency at Firestone CLC, providing free dance education and career readiness to APS high school students, $2,500
  • Music from The Western Reserve, for general operating support of the organization's 41st season of concerts, $2,000
  • National Center for Choreography, for support of technical and creative residencies, Dancing Labs and other programs, $7,500
  • The Nightlight Cinema, to support independent and international cinema in downtown Akron, including operations during expansion, $15,000
  • None Too Fragile Inc., for operating support, including the annual "Off Broadway Series," along with drama therapy workshops, $10,000
  • Ohio Shakespeare Festival, to support Free Student Nights and Pay What You Will performances of classical theatre programming, $5,000
  • OhioDance, to support community engagement for Summit County through educational resources and documentation, like the OhioDance Virtual Dance Collection and a four-day residency, $2,500
  • Open Tone Music, to support the 8th Annual Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, $6,000
  • Peninsula Foundation, to support "Voices in the Valley" arts programming, a nationally recognized concert series promoting traditional roots music through live performances of local, national and international touring artists, $6,000
  • Phoenix Performing Arts, to support performing arts education and outreach programs for area students, like scriptwriting, choreography and vocal classes, $2,000
  • Project RISE-Akron Public Schools, to support the Arts Can Teach (ACT) program, which provides live theater and performing arts experiences for Akron Public Schools students facing homelessness and their families, $8,250
  • Rubber City Theatre, for support of the 11th season of theatre productions and education programs, including plays by Shakespeare and other classic playwrights, workshops, educational experiences, and "pay as you like it" performances for residents, $5,000
  • Sight Sound & Word, to help support the multimedia production of "Those Who Have Eyes Will Hear," $3,000
  • Singers Companye, to support Singers Companye VoxMix Collaborative Project, a collective of singers, instrumentalists and other artists who focus on modern composers, $3,000
  • Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, for 2023 general operating support, including exhibits, tours and year-round programs, $35,000
  • Summit Artspace, to support education, art exhibits and programming, along with resources for local artists, including studio space and workshops, $25,300
  • Summit Choral Society, to support musical training for children and adults, including the Children's Choir and Choral Scholars programs, $15,000
  • Summit County Historical Society of Akron, Ohio, for operating support, including maintenance of historic properties, events and programming, along with other costs associated with the John Brown House and Perkins Stone Mansion, $25,000
  • Tuesday Musical Association, to support six concerts and related education/community engagement activities in the 2023-24 season, $15,000S
  • Verb Ballets, to support artistic and outreach activities in Akron, including concerts and related education/community engagement, $8,000
  • Wandering Aesthetics, to support theatrical educational opportunities and youth performances in 2023-24 season, $5,000
  • Weathervane Community Playhouse, to support the 2023-24 Season, including live theatre productions, special events and classes, $10,000
  • Western Reserve Historical Society, to support education and general operating funds for Hale Farm and Village, $20,000
  • Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW), to support anti-violence and positive empowerment for youth and their families through the arts, $18,000

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 68 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 820 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 $223 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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