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Akron Community Foundation distributes nearly $2.5 million in quarterly grants


Civic affairs grants include Akron Marathon course enhancements for 20th race

Akron Community Foundation's board recently announced grants totaling $2,461,000 and approved $563,000 in competitive civic affairs grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee.

Included in this round of civic affairs grants is the Akron Marathon, which was awarded $12,500 for enhancements like course modifications, digital improvements, and the ability to livestream the event. This grant comes as the marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary and its marquee event that took place this past weekend, taking runners through 13 scenic Akron neighborhoods.

"It is a day where everyone comes out of their houses and cheers thousands of runners across the Blue Line, and it really is a celebration and a holiday for Akron," said Anne Bitong, president and CEO of the Akron Marathon. "We're just thrilled to be able to celebrate our 20th-year milestone with the community and continue to promote health and wellness through the Akron Marathon."

Nearly 50 organizations received funding during the civic affairs cycle, including $30,000 for the Akron Urban League to help support workforce development, entrepreneurship and education, and $12,500 for the Summit Metro Parks to help college students gain skills for future archeological careers.

An additional $18,250 in civic affairs funding was contributed by the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund; Peter, Suzanne and Jackson Fielder Charitable 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 civic affairs programs:

Akron Marathon, to support 20-year enhancements, like course modifications, marketing, digital enhancements, and livestreaming the event, $12,500

Akron Parks Collaborative, to support Friends of Parks groups and their work in planning programming and beautification for neighborhood parks, $6,000

Akron Rotary Camp for Children with Special Needs, to help cover registration fees for children and adults with special needs who attend overnight, day and respite camps, $11,000

Akron Urban Agriculture, to support Akron Urban Farms, creating green urban spaces that feature community gardens, along with offering training volunteers and urban gardeners, $2,500

Akron Urban League, for operating support in areas of workforce development, entrepreneurship, and education in Summit County, $30,000

Alexander Guyton (FA: Summit Artspace), to support production, post-production and exhibition costs for a documentary about The University of Akron mascot "Zippy," $2,500

Big Love Network, to support Akron City Repair, creative placemaking projects that help residents better connect with their neighborhoods, $7,500

Bounce Innovation Hub, to support capacity-building and workshops to engage creatives, the public, and entrepreneurs, $11,000

Business Volunteers Unlimited, to support capacity-building services in Summit County that include consulting, Inclusion Diversity Equity & Access (IDEA) initiatives, and leadership training services, $7,500

Candid, to support local nonprofits and community organizations with free access to fundraising, nonprofit management, and capacity-building materials and services, $5,000

CASA Board Volunteer Association, to recruit, screen, train, and support community volunteers who serve as advocates for abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court, $17,000

City of Akron, Ohio, to support the Mayor's Citizens Institute civic engagement program, $5,000

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for operating support and for the acquisition of the former Brandywine Golf Course, $46,000

ConxusNEO, to support a connected talent ecosystem to build a thriving workforce, $20,000

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, to provide affordable programming for residents, educational field trips, and maintenance of vintage rail equipment, $30,000

Downtown Akron Partnership, for operating support for downtown Akron planning, business attraction, residential occupancy, public space enhancement, and economic development initiatives, $18,000

Dr. Bob's Home, for the upkeep of Alcoholics Anonymous founder Dr. Bob's home, along with surrounding properties, $5,000

The Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI), to support Akron-area small-business owners through financing, workshops, events and training, $7,500

Fighting To Understand, to train local facilitators in the Dinner and a Fight Dialogue 5-chair process, which encourages constructive disagreement to help residents better understand complicated topics, $2,500

First Congregational Church of Hudson, to support the First Serve summer intern program, $7,000

First Tee of Greater Akron, to expand capacity by adding a new college internship program, $7,500

Friends of Metro Parks, to help connect people to nature through membership and outreach programs, advocacy, and fundraisers, $5,000

Fund for Our Economic Future of Northeast Ohio, for inclusive economic development, including creating a forum for regional philanthropic and civic leaders, $34,000

GASP: Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection, for child safety activities, including creating child ID fingerprint kits, educational safety programs, and attending local events, $5,500

Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to support neighborhood revitalization initiatives, like Neighborhood Network, which creates affordable new home construction and sells salvaged materials through ReStore retail outlets, $15,000

Heart to Heart Leadership, to support up to ten leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in the Purposeful Leadership Program for Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 expeditions, $8,500

Humane Society of Summit County, for animal intake care, vaccination, testing and microchipping of Summit County's rescued cats and dogs, $16,000

Ideastream Public Media, to support community interest public media coverage and engagement in Summit County, $7,750

International Soap Box Derby, for operating support to continue Soap Box Derby races and educational programs, like STEM Team Competition and summer camps, $26,000

International Welcome Center, to support operations and programs assisting refugees and immigrants, including legal services, household items, life skills and transportation, $2,500

Jump On Board for Success, to support a job skills training and mentoring program for low-income girls and women ages 13-35, $5,500

Karen Community of Akron Inc., to support the Karen National Martyrs' Day Celebration Event, $7,500

Keep Akron Beautiful, to support litter removal, illegal dumping removal, and community cleanups in Akron, $15,000

Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, to support the ongoing revitalization of the Kenmore community and Akron's largest neighborhood business district, Kenmore Boulevard, $16,000

Leadership Akron, to support the Signature Class 40 Opening Retreat and the Junior Class 36 Philanthropy Day, $14,000

North Akron Community Development Corporation, for operations, including support of entrepreneurial growth through culinary, maker and arts pipelines, along with creating sustainable public spaces, $16,000

Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, to support the Akron Civic Commons, Summit Lake Environmental Stewardship program, $15,000

The Porchlight Project, to provide DNA testing for Ohio cold cases, $2,500

Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, for operating support, including helping Summit County homeowners with home repairs and modifications, $16,000

Safety Forces Support Center, for mental health counseling and peer support services for first responders in Summit County, $10,000

SCORE, to provide counseling and workshops for small businesses and startups in Greater Akron, $10,000

South Street Ministries, to support reentry and community engagement, $17,500

Summit Metro Parks Foundation, to support the Community Archaeology Summer Program, which helps college students gain skills for future archeological careers, $12,500

Tinker's Creek Watershed Partners, for support of watershed attainment, including residential outreach, education and events, $2,500

True Vision Community Development Corporation, to support Pathways to Vision, which provides support and resources to help individuals and households achieve self-sustainability, $5,000

Truly Reaching You, to support successful reentry for men through employment skills training, $10,000

Well Community Development Corporation, to support a Resident Services Department for Middlebury residents, $15,000

Western Reserve Community Fund Inc., for operations, including supporting small businesses and nonprofit organizations with financing and technical support, $10,000

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 $209 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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