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Akron Community Foundation distributes nearly $2.7 million in quarterly grants


Competitive grants support arts and culture programs in Summit County

Akron Community Foundation's board of directors approved grants totaling $2,657,885,including $603,500 in competitive arts and culture grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee.

This quarter's arts and culture funding included a $10,000 grant to Keepers of the Art Education for the Hip-Hop Preservation Project (HHPP), which seeks to counteract the corporatization of rap music. HHPP is a series of events that aim to highlight, safeguard, and share hip-hop's history and importance in Black society.

"The Hip-Hop Preservation Project was put in place to reintroduce the elements of hip-hop's worldview of peace, love, unity, and fun," said Ismail Al-Amin, president and executive director of Keepers of the Art Education. "With the help of Akron Community Foundation, we've been able to really focus on preserving the music and its pioneers. That's really important because hip-hop pioneers don't really have venues to showcase their music anymore."

An additional grant of $4,000 was awarded to New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark Counties, to offer adults, regardless of experience level, musical education and lessons for string, woodwind, brass, or percussion instruments.

Founded in 2004, the nonprofit's music program is one of the largest in the country, with nearly 125 active members from Stark and Summit County.

"When we teach adults how to play an instrument, we instill the appreciation of music and unity of performing in an ensemble," said Jim Adkins, director of New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark Counties. "The wonderful part about our program is that it's not just about taking music lessons – it's about becoming involved with a group of people that become musicians at their own level, and it's affordable."

An additional $27,000 in arts and culture funding was contributed by the Howard Atwood Family Fund, Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund, and Rita and David George Family 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, to continue a transformation plan to become a more inclusive and equitable community resource, $50,000

Akron Civic Theatre, to support noncommercial, inclusive, community-based programming, $37,500

Akron Soul Train, to support artist residencies and projects, $8,500

Akron Symphonic Winds, to support free local concerts and music coaching for Akron Public Schools students, $5,000

Akron Symphony Orchestra, to support music education programs and collaborative music outreach initiatives for Summit County students, $16,000

Apollo's Fire the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, to support 2021-22 Summit County concert programming and the Community Access Initiative, $10,000

Art Bomb Brigade, to support educational programming and community mural projects, $5,000

Art Resources Transformations, to exhibit public art in vacant storefront windows and buildings in downtown Akron, $12,500

Art Sparks, to expand peer-based programming for students with developmental disabilities in the Akron Public Schools, $10,000

ArtsNow, to strengthen Summit County by supporting, developing, and advancing its arts and cultural assets, $15,000

Ballet Excel Ohio, to support the 2021-22 Reach Out and Dance and scholarship programs, providing Akron Public Schools second-grade students with free in-school dance instruction, $5,000

Ballet Theatre of Ohio, to support the "Take me out to the Ballet" Akron Public Schools outreach program, $6,000

The Center for Applied Drama and Autism, for inclusive theater programming during the 2021-22 season, $3,500

Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, to support the 2021-22 season at Balch Street Theatre, $5,000

Children's Concert Society of Akron, to support the 2021-22 in-school concert series as educational videos in lieu of in-person concerts, $10,000

City of Akron, to support the 14th annual Heinz Poll Summer Dance Festival in Akron, $40,000

Cleveland Ballet, to support 2021 Cleveland Ballet performances at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, $5,000

Cleveland International Film Festival, to support Summit County student participation in FilmSlam Streams 2021, $5,000

Crafty Mart, to provide a permanent and sustainable event space where makers can sell, learn and attend workshops, $5,000

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, to host free community exhibitions, offer high-quality visual arts classes, and expand more inclusive partnerships, $5,000

DANCECleveland, to bring world class modern dance to Akron in 2021 featuring Monica Bill Barnes & Company, $10,000

Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, to expand arts-in-education, social development programs that use ballroom dance to improve fifth- and eighth-grade educational experiences, $5,000

Evangelical Church of the Holy Trinity, to support a performing arts experience for youth in Akron's socio-economic challenged neighborhoods, $500

Genesis Experience Theatre, to support adult and youth theatre education programming, $2,000

GroundWorks DanceTheater, to support Summit County arts programming and educational outreach activities, $10,000

Gum-Dip Theatre, to support "Brokers Without Borders," a new ensemble of young immigrant artists, $5,000

Highland Square Neighborhood Association, to support Akron's signature events, PorchRokr and the Highland Square Film Festival, $9,000

Himalayan Music Academy, to support refugee and immigrant communities through music, language and dance classes, $7,500

Keepers of the Art Education, to counteract the corporatization and weaponization of rap music, $10,000

Amber D. Kempthorn (Fiscal Agent: Akron Symphony Orchestra), a Knight Arts Challenge grant recipient for a 15-minute animated interpretation of Benjamin Britten's classical work “Four Sea Interludes,” which will be screened in a live performance with the Akron Symphony Orchestra and shared for free at additional Northeast Ohio locations after, $5,000

Les Délices, to support the 2020-2021 season of concerts and outreach programs in Akron, including live chamber music performances with period instruments, $3,000

Magical Theatre Company, to help young people grow socially and emotionally through cultural enrichment by way of the theater, $14,000

Musical Arts Association, to support the 2021 Blossom Music Festival, $20,000

Music from The Western Reserve, to offer in-person and virtual concerts through the 2021-22 season, $2,000

New Horizons Band of Summit and Stark Counties, to offer adults musical education and lessons for string, woodwind, brass or percussion instruments, $4,000

The Nightlight Cinema, to support the exhibition of independent and culturally diverse cinema in downtown Akron, $13,500

None Too Fragile Inc., to support the 2021 Off-Broadway Series, $10,000

Northeast Ohio Center for Choreography, to support research and development in dance through group discussions, dancing labs, residencies, and interactions with world-class artists, $7,500

Ohio Shakespeare Festival, to support the 2021-22 season, including outdoor Shakespeare performances at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and shows at Greystone Hall, $5,000

OhioDance, to support community engagement for Summit County through educational resources and documentation, $2,500

Open Tone Music, to engage youth in arts and culture through the Rubber City Jazz & Blues Festival, $5,000

Peninsula Foundation, to support the "Voices in the Valley" live music series, which features local and national artists at G.A.R. Hall, $7,000

Project RISE-Akron Public Schools, to support the Performing Arts Can Teach (PACT) program, which provides live theater and performing arts experiences for homeless youth in Akron, $8,500

Rubber City Theatre, to support the 2021-22 season, including plays by Shakespeare and other classic playwrights, workshops, educational experiences, and "pay as you like it" performances for residents, $5,000

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, for operating support of the historic estate, as well as educational, cultural and recreational programs $40,000

Summit Artspace, to support education, art exhibits and programming, along with resources for local artists, including studio space and workshops, $25,000

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 expanding the organization's online resources and educational tools, $25,500

Summit County Probate Court, to support diverse, vibrant, local art displays in the historic Summit County Courthouse , $5,000

Third Culture Classical, to present public concerts at local homeless shelters, including ACCESS and Haven of Rest Ministries $7,500

Tuesday Musical Association, to support concerts and community engagement activities during the 2021-22 season, $16,000

Verb Ballets, to support free dance performances and educational programs in Summit County, $7,500

Wandering Aesthetics, to support community-driven programming, performances and educational activities for the 2021-22 season, $5,000

Weathervane Community Playhouse, to support the 2020-21 season, including live theater productions, special events and classes, $11,000

Western Reserve Historical Society, to support educational programming at the historic Hale Farm & Village, $20,000

Western Reserve Playhouse, to support the 2021 performance season, $5 Buck Series and educational programming, $5,000

Wings Over Cuyahoga Valley, to expand partners, programs and venues for "Wings and Voices of Cuyahoga Valley: How Birds Connect Us to Our Environment," a traveling, multimedia exhibit and programming, $3,000

Youth Excellence Performing Arts Workshop (YEPAW), to use the arts to engage middle and high school urban youth in activities that provide positive options for developing their talents, skills and self-esteem, $15,000

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 66 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 $272 million with a growing family of more than 730 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 $196 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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