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Akron Community Foundation distributes nearly $4 million in quarterly grants


Civic affairs grants include new media resource Signal Akron

Akron Community Foundation announced quarterly grants and distributions totaling $3,813,325 to benefit hundreds of nonprofits in our community. These grants were distributed through both board discretionary grant cycles, as well as from donor-advised, designated, agency endowment and scholarship funds.

A total of $615,500 was approved for 47 competitive civic affairs grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee. Included in this round of civic affairs awards is a $25,000 grant to Signal Ohio to help launch Signal Akron, a new local media resource that will create stories in different formats across multiple platforms. The Signal Akron website will be part of a larger network and will be free to access for residents, covering daily stories about topics like government, public safety, education, and local arts and culture. The Signal Akron award is part of a multi-year, $150,000 commitment from ACF.

"We are focused on community-based, local journalism that is nonpartisan and non-biased. We're going to start with community-generated stories, those that matter to the community," said Rita McNeil Danish, CEO of Signal Ohio. "ACF gave us a significant gift that will allow us to not only open up our newsroom but hire employees."

A $45,000 grant to the Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park will support the former Brandywine Golf Course project as well as provide operating support, while a $17,500 grant to Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance (Better Kenmore) will support the ongoing revitalization of the Kenmore community and the Kenmore Boulevard neighborhood business district.

A man pours a cup of coffee at a South Street Ministries event
South Street Reentry Services supports returning citizens (people coming out of incarceration), and those navigating the legal system by connecting them to resources throughout Summit County.

Grants will support the following civic affairs programs:

  • Akron Cooperative Farms, to support urban farming, sustainable growing practices and education, and community building in North Hill and Greater Akron, $5,000
  • Akron Development Corporation, to support local Community Development Corporations (CDCs) through technical assistance and coaching, along with convening funders and other sector partners, $10,000
  • Akron Marathon, for support of the Akron Marathon Race Series, along with a health & wellness initiative for Summit County businesses and organizations, $10,000
  • 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 provide financial assistance for children and adults with special needs to attend camp, $12,000
  • Akron Urban Agriculture, to support Akron Urban Farms, which provides education, marketing, training and volunteers for gardeners and urban farmers, $2,500
  • Akron Urban League, for operating support in areas of workforce development, entrepreneurship, and education in Summit County, $35,000
  • Big Love Network, to support Akron City Repair, creative placemaking projects that help residents better connect with their neighborhoods, $7,500
  • Business Volunteers Unlimited, to subsidize capacity-building services in Summit County that include consulting, IDEA (inclusion, diversity, equity and access) initiatives, and leadership training services, $7,500
  • CASA Board Volunteer Association, for operating support, including recruiting, screening, training, and supporting community volunteers who serve as advocates for abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court, $17,000
  • Cascade Locks Park Association, to support the design and implementation of several murals along the towpath trail at the Lock 15 Trailhead, $7,500
  • Community Life Collaborative, to support Bees, Bugs and Butterflies: How Pollinators Help the Cuyahoga Region Bloom exhibit, pollinator gardens and programs, $5,000
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for operating support, and for the former Brandywine Golf Course, $45,000
  • ConxusNEO, to support a connected talent ecosystem and build a thriving workforce through work-based and experiential learning, employee-led activities and other initiatives, $20,000
  • Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, for operating support, including relocation operations to Peninsula and a temporary maintenance shop, along with affordable programming for residents, educational field trips and maintenance of vintage rail equipment, $31,000
  • Downtown Akron Partnership, for operating support for downtown Akron planning, business attraction, residential occupancy, public space enhancement and economic development initiatives, $20,000
  • Dr. Bob's Home, for general support 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, $8,500
  • Fighting To Understand, to help develop the Dinner-and-a-Fight (Dialogue) through collaboration with other organizations, and expand use of digital democracy tools to form a disagreement-learning-community, $5,000
  • First Congregational Church of Hudson, to support the First Serve summer intern program, $10,000
  • Friends of Richfield Heritage Preserve, for operating support, including programs, displays, guided hikes and restoration of the historic and natural features and educational resources, $5,000
  • First Tee - Greater Akron, to support the continuation of intern programming, $7,500
  • Fund for Our Economic Future of Northeast Ohio, for support of inclusive economic development, including relationship-building initiatives, tools and analysis, and other resources, $32,000
  • Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to support neighborhood revitalization initiatives, like Neighborhood Network, affordable new home construction and selling salvaged materials through ReStore retail outlets, $15,000
  • Heart to Heart Leadership, to support up to 10 leaders from diverse backgrounds to participate in the Purposeful Leadership Program, $8,500
  • Humane Society of Summit County, for animal intake care, vaccination, testing and microchipping of Summit County's rescued cats and dogs, $20,000
  • Ideastream Public Media, to support community interest public media coverage and engagement in Summit County, $8,500
  • International Soap Box Derby, for operating support to continue Soap Box Derby races and educational programs, like STEM Team Competition and summer camps, $29,000
  • International Welcome Center, to support operations and programs assisting refugees/immigrants, like legal services, household items, life skills and transportation, $3,000
  • Jump On Board for Success, to support a job skills training and mentoring program for low-income girls and women ages 13-35, $5,750
  • 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, $17,500
  • Leadership Akron, to support the Signature Class 41 Opening Retreat and the Junior Class 37 Philanthropy Day, $14,000
  • Legacies of Success Community Development Corporation, to support affordable homeownership in North Hill, $5,750
  • North Hill Community Development Corporation, for operating support, including support of entrepreneurial growth and creating sustainable public spaces, $17,500
  • Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, to support the Akron Civic Commons, Summit Lake Environmental Stewardship program, $15,000
  • 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, $13,500
  • Shanti Community Farms, to support Yard Corps Youth in outdoor maintenance work, career training and performance arts, $5,000
  • Signal Ohio, to support the launch of Signal Akron, a local newsroom serving Akron communities that is anchored in and reflective of residents' needs, $25,000
  • South Street Ministries, to support reentry and community engagement, $20,000
  • Summit Metro Parks Foundation, for community-responsive programming at the Summit Lake Nature Center, $12,500
  • Tinker's Creek Watershed Partners, to support the development and implementation of a new program and certificate for Summit County high school students, $2,500
  • Torchbearers, to support the Envisioning Waters Park Community Amphitheater Shelter program, $5,000
  • Truly Reaching You, to support successful reentry for men through employment skills training, $11,000
  • Well Community Development Corporation, to help support Career Development training courses to enable residents to participate in traditional job searches, along with peer-to-peer support and other activities, $17,500
  • Western Reserve Community Fund Inc., for operations, including restoring habitats, and creating healthy urban environments with greenspaces and natural areas, $5,000

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 $278 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 nearly $227 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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