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Akron Community Foundation funds distribute nearly $4 million in quarterly grants


Competitive grants support arts and culture programs in Summit County

Today, Akron Community Foundation's board of directors approved grants totaling $3,907,981, including $521,000 in competitive arts and culture grants chosen by the foundation's Community Investment Committee.

"Even though Akron Community Foundation has been working specifically on COVID-19-related funding for the past few months, we knew it was imperative to the community that we also continue with our traditional quarterly grant cycles," said Sylvia Trundle, chair of Akron Community Foundation's Community Investment Committee. "The arts community has been hit hard because of event cancellations and facilities shutdowns, so this round of funding really comes at a crucial time."

This quarter's arts and culture funding included a $5,000 grant to Summit County Probate Court for the Curated Courthouse project. In collaboration with Curated Storefront, the initiative will display artwork by underserved and diverse artists at the Summit County Courthouse. The artwork provides respite and enrichment for the court's employees and visitors, who are often facing stressful situations.

"We intend to purchase pieces of art that will become part of the courthouse and represent the diversity of Summit County," said Judge Elinore Marsh Stormer. "We anticipate that at least half of the overall budget will go directly to artists in the purchase, display, and commissioning of works for both permanent and temporary displays. We believe that support of artists is paramount to sustaining a vibrant art community in Summit County. We will continue a mission-driven approach to the art (by) picking partners that represent Akron and Summit County with diverse pieces and artists, as well as the work of the courts with those in recovery, dealing with persistent mental illness, and helping older adults fend off isolation."

An additional grant of $15,000 was awarded to ArtsNow to help advance Summit County's arts and culture sector through events, partnerships and advocacy. ArtsNow serves as a resource and convener for arts, culture, environment and entertainment in Summit County. In 2019, the organization launched the Akron Cultural Plan, a citywide cultural planning process designed to evaluate existing arts, cultural and environmental resources, while also examining the needs and desires of residents throughout Akron's 24 neighborhoods. The goal of the plan is to strengthen the city's cultural diversity, increase opportunities to create culture, and provide vibrant experiences for all residents and visitors.

"The investment of Akron Community Foundation will allow us to advance the 10 priorities Akron residents identified as important to their families and communities through the Akron Cultural Plan," said Nicole Mullet, executive director of ArtsNow. "That work will begin with an intentional focus on equity and access. In Akron, we believe that people of all ages, races, genders, orientations, religions, abilities, means and backgrounds must have access to and participate in the making of a thriving cultural scene. We must build more equitable practices so that all Akron residents and guests can co-create the future of Akron's arts and culture."

An additional $12,500 in arts and culture funding was contributed by the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund and Alan and Janice Woll 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.

The co-investment funding joins that of the following field-of-interest and unrestricted funds, which were created by charitable residents to support emerging needs in our community: Betty R. Axline Fund, Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, GAR Foundation Fund for Dance in Summit County, C. Colmery Gibson Polsky Fund, Lillian D. and Lincoln H. Gries Fund, Arthur Kelly Fund, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fund for Dance in Summit County, William C. Krisher Fund, John A. McAlonan Fund, Polsky Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Shaw Foundation Fund, George Stevens Fund, Jean P. Stevens Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, and Dr. Kenneth F. Swanson Fund for the Arts.

Their grants will support the following arts and culture programs:

Akron Civic Theatre, for community-based programming and engagement activities, including free admission tickets for residents in need, $35,000

Akron Municipal Court, to support art therapy for nonviolent specialized docket participants, $2,500

Akron Soul Train, for an artist residency program, which includes workshops, exhibits and resources for artist fellows, $8,000

Akron Symphonic Winds, to support free performances at community events and area schools, $5,000

Akron Symphony, to support music education and outreach, including Concerts for Kids, Gospel Meets Symphony, Youth Symphony coaching, and other programs, $15,000

Apollo's Fire the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra, to support concerts and programs for the 2020-21 season, including the Community Access Initiative, which offers economy and free tickets and workshops for community members, $10,000

Art Bomb Brigade, to develop an artist residency and apprenticeship program for mural artists at the University of Akron, $5,000

Art Sparks, for Dynamite Duos, a peer-based dance and music curriculum for Akron Public Schools students with developmental disabilities, $8,500

ArtsNow, to advance Summit County's arts and culture sector through events, partnerships and advocacy, $15,000

Ballet Excel Ohio, to support Reach Out and Dance, which provides free dance instruction and performance opportunities to students in Akron Public Schools, $5,000

Center for Applied Drama and Autism, to support theater-based programming for individuals with autism and other disabilities, $4,500

Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, to support performances, workshops and educational activities during the Balch Street Theatre's 2020-21 season, $5,000

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, $11,000

The Cleveland Orchestra, to support the 2020 Blossom Music Festival, featuring family-friendly and classical programs throughout the summer, $1,000

Crafty Mart, to support the Maker Sessions Entrepreneurial Curriculum, which connects artists and creative businesspeople to resources in the community through panel discussions, workshops and networking, $6,000

Curated Storefront, to provide multimedia art window displays in vacant street-level buildings in downtown Akron, $10,000

Cuyahoga Valley Art Center, to support exhibits, events and workshops for artists and residents in the Cuyahoga Falls area, $5,000

DANCECleveland, to bring the Los Angeles-based BODYTRAFFIC dance company to Akron for a performance, educational residency, and outreach activities, $10,000

Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, to support a ballroom dancing residency program for Akron Public Schools students that builds self-esteem and promotes social and emotional learning, $5,000

Downtown Cuyahoga Falls Partnership, to support local public art in downtown Cuyahoga Falls, $5,000

Friends of 91.3, to support radio station operations and community service programs, $15,000

GroundWorks DanceTheater, to support performances and outreach activities, including free workshops for young dancers, community and school performances, and residencies, $10,000

Gum-Dip Theatre, to support "Three Countries, One Mother," a multilingual play based on the history and culture of Bhutanese-Nepali Americans, $5,000

Highland Square Neighborhood Association, for arts and engagement programs in Highland Square, including the annual PorchRokr music event and Highland Square Film Festival, $8,500

Himalayan Music Academy, to support refugee and immigrant communities through music, language and dance classes; arts summer camp; and the North Hill Music Festival, $7,500

Inlet Dance Theatre, to support Phase II of "The 'Black Card' Project," which addresses topics of race, equality and bias through performances, workshops and discussions, $5,000

Keepers of the Art Education, to support the 2020-21 Hip-Hop Preservation Project, a series of performances and events designed to counteract the commercialization of hip-hop music, $10,000

Les Délices, to support the 2020-21 season of concerts and outreach programs in Akron, including live chamber music performances with period instruments, $3,000

Magical Theatre Company, to support the 2020-21 season, including resident performances, a kids scriptwriting program, touring plays and educational programs, $12,500

Master Singers Chorale of Northeast Ohio, for operating support for the all-volunteer chorale group and its 2020 programming, $5,000

Music from The Western Reserve, to support a concert music series in downtown Hudson featuring Northeast Ohio musicians, $2,000

The Musical Theater Project, for the Kids Love Musicals! program, which offers musical theater-based programming in special education and traditional Akron Public Schools classrooms, $7,500

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

The Nightlight Cinema, to support independent and culturally diverse movies and programming at The Nightlight Cinema, $13,500

None Too Fragile Theatre, to support the 2020 Off-Broadway Series, $10,000

OhioDance, to support the Virtual Dance Collection, an interactive website that documents and preserves the history of dance in Ohio, $1,000

Ohio Shakespeare Festival, to support the 2020-21 season, including outdoor Shakespeare performances at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens and shows at Greystone Hall, $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 PACT (Performing Arts Can Teach) program, which provides live theater and performing arts experiences for homeless youth in Akron, $8,500

Rubber City Theatre, to support the 2020-21 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, $41,000

Summit Artspace, to support education, art exhibits and programming, along with resources for local artists, including studio space and workshops, $26,000

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, $25,000

Summit County Probate Court, for the Curated Courthouse project, which will display artwork by underserved and diverse artists at the 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

Tinkers Creek Watershed Partners, to support "Wings Over Cuyahoga Valley: How Birds Connect Us to Our Environment," a traveling multimedia and educational art exhibit, $3,000

Tuesday Musical Association, to support concerts and community engagement activities during the 2020-21 season, $16,000

Verb Ballets, to support free dance performances and educational programs in Summit County, $20,000

Wandering Aesthetics, to support community-driven programming, performances and educational activities for the 2020-21 season, $5,000

Weathervane Community Playhouse, to support the 2020-21 season, including live theater productions, special events and classes, $10,000

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

Western Reserve Playhouse, to support the 2020 performance season and Young Artists Theater program, $5,000

Western Reserve Public Media, for cultural arts and performance programming on Western Reserve PBS, including local shows, concerts and art-related documentaries, $15,000

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 65 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 $213 million with a growing family of more than 670 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 $177 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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