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Bath Community Fund directs emergency funding to local nonprofits

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In June, Western Reserve Playhouse in Bath received a $5,000 grant to develop new online arts education programs as a safe alternative to summer camps and workshops during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grant was awarded through Akron Community Foundation’s Community Response Fund for Nonprofits, which was created in March to address emergency needs that arise in Summit and Medina counties related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Half of the grant was provided by Bath Community Fund, an affiliate fund of Akron Community Foundation. In late April, Bath Community Fund’s advisory board committed up to $10,000 to the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits as a way to support nonprofits serving the Bath/Revere geographic area during the pandemic.

"Bath Community Fund was created for this very reason – to ensure the sustainability of nonprofits that make a difference to so many in our community," said Kathy Sidaway, chair of Bath Community Fund. "We know the drain on our nonprofit partners will be felt for years to come, and it’s crucial that we help these organizations, even if that just means to help keep their doors open."

Arts organizations like Western Reserve Playhouse have been hit especially hard by the health crisis, as canceled performances have resulted in lost ticket sales and workshop revenue. The $5,000 grant from Akron Community Foundation and Bath Community Fund will allow Western Reserve Playhouse to shift its focus to online programming and offer local residents a virtual alternative to the theater’s youth summer camps and adult workshops.

The new courses will be offered for free and include shadow puppetry, musical theater, costume design, scene painting and play reading. A complete list of offerings is available at thewrp.org/wrp-announced-its-2020-summer-camp-schedule/.

"The loss of our traditional camps was heartbreaking, so we’re exceptionally pleased to be able to offer this alternative," said Dawn Sniadak-Yamokoski, executive artistic director of Western Reserve Playhouse. "Knowing that both Akron Community Foundation and Bath Community Fund see the arts as an important investment during this time is truly a blessing. Their support and sponsorship of our summer programs will allow us to continue to use the arts to help, nurture, and give those who need an outlet right now a voice."

Half of an earlier Community Response Fund grant to Crown Point Ecology Center was also funded by Bath Community Fund. That $4,840 grant will support a new vegetable garden solely dedicated to providing fresh, organic produce to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and other local agencies feeding those in need during the pandemic.

To date, Akron Community Foundation’s Community Response Fund for Nonprofits has awarded more than $365,000 in one-time, emergency grants of up to $5,000 to nearly 100 nonprofit organizations in the two counties. The response fund has also grown to nearly $620,000 in assets.

Akron Community Foundation will continue to award grants through its Community Response Fund for Nonprofits on an ongoing basis to help combat the effects of COVID-19. For more information about the Community Response Fund for Nonprofits, visit www.akroncf.org/CommunityResponseFundInfo.

About Bath Community Fund
Established in 2014 by a group of committed Bath residents, Bath Community Fund is a permanent endowment dedicated to strengthening the Bath community for current and future generations by providing leadership, fostering collaboration and creating a legacy of charitable giving. The fund is committed to responding to community needs, helping the less fortunate, supporting local nonprofits, and reinforcing and preserving Bath’s historical and environmental legacy. Since its inception, the fund has reinvested nearly $80,000 into the Bath community. For more information, contact Kathy Sidaway, advisory board chair, at 330-670-8103 or ksidaway0127@outlook.com.

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 www.akroncf.org

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