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Community foundation grants provide funding for programs focused on equity


Akron Community Foundation's board recently approved two grants as part of its proactive grantmaking, which supports nonprofits that offer programming in one of the foundation's three current priorities: drugs and addiction; diversity, equity and inclusion; and the senior population. In total, $62,500 was awarded to the Black Economic and Wellness Coalition of Akron (BEWCA) and to Summit Education Initiative.

The foundation awarded BEWCA $25,000 to support infrastructure development and its housing initiative. BEWCA's mission is to restore the Black community of Summit County to an equitable, sustainable, self-sufficient and self-governing position, by providing support to organizations serving Akron's Black community.

Beginning in Ward 4 and working with other community partners, the housing funding will: provide minor home repairs for low-income seniors; rehabilitate and develop affordable rental housing for up to six young adults; and provide first-time homeowner workshops.

"Current data indicates Black, Brown and low-income communities in Akron and Summit County continue to show disparities in income, safe and secure housing, education, and employment," said Charmaine Thurman, founder of BEWCA. "Black-led social change will play a critical part in achieving desired outcomes that will have a collective impact on the community as a whole. It's a bottom-up approach which allows those organizations from the community that it knows and trusts, and who have the credibility, to meet work objectives."

A $37,500 grant was also awarded to Summit Education Initiative to support the design and launch of a comprehensive out-of-school time (OST) network in Akron. This will ensure that youth have equitable access, regardless of neighborhood, to high quality OST programs that enhance development, educational achievement, and readiness for college and career. The network will help boost quality in youth programing, provide coaching and support for providers, provide a one-stop website for families to quickly find programs, and track data to monitor progress.

For more information about Akron Community Foundation's proactive grantmaking priorities, visit

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 $214 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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