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Medina County Community Fund Grants

In 2014, the Medina County Community Fund awarded grants to 14 area organizations totaling $30,523:
 
A grant to the Medina County Arts
Council supported the countywide
Arts Week Festival.
  • Battered Women’s Shelter, for domestic violence support groups in Medina County, $2,000
  • Brunswick Educational Foundation, to support the BEAT Video Program, in which student “backpack journalists” create print, Web and video stories about Medina County initiatives for broadcast by Northeast Ohio media outlets, $3,000
  • Children’s Center of Medina County, to increase the awareness and prevention of child sexual abuse by purchasing educational materials to distribute to families and professionals in Medina County, $1,823
  • City of Wadsworth, for landscaping surrounding the Boy with the Leaky Boot Statue, which was built in honor of the city’s bicentennial celebration, $1,500
  • Cornerstone of Hope, for grief counseling and education programs in Medina County, $2,000
  • Matthew 25 Coalition, to provide fuel and auto repair vouchers to rural residents in poverty who need transportation to their jobs, school or medical appointments, $3,000
  • Medina County Art League, to host the 37th Ohio Watercolor Society Traveling Exhibition and bring award-winning art to Medina County, $1,200
  • Medina County Arts Council Inc., to support free performances and arts programs throughout Medina County as part of the 2014 Arts Week Festival, $1,000
  • Medina County Veterans Memorial Hall, for renovations to expand and modernize the Veterans Memorial Hall in Medina, $1,500
  • Medina Health Ministry, to provide free preventative care and health education to uninsured, working women in Medina County, $6,000
  • Oaks Family Care Center, to support a mediation program that helps couples in crisis resolve parenting and financial conflicts, $3,000
  • ORMACO Inc., for the Jazz Under the Stars free concert series in Medina’s public square, $1,000
  • RePlay for Kids, to support toy adaptation workshops in Medina County high schools, where students use STEM skills to adapt toys for local children with disabilities, $2,000
  • Suicide Prevention Education Alliance, for suicide prevention and depression awareness programs at Brunswick, Buckeye, Cloverleaf, Highland and Medina high schools, $1,500

Mustard Seed Development Center

Linda was living the American dream. She had a stable job and owned a home, but disaster struck. 

two women hugging
Mustard Seed CEO Toree Stokes hugs one of her clients, Gabrielle. 
An injury on the job forced her out of work and onto disability. But the checks ran out, and her injury limited her work prospects. Soon, she couldn't afford her medications, was driving without auto insurance and risked losing her home. 

It's a common story in the recent economic climate. And, like many people in her shoes, Linda was hesitant to share her financial woes. "I was embarrassed," she admits. "I didn't think I'd be here at this point in my life." 

After confiding in a friend, Linda discovered Mustard Seed Development Center, a nonprofit organization that educates and empowers local residents with comprehensive financial, credit and housing counseling. 

A $30,000 grant from Akron Community Foundation helped the group serve 170 new clients like Linda: Summit County residents who want to become financially viable but, because they don't have dependent children, can't get government funding to do so. 

Toree Stokes, Mustard Seed's executive director, said she wants to help these residents become financially empowered and self-sufficient, which first requires managing their debt. She explained that many people don't even know how much debt they have. With the cost of utilities and household items exceeding many clients' income, their debt only gets worse.

Through Mustard Seed's Financial Management and Homeownership Program, each participant receives a financial action plan to increase their income, establish savings and repay debt. Mustard Seed administrators negotiate feasible repayment plans with creditors and monitor clients' credit files to ensure they make their payments. 

Home-buying seminars are the next step. Mustard Seed works with lenders to help clients establish and maintain positive credit and secure home loans within three years. While aggressive, the approach is successful. Mary Anderson, an Iraqi War veteran, said she now owns and lives in a Kenmore duplex, renting the other side for income. "I've always wanted to own property," she said. "Buying a home is the best investment you can make."

With past foundation funding, Mustard Seed served more than 175 such clients in a single year. Of those, 158 established and are living within budgets, 95 are paying off outstanding debt, 21 are debt-free, and 26 have prevented foreclosure. 

Linda is one of those people hoping to keep her home. With Mustard Seed, she has peace of mind that she’s not in it alone. "Now it's not just me going through it," she said.