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Father Norm Douglas named 2024 Polsky Award recipient

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Father Norm Douglas

Father Norm Douglas, co-founder of Heart to Heart Leadership, has been named the 2024 recipient of Akron Community Foundation's Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. The Catholic priest will receive the award at the annual Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner on Tuesday, Oct. 15, at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

Douglas will be the 55th recipient of the award, which Akron Community Foundation presents each year to an individual or couple who has shown selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron.

Ordained on June 8, 1974, Douglas recently celebrated 50 years of serving the Catholic Church. He has served multiple churches in the Greater Akron area during that time, including as an associate pastor at St. Barnabas Parish in Northfield and Holy Family Parish in Stow, before becoming the pastor of St. Martha Parish from 1985-99. Since 2016, Douglas has served as the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Akron.

Douglas is perhaps even more well known for co-founding Heart to Heart Leadership, a nonprofit organization that partnered with individuals and organizations to cultivate purpose-driven, values-based, community-minded leadership. This past April, Heart to Heart merged with United Way of Summit & Medina.

In addition to his professional work, Douglas has served on numerous boards, including the Akron Bar Association Ethics Grievance Committee, Coming Together Akron, and Leadership Akron.

Douglas is a 1997 graduate of Leadership Akron, and in 2002, he received its Distinguished Leader Award alongside his Heart to Heart co-founder, Larry Vuillemin. Douglas has received numerous other awards, including the University of Akron Outstanding Alumni Award in 2005, the Betty Dalton Community Service Award from Greenleaf Family Center in 2009, the Community Medal Award from the Salvation Army of Summit County in 2014, and the Friend of Young Leaders Award from Torchbearers in 2015.

Born in Los Angeles but raised in Akron, Douglas is a graduate of The University of Akron and St. Mary Seminary.

He was selected to receive the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award by a committee of past honorees. Recent recipients include Synthomer Foundation President Theresa Carter, Akron Marathon co-founders Steve and Jeannine Marks, former Akron Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth, and Stark & Knoll co-founding attorney Thomas G. Knoll.

Corporate and individual sponsorships for the award dinner start at $2,500 and may be reserved at akroncf.org/PolskySponsor. For more information about sponsorship availability and benefits, call Laura Lederer, vice president and chief development officer, at 330-436-5611.

About the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award
The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award is named for the former president of Polsky's Department Store and founding trustee of Akron Community Foundation. The community foundation presents the award each year to the individual or couple who best exemplifies Bert Polsky's selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron. More information, including a complete history of past recipients, is available at akroncf.org/Polsky.

About Akron Community Foundation
For 69 years, Akron Community Foundation has been our community's champion and generator of enduring philanthropy. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of $296 million with a growing family of more than 870 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 $245 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 akroncf.org.

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