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Gay Community Endowment Fund announces $54,000 in grants

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Impact grant will support Greater Akron’s first LGBTQ+ community needs assessment

On Friday, the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation announced 13 grants totaling $54,000 to programs that enhance the quality of life of Greater Akron’s LGBTQ+ community.

For the third consecutive year, the fund awarded impact grants to programs that create safer environments for LGBTQ+ youth, combat phobias of the LGBTQ+ community, and support mental health and suicide prevention programs for LGBTQ+ people.

Impact grants totaling $30,000 were awarded to three nonprofit organizations, including Kent State University Foundation, which received a $10,000 grant to support the Greater Akron LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment. This comprehensive assessment is the first of its kind in Greater Akron and will collect and analyze data surrounding key measures of health in the LGBTQ+ community, including education, housing, nutrition, employment, safety and recreation.

The results of the study will inform the strategies of local funders and service providers as they allocate resources and deliver programs to improve the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community in Greater Akron. A diverse group of more than 50 government, business and nonprofit organizations have signed on to participate in the project.

"Our goal is to analyze the strengths and unmet needs of the local LGBTQ+ community so we can provide a benchmark that will help decision-makers more confidently allocate scarce resources where they are needed most," said Andrew Snyder, research program coordinator at Kent State University’s College of Public Health.

This includes the Gay Community Endowment Fund, which plans to use the results of the report to guide its grantmaking strategies in future years.

"We are honored to be in a position to assist Andrew and his research team," said Julie Jones, chair of the Gay Community Endowment Fund. "We are certain the work being done at KSU will benefit GCEF and our community by helping us expand our reach and better identify areas of need where we can provide assistance and support to those who need it most. We have been impressed by their important work thus far and anxiously await the assessment findings."

The Gay Community Endowment Fund awarded another $10,000 impact grant to Margie’s Hope to provide support groups and resources to transgender people and their families in Greater Akron. The grant will help the organization hire a part-time coordinator and expand its youth outreach program.

"The trans population is one of the most marginalized and underserved communities within society today, with limited resources to guide them or their loved ones in their journey to becoming themselves," said Jacob Nash, founder and board president of Margie’s Hope. "We create a bridge between what is needed and how organizations can best help, support and provide for the trans community."

The following is a full list of organizations receiving grants this year:

Akron Children’s Hospital, to support social work services at the hospital’s Center for Gender Affirming Medicine, which offers comprehensive care for transgender youth, $5,000

Akron Civic Theatre, to support the Millennial Theatre Project, which engages underrepresented young adults in theater productions, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, $2,000

Battered Women’s Shelter, to provide supportive services for LGBTQ+ survivors of domestic violence, $2,000

CANAPI, to provide rent and transportation assistance for LGBTQ+ youth experiencing housing instability, $2,000

CASA Board Volunteer Association, to support social media outreach to LGBTQ+ teens about their right to experience safety and equality at home and in foster care, $3,000

Kent State University Foundation, to support the Greater Akron LGBTQ+ Community Needs Assessment, $10,000

Kent State University Foundation, to support the QUEST mentorship program, which pairs LGBTQ+ students with a supportive adult role model, $2,000

Margie’s Hope, to provide support groups, outreach and resources to transgender people and their families in Greater Akron, $10,000

Open Arms Adoptions, to combat discrimination and promote adoption in LGBTQ+ families, $2,000

OutSupport, for community outreach, education and advocacy efforts that promote the health and equality of LGBTQ+ people in Medina and surrounding communities, $2,000

Plexus Education Foundation, to support educational programming and networking opportunities for LGBTQ+ students at the University of Akron, $2,000

Summa Health, for cancer screening and diagnostic equipment to elevate LGBTQ+ health services in the Summa Health Pride Clinic, $10,000

University of Akron Foundation, to support a speaker series for LGBTQ+ students and allies during the 2021-22 school year, $2,000

About the Gay Community Endowment Fund
Founded in 2001, the Gay Community Endowment Fund is a permanent philanthropic endowment of Akron Community Foundation. The fund advances a lived equality for all LGBTQ+ people in Greater Akron by investing in strategic and responsive grantmaking that empowers the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. Since its inception, the fund has grown to over $1.8 million while reinvesting more than $630,000 into the community. Contributions of any amount are welcome and support future grantmaking. Checks should be sent to Akron Community Foundation, 345 W. Cedar St., Akron, OH 44307, with Gay Community Endowment Fund in the memo line. Donations may also be designated for the GCEF Scholarship Fund. For more information, or to contribute, call 330-376-8522 or visit www.gaycommunityfund.org.

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 $265 million with a growing family of more than 700 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 $194 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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