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GCEF annual celebration supports student scholarships


On Aug. 1, 2019, the Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation hosted its annual celebration, exhALE: Advancing Lived Equality, at the Akron Civic Theatre.

The signature event celebrated the fund's impact in the community and showcased its recent grant recipients, including the Millennial Theatre Project, which engages LGBTQ+ and other underrepresented young adults in theater productions.

The event also featured a performance by the North Coast Men's Chorus Coastliners and the presentation of the 2019 Paul Daum Award. The award, which is named for one of the fund's founding donors, honors individuals who have demonstrated a significant commitment to LGBTQ+ causes and the Greater Akron community at large.

This year's award was presented to Rosemary Reymann, a retired Akron Public Schools teacher and avid community volunteer. Since 2003, Rosemary has worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the Gay Community Endowment Fund's Sugar Plum Tour, meeting with homeowners and writing detailed descriptions and histories of more than 100 homes. She is known to many as the "Queen of Highland Square" and has been a staunch advocate and friend of the LGBTQ+ community in Greater Akron.

Proceeds from exhALE support the GCEF Scholarship Fund, which awards academic scholarships to LGBTQ+ and allied students in Greater Akron.

"LGBTQ+ students often face unique challenges in their personal lives and in academia," said Phil Montgomery, advisory board chair of the Gay Community Endowment Fund. "Students should have the same access to education regardless of their identity, and scholarships can help bridge the gap many young people in our community are facing."

This year's event raised nearly $9,000 for the scholarship fund, which to date has awarded more than $20,000 in scholarships to local students.

To learn more about the GCEF Scholarship Fund and how you can help create a brighter future for LGBTQ+ students and allies, visit

Thank you to our sponsors:

Enlightenment Sponsors
FirstEnergy Foundation
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio

Wisdom Sponsors
First Congregational Church of Akron
Audrey & Ed Kancler

Knowledge Sponsors
Drs. Mark & Sandy Auburn
Cindy Christman & Ruth Hotchkiss
Gavin Scott Salon
Bob & Babette Medcalf
Scott Read
Steven P. Schmidt & Richard J. Krochka
Studio City Apartments

Honorary Chair:
Ilene Shapiro, Summit County Executive

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