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Gay Community Endowment Fund to host annual celebration June 2


Proceeds support scholarships for LGBTQ+ students and allies in Greater Akron


exhALE rainbow-colored logo

Tickets are now available for the Gay Community Endowment Fund's 2023 annual celebration, "exhALE: Advancing Lived Equality." The event will take place Friday, June 2, at 6 p.m. at the Knight Stage at the Akron Civic Theatre. Tickets start at $50 and can be purchased online at

This signature event celebrates the Gay Community Endowment Fund's impact in the community and recognizes its most recent grant and scholarship recipients. In 2023, the fund awarded 15 grants totaling more than $70,000 to programs that advance a lived equality for LGBTQ+ people in Greater Akron. This year is also the fifth consecutive year the fund has 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.

Proceeds from the event support academic scholarships for LGBTQ+ students and allies in Greater Akron. In 2022, the GCEF Scholarship Fund awarded $8,500 to help local students achieve their higher education goals, bringing the fund's cumulative scholarship distributions to more than $45,000 since its first awards in 2016.

This year's annual celebration will also feature the presentation of the 2023 Paul Daum Award to a community member who has demonstrated a significant commitment to LGBTQ+ causes in Greater Akron. Guests will enjoy heavy hors d'oeuvres, beverages and entertainment.

Sponsors of the event include FirstEnergy Corp.; Raymond Dental Group – Dr. Kate Raymond and Michelle Krocker; Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro's Department of Job and Family Services; Akron Community Foundation; Drs. Sandy and Mark Auburn; Makeshift Theater; McKenica and Associates, Allstate Insurance – Adam and Tracy Besenyodi; and Jim and Cheryl Nilsen.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available and range from $500 to $1,500. Sponsors receive complimentary tickets to the celebration and recognition in event materials, among other benefits. A complete list of sponsorship opportunities can be viewed at For more information, contact Deb Hoffman at 330-436-5614 or

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 nearly $2 million while reinvesting more than $750,000 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

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 810 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 more than $217 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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