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In 2017, Akron Community Foundation announced a new strategic plan that included the promise of proactive community investment. Going above and beyond the community foundation’s quarterly competitive grantmaking that benefits hundreds of nonprofits throughout the community, this proactive model allows the foundation to collaborate with targeted nonprofit partners to tackle key issues facing our community.

From conducting research through a community needs assessment to hearing directly from the people who live and work here every day through On the Table Greater Akron surveys, Akron Community Foundation is committed to discovering the issues that are most concerning to our community. Through this research, the foundation has identified three major areas that are ripe for community-wide improvement and funding:

  • Diversity, equity and social inclusion
  • The aging senior population
  • Drugs and addiction

Since 2019, Akron Community Foundation has invested $587,500 in proactive grants to move the needle on these important issues.

In 2022, Akron Community Foundation awarded $137,500 in proactive grants to the following organizations:

  • ArtsNow, for implementation of the Cultural Plan, including awarding funds to local nonprofits for their equity, inclusion and access projects and programs, $75,000
  • Black Economic and Wellness Coalition of Akron, to support infrastructure development and its housing initiative, $25,000
  • Summit Education Initiative, to support the design and launch of a comprehensive out-of-school time (OST) network in Akron, $37,500

In 2021, Akron Community Foundation awarded $75,000 in proactive grants to the following organizations:

In 2020, Akron Community Foundation awarded $150,000 in proactive grants to the following organizations:

  • Akron Urban League, to increase the organization’s capacity to lead social justice efforts through the addition of a director of diversity and strategic initiatives, $100,000 (awarded over three years)
  • ConxusNEO, to fully convert its training program to a virtual platform and provide innovative community outreach strategies to connect Black residents in Summit County to career opportunities and job preparation resources, $50,000 (awarded over three years)

In 2019, Akron Community Foundation awarded $225,000 in proactive grants to the following organizations:

  • Direction Home Akron Canton, to help make Summit County a more livable and accessible community for people of all ages over the next five years, $100,000 (awarded over three years)
  • Greater Akron Chamber, to support the Elevate Greater Akron initiative, which aims to create an inclusive economy in Greater Akron by intentionally advancing income and employment to address long-term equity gaps, $100,000 (awarded over three years)
  • Women’s Network, to improve on the key findings from its Gender Equity & Women’s Leadership Study, a comprehensive local examination of women in leadership roles, which found that compared to the national average, local women – particularly women of color – are underrepresented in leadership, $25,000
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