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Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund announces $24,700 in grants

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A 3D model of a colorful inclusive playground that will be built in the city of Brunswick
A 3D model of the inclusive playground that will be built through a partnership between the city of Brunswick and Brunswick City Schools.

Impact grant will support inclusive playground in Brunswick

The Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation recently awarded $24,700 in grants to nine nonprofit organizations that improve the lives of Medina County’s women and children. This latest round of grants brings the fund’s cumulative grantmaking total to nearly $270,000 since it was established in 1998.

Several of the grants awarded this year will support programs that integrate the arts, play and education to help children grow into healthy, well-rounded individuals. A $10,000 impact grant to Brunswick City Schools will support the construction of an inclusive playground that will meet the needs of children with disabilities throughout the community.

The new playground will feature soft-surface flooring, a wheelchair-accessible pathway, and fencing around the entire play area, making it accessible to children who have limited mobility, sensory needs, and visual or hearing impairments. Project organizers said they hope the playground will also offer a firsthand lesson in empathy, compassion and inclusion to the wider community.

"This grant will not only provide a lasting impact to the individuals with disabilities in our community, but also to their typically developing peers," said Leann Alferio, special education coordinator at Brunswick City Schools. "This project will encourage the development of friendships through close proximity and the sharing of a common experience in the natural environment of play."

Another grant of $2,000 was awarded to Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio to support a life skills program for Medina County girls that combines physical activity with discussions about self-confidence, healthy coping strategies, and positive relationships. Each 10-week program culminates in a community service project and a celebratory, non-competitive 5K event. Since 2007, Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio has empowered more than 16,000 girls to build healthy habits and mindsets that last long beyond the program.  

"Girls on the Run promotes youth resiliency and decreases stress outcomes by promoting the development of coping skills, positive self-image, emotional regulation and more," said Executive Director Robyn Cutler. "Additionally, physical activity is woven into each lesson, providing a healthy outlet for anxiety and stress."

Other grants awarded by the Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund this year will support GED programs for women with young children, provide sexual violence prevention education for middle school girls, and enhance speech therapy programs for local students.

"Each organization emphasizes our mission and is committed to responding to the needs of women and children throughout Medina County. Their programs emphasize diverse areas of need, including physical, emotional, social, artistic and personal growth," said Joyce Fuerst, advisory board chair of the Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund. "They focus on developing life skills and building self-confidence, inclusivity and positive relationships, which strongly impact the lives of each individual, child and woman involved within these programs."

The following is a full list of organizations receiving grants in 2022:

Access the Arts, to support a mural project for youth in the Medina County Juvenile Detention Center, $1,500

Brunswick City Schools*, to build an inclusive playground in Brunswick where children with disabilities can play alongside their able-bodied peers, $10,000

Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to support the physical, social and emotional well-being of Medina County girls through an evidence-based program that integrates running, $2,000

Live Inspired, to provide books and educational toys to economically and educationally disadvantaged Medina County families with young children, $2,000

Project: LEARN of Medina County, to help mothers earn their high school equivalency diploma by providing an on-site childcare program with early literacy lessons, $3,000

Rape Crisis Center, to provide sexual violence prevention programming for middle school girls at Buckeye Intermediate School in Litchfield, $1,000

St. Vincent de Paul Society, to provide free children’s books to Medina County families during food pantry distributions, $1,000

Summer Reinforcement Program, to provide speech therapy services for Medina County students attending the summer tutoring program, $3,000

SustainEd Medina, to install a driveway that will improve access to the Medina Community Garden, $1,200

* Denotes impact grant

About Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund
The Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund, an affiliate of Akron Community Foundation, was established in 1998 to improve the lives of women and children in Medina County. The mission of the Medina County Women’s Endowment Fund is to fund organizations and programs in Medina County that support women and children, to serve as a catalyst for needed projects, and to assist women in their growth as philanthropists. The fund encourages the advancement and full participation of women and children in the community and in society. In addition, it supports organizations and programs that create opportunities for the educational, physical, emotional, social, artistic and personal growth of women and children. Since the fund’s establishment, it has grown to almost $500,000 and awarded nearly $270,000 in grants. For more information, or to contribute to the Medina County Women’s Endowment fund, go to www.medin­­­awomensendowment.org.

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 $280 million with a growing family of more than 780 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 $209 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 https://www.akroncf.org.

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