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Akron Community Foundation's Millennium Fund for Children awards $55K in grants

A young boy is smiling on a boat while holding two fish.
A participant in the Cast It Forward program.

Akron Community Foundation's Millennium Fund for Children recently awarded 33 grants totaling $55,000 to children's programs throughout the Greater Akron area. The community foundation's board of directors ratified the grants at its Dec. 2 meeting, bringing the Millennium Fund's cumulative grantmaking to nearly $950,000.

A partnership of the Akron Beacon Journal and Akron Community Foundation, the Millennium Fund for Children began in 1999 when local residents donated their last hour's pay of the millennium to support children's causes in the next century and beyond. Since then, thanks to gifts of all kinds and sizes, the endowment has grown to more than $1.1 million and awarded more than 615 grants to programs that meet children's basic needs, teach important life skills, enrich students' lives through visual and performing arts, and much more. Grants support children's programs throughout the Beacon Journal/'s audience coverage area, which includes Summit, Portage, Medina, Stark, Wayne and Cuyahoga counties.

One new grant recipient this year is Cast It Forward, an organization that provides all-inclusive fishing expeditions to children with special needs, children of single parents, children who have suffered a loss and other groups. A $2,000 grant will help purchase gear, food and other supplies needed for the program.

"Spending time on the water offers far greater experiences beyond the act of catching fish," explained Art Panfill, executive director of Cast It Forward. "Seeing the sunrise on the water, spending time with friends and family, gaining a new respect and appreciation for the great outdoors, and getting to know your true self are just a few of the powerful experiences we strive to provide to our participants. If we can positively influence just one child's life in a profound way, then our mission is a success."

To donate to the Millennium Fund for Children, visit Or, for information about making gifts of appreciated securities, real estate, retirement assets or life insurance, call Akron Community Foundation at 330-376-8522.

The following grants were awarded from the fund this year:

ACCESS Inc., to support the Focus on the Future program, which builds individualized success plans for children residing at the shelter, $1,500

Akron Blind Center and Workshop, to provide supplies for a specialty backpack program, $2,000

Akron Urban League, to support the STEAM After School Academy for students in grades 3-5, $1,000

Autism Society of Greater Akron, to support water safety skills classes for children with autism or developmental delays, $2,000

Battered Women's Shelter, to support a Healing Garden where residents will cultivate produce for use in shelter meals, $1,500

Caring for Kids, to support the STARS (Special Thanks, Accolades and Recognitions) program to provide children in the foster care system with personalized recognition on their birthdays and for special achievements, $2,000

CASA Board Volunteer Association, to provide warm winter clothes for abused and neglected children in Summit County, $2,000

Cast It Forward, to provide inclusive fishing excursions on Lake Erie for children with special needs, children of single parents, children who have suffered a loss and other groups, $2,000

Christ Child Society of Akron, to provide new mothers with educational materials and necessities for newborn care, $1,000

Copley United Methodist Church, to provide weekend food bags and summer food boxes to students and families in need, $1,000

Family Promise of Summit County, Inc., to provide essential supplies for homeless children and families in Family Promise's Glendora House, $2,000

Feeding Medina County, to provide Weekender Bags with shelf-stable, healthy foods to preschoolers and elementary school students in Medina County, $2,000

Forever R Children, to provide food to children and families in high-poverty areas, $2,000

Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to support a running-based youth development program for girls in the Akron community, $2,000

Good Samaritan Hunger Center, to provide children in Akron Public Schools with weekend bags of food, $2,000

Guardians Advocating Child Safety and Protection (GASP), to provide supplies for Child ID kits, including computer drives and DNA swabs, $1,000

Leadership Influencing Teen Empowerment, to provide classes on leadership and social-emotional learning to high school students in Summit and Medina counties, $500

Limitless Ambition, to provide girls in the Summit County foster care system with "Dream Kit" care packages, $2,000

Live Inspired, to provide early learning specialists for children and parents in Medina County, $2,000

Magical Theatre Company, to support free theatrical performances and workshops for youth and families living in Akron shelters, $2,000

Rape Crisis Center, to provide free trauma therapy to youth impacted by sexual violence, $2,000

RePlay for Kids, to support a partnership with the Litchfield Community Learning Center that will educate middle school students about nonprofit careers, $1,000

South Akron Youth Mentorship, to support the program's one-on-one mentorship program, $1,000

South Street Ministries, to provide after-school programs for youth in Summit Lake and South Akron, $2,000

Stewart's Caring Place, to provide support services for children and teens experiencing cancer, $2,000

United Disability Services, to provide toys that promote school readiness in children from disadvantaged families or with developmental delays, $1,000

United Way of Portage County, to provide literacy kits to kindergarten and Head Start students in Portage County, $2,000

Urban Vision, to support a kindergarten readiness program for immigrant and refugee children in the North Hill neighborhood, $2,000

Victim Assistance Program, to support the new Children Who Witness Violence Drop-In Center and provide free child care for families during court proceedings, $2,000

Victory Gallop, Inc., to support the Fit to Ride winter fitness program for children with special needs, $1,500

Weathervane Community Playhouse, to provide theater class scholarships for students from disadvantaged families, $2,000

The Well Community Development Corporation, to provide year-round holistic support services for families, students and staff at Mason CLC, $2,000

Women's Auxiliary Board, Summit County Children's Services, to provide beds and cribs for children of families who receive support from Summit County Children's Services, $1,000

About the Millennium Fund for Children
The Millennium Fund for Children is a permanent endowment that was founded in 1999 as a partnership between Akron Community Foundation and the Akron Beacon Journal. It supports arts, civic, education, and health and human services programs for children living in the Akron Beacon Journal/'s audience coverage area. Its mission is to make grants where even a small amount can make a difference. Since its establishment, the Millennium Fund has grown to more than $1.1 million and awarded nearly $950,000 in grants. Last year, contributions totaling more than $45,000 from nearly 200 generous donors added to the fund. For more information, or to contribute to the Millennium Fund for Children, visit or call 330-376-8522.

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 800 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 $214 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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