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The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award was created in 1969 to honor the late Bert Polsky, president of the former Polsky's Department Store and founding trustee of Akron Community Foundation.

Each year, the community foundation presents the Polsky Humanitarian Award to the individual or couple who best exemplifies Bert Polsky's selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron. Honorees come from a variety of backgrounds, from business executives to lifelong volunteers.

About This Year's Recipient

Theresa Carter

Theresa Carter, president of Synthomer Foundation, is the 2023 recipient of Akron Community Foundation's Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award. Theresa is a dedicated community volunteer who is well known for her personal and professional mentorship of young women and men in the community.

Theresa's philanthropic leadership was recognized at our annual award dinner on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. We're grateful to the many generous sponsors and contributors who made this event possible.

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Polsky Award Criteria

A committee of past Polsky Award honorees reviews nominations from the community annually using the following criteria:


  • Exceptional volunteer service and dedication to the Greater Akron community
  • Tireless efforts to improve the community's quality of life
  • Outstanding personal commitment that inspires others
  • Leadership and local community service that goes well beyond professional or employment responsibilities

Polsky Award Retrospective Celebration

A sepia tone photo from 1969 of Sherman O. and March Schumacher

Since 1969, Akron Community Foundation has recognized philanthropic leaders across all sectors of the community, from rubber industry magnate M.G. O'Neil to renowned civil rights leader Vernon L. Odom Sr. to community leader Dorothy O. Jackson. To celebrate these esteemed Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award honorees, we created a virtual presentation reflecting on the history of philanthropy in our community, told through the lives of our past recipients.

Watch Video

Learn more about our past recipients.

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