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On the Table grants announced


Akron Community Foundation recently approved $50,000 in grants as part of its first-ever On the Table Community Impact Awards. The grants will be distributed to 26 local nonprofits for projects that address issues discussed during last October's On the Table Greater Akron event.

On the Table is a community-wide conversation that brings diverse residents together to share a meal and discuss meaningful ideas to strengthen the community. More than 6,500 people participated in the conversations that took place across the region on Oct. 3, 2018. Akron Community Foundation will host On the Table Greater Akron again this year on Thursday, Oct. 3.

"On the Table gave us the pulse of the community, and now the grants being offered are going to help mobilize the ideas that emerged into action," said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation.

Among the initiatives receiving grants this year are projects that bring diverse cultures together over multilingual meals, programs that educate employers about re-entry hiring practices, and community-wide art displays that showcase artists of color. Funded programs will benefit communities throughout Greater Akron, including Cuyahoga Falls, Kenmore, Fairlawn and Wadsworth.

For Project GRAD Akron, an On the Table conversation with parents and caregivers in the nonprofit's Bridge to Kindergarten program shed light on a distinct need, said Laurie Curfman, director of programs for Project GRAD Akron.

"They talked about some of the frustrations they had with technology, and they felt they needed to be more involved," she said. The solution is the Bridge to Technology program, which received $2,000 from the On the Table Community Impact Awards. The program will help caregivers learn about the technology children are using in schools, like Chromebook computers and Google Docs, and will also keep the lines of communication open between families and school instructors. The technology classes will be provided monthly in schools, as well as during summer parent programs.

In addition to the grants, Akron Community Foundation also has released the survey results from the 2018 On the Table conversations. More than 2,000 adults and 400 youth completed surveys, providing insight into how residents feel about the community and their ability to improve the issues they identified. For more detailed information on the survey results, visit

"The On the Table grants are the first monetary step we're taking based on what we heard," said Garofalo. "Our board and staff are currently using the survey data, along with data from a community needs assessment we commissioned, to help drive decisions on a $500,000 proactive grantmaking strategy that will be announced in the coming months."

The On the Table Community Impact Awards support the following ideas that emerged from the five topics discussed during the 2018 On the Table conversations (economic issues and poverty; equity and social inclusion; drugs and addiction; education and youth development; and public safety and the judicial system):

Akron Area YMCA, for a career exploration program for summer day camp participants in sixth through eighth grade, $2,000

ARC Recovery Services, to provide child care for children whose parents are attending recovery meetings, $2,000

Autism Society of Greater Akron, to provide sensory-friendly movie viewing opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities, $2,000

Better Block Foundation, to encourage cross-cultural connections through a two-part community meal featuring translated panel discussions, $2,000

City of Cuyahoga Falls, to celebrate the diverse cultures of those who live, work and play in Cuyahoga Falls by adding a multicultural festival to the Falls Downtown Fridays event series, which already includes the popular Oktoberfest, Irish and Italian festivals, $2,000

Collide: Cuyahoga Falls, to display curated works by artists of color in local businesses throughout the month of July as part of The Prism Project: Awakening Cuyahoga Falls Through Art, $2,000

ConxusNEO, to work with a consultant who has successfully rehabilitated back into the workforce to identify best practices for hiring candidates with criminal backgrounds, $2,000

Engineers for a Sustainable World, for the development of a bike-powered renewable energy project, $500

Fairlawn-West United Church of Christ, for the Flags of Diversity project, which will celebrate Flag Day in June by covering the church's yard in flags that represent the ethnic, sexual and gender diversity of people in the community, $2,000

Friends of Metro Parks, to support "Many Voices, One Akron," a Kenmore program aimed at making the city more welcoming and inclusive, $2,000

Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, for monthly community gatherings in the Middlebury and University Park neighborhoods, $2,000

LEOnARTi LLC, to support neighborhood block parties in Summit Lake, $2,000

LINKS Community and Family Services, for Middlebury Drug Reprieve Day, which will provide a safe space for individuals struggling with addiction to receive resources, on-site counseling, a clean needle exchange, free clothing and personal hygiene items, and a hot meal, $2,000

Main Street Wadsworth, to launch a downtown art mural project, $1,500

Norton Firemen's Association, for the Panther Project, which will bring students together for after-school activities in a safe environment, $2,000

Portage Path Behavioral Health, to create a peer-led outreach program in economically challenged neighborhoods about the benefits of mental health and substance abuse treatment, $2,000

Project GRAD Akron, to support the Bridge to Technology program, which will help parents and caregivers better understand the technology used in schools, $2,000

Proyecto Raices, to empower the voices of refugee and immigrant children through a collection of poems that explore cultural identity, connections to family, and more, $2,000

Revere Community C.A.R.E., to support mental health awareness and substance abuse prevention programs in Revere schools, $2,000

Salvation Army of Summit County, for the Family Engagement: Healthy Eating program, which encourages families to eat nutritious meals by providing them with fresh produce and healthy recipes, $2,000

South Street Ministries, to partner with Conxus to engage local manufacturing, construction and technology companies in conversations about re-entry hiring practices, $2,000

Steel Academy, to partner with Ohio State University Extension, Let's Grow Akron and Ohio Construction Academy to build an urban garden that students, parents and staff will plant, grow and maintain, $2,000

Summit County Community Partnership, to provide free training sessions for small-business owners that will equip them to identify and support employees with mental health and substance use disorders, $2,000

Summit County Court of Common Pleas, to create an educational video about addiction, its effects on the body, and the stigmas surrounding this issue, $2,000

Summit Food Coalition, to partner with AxessPointe Community Health Centers and Countryside Conservancy to develop a menu of budget-friendly recipes and fresh, local food resources families can use to incorporate nutritious foods into their diet, $2,000

West Creek Conservancy, to identify and revitalize priority green space locations throughout the City of Akron, $2,000

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