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On the Table Greater Akron survey results and grants announced

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Akron Community Foundation recently approved $84,000 in grants as part of its second year of On the Table Community Impact Awards. The grants will be distributed to nearly 40 local nonprofits for projects that address issues discussed during last October's On the Table Greater Akron event.

An estimated 7,000 residents gathered in Summit and Medina counties last October to discuss pressing community issues as part of the third On the Table Greater Akron event. Attendees of last year's conversations were encouraged to focus on three priority issues that emerged through previous On the Table surveys, as well as a community needs assessment commissioned by the community foundation: drugs and addiction; the aging senior population; and diversity, equity and social inclusion.

On the Table participants were asked to submit the best ideas that emerged from their conversations to be considered for the On the Table Community Impact Awards program, which offers grants of up to $2,000 for each winning idea.

"For the second year in a row, community members delivered," said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment at Akron Community Foundation. "From programs that support caregivers of area seniors to programs that provide mobile food pantries for aging adults to leadership programs for refugee teens, there were so many new and innovative ideas to combat these issues in our community."

Funded programs will benefit communities throughout Greater Akron, including Hudson, Wadsworth, Green and Barberton.

The three priority issues are also the focus of a proactive funding initiative at Akron Community Foundation, which awarded $225,000 last year to support programs focused on senior citizens and diversity. The foundation plans to also award grant funding for drugs and addiction programs in the near future.

Along with the grants, Akron Community Foundation also released the survey results from last fall's On the Table Greater Akron event. More than 2,200 adult and youth participants – about 32% of total attendees – completed the follow-up survey. Results from the 2019 On the Table Greater Akron event, including an overview report, the full report and the data set, are available at

Here are some highlights from the data:

  • At 44%, diversity, equity and social inclusion was the most discussed topic, followed by our aging senior population (34%) and drugs and addiction (25%)
  • Poverty and economic security was indicated as the most important community issue for the third year in a row
  • In 2019, 61% of participants said the community is more united than divided, a decrease of 4% over 2018
  • 62% of youth participants identified drugs and addiction as the top issue facing youth in this community, with racism and discrimination (40%) and bullying (33%) rounding out the top three

On the Table Greater Akron was created through a three-year funding commitment from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with Akron Community Foundation serving as the organizer of the event. The community foundation will spend the next year evaluating the successes and challenges of the event, with plans to bring On the Table back to the community in some capacity in 2021.

"After collecting three years of valuable input from the community and leading the On the Table effort, we've decided to take this year off to re-evaluate our funding strategies," said Garofalo. "We encourage residents to host their own discussions throughout this year using the many hosting resources available on our On the Table Greater Akron website,"

Full list of On the Table Community Impact Awards recipients:

Akron Area YMCA, to support social and wellness programs for senior citizens living in AMHA housing, $2,000; to create a piece of community art in conjunction with the annual P.S. I Love You 5K race in the Middlebury and University Park neighborhoods, $2,000

Akron Art Museum, to support Your Say Akron: Community Conversations, a series of six events to help make the museum more accessible to community members, $2,000

Akron Parks Collaborative, to encourage engagement among senior citizens by establishing the Lippman Elder Learning Institute, $2,000; to support Honoring Appalachia, an event celebrating the culture of southern migrants to Akron, $2,000

Akron Public Schools, to support an opioid addiction education program for middle and high school students, $2,000

Alzheimer's Association, for a leadership event to educate Summit County professionals about the aging population and Alzheimer's disease, $2,000; for a telephone support group for Summit County caregivers, $2,000

ARC Recovery Services, to support the "It's Our Turn" children's recovery meeting, $2,000

ArtsNow, for (IN)Dependent: The Heroin Project, Elevating Impact, $2,000

Asian Services In Action Inc., for "Global Café," which provides a platform for immigrants to inform others about their strengths, ideas, needs and dreams, $2,000

Autism Society of Greater Akron, to educate employers about the benefits of hiring people with disabilities, $2,000

Ballet Excel Ohio, to support a sensory-friendly youth ballet performance, $2,000

Barberton Area Community Ministries, to support the aging population through Operation Reducing Senior Food Insecurity, $2,000

City of Green, to support cross-cultural experiences that provide exposure to people with different backgrounds, $2,000

Cleveland Clinic Akron General, for Akron Fire Department's REACH program, which provides grab bars and referrals for seniors and other underserved populations, $2,000

Community AIDS Network/Akron Pride Initiative (CANAPI), to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ youth homelessness at the Akron Pride Festival, $2,000

County of Summit Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, to support an annual sober St. Patrick's Day event in Akron, $2,000

Cover2 Resources Inc., for mental health awareness and substance abuse prevention programming in the City of Hudson, $1,000

Dreams Academy International, for The Bridges Project, a mentorship program for student leaders from diverse backgrounds, $2,000

Good Samaritan Hunger Center, to provide seniors living in food desert neighborhoods with transportation to food pantry distribution sites, $2,000

Greater Akron Amenities Inc., to support the region's historical commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion through sports, $2,000

Hattie Larlham Foundation, to support an accessibility awareness campaign illustrating the barriers that people who depend on wheelchairs face in the community, $2,000

He Brought Us Out Ministry, to support seniors in the community through food pantry services, $2,000

Karen Community of Akron Inc., to support leadership workshops for youth from the Karen community, $2,000

Limitless Ambition, to create a more inclusive environment at Barberton Middle School through the Purposely Chosen Leader Program, $2,000

Living Water Association, for the creation of Splendor in the Valley, a slideshow of resident portraits, $2,000; to support Many Voices, One Akron 2020, $2,000

North Hill Community Development Corporation, for an English language class for non-English speaking immigrant parents with young children, $2,000

North High School, Akron Public Schools, to support diversity and social inclusion for high school students through a cultural fair and school marketing campaign, $2,000

Partners for Theater Inc., to support live theater productions in senior residential facilities, $2,000

Rejoice! Lutheran Church, to support the transportation needs of Hudson senior citizens, $2,000; to help prevent addiction by teaching Hudson High School students healthy coping strategies, including mindfulness training and art therapy, $2,000

Revere Community C.A.R.E., to build a culture of kindness and inclusion at Revere Middle School through The Empathy Challenge, $1,000

Running2BWell, to train mentors for a running program that helps people who are recovering from addiction and mental illness, $2,000

Sarah's House Inc., to support gambling cessation seminars for seniors, $2,000

South Street Ministries, to support eight days of service projects benefiting homebound senior citizens and other marginalized groups in the Akron community, $2,000

Summit County Community Partnership, to support a hip-hop mental health prevention and awareness event for young adults in Summit County, $2,000

Summit County Historical Society, to support a Juneteenth symposium, open house and community picnic, $2,000

Summit Lake Community Development Corporation, for block parties to encourage senior engagement in the Summit Lake community, $2,000

Wadsworth YMCA, to increase awareness about the services and resources available to senior citizens in Medina County, $2,000

Well Community Development Corporation, to connect students and parents at Mason CLC to community resources and to equip them for civic engagement, $2,000

Williams Challenge, to support a community forum to address the needs of single mothers and previously absent or incarcerated fathers, $2,000

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 64 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 more than $238 million with a growing family of more than 670 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 $173 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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