Public safety, housing cited as top concerns of recent On the Table Action Challenge
Challenge winners donate to Building for Tomorrow, Akron Zoo, among others
This spring, Akron Community Foundation relaunched its popular On the Table event as the On the Table Action Challenge, which took residents on a personal journey of connecting to the community in unique ways. From podcasts and videos to articles, books, events to attend, and calls to support local organizations, the On the Table Action Challenge used a curated library of content and action items, capping off with one-on-one conversations between residents of different walks of life. The top community concern cited by participants was crime, violence, and public safety. Housing was noted as the second most important issue, with diversity, equity and inclusion and health disparities and affordable health care tied for third most crucial, according to a post-event survey.
Many of the videos, podcasts and articles were locally focused, with the top reading themes being Age Friendly Summit County, generational poverty and building a more inclusive community. Videos focused on addressing youth violence, gender pronouns and racism as a public health crisis, while podcasts included information about the legacy of redlining in Northeast Ohio and relational diversity, among many other items. The content archive will remain published on the On the Table website to help enrich future community conversations.
Participants of the On the Table Action Challenge also met for one-on-one discussions with residents who have different lived experiences. One survey respondent wrote, "I appreciated the nudge the challenge gave me to connect to a neighbor I have waved at but not met." According to another survey respondent, "I reconnected with an old friend who is very different from me. And although we are on opposite sides politically, I realized we support many of the same things that strengthen our community."
Some ideas that emerged from conversations included more community policing, increased job opportunities for youth and mental health assistance in the workplace, along with helping people break free from the "benefits cliff" and improved public transportation.
The survey data and participant feedback will help guide grantmaking at Akron Community Foundation, which also has commissioned an updated Community Needs Assessment from the Center for Community Solutions, whose findings bear many similarities to the recent On the Table feedback.
Those who completed all seven action items during the challenge were entered to win a donation to a local nonprofit of their choice, with winnings going to Building for Tomorrow ($1,500), Limitless Ambition ($1,500), Project Learn ($1,000), Akron Zoo ($500) and Temple Israel ($500).
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 68 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 820 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 more than $223 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 akroncf.org.