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Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund

Charles and Mary Booth

Martha Booth came to Akron Community Foundation on a mission: She wanted to find the most pressing needs in Summit County and support them with her family's donor-advised fund.  

The whole Booth family is passionate about helping children, so when she heard Seiberling Elementary School needed help providing a Thanksgiving meal for its students, she knew she had found the right program. 

But the Booths' support didn't end with a check. On the day of the lunch, Martha and her sister, Sue Pallini, spent the afternoon serving turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie to Seiberling students and their families. For many of the families, it was their only holiday meal. 

"I was so glad we could be there to help," Martha said. "It was really nice to see that our gift made a difference and the kids appreciated it." 

Both Martha and Sue said they felt proud to be carrying on the legacy of their parents, Mary and Charlie Booth, who are longtime supporters of local children's causes. Their parents established the Charles E. and Mary K. Booth Family Fund in 1989 and have since made more than 30 grants to organizations like Seiberling Elementary. Now, the whole family is involved in grantmaking.

"Giving back to the community is important for all of us, and that's something we learned from our parents," Martha said. "We're very committed to continuing that tradition Mom and Dad started."

Martha said she plans to continue asking the community foundation to identify emerging needs that align with her family's charitable goals. Staff will research local programs the Booths are interested in and use their knowledge to help the family make a tangible impact in children's lives. 

"The foundation has insight about nonprofits that would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to obtain on my own," she said. "That's one of the big advantages."

Recently, Martha met with foundation staff to learn about a program at Akron Public Schools that promotes healthy eating among fourth-grade students. Students in the Veggie U. program use all of their senses to experience the process of planting, growing, harvesting and eating fresh produce. The program culminates in a Feast Day, where children get to taste the vegetables they've grown.

This is exactly the kind of project Martha and her siblings hope to continue supporting through their parents' fund. "The legacy of my parents, and the legacy we want to leave as a family, is being very conscious of the needs of children," she said. "We want to help level the playing field for all the children in our community."

To create your own legacy with a fund in your family's name, call 330-376-8522.

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