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Corporate giving sparked by owner's love for local children

Parents and two kids pose for photo
Davis family

After years of welcoming foster children into their home, Akron residents Kurt and Kathy Davis were overjoyed when the opportunity finally came to adopt two babies of their own.

Summit County Children Services had called, asking if they could take two more kids – but this time, there was a good chance it could be permanent, Kurt recalled.

"We got a call that two children, ages 2 months and 14 months, were available that would possibly be adoptable," he said. "We wanted to be parents, so we fostered them and eventually adopted them."

Nearly two decades later, their children, Lisa and Brad, have grown into thriving adults, but Kurt and Kathy remain passionate about serving children in need.

One way they give is through their family business, Jamesco Inc. Kurt and Kathy inherited the Akron-based tire display business from Kurt's father in 1993, and through it, they support both their family and their community.

"I'm blessed to be able to do what I do and thankful to have this business," Kurt said. "So if I can, I try to give back at the end of the year."

Jamesco made its first gift to the Millennium Fund in 2000, just a year after the fund's launch in 1999. Since then, Kurt and Kathy have continued to support the fund both personally and through their business, making gifts nearly every year.

Kurt said he learned about the fund through the Akron Beacon Journal and felt an immediate connection to its mission of improving life for children in our community.

"We love children, and we wanted to support Akron," he said. "When we saw the Millennium Fund, we thought this is a great way to donate because (the money) is funneled out to several nonprofits. We liked the idea of being able to support children through many different charitable organizations. Ever since then, it's been one of our favorite causes to donate to."

By giving to the Millennium Fund through their business, Kurt and Kathy are able to support a variety of children's causes in perpetuity – including programs for children in foster care, a cause that's dear to their heart. To date, the Millennium Fund has granted more than $30,000 to programs that provide gifts, therapeutic materials and support to foster children and their families.

This type of corporate giving is a strategy the Millennium Fund is eager to engage other business owners in. Having been founded by a well-known charitable business – the Akron Beacon Journal – the fund is now inviting other businesses to give and get involved through the creation of a corporate engagement committee. This group of corporate donors will help determine how to best increase awareness among businesses and – ultimately – grow the fund's assets and impact.

It also offers businesses a very public way to showcase their commitment to helping local children, a cause many of their customers and constituents feel passionately about.

"This is the perfect opportunity for child- and family-focused businesses to show their support for children's causes in our community," said Millennium Fund committee member and former Beacon Journal Editor Jan Leach. "Whether your company makes children's products or prides itself on serving families, we want to engage you in giving back to your community."

Kurt said he plans to continue supporting the Millennium Fund through his business, and he encourages others to do the same.

"I think it's important to help others if you can," he said. "We're blessed to have this business, so we give back."

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