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Nonprofit Spotlight: Grace House Akron

Grace House Akron Executive Director and Co-founder Holly Klein (third from left) poses at Grace House with members of the nonprofit's Board of Directors.

Grace House Akron, located in the city's North Hill neighborhood, follows a simple tenet: "No one should die alone." The organization helps people who are enrolled in a hospice program, without an able caregiver, or alone or unable to afford a private caregiver and with limited financial resources. Some find themselves in unsafe environments in the final stages of their lives.

Over the past year, the nonprofit, which ACF supports through its Health & Human Services grants, was able to serve 54 people with basic needs at no cost to them. Of these people who were served, 10 were unhoused and 31 were without caregivers. Grace House has served 62 people since it launched in September 2022. The hospice organization – one of only 40 nonprofits of its type nationwide – plans to expand its services and people served as it acclimates to the community, with the number of people served expected to steadily increase.

People arrive at Grace House from a variety of backgrounds: Some are elderly residents who have lost a spouse and no longer have family members who can help; others are terminally ill, have lost their caregivers, or are homeless and at the end stages of life. Regardless of their backgrounds, 100% of Grace House's residents can experience death with dignity – rather than on the streets alone – while receiving a host of wraparound services.

"About 40% of our residents are homeless before coming here, so there's usually an enormous sense of relief once they arrive," said co-founder and Executive Director Holly Klein. "I am so grateful and honored to have taken Grace House from an idea to a reality (a process that took 8 years) – and I feel an immense amount of joy, pride and gratitude that we are able to do what we do. We always tell people that no one should die alone – and that simple premise keeps me going."

One of the agency's earliest clients lived in an RV with no running water or heat, and he was at first reluctant to receive services because he didn't want to leave his dog behind. Grace House welcomed the dog, as well.

Those interested in supporting this nonprofit are encouraged to donate or volunteer, or even just sign up for their newsletters and other communications. "We do not receive any government funding or assistance," Klein added. "That means we must raise those funds dollar by dollar. We also have a robust volunteer program at Grace House. We have over 200 volunteers here who help us with everything from serving as companions to our residents, to event planning, to taking care of our resident pets."

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