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Sue and Mal Ames Fund

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 Sue and Mal Ames

Lifelong Akron residents Mal and Sue Ames are acutely aware of the staggering need for food assistance in the greater Akron community. 

Local residents seek out assistance an average of 52,012 times each month, which, "at times, is overlooked," Sue said. That is why she and her husband have made it their mission to help curb the hunger of thousands of Summit County families.

As the former owner of a small bowling supplies company and a dedicated housewife, Mal and Sue know what it means to work hard and be devoted to the community. So after being referred to Akron Community Foundation by people at their church, the Ameses approached the foundation in 1994 about creating a family fund that would help fulfill their philanthropic goals. In August of that year, they started the Sue and Mal Ames Fund with the goal of "helping people who need it so much."

After realizing the overwhelming number of needs in the community, they decided to start with the basics: hunger. "I think people’s basic needs must be met first," Sue said.

Over the last 15 years, the Ameses have made nearly 150 grants to organizations in the community that provide food for the hungry, including the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, OPEN M, the Salvation Army and the Good Samaritan Hunger Center.

"We think those (organizations) are helping people who need it so much, and they’re meeting a great need in the community," Sue said, adding that this need has grown as a result of the faltering economy.

"We hope to fill some of that gap," she said.

Through their family fund at Akron Community Foundation, the Ameses are able to make gifts to all of their favorite organizations without ever writing multiple checks. This is especially helpful now that the Ameses have moved to an independent living apartment complex.

"It’s convenient," Sue said. "The money is quite well-handled, and it’s something we don’t have to take care of."

The foundation’s support now helps Sue and Mal continue the legacy of philanthropy they learned as young children.

"I was raised to contribute and to give back," Sue said. "It is our duty to give back to the community, as well as a very satisfying thing to do. We hope to keep people from actually suffering."

"It’s one reason why we’re here," Mal added. "(Giving back to the community) is always important."

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