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Honoring Our Past, Building A Legacy For The Future

Laura DiCola

One Sunday morning in the early 1990s, a group of women gathered on the back deck of Marie Covington’s home, chatting about life and their community.  When the conversation turned toward the needs of women and girls in Summit County, a powerful idea was born: Why not ask 100 women to join them by donating $1,000 each to establish a fund dedicated to supporting the needs of women and girls?  What six visionary women –Jody Bacon, Marie Covington, Carrie Herman, Norma Rist, Ilene Shapiro and Laurie Zuckerman – started on that deck so many years ago is the Women’s Endowment Fund.  

This year marks a very special milestone: our fund’s 30th anniversary. Over the course of our 30-year history, the fund has grown from its initial endowment of $106,000 to over $4 million, supporting nearly $2 million in grants to organizations that economically empower women and girls, promote their physical and mental health and well-being, and ensure safety from violence. The Women's Endowment Fund is a permanent endowment, which means each gift is invested and its earnings are combined with those of thousands of other donors to enrich the lives of local women forever. In this way, the fund is not only an investment in the present, but also in the future.  

We are excited to celebrate our 30-year history in new and exciting ways. Please join us on Thursday, April 27, at the beautiful Akron Civic Theatre for our 30th Anniversary Celebration. Don’t miss this opportunity to come together in person for a reimagined event that will honor our past and look forward to the future!

Our charge in this coming year is to reimagine an even bolder vision, building on the foundation we have created to adapt and amplify our impact for a new era. As we celebrate 30 years, I ask you to consider how you can increase your involvement with the Women's Endowment Fund. This could be through joining our Circle of Empowerment, becoming a SHEro Ambassador, sponsoring our 30th Anniversary Celebration, or simply by spreading awareness about our fund and its mission. For more information about how you can get involved, contact Akron Community Foundation's affiliate fund engagement manager, Deb Hoffman, at or 330-436-5614.

Thank you for making this work possible. Together, we are poised to create a legacy that will last for generations to come.

Laura DiCola

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