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Theresa Carter named 54th Polsky Award recipient at ACF Annual Meeting

Theresa Carter
Theresa Carter

Theresa Carter, president of Synthomer Foundation, was announced as this year's Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award recipient at Akron Community Foundation's annual meeting this evening. She will receive the award at the annual Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.

Carter will be the 54th recipient of the award, which Akron Community Foundation presents each year to an individual or couple who has shown selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron.

Carter is a dedicated community volunteer and mentor, currently serving on the boards of Akron Community Foundation, Akron NAACP, Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Cleveland State University Foundation and the Summit Metro Parks Board of Park Commissioners. She has served dozens of organizations over the past several decades, including the Akron Urban League (emeritus), American Red Cross of Summit and Medina, Greater Akron Chamber, Project GRAD Akron, and the United Way of Summit & Medina. She is also well known for her personal and professional mentorship of young women and men in the community.

Carter currently serves on the Sojourner Truth Project Committee, which is in the process of creating a statue and legacy plaza dedicated to the abolitionist and civil and women's rights activist, with plans to unveil the plaza later this fall near the location of her most famous speech, often referred to as "Ain't I A Woman?" Carter has helped the committee raise over $800,000 for the project.

Carter has received numerous awards for her community service, including three H. Peter Burg awards from the Greater Akron Chamber, the American Red Cross of Northern Ohio, and Akron Public Schools; the Lieberth Community Vision Award from Leadership Akron; and the ArtsNow Distinguished Patron Award. She is actively involved in her church, currently serving as a deaconess at Jerusalem Missionary Baptist Church in Akron. Carter is a graduate of the University of Alabama.

Carter was selected to receive the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award by a committee of past honorees. Recent recipients include Akron Marathon founders Steve and Jeannine Marks; former Akron Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth; Stark & Knoll co-founding attorney Thomas G. Knoll; and the Honorable Carla Moore.

Corporate and individual sponsorships for the award dinner are available from $2,500 to $25,000 and may be reserved at

In addition to announcing this year's Polsky Award recipient, the community foundation presented financials from its recent fiscal year that closed on March 31, 2023; presented its new slate of officers; and welcomed three new board members: Mark Bachmann, partner and chief client officer at Marcus Thomas LLC; Laura Culp, partner at Sikich; and Tracy Dowe, city president and middle market team leader at Fifth Third Bank.

About the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award
The Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award is named for the former president of Polsky's Department Store and founding trustee of Akron Community Foundation. The community foundation presents the award each year to the individual or couple who best exemplifies Bert Polsky's selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron. More information, including a complete history of past recipients, is available at

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 68 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. It is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $260 million with a growing family of more than 820 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation and its funds welcome gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation's funds have awarded more than $223 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit

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