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Tickets on sale now for Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner

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Steve and Jeannine Marks
Steve and Jeannine Marks

Tickets are now available for Akron Community Foundation’s 2022 Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner honoring Akron Marathon founders Steve and Jeannine Marks. The event will take place Tuesday, Oct. 11, at 6 p.m. at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn. Tickets start at $150 per person and are available online at www.akroncf.org/polskytickets.

The Markses will be the 53rd recipients 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.

Since founding the Akron Marathon in 2003, Steve and Jeannine have grown the race into a world-class event that has generated $133 million in economic impact for the Greater Akron community, celebrated more than 170,000 finishers, and raised $6 million for local charities. The race, which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022, attracts 100,000 spectators each year and is the largest five-person marathon relay event in the United States.

In 2011, Steve and Jeannine established the Akron Marathon Sustainability Fund at Akron Community Foundation, an endowment fund that supports the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation’s mission of promoting health and fitness, stimulating the local economy, galvanizing the community, and benefiting charitable organizations.

Steve is the co-founder of Main Street Gourmet, a leading provider of customized bakery products for national and regional food partners. Through his business, Steve has raised millions of dollars for charitable causes, including Muffins for Mammograms, a partnership with Cleveland Clinic Akron General that provides life-saving mammogram screenings for Akron-area women. In addition, the company supports hunger relief efforts through its "No Muffin Left Behind" sale, which has donated more than 750,000 pounds of food to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank since 2004.

Steve has received many prestigious awards for his professional accomplishments and commitment to the community, including the Distinguished Leader Award from Leadership Akron, the Frank L. Simonetti Distinguished Business Alumni Award from the University of Akron, and the H. Peter Burg Business Leadership Award from the Greater Akron Chamber. Steve is an alumnus of Leadership Akron and serves on the boards of the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation and Curated Storefront. He previously served as a board member for Akron Community Foundation, the Greater Akron Chamber, the Akron Civic Theatre and many other organizations.

Jeannine is the executive director of Stewart’s Caring Place, a nonprofit cancer wellness center that offers free services for individuals and families on a cancer journey. Jeannine was instrumental in the establishment of Stewart’s Caring Place in 2004 and served as a board member and volunteer before becoming its executive director. Under Jeannine’s leadership, the nonprofit has increased its fundraising and budget by 900% and expanded its programming to serve thousands of families in 18 counties.

Jeannine has received numerous awards for her lifetime of service, including the Murray Glauberman Young Leadership Award from the Shaw Jewish Community Center of Akron, the Chairman’s Award from the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau, and the Women of Achievement Award from the Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio. Jeannine is highly involved in the community and currently serves on the boards of Cleveland Clinic Akron General, the Jewish Community Board of Akron, and the Akron Marathon Charitable Corporation, among others.

Steve and Jeannine are both lifelong Akron-area residents and graduates of the University of Akron. The couple was selected to receive the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award by a committee of past honorees. Recent recipients include former Akron Deputy Mayor Dave Lieberth; Stark & Knoll co-founding attorney Thomas G. Knoll; the Honorable Carla Moore; and Oak Associates Ltd. founder Jim Oelschlager and his wife, Vanita.

The Polsky Award event begins with a cocktail reception at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. Dinner guests will enjoy a program led by Akron Community Foundation President and CEO John T. Petures Jr., followed by the presentation of the Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award, which is named for the former president of Polsky’s Department Store and founding trustee of Akron Community Foundation.

Corporate and individual sponsorship opportunities are still available and start at $2,500. For more information or to reserve a sponsorship, visit www.akroncf.org/polskysponsor or call Margaret Medzie, vice president and chief development officer, at 330-436-5610.

Event proceeds benefit Akron Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity that improves the quality of life in Greater Akron by building community philanthropy.

For more information about the event or to request a printed invitation, please contact De Shawn Pickett at 330-376-8522. Registration is available online at www.akroncf.org/polskytickets.

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 www.akroncf.org/Polsky.

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 67 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 $280 million with a growing family of nearly 800 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 nearly $209 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 www.akroncf.org.

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