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Vernon L. Odom Fund announces 2021 grants

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On Friday, March 5, the Vernon L. Odom Fund of Akron Community Foundation awarded $14,500 in grants to programs that promote diversity and enrich the quality of life within local communities of color.

The following is a full list of Vernon L. Odom Fund grants:

  • Akron Community Service Center and Urban League, to distribute vaccine safety information to Black residents in Summit County, $1,000
  • Akron Inner City Soccer Club, for a year-round, after-school soccer program for inner-city youth, $1,000
  • Akron Soul Train, to support an artist-in-residence program that amplifies the voice of an artist from an underrepresented demographic, $500
  • Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture (CATAC), to support HOME, a civic engagement initiative that shares the stories of West Hill residents through theater performances, $1,000
  • Chair-ity Inc., to provide furniture and household items to Summit County youth who have aged out of the foster care system, $750
  • Dancing Classrooms Northeast Ohio, to support the BREAK Dance and BREAK Dance @ Home residencies, which offer virtual "brain break" curricula for students in Akron Public Schools, $1,000
  • Fathers and Sons of Northeast Ohio, to support fatherhood education programs that equip low-income, single fathers in Summit County to remain active in their children's lives, $1,000
  • First Tee of Akron, for the 2021 Putting with Police event, which aims to build trust between law enforcement officers and the southwest Akron community through an informal golf competition and outreach activities, $500
  • Law and Leadership Institute, to support a tuition-free college preparatory program for promising high school students in Summit County who are at risk of not graduating or attending college, $1,000
  • Limitless Ambition, to supply girls in the Summit County foster care system with "Dream Kits" filled with self-guided curriculum workbooks, positive affirmation cards, personal hygiene products and more, $1,000
  • National Center for Choreography, to support "inCOPnegro," a dance project that illuminates the complexities of being a person of color working in Akron's criminal justice system, $1,000
  • South Akron Youth Mentorship, to support a hip-hop music camp that empowers teens living in Southeast Akron to use their voice to become change agents in their community, $1,000
  • South Street Ministries, to provide re-entry and recovery support for Black residents, $1,000
  • Summit Metro Parks, to support the creation and installation of a Sojourner Truth statue in Akron celebrating the women's suffrage centennial and Sojourner Truth's pivotal role in attaining voting equality for all women, $1,000
  • Victory Gallop, to provide therapeutic horseback riding scholarships for children with special needs and life-threatening illnesses, $750
  • Williams Challenge, for a fatherhood education and mentoring program that gives at-risk and absent fathers the support they need to develop positive relationships with their children, $1,000

About the Vernon L. Odom Fund
The Vernon L. Odom Fund was established in 1993 in honor of the late Vernon L. Odom Sr., respected longtime leader of the Akron Urban League. Since its inception, the fund has grown to almost $260,000 and awarded more than $200,000 in grants to innovative programs that promote ethnic and racial harmony and improve the quality of life within Greater Akron's communities of color. For more information about the Vernon L. Odom Fund or to contribute, visit or call 330-376-8522.

About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 65 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 $265 million with a growing family of more than 710 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 $194 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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