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Women's Endowment Fund celebrates $2 million grantmaking milestone during 30th anniversary event


Fund announces $175,000 in new grants to programs that empower women and girls

Six women standing on a stage smiling and holding bouquets of flowers at Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation event
Pictured from left to right: Laura DiCola, current Women's Endowment Fund board president; Sara Shookman, master of ceremonies; Tracy L. Carter, recipient of the 2023 Judith A. Read Tribute Award for Service & Advocacy for Women; Lashawrida Fellows, "For Women, Forever" 30th Anniversary Event co-chair; Debra Adams Simmons, keynote speaker; Emily Browning, "For Women, Forever" 30th Anniversary Event co-chair

The Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation has approved $175,000 in grants to 31 nonprofit organizations, bringing the fund's cumulative grantmaking total to more than $2 million. The fund's leadership announced the grants on Wednesday, June 7, during the fund's "For Women, Forever" 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Akron Civic Theatre.

"As we celebrate our 30th anniversary tonight, it seems fitting that we're also celebrating more than $2 million in grants to programs that have uplifted so many women and girls in our community," said Pam Valentine, co-chair of the Women's Endowment Fund's Grants Committee. "We've reached both of these incredible milestones thanks to you, our extraordinary supporters. So tonight, we celebrate with you and because of you, and we look forward to the next 30 years of empowering women and girls alongside you."

In addition to the grant announcements, the event featured a keynote presentation from Debra Adams Simmons, Vice President, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at National Geographic Media. Guests also had the opportunity to walk through an exhibit displaying key milestones in the fund's 30-year history and to share their own vision for the future of the fund.

Later that evening, fund leaders presented the 2023 Judith A. Read Tribute Award for Service & Advocacy for Women to Tracy L. Carter, System Director, Government Affairs and Health Policy at Summa Health.

"Tracy has made civic and philanthropic responsibilities a priority in her life. For over 20 years, her work has lifted the disadvantaged in our community and beyond," said Women's Endowment Fund Advisory Board member Bernett L. Williams, who nominated Carter for the award. Carter, a former president of the Women's Endowment Fund, led a record-breaking endowment campaign during her tenure that raised more than $2 million for the fund in 2013.

Representatives from the nonprofits receiving grants this year were also recognized during the event, including the Battered Women's Shelter and the Rape Crisis Center, which received $10,000 grants to provide protective shelter services and 24-hour crisis intervention services.

"The support from the Women's Endowment Fund allows us to continue providing free comprehensive trauma-informed care services to survivors," said Teresa Stafford, CEO of the Hope & Healing Survivor Resource Center, home to the Battered Women's Shelter and Rape Crisis Center, in a video on the fund's Facebook page.

The following is a complete list of organizations receiving grants in 2023:

ACCESS Inc., to provide safe shelter, food, clothing and hygiene items for women and children who are experiencing homelessness, $10,000

Alchemy Inc., to establish a group mentoring program at the I Promise School that uses myths and storytelling to help girls understand their personal obstacles and aspirations, $2,500

Battered Women's Shelter, to provide protective shelter services for women and children who have been impacted by domestic violence, $10,000

Cleveland Clinic Akron General, to support a nutrition education program for pregnant women in Akron, $5,000

Community Legal Aid, to provide emergency legal services for low-income women who have experienced domestic violence, $10,000

Dreams Academy International, to support Queens Academy, an eight-week mentoring program that enhances the self-esteem and mental health of African American girls ages 12-15, $2,500

Empower Her Network, to help women who have experienced trafficking reach financial independence by removing housing barriers and offering financial education and career guidance, $6,000

Family Promise of Summit County, to support the health and economic empowerment of single mothers without housing through tailored case management services, transportation and child care assistance, and job preparation support, $5,000

First Glance Student Center, to empower young mothers in the Kenmore community to overcome generational poverty and trauma through mentoring and education programs, $2,000

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, to support the Girl Scout Journey Program, an after-school program that educates girls in Akron Public Schools on topics like STEM, financial literacy and healthy living, $6,500

Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to support a running-based program for girls in Summit County that combines physical activity with discussions about self-confidence, stress management and healthy relationships, $10,000

Grace House Akron, to provide personal care items, clothing and pet supplies for terminally ill women, $2,500

Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, to support a homeownership education program for women with courses on safety, gardening, home maintenance and budgeting, $2,500

IBH Addiction Recovery, to support Summit County women recovering from substance use disorder through the residential treatment program, $2,500

International Soap Box Derby, to support a workshop that exposes Summit County girls in fifth through eighth grade to career opportunities in STEM fields and entrepreneurship, $5,000

Legacy III, to support the Pathways to Freedom program, which provides transitional and rapid rehousing services for women experiencing homelessness while recovering from substance use disorders, mental health conditions or physical disabilities, $7,500

Limitless Ambition, to support the Purposely Chosen Teen Enrichment Program, which will equip teen girls at Jennings CLC and North High School with tools to become leaders, discover their passions, and resolve conflict, $5,000

North Hill Community Development Corporation, to support women-owned businesses in North Hill through individualized marketing strategy development, $5,000

OPEN M, to support a child care expense fund for head-of-household mothers of color who are working to achieve sustainable employment, $5,000

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support a comprehensive, LGBTQ-inclusive sexual health education program for middle and high school students in Summit County, $10,000

Project Ujima, to support Queen's Village Akron, a supportive community for Black women to empower themselves and each other, $7,500

Rape Crisis Center, to support 24/7 crisis intervention services for women and girls impacted by sexual violence or abuse, $10,000

Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, to support She Builds, a home repair training program that empowers women to maintain safe and healthy homes, $5,000

Stewart's Caring Place, to provide support and wellness programs for Summit County women impacted by cancer, $2,500

Summa Health, to improve patient-provider communication by expanding interpretation services for limited-English speaking patients seeking treatment at the Women's Health Center, $5,000

Summit Artspace, to provide entrepreneurship coaching for women artists in Summit County who are seeking to establish or grow an arts business, $5,000

United Way of Summit & Medina, to support the Financial Empowerment Center, which provides free financial coaching and tax services for low- to moderate-income women, $3,000

VANTAGE Aging, to provide wellness services for older women who have low incomes but are not eligible for Medicaid, allowing them to remain in their homes as they age, $7,500

Victim Assistance Program, to provide trauma-informed advocacy services for women and families impacted by violence, including safety planning, needs assessments, resource referrals and more, $7,500

Victory Gallop, to support an equine therapy program for adolescent girls with behavioral challenges or life-threatening illnesses, $2,500

The Well CDC, to provide financial empowerment and career development classes for women in the Middlebury community, $5,000

About the Women's Endowment Fund
The Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation was established in 1993 as a permanent endowment committed to encouraging the advancement of women and girls in Summit County. To date, it has grown to nearly $4.4 million and awarded $2.1 million in grants. Contributions of any amount are welcome and can be made online at or mailed to Women's Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, 345 W. Cedar St., Akron, OH 44307. For more information, call 330-376-8522 or visit

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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