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Women’s Endowment Fund awards record $200,004 to programs for women and girls

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Two African American women smiling at each other, while one holds newborn
A grant to Birthing Beautiful Communities helped to address the systemic and community structures that lead to poor birth outcomes.

The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation has awarded a record $200,004 to 31 nonprofit organizations, bringing its cumulative grantmaking total to more than $1.5 million.

Among this year’s funding priorities were health and wellness, safety from violence, and economic empowerment for local women and girls.

Several grants this year supported programs that uplift underrepresented and minority populations, including a $10,000 grant to North Akron Community Development Corporation to address gender, racial and cultural disparities through the launch of Market House, an intersectional women’s empowerment center.

North Akron Community Development Corporation works to ensure a thriving community in North Akron that inspires and connects residents, while also celebrating diversity. The organization focuses on impact areas of business and economic development, physical infrastructure and beautification, and social and informational events.

"Although there are many opportunities for leadership and entrepreneurship in Akron, immigrant women are often unaware or unable to participate due to cultural boundaries and lack of access to transportation," said Katie Beck, executive director of North Akron Community Development Corporation. "Programming at the Market House will serve as an innovative, local hub for marginalized and underrepresented women in Akron by offering them a first step in developing entrepreneurial and professional skills, and also the space to connect with important resources and inspiring leaders throughout the city."

The Market House plans to facilitate a multicultural women’s leadership cohort to further drive development of the new public space. In addition to a meeting area for the cohort, the facility will include office and maker spaces for female and minority entrepreneurs, artisans and more.

"Our hard work to grow our endowment has allowed us to grant more funds back into the community year after year," said Laura DiCola, grants committee chair of the Women’s Endowment Fund. "These grants address financial empowerment, health, youth development, victimization, homelessness, food insecurity, and other issues to improve the lives of women and girls in Greater Akron."

The following is a full list of organizations receiving grants in 2020:

Access Inc., for the Women and Children in Crisis Program, designed to address the homelessness crisis holistically, $10,000

Akron Children’s Museum, to support S.T.E.A.M. Team Saturday sessions, offering team-based design activities for middle school girls to explore engineering in a fun, hands-on environment, $2,650

Akron Municipal Court, to purchase workbooks for the Peace of Mind Probation Program, to uncover and treat mental health issues in previously incarcerated women, $1,854

Akron Zoological Park, to support the Girls in STEM Program, a specialized after-school program that connects girls with female role models working in STEM fields, $2,500

Alchemy Inc., to support its in-school group mentoring program, which uses storytelling and mythology to empower girls in Akron Public Schools, $6,000

Battered Women’s Shelter, to support protective shelter services for victims of domestic violence and their children, $10,000

Birthing Beautiful Communities, to address and improve the systemic and community structures that lead to poor birth outcomes, $10,000

Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, to support SMART Girls, a health, fitness, prevention/education and self-esteem enhancement program that enables adolescent girls in Summit County to develop to their full potential, $5,000

Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry, to support Lydia’s Home Recovery Program for women struggling with drug addiction, $2,000

Building for Tomorrow, to support the Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake, providing education, training, support and resources for impoverished families, $5,000

Cleveland Clinic Akron General, to support the Centering Pregnancy nutrition program, offering educational sessions about healthy eating habits for positive pregnancy outcomes, $7,500

Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, to expand food access and nutrition education programming for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program participants, $7,500

Family Promise of Summit County Inc., to support the renovation of the Glendora House, a community shelter for homeless single mothers and families in West Akron, $10,000

First Glance Student Center Inc., to support The Connect program, providing weekly meals, counseling and parenting education for young moms and their families, $5,000

First Tee of Akron, to improve local girls’ health and wellness through golf-based youth development programming, $5,000

Freedom House for Women Inc., to provide supportive services and recovery housing to women in Summit County, $5,000

Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, to support the Girl Scout Journey Program, a 20-week after-school leadership program covering topics such as STEM, financial literacy, and healthy living, $5,000

Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to expand the organization’s physical activity-based youth development programs in more of Akron’s elementary schools, $10,000

International Institute of Akron, to provide low-income immigrant women and children trauma survivors with social services, employment services, education, and legal representation, $10,000

Kent State University Foundation Inc., to deliver trauma intervention services for at-risk expectant and postpartum mothers in Summit County, $10,000

Legacy III Inc., to support the Women’s Empowerment Program, providing transitional housing to homeless women recovering from addiction and mental health disorders, $7,500

North Akron Community Development Corporation, to address gender, racial and cultural disparities through the launch of Market House, an intersectional women’s empowerment center, $10,000

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support Get Real!, a sex education curriculum for students in Summit County, $10,000

Project Ujima, to support the Zalika Gathering Home, a respite and simulation home for at-risk expectant and postpartum mothers, $10,000

Rape Crisis Center, to support 24/7 crisis services for women impacted by sexual violence, $9,000

Ruling Our eXperiences, to support the ROX program, teaching girls how to navigate challenges faced during adolescence, $3,500

Stewart’s Caring Place, for wigs and beauty services for women on a cancer journey, $2,500

Summa Health System, to support the expansion of the Mommy Care-Group Care initiative, which offers support groups and educational services for new mothers, $5,000

Victim Assistance Program Inc., for 24-hour crisis intervention services for victims of crime and trauma, $5,000

Victory Gallop Inc., to support equine-assisted therapy for girls with social, emotional or behavioral needs, $2,500

Women’s Network Inc., to create new, local programming in conjunction with gender equity and inclusion efforts, $5,000

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