Women's Endowment Fund hosts virtual celebration with nearly 400 guests
Fund announces nearly $200,000 in grants to programs that uplift and empower women and girls.
Throughout the evening, event host and WKYC anchor Sara Shookman entertained viewers, while keynote speaker Ramona Hood, president & CEO of FedEx Custom Critical, gave a compelling address about the importance of mentors, authenticity and relationships for success.
"As I think about the last 12 months as a leader, I really value friendships," said Hood. "I have found that to really be the key – the ability of just checking in with others. I've learned to lead in an authentic manner and rely on relationships. Through building relationships, we can collectively help others."
The fund presented its sixth annual Judith A. Read Tribute Award for Service and Advocacy for Women to Jacqueline A. Silas-Butler, Esq., executive director of Project GRAD Akron. The award recognizes the late Judy Read's extraordinary commitment to the advancement of women and girls in Summit County. Silas-Butler has dedicated her professional and personal life to improving her community and making Akron a better place to live, work, and learn.
"My advice to women is to lift as we climb," said Silas-Butler. "As we go throughout our journeys in life, remember someone helped you get where you are today. If you can help others along the way, it will make such a positive difference in our community."
During the event, the Women's Endowment Fund also announced $197,000 in grants to 30 nonprofit organizations, bringing its cumulative grantmaking total to more than $1.7 million. Among this year's funding priorities were health and wellness, safety from violence, and economic empowerment for local women and girls. A complete list of grantees can be found at the bottom of this release.
"We couldn't be prouder of the Greater Akron community for continuing their unwavering support of the Women's Endowment Fund," said Laura DiCola, event chair. "The nearly 500 guests who joined us for last night's event have allowed our fund to continue its commitment to local nonprofits that support women and girls in Summit County. Because of you, our 2021 grantees received nearly $200,000 to continue their exemplary work in such a difficult and critical time."
Major sponsors for this year's "For Women, Forever" event include: FedEx Custom Critical; GOJO; The J.M. Smucker Co.; Leppo Rents; The Read Family; FirstEnergy Foundation; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Myers Industries; State & Federal Communications; Synthomer Foundation; and United Way of Summit & Medina.
The following is a full list of organizations receiving grants in 2021:
ACCESS Inc., for the Women and Children in Crisis Program, designed to address the homelessness crisis holistically, $10,000
Akron Urban League, to provide baskets of essential items to new and expectant Black mothers, $1,000
Asian Services In Action Inc. (ASIA), to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate information and social services to immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and/or human trafficking, $5,000
Battered Women's Shelter, to support protective shelter services for victims of domestic violence and their children, $12,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio, 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
Caring for Kids, to provide support services to birth mothers who have made a voluntary private adoption plan, $4,500
Child Guidance & Family Solutions, to support the Infant Vitality program, providing support services for at-risk expectant and new mothers in Summit County, $3,500
Cleveland Clinic Akron General, to support staff training, continued education, and patient needs at the PATH Center, Akron's only sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) facility, $10,000
Community Legal Aid Services Inc., to support the provision of emergency legal services to low-income victims of domestic violence and stalking, $10,000
Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, to expand food access and nutrition education programming for Women, Infants & Children (WIC) program participants, $9,000
Family Promise of Summit County Inc., to support 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, $2,500
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, $6,500
Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, to support the physical, social and emotional well-being of girls in Summit County, $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, $2,500
Kent State University Foundation Inc., to support trauma intervention services for at-risk expectant and postpartum Black and biracial mothers in Summit County, $9,000
Legacy III Inc., to support the Pathways to Freedom program, providing transitional housing to homeless women recovering from addiction and mental health disorders, $7,500
Limitless Ambition, to support the Purposely Chosen Teen Enrichment Program to empower teen girls in Summit County to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals, $5,000
North Hill Community Development Corporation, to address gender, racial and cultural disparities through cohorts and programming at the Market House, an intersectional women's empowerment center, $10,000
OhioGuidestone, to provide support services and therapy to Summit County mothers facing maternal depression, $2,500
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, to support comprehensive and LGBTQ+-inclusive sex education curriculum for students in Summit County, $10,000
Rape Crisis Center, to support 24/7 crisis services for women impacted by sexual violence, $9,000
RAHAB Ministries Inc., to provide outreach and support services for survivors of human trafficking, $5,000
Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, to support the She Builds program, a 2021 partnership with ACCESS Inc. to provide home repairs and women-centric community spaces, $7,500
Stewart's Caring Place, for wigs and beauty services for women on a cancer journey, $2,500
Summa Health, to support the Personalized Breast Cancer Therapy Program, $10,000
United Way of Summit & Medina, to support the Akron Financial Empowerment Center in providing free financial services to women in Summit County, $2,500
Victim Assistance Program Inc., for 24-hour crisis intervention services for victims of crime and trauma, $7,500
Victory Gallop Inc., to support equine-assisted therapy for girls with social, emotional or behavioral needs, $2,500
Well Community Development Corporation, to support the Mothers in Motion cohort, assisting mothers in securing and maintaining livable wage careers, $5,000