Akron Community Foundation surpasses $ 200 million in grants



AKRON, Ohio – Akron Community Foundation hit a milestone in December, surpassing $ 200 million in total community grants.

The total was reached in the foundation’s quarterly distribution of health and social services grants, which awarded nearly $ 3.2 million for a range of programs. Grants are intended for programs in the areas of civic affairs, arts and culture, and education during the other three quarters.


What would you like to know

  • Akron Community Foundation Reached $ 200 Million in Grants During Its Health and Human Services Quarter
  • The foundation was started in 1955 with a bequest of $ 1 million from Akron industrialist Edwin Shaw.
  • Shaw laid the foundation for being agile to respond quickly to changing community needs.
  • The foundation has awarded grants that have brought about long-term positive change for the entire community

The foundation was started in 1955 with a Million Dollar Bequest by Edwin Shaw, an industrialist from Akron. Almost 60 years later, in 2012, the foundation awarded its first $ 100 million in grants, but it took less than a decade to double that amount, the Akron Community Foundation said. President and CEO John Petures Jr.

The foundation usually carries out its work without fanfare, but the effects can be profound.

Recent examples include the distribution of pandemic relief funds. the the county has partnered with the foundation to ensure that $ 5.1 million of the CARES Act funding was distributed as quickly as possible to 180 nonprofits in the region that provide services that thousands of residents depend on.

The fund holders of the foundation and its board of directors joined the funds of the CARES law creating the Community intervention fund for non-profit organizations, which has brought funding for the pandemic response to more than $ 6 million distributed to more than 300 nonprofits, Petures said.

The foundation’s agility and ability to respond quickly to the changing needs of the community is a testament to Shaw’s foresight when he created the organization, Petures said.

“Who would have dreamed that a pandemic would strike? Who would have ever dreamed that there would be what is called food insecurity? ” he said.

Corn Shaw’s will stated the foundation must “respond to changes in the needs of the community brought about by the passage of time and varying circumstances”.

As the foundation provided grants to help the community get through the crisis, the community also intensified, Petures said.

In its most recent fiscal year, the foundation awarded more than $ 21 million in grants and $ 22 million in new gifts and donations. In addition, 52 new donor funds have been established. Donor funds allow fund holders to direct their donations to causes close to their hearts.

“Who would have thought during the pandemic? Said Petures. “Or maybe we should have expected during the pandemic that there was nothing more powerful than the human spirit and this one American thing.”

That spirit is now manifesting itself through the outpouring of support for tornado victims in Kentucky and other states, he said.

The American spirit is also present locally. When the United States announced it would leave Afghanistan, throwing that country into chaos, many Akronites reached out with offers of assistance to the local organization resettling the refugees, the Akron International Institute (AII).

The foundation proactively offered a grant of $ 50,000 over two years to help The IIA resettle the refugees, Petures said. As part of the distribution of health and personal services, an additional $ 16,200 was granted to The IIA for legal support for refugees.

So far, around 160 Afghans have been resettled under the IIA as part of the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program, an emergency program created during the evacuation from Afghanistan, said Kevin Walter, The IIA’s advocacy and community outreach coordinator.

“The Afghan evacuation took place so quickly, so this is a different process and program from the traditional refugee resettlement program,” he said. “This grant especially for us has really been to help build the capacity to make sure we have the staff and resources available to run this program.”

The first grant recorded was $ 10,000 to fund an effort by the University of Akron to study what the university needed to meet the needs of the community over the next decade. (Courtesy of Akron University)

The foundation was positioned to proactively respond to yet another crisis 20 years ago following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

The Greater Akron Fire Truck Fund has been established at the request of the Akron Beacon Journal and FirstMerit Bank foundation, and raised nearly $ 1.4 million. This enabled the Akron community to purchase two EMS vehicles, three police cars, and a 95-foot ladder truck for New York City emergency response services.

“What a monumental achievement and outpouring in a relatively short period of time,” Petures said. The fund is believed to have been the biggest gift New York City has received from any community.

Over the years, the foundation has supported many initiatives that have brought positive and lasting changes to the Akron community.

In 1964, the foundation awarded $ 2,732.78 to start a pre-K program, which became a model for the federal Head Start program, the foundation said.

In 1957, the first recorded grant was $ 10,000 to fund the Educational Forecasting Committee at Akron University. This effort explored what the university needed to meet the needs of the community over the next decade in areas such as enrollment, faculty, curriculum, and finance.

According to then-university president Norman Auburn, these predictions paved the way for the university’s conversion from municipal to state status.

In 1968, the foundation also provided $ 20,000 for the construction of the Blossom Music Center, which remains a popular concert destination.


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