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Diversity, Senior Initiatives Funded in Community Foundation’s First Round of Proactive Grants

New proactive funding is part of nearly $3.4 million in quarterly grants approved by board

Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors approved quarterly grants totaling $3,378,258, including $225,000 in its first-ever round of proactive grants chosen by the foundation’s Community Investment Committee. 

Over the past two years, Akron Community Foundation has uncovered concerning issues in the community through various initiatives, including its On the Table Greater Akron conversations, a community needs assessment, and researching other community-based reports. As a result, the foundation has identified three key areas ripe for community-wide improvement and funding: diversity, equity and social inclusion; the aging senior population; and drugs and addiction. Two of those areas of focus will be receiving funding this quarter. These proactive grants are above and beyond the traditional reactive grant cycles the foundation’s board approves quarterly, and Akron Community Foundation will continue to award approximately $2 million in its health and human services, arts and culture, civic affairs, and education grants every year.

The Greater Akron Chamber will receive a $100,000 grant, paid over three years, to support the Elevate Greater Akron Initiative, which aims to create an inclusive economy in Greater Akron by intentionally advancing income and employment to address long term equity gaps. The grant will be used for training and educational activities for minority-owned businesses; the creation of a diverse supplier guide that will be shared with companies in the region; and to facilitate a dialogue with community partners to identify a set of community-wide inclusion goals, focuses and training tools. 

This grant comes on the heels of the Chamber’s first Inclusion Summit, a half-day event held on September 12, that attracted nearly 400 local professionals to learn more about the economic impact of inclusion, opportunities for improvement and next steps needed for an inclusive economy.

In addition, the Women’s Network will receive a $25,000 grant to improve on the key findings from its Gender Equity & Women’s Leadership Study, a comprehensive local examination of women in leadership roles, which found that compared to the national average, local women are underrepresented in leadership, particularly women of color.

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