Stories about the people and organizations that enrich our community.
Akron Community Foundation’s Millennium Fund for Children is celebrating $500,000 in grants to children’s programs throughout Summit, Portage and Medina counties. The fund’s grants committee recently approved 26 grants totaling $41,935 to arts, education and health programs, bringing the cumulative grant-making total to $538,844. Akron Community Foundation’s board of directors ratified the grants at its Dec. 6 meeting.
A partnership of the Akron Beacon Journal and the community foundation, the Millennium Fund for Children began in 1999 when local residents donated their last hour’s pay of the millennium. Since then, people have donated gifts of all kinds and sizes, growing the fund to more than $700,000 and making more than 300 grants to provide holiday gifts for children in foster care, live music and theater performances for area students, food and clothing for at-risk infants, and much more.
Akron Community Foundation President and CEO John T. Petures Jr. said the Millennium Fund’s mission is to support programs where a small grant can make a big difference.
“Many of the fund’s grantees are grassroots organizations,” he said. “Not only are they closest to the needs of the community, they really know how to stretch a dollar.”
By giving to the Millennium Fund for Children, residents can also stretch their charitable dollars, he said. “Your gift will be combined with thousands of others and will grow over time, so even a small amount can make a big difference.”
To donate to the Millennium Fund for Children, visit www.akroncf.org/give/millennium.
The following grants were awarded this year:
ACCESS Inc., to provide meals, clothing and school supplies for children living at the shelter, $2,000
Act II Productions DBA: The Illusion Factory, for free live theater performances for children in need, $1,975
Aladdin Foundation of Akron, to purchase window air conditioning units for families with premature infants or children with chronic respiratory illnesses, $1,000
Autism Society of Greater Akron, for a multi-sensory story time program at the library for children with disabilities, $1,345
Caring for Kids Inc., to purchase holiday and birthday gifts for children in foster care, $1,900
CASA Board Volunteer Association Inc., for the CASA Holiday Toy Shop, which provides gifts to abused and neglected children in the Summit County court system, $1,000
Children’s Concert Society of Akron, to help children from low-income families attend the Concert Hall Series, $1,500
Christ Child Society of Akron, to provide essential newborn items and child safety literature to mothers of at-risk babies, $2,000
Community Pregnancy Center Inc., to purchase formula for the Feeding Hungry Children program, $2,000
Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet, to help children from low-income families attend live dance performances at the Akron Civic Theatre, $1,500
First Congregational Church of Akron, for the Peanut Butter & Jelly Outreach Program at Mason Community Learning Center, which provides students in need with food for the weekend, $2,000
Good Neighbors Inc., to purchase toothpaste and toothbrushes for children in need, $1,000
GriefCare Place Inc., for the Growing Through Grief Kids’ Camp, which helps children and teens cope with the loss of a loved one through art, music and therapeutic peer activities, $2,000
Here’s Hope Horse Farm, for the 2014 summer therapeutic riding program for children with special needs, $2,000
Mental Health America of Summit County Inc., to provide martial arts classes for children with severe behavioral disorders while their parents attend support group meetings, $1,000
Mobile Meals Inc., to provide medically prescribed supplements to children in need, $2,000
Opportunity Parish Ecumenical Neighborhood Ministry, for an early childhood education program that prepares children from low-income families for kindergarten and assesses them for developmental delays, $2,000
Pajama Program, Eastern Ohio Chapter, to purchase books and cold-weather pajamas for children in need, $1,000
Rape Crisis Center, for the Tina Project, which helps prevent teen dating violence by educating middle and high school students about healthy relationships, $2,000
RIGHT – Residents Improving Goodyear Heights Together, for a student learning project at Seiberling Community Learning Center in which students build a greenhouse with recycled plastic bottles and learn to grow their own fruits and vegetables, $2,000
Ritzman Community Learning Center, Akron Public Schools, for the “Are You Longer Than a Third Grader?” project, where students use the measurement skills they’ve learned in the classroom to measure live animals at the Akron Zoo, $875
Shelter Care Inc., for independent living classes and art programs that focus on developing positive coping mechanisms and responsible behavior in neglected youth, $1,840
South Street Ministries, to support math and reading tutoring and health education programming for youth in the Summit Lake neighborhood, $2,000
Stewart’s Caring Place Inc., to purchase materials for the digital art therapy program for teens with cancer, $2,000
Victim Assistance Program, for the “Kids Need a Firm Foundation” picnic for children who have witnessed or been victims of violence, $1,000
Weathervane Community Playhouse Inc., to provide theater class scholarships to children from low-income families, $1,000
About the Millennium Fund for Children
The Millennium Fund for Children is a permanent endowment that was founded in 1999 as a partnership between Akron Community Foundation and the Akron Beacon Journal. It supports arts, civic, education, and health and human services projects for children living in the Beacon Journal’s circulation area. Its mission is to make grants where even a small amount can make a difference. Since its establishment, the Millennium Fund has grown to more than $700,000 and awarded more than $500,000 in grants. In the past year, 275 gifts totaling $37,798 have added to the fund. For more information, or to contribute to the Millennium Fund for Children, visit www.akroncf.org/millennium or call 330-376-8522.
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 58 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. Today, it is a philanthropic endowment of nearly $170 million with a growing family of more than 430 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation welcomes 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 nearly $110 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 www.akroncf.org.
The Salvation Army recently hosted the sixth Annual Project RISE Parent RISE-ing Harvest Dinner for the students and families in varying homeless situations in the Akron Public School District. The Harvest Dinner gives these families and youth who are experiencing homelessness the opportunity to celebrate this festive time of year with food, fun and friendship. The evening included arts and literacy activities, parent-child activities, Thanksgiving dinner, giveaways, and entertainment.
With more than 150 people in attendance, the event would not have been as successful without the help of some special volunteers. Many volunteers were from Debra Manteghi's Family Homelessness Class from the University of Akron were in attendance at the event. The class spans over two weekends and teaches students about causes and effects of homelessness as well as laws surrounding the issue.
Several of these volunteers were members of the Zips football team, which delighted the children young and old! The students were able to help set up, clean up and help the young students with their activities.
Earlier in November, the students in the Family Homelessness Class got an in-depth look at Akron's Project RISE and how the organization helps children and families experiencing homelessness.
The Children's Library, located in downtown Akron on the second floor of the Akron-Summit County Public Library, is celebrating 100 years of serving children. An open house will be held Saturday Dec. 7, from 2 to 4 p.m. to celebrate its dedication to children and the importance of reading.
According to the library's blog, the Children's Library formed in 1912 after a local businessman Frank H. Mason donated $2000 to the library to pay for books and hire a librarian. Four women from the Akron area each contributed $250, which was used to purchase furniture and open the Children's Corner in 1913. Since this time, the Children's Library has grown significantly and has continued to increase literacy and interest in reading among children in the community said Trish Saylor, the manager of the Children's Library.
"It's finding the right book for the right child and helping him or her discover a love for reading," Saylor said. "People remember this, and they are still readers today because of the guidance that we gave them as they were growing up."
The Gay Community Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation is accepting grant applications for projects that support, enhance and educate the community regarding the 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation. Coming to Cleveland and Akron in August 2014, the Gay Games is a world-renowned sports and culture festival that emphasizes inclusion and participation.
In October, the Gay Community Endowment Fund announced a $100,000 commitment to the 2014 Gay Games, making the fund the official host sponsor of 2014 Gay Games sports in Akron and Summit County. A portion of those funds will be used to award grants of up to $5,000 for projects that support the Gay Games, including arts and culture events, LGBT programming, and diversity projects.
Grants will not be made for the purchase of tickets to Gay Games activities, including the opening and closing ceremonies. All projects must be conducted in Summit County.
Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary in Ravenna has lofty goals. Director Annette Fisher wants to construct a 65-foot by 115-foot covered arena adjacent to the stables in order to continue with equine rehab therapy throughout the cold winter months.
The abused and neglected horses sometimes need to recover from leg and eye injuries and other medical procedures, and they need a dry, safe environment under cover from rain and snow – and the hot sun during the summer months – to do this in. It would also serve as an area where families could ride the animals, which are up for adoption, year round.
The Happy Trails fund-raising campaign is well under way. The Kenneth A. Scott Charitable Trust has offered a $12,000 grant toward the project if Fisher can raise the remainder of the $54,000 original cost to erect the pole-barn type structure. The Ravenna United Fund has donated $2,000 toward the goal.
Julie Barnes, executive director of Stark County Job and Family Services (SCJFS), was officially named the next Executive Director of Summit County Children Services (SCCS) at a special Board of Trustees meeting Nov. 14. Ms. Barnes succeeds John Saros who is retiring as SCCS Executive Director at the end of 2013 after leading the agency for more than six years.
The SCCS Board of Trustees' Search Committee recommended Ms. Barnes as its top finalist for the position in mid-October after a nationwide search that lasted several months, and introduced her to the community at a reception held at Children Services on October 30. She will officially begin her new duties on December 23, and her three-year contract calls for a salary of $145,000 per year.
At SCJFS, Ms. Barnes has led a triple-combined agency including Human Services, Child Support and Children Services with approximately 475 staff and an annual budget of approximately $50 million. Before becoming Executive Director there in June 2008, she had served as Deputy Director of Children Services from May 2007-May 2008.
The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau has launched the "Partnerships in Motion – Destination Development Grant Program."
The program is designed to assist qualifying tourism entities with efforts to enhance and increase tourism in Summit County, including projects that increase the tourism market share and grow the tourism industry. The goals of the program include: 1.) increase overnight stays in Akron/Summit County; 2.) promote a positive image and increase visibility of Akron/Summit County attractions; 3.) increase expenditures by visitors to Akron/Summit County; and 4.) provide programs and activities beneficial to attracting additional tourists. Applications are due by Dec. 19.
Theta Chi Fraternity, located at 493 Vine St., is hosting Operation SOS, a philanthropy event aimed at collecting warm clothing for the Eastway Homeless Shelter. The event will be going on until the Nov. 27.
"The purpose is to gather winter materials like blankets, clothes, shoes, anything that could help homeless people in need, or people that are just financially deficit, to get them through the winter," said Chris Seitler, a philanthropy committee member of Theta Chi.
The goal of this event is to give back to the community and to help keep those less fortunate keep warm during the coldest time of the year. All donations can be dropped off at the Theta Chi house or given to a member of Theta Chi.
In the spirit of the upcoming winter holiday season, the Akron RubberDucks is bringing back the “20 Days of Giving” promotion, starting Wednesday. Nov. 20. The promotion is packed with unique, experience-based prizes only available during this once-a-year promotion.
Some of the prizes include traveling with the RubberDucks on a road trip, a personalized card in the 2014 team set, a custom concourse sign at Canal Park, and an authentic, personalized Akron RubberDucks jersey.
“With the positive feedback from the ’20 Days of Giving’ in 2013, we knew we had to bring back the promotion this year in a big way for the first RubberDucks’ season," said Brian Flenner, director of ticketing. "I think our amazing lineup of experience-based prizes is something any baseball fan would always remember."
The Salvation Army of Summit County needs your help. The organization needs volunteers to ring the hand bells at the iconic red collection kettles around the area this holiday season. Operating in one- or two-hour shifts, volunteers will carry forth an annual tradition that began in San Francisco in 1891.
When Salvation Army officer Captain Joseph McFee wished to provide a free Christmas dinner to the poor of San Francisco, he recalled a sight he saw in Liverpool, England, from his days as a sailor. McFee remembered a large pot displayed on the Stage Landing, called “Simpson’s Pot.” The pot took donations put in by people passing by.
McFee asked for permission from San Francisco city authorities to place a crab pot and tripod at the Oakland ferry landing. The kettle along with calls of “Keep the Pot Boiling!” drew in donations. Over the years, the color changed from black to red and continues to this day as the Salvation Army’s most famous street campaign.
- Millennium Fund for Children tops $500,000 in grants to area youth programs
- 2014 Artsy Mart at the Summit Artspace
- J Paris Designs gives new life to reclaimed items
- UA volunteers help make Harvest Dinner a success for families facing homelessness
- Lighting of the Christmas Tree at Lock 3
- Grace Park Block Club appears in Welcome Santa Parade