Our mission is to help Akron become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant.
GAR Foundation exists today because of the vision of our founders, Galen and Ruth Roush, to serve and invest in others to impact communities, families, and individuals. Galen and his wife Ruth loved their home area of Akron and Summit County, and never stopped investing in their community. What Galen and Ruth began long ago, we continue through careful stewardship of investments in our community.
We believe that our greatest impact will come from a fact-based, cross-sector approach that focuses on high-priority issues in our community. While we can celebrate improvement in many areas of community work, there’s no denying that our challenges are deep and complex and much work lies ahead.
Here’s what the local research tells us:
- There’s a strong connection between early education and positive life outcomes. Yet one-third of Summit County, OH students do not enter Kindergarten ready to learn and 48% of children ages 3-5 are not involved in any early learning setting at all.
- High-quality K-16 teaching and learning reinforces and capitalizes on early learning investments, positioning people for the meaningful employment that drives a prosperous economy.
- Income inequality and the geographic pattern of our economic growth continues to disconnect jobs from workers.
- Poverty rates are highly concentrated in Akron, with more than half of the City’s children living below the poverty line and 48% of Akron’s population living below 200% of poverty.
- Communities with a vibrant, well-supported arts and culture sector often have broadly shared economic prosperity and well-connected, active citizens.
- High-quality programs that build on skills of nonprofit leaders and volunteers advance and promote long-term sustainability of the nonprofit sector.