First, please know that everyone here at GAR is thinking of you and the important community work you do at this extremely difficult time. The number one priority is to be careful and stay safe. Our community is an incredibly resilient one; we are certain that the good people of Akron will help each other, and we will come through this unprecedented challenge stronger. For now, we urge you to prioritize safety above all else.  GAR will update this page periodically. Please continue to check back.

Updates From GAR Foundation

GAR recently awarded $150,000 to the Akron Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Fund administered through United Way of Summit County.

GAR set up a platform to collect information about community and sector needs. You can help us to be a more supportive, effective partner by sharing your front-line observations about community and sector needs through our online platform here:


Expand each question to view the answer:

Will GAR Foundation be awarding emergency grants to nonprofit organizations?

Not at this time. We know that many of our grantees have been dramatically impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. We expect that we are only just beginning to understand how the pandemic will affect and reshape our nonprofit community.

We are thinking about this problem in phases. Right now, the priority is emergency community response. For that reason, GAR’s board has approved a grant to the Akron-Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund created by United Way of Summit County and our public sector leadership. That fund is focused on critical basic needs like food, shelter, and medical care and supplies for our community’s most vulnerable people.

We anticipate that as we learn more about the effects on our grantees, as well as the relief efforts put forward from federal and state leaders, we will be able to discern what else we can do for and with our grantee community.

How is GAR Foundation responding to the effects of the pandemic on the local nonprofit sector?

As noted above, we are only just beginning to understand the scale of this crisis and its implications on the sector. In addition to GAR’s grant to the Akron-Summit County COVID-19 Emergency Support Fund, we:

  • Created an online platform to collect insights from the nonprofit community. You can help us to be a more supportive, effective partner by sharing your front-line observations about community and sector needs through our online platform.
  • Created a Pandemic Response Page We encourage you to bookmark this link.
  • Extended our Grantee Outcome report deadline from April 15 to June 30, 2020.
  • Will continue to issue payments on previously approved grants without interruption.
  • Suspended all face-to-face meetings and travel
  • Rearranged all in-person due diligence for pending grants (such as scheduled site visits) to be conducted virtually or by phone.
Will GAR Foundation remove restrictions to existing grants?

The majority of grants GAR makes are for general operating. As such, there are not many restrictions that we can remove to support organizations at this time.

That said, if you are an organization that has a restricted grant from GAR (such as a project-specific grant), you may reach out to your program officer and request that we consider removing restrictions. There are some cases where changing the grant terms is not the best course of action, but there are others in which we can accommodate a change.

If you want to ask about a change in grant terms, but you’re not sure who your program officer is, out to Rob Lehr, and he can help to direct you.

Who should I contact at GAR Foundation if plans and events related to my existing grant have been impacted by the pandemic?

We understand that many organizations must postpone or adjust programmatic plans. When you are able, please notify your program officer with any major modifications or updates. Not sure who your program officer is? Contact Rob Lehr at and he will direct you.

I have a Grantee Outcomes Report due on April 15, 2020. Can I get an extension?

We are extending the Grantee Outcome Reports deadline from April 15, 2020 to June 30, 2020. If you would like to submit your report by April 15, you can certainly still do so. If you have questions about your Grantee Outcomes Report, please reach out to our Grants & Evaluation Associate, Jessica Cherok,

How should my nonprofit communicate with donors and stakeholders at this time?

We encourage you to be transparent and to communicate directly with donors, volunteers, clients, and anyone else that may be impacted by your work. This blog from Hennes Communications is a great resource for crisis communications.

Has the pandemic impacted GAR’s major initiatives such as Essential Experiences, STARS, and Elevate Akron?

The Foundation’s Systemic Solutions initiatives occur in collaboration with community partners. Due to the current pandemic and to protect the health of those involved, Essential Experiences, a partnership with Akron Public Schools and six host providers, has been paused for the duration of the school year. These experiential field studies will continue in the fall.

The STARS program has also been paused as childcare centers respond to the official Stay at Home Order. We continue to work closely with the Early Childhood Resource Center and update our website with resources for early childhood centers.

The Elevate Greater Akron partners have been working collaboratively to connect businesses and employees with the most current information and resources related to the COVID-19 crisis. Some other elements of Elevate Greater Akron work are on hold given the stay-at-home order.

Will GAR adjust upcoming application deadlines?

At this time, we have not adjusted upcoming application deadlines. Please keep an eye on our website and future e-mails from us for updates.

My nonprofit requires immediate financial assistance. Where can we go for help?

Akron Community Foundation has established the Community Response Fund to help address emergency needs that arise in Summit and Medina counties related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Organizations can apply to that fund for grants of $5,000 or less to help offset the impact of COVID-19.

We also encourage you to visit the Candid COVID-19 page for a list of national emergency funding opportunities.


Broad resources for businesses, nonprofits, and employees, including Emergency Injury Loans.

Resources for nonprofits, artists, and arts and cultural organizations.

Learn more about the Akron Summit County Emergency COVID-19 Fund

Online learning opportunities for nonprofit organizations and their boards.

Call 2-1-1 or text “covid19” to 211-211 for useful local links and resources for you and the clients you serve.

Helpful blog from Hennes Communications on crisis communications

Help save a local business. Use this portal to locate and support local businesses

Resources for early childhood educators, providers, and families.

A step-by-step intervention guide to surviving the crisis

A helpful guide for small organizations

This is a helpful overview and explanation of the CARES Act, the relief program for nonprofits and small businesses.

This is the official guide and FAQs on the CARES Act from the Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship