Brittany LaPointe \
December 05, 2022

Akron, Ohio (December 8, 2022) GAR Foundation is thrilled to announce it awarded more than $2.5 million to Akron-area organizations at its November distribution meeting in the areas of education, economic, workforce and community development, basic needs, and arts and culture.

A $150,000 grant was awarded to Stark State College Foundation for the expansion of its Commercial Driver’s License Training Program which will enable Stark State College to serve many more students in its CDL program, meeting the overwhelming demand for truck drivers. 

Stark State launched its CDL program in 2019 and has steadily increased enrollment each year. Students who pursue the program on a full-time basis can complete it within as little as five weeks, unlocking a family-sustaining salary with robust career pathways. 

“There’s a lot to love about the Stark State CDL program,” said Christine Mayer, president of GAR Foundation. “Right now, it enables over 200 students per year to connect to an in-demand, family-sustaining job. “The program expansion will create opportunities for 75 additional students each year, multiplying the economic opportunity. The program is particularly compelling to GAR Foundation, given our organization’s roots in the trucking industry, with Roadway Express.” 

Other grants were presented to organizations involved in the Elevate Greater Akron strategy,  including $130,000 to the Greater Akron Chamber as a steward of the plan, $30,000 to the City of Akron for the Great Streets entrepreneurship program, $30,000 to the County of Summit for its leadership of Business Retention and Expansion, $95,000 to Bounce for its entrepreneurship work, and $100,000 to Western Reserve Community Fund for its support of the small business and entrepreneurship ecosystem.  

“We are continually grateful for the opportunity to advance GAR’s strategic priorities through key partnerships built on shared learning and collaborative action,” said Mayer. “We’re excited to sharpen our focus as we move into another year of helping Akron to become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant.” 

The organizations receiving support this quarter include:

  • Akron Civic Theatre, $100,000 for operating support
  • Akron Development Corp, $30,000 for technical assistance to community development organizations
  • Akron Public Schools, $92,000 for Teen Mental Health First Aid and Peer Mediation Training
  • City of Akron, $30,000 for Elevate Greater Akron
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, $75,000 for operating support
  • County of Summit, $30,000 for Elevate Greater Akron
  • Crafty Mart, $25,000 for operating support
  • Downtown Akron Partnership, $30,000 for the Downtown Vision Plan refresh process
  • Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, $20,000 for Journeys program in Akron Public Schools
  • Greater Akron Chamber, $130,000 for Elevate Greater Akron
  • Harmony House, $30,000 for operating support 
  • HFLA, $40,000 for interest-free lending in Akron
  • International Institute of Akron, $50,000 for operating support
  • Magical Theatre Company, $80,000 for multi-year operating support
  • Nightlight Cinema, $40,000 for operating support 
  • None too fragile, $7,500
  • Project GRAD Akron, $180,000 for multi-year operating support
  • Rubber City Theatre, $18,000 for operating support
  • StriveTogether, $50,000 for statewide advocacy and policy
  • Tri-County Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates, $145,000 for operating support 
  • Truly Reaching You, $50,000 for operating support
  • Tuesday Musical Association, $120,000 for multi-year operating support
  • Urban Vision, $45,000 for Set On Success afterschool program