GAR Awards $1,117,310 to Community Nonprofits

Brittany LaPointe \
May 14, 2014

The Distribution Committee of GAR Foundation awarded $1,152,310 to 31 community organizations at its May 8, 2014 meeting with the largest grant supporting early childhood education initiatives at Greenleaf Family Center.

SPARK: Supporting Partnerships to Assure Ready Kids, a program of Greenleaf was awarded $140,000 to continue providing kindergarten readiness services for three – and- four year old children. SPARK addresses the child’s educational, developmental, and social-emotional needs, while empowering parents to be their child’s first and most important teacher.

Through comprehensive in-home visits and group sessions, SPARK works in collaboration with the families, Akron Public Schools, and the community to maintain positive academic outcomes throughout the fifth grade.

“SPARK outcomes continue to be impressive as evidenced by the statistically significant staying-power of academic advances made by SPARK children through the fifth grade,” said Kirstin Toth, senior vice president at GAR. 

GAR continued its investment in education by awarding The Salvation Army of Summit County  $100,000 for The Learning Zone program. “In addition to high-quality preschool and wrap-around programming for school-age children, The Learning Zone actively adapts to meet the needs of the families it serves,” said Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, senior program officer at GAR.

The Learning Zone incorporates a preschool with before- and after- school programming, cognitive and physical developmental screenings, music and art lessons, and family nights designed to surround a child’s family with resources needed to succeed in life.

The following organizations also received grant awards at the May 8, 2014 GAR Foundation Distribution Committee meeting:


Actors’ Summit $20,000 For operations in the 15thanniversary season 
Akron-Canton Regional Food Bank  $50,000* For operations 
Apollo’s Fire, The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra  $15,000 For operations in the 20thAnniversary Concert season in 2014-15
Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve $85,000 For operations of after-school and summer youth development  
Children’s Concert Society $17,500 For the Concert Hall Series and school outreach
Community Hall Foundation $25,000 For fiscal sponsorship for the Arts & Culture Landscape
Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park $25,350 For urban outreach programs: Junior Ranger day camp; Survivor Camp; Counselor in Training
Cultural Data Project $10,000 For Cultural Data Project training 
Emmanuel Christian Academy  $30,000 For an extended day pilot program and professional development 
First Glance Student Center, Inc.  $25,000 For operations
Greater Akron Musical Association, Inc.  $105,000 For operations 
Greenleaf Family Center $140,000 For SPARK in 2014-15 
GroundWorks Dance Theater $20,000 For the 2014-15 season
He Brought Us Out Ministries  $20,000 For operations of North Hill Community House
Interfaith Caregivers $15,000 For operations
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio  $35,000* For K-12 programs in Summit County 
Keep Akron Beautiful $22,000 For operations
Mobile Meals, Inc. Foundation $55,000 For operations 
Musical Arts Association  $100,000 For the 2014 Blossom Music Festival
National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Ohio Buckeye Chapter $5,000 For operations
Philanthropy Ohio $5,000 For operations
Senior Independence of Akron / Canton  $15,000 For the Adult Day Care Center 
Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth of Ohio, Inc.  $5,000 For recruitment and training services
Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens $30,000* For operations
Summit Christian School $22,000 For professional development of new learning standards
The Hiram House Camp $20,460 For the Summer Campership Fund
The Salvation Army Summit County Area Services $100,000 For the Learning Zone
Tuesday Musical Association $40,000 For operations 
Urban Vision $30,000 For the Set on Success Afterschool Program
Victim Assistance Program $25,000 For operations
Western Reserve Historical Society $40,000 For educational programming at Hale Farm & Village

*The award consists in part or entirely in the form of a challenge grant.