More than $800,000 awarded to community organizations from GAR Foundation

Brittany LaPointe \
November 17, 2015

Akron, Ohio (November 19, 2015) – The Distribution Committee of GAR Foundation announced $827,000 in funding to 18 community organizations in the areas of education, basic needs and independence, arts and culture, and civic enhancement.

Among those awards is a $50,000 civic enhancement grant to Summit Workforce Solutions for the implementation of the skills-based talent initiative, TalentNEO, which increases job-seeker access to open, higher paying positions, and expands the talent pool available to businesses.

“GAR is eager to support the TalentNEO program because it will connect available workers to open jobs, particularly in entry level manufacturing, allied health professions, and Information Technology,” said Brittany Grimes Zaehringer, senior program officer at GAR Foundation.

Sue Lacy, president of Summit Workforce Solutions said GAR’s support will help the community build a more inclusive hiring environment.

“TalentNEO will introduce skills-based hiring and enable job seekers to quantify workplace skills that respond to employer demand,” she said.

TalentNEO will utilize WorkKeys, a job skills assessment system that helps employers select, hire, and train job seekers. “Jobs posted on the Ohio Means Jobs website will automatically receive WorkKeys skills scores and residents who lack educational credentials often required for many jobs will use their scores to apply,”  said Lacy. “Partner companies have agreed to interview these candidates as a strategy to expand the talent pool and decrease hiring and training costs.”

In other awards, Summit Education Initiative received the largest grant of $185,000 to advance its work in improving student outcomes by better aligning resources and efforts along the Cradle to Career Continuum.

Continuing its investment in education, GAR awarded $40,000 in new funding to the school-based mentoring program, iCARE to provide one-on-one mentoring support to students in Akron Public Schools. iCARE focuses on teaching 21st Century career pathway skills, resiliency, positive thinking, and character building.

This quarter’s grants includes a $150,000 investment in arts and culture programs in Summit County, including $70,000 to the Akron Civic Theatre and $35,000 to Summit Choral Society.

The organizations receiving support include:

  • Akron Civic Theatre, $70,000, for general operations.
  • Akron Community Foundation for the Akron Digital Media Center, $20,000, for general operating support of the Akron Digital Media Center and
  • Ballet Excel Ohio, $25,000*, for Reach Out and Dance.
  • Battered Women’s Shelter, $50,000, for general operations of the Battered Women’s Shelter and Rape Crisis Center in Summit County.
  • Charisma Community Connection for fiscal sponsorship of iCARE, $40,000, for year one of the iCARE school-based mentoring program pilot project.
  • Foundation Center-Cleveland, $10,000, for general operations.
  • Friends Of Metro Parks, $5,000, for general operations.
  • Great Lakes Theater, $20,000*, for support of student matinees and Surround in Summit County.
  • Haven Of Rest Ministries, Inc., $25,000, for general operations.
  • Invent Now, Inc., $77,000, for Camp Invention scholarships in Akron Public Schools in summer 2016.
  • Leadership Akron, $45,000, for general operations.
  • Mature Services, Inc., $50,000, for Homecare Services.
  • Proyecto Raices , $10,000, for general operations.
  • Rebuilding Together Northeast Ohio, $105,000, for general operations in Summit County.
  • Specialized Alternatives For Families And Youth Of Ohio, Inc., $5,000*, for new foster parent recruitment.
  • Summit Choral Society, $35,000, for general operations
  • Summit Education Initiative, $185,000, for general operations
  • Summit Workforce Solutions, $50,000, for Summit County’s implementation of TalentNEO

*The award consists of a challenge grant.
For more information contact Dina Younis at [email protected] or 330.572.2809.


GAR Foundation
GAR Foundation was established in 1967 by Galen and Ruth Roush, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roadway Express. GAR Foundation invests in Greater Akron to promote quality of life, education, and economic opportunities for its people, in a culturally vibrant community.