GAR Foundation grants $1 million to support economic development in Greater Akron and Northeast Ohio

Brittany LaPointe \
February 19, 2016

Akron, Ohio (February 19, 2016) – The Distribution Committee of GAR Foundation announced today $2,060,000 in funding to 28 community organizations in the areas of education, basic needs and independence, arts and culture, and civic enhancement.  

This quarter’s largest grant of $1 million was awarded to the Fund for Our Economic Future (The Fund). The award, to be paid over three years, will support The Fund’s work to advance economic growth and equitable access to opportunity in Greater Akron and Northeast Ohio.

“The Fund has proven its expertise in understanding the dynamics of our local and regional economy, and supporting effective interventions that can improve Akron’s economic future,” said Kirstin Toth, senior vice president of GAR Foundation. “GAR is proud to be an active partner in advancing the Fund’s efforts in Greater Akron around job creation, workforce preparation, and access to opportunity for residents. ”

The goal of The Fund, with membership of more than 50 philanthropic organizations, is to transform the Northeast Ohio economy. Support from GAR will advance much of the Fund’s work in Greater Akron, including workforce and talent development, skills-based hiring, entrepreneurship, innovation in the manufacturing sector, and business retention and expansion efforts.

Among GAR’s other grants in the civic enhancement area was a grant of $75,000 to the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition for the iTowpath Trail and Connectivity Project. This project will improve connectivity, safety, accessibility, and aesthetics of the Towpath Trail in downtown Akron and adjacent neighborhoods, creating a more connected and vibrant Akron. 

The Greater Summit County Early Learning Center, also known as SCOPE Academy, received $145,000.  SCOPE was named ‘Best Elementary Community School in Ohio 2014’ by the Ohio Department of Education. Funding from GAR will support the top-quality professional development training SCOPE Academy offers to pre-service and student teachers from throughout the Greater Akron area and beyond.

Among this quarter’s arts and culture grants is an award to first-time recipient none too fragile theater company to support the expansion of the Off-Broadway series. The theater’s high-quality, affordable, and accessible programming attracts a diverse audience including many young people, thereby addressing one of the main findings in the Arts and Culture Landscape Assessment commissioned by GAR and Knight Foundations in 2013.

  • Access, Inc., $70,000, for general operations.
  • Akron Area Arts Alliance, $20,000, for general operations of Summit ArtSpace.
  • Akron Area YMCA, $20,000, for the Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County.
  • Akron Art Museum, $100,000, for general operations.
  • Akron Public Schools, $14,000, for one-time support for science curricula.
  • Akron SCORE, $30,000, for general operations.
  • Archbishop Hoban High School, $21,000, for summer orientation camp and professional development and coaching.
  • AxessPointe Community Health Center, Inc., $80,000, for operations, and one-time support for strategic planning
  • Boys Hope Girls Hope of Northeast Ohio, $25,000, for the Hope Prep program for Summit County students.
  • Cleveland International Film Festival, $20,000, for the 40 Cleveland International Film Festival in Akron.
  • Community Legal Aid Services, Inc., $25,000, for general operations.
  • Countryside Conservancy, $20,000, for neighborhood mini-markets providing healthy, local food in Summit County.
  • East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation, $20,000, for the Emergency Home Repair program.
  • Fund For Our Economic Future, $1,000,000, for continuing support over the next Phase supporting the Growth & Opportunity strategy; to be paid over three years, 2016-18.
  • International Institute of Akron, $40,000, for general operations.
  • International Soap Box Derby, $40,000, for operations.
  • Kent State University Foundation, $50,000, for the Last Opportunity Scholarship program for Summit County students.
  • Links Community and Family Services, $20,000, for afterschool programming.
  • Neighborhood Network of University Park (United Way of Summit County as fiscal sponsor), $10,000, for general operations.
  • none too fragile, Inc., $15,000, for expansion of the 2016 Off-Broadway series.
  • Northeast Ohio Council on Higher Education, $30,000, for internships in Summit County
  • Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition, $75,000, for the iTowpath Trail Connectivity Project
  • Open M, $45,000, for general operations.
  • Project Learn of Summit County, $50,000, for general operations.
  • Rotary Camp for Children With Special Needs, $10,000, for camperships.
  • SCOPE Academy, $145,000, for general operations.
  • South Street Ministries, $35,000, for general operations.
  • Summit County Fatherhood Initiative (United Way of Summit County as fiscal sponsor), $30,000, for general operations.

About 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.


Contact: Dina Younis, communications manager, [email protected] 330.572.2809.
Header Image: Shane Wynn | Akron Stock