GAR Foundation awards more than $1.7 million to area nonprofit organizations

Brittany LaPointe \
August 08, 2018

GAR Foundation announced grants totaling $1,770,200 to key organizations that support the Foundation’s strategic priorities at its August distribution meeting.

A grant of $300,000 was awarded to Stark State College in support of its efforts to develop a commercial driving license (CDL) training center at the former Rubber Bowl site.  The CDL training program is a direct response to a strong local and regional demand for more CDL holders. The grant will support the development of the classroom curriculum and the driver-training course.

“We are proud to support Stark State’s efforts to improve connections between people who need work and an industry that is experiencing a crisis-level labor shortage. Given that GAR Foundation was established by Galen Roush, the founder of Roadway, we felt a special connection to this effort which will strengthen the trucking industry,” said Christine Mayer, president of GAR Foundation.

The largest grant, $450,000 to the United Way of Summit County, will support that organization’s Bold Goals 1 and 2, focused on education. Other notable grants include an award of $50,000 to The Well Community Development Corporation for the Akron Food Works shared kitchen and incubator program; $75,000 to the Conservancy for the Cuyahoga Valley National Park for its Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiative; and $25,000 to ArtSparks for the Dynamite Duos arts education programming at Akron Public Schools.

GAR offered a competitive, limited funding application round this quarter for Knight Arts Challenge winners, granting funds to twelve projects, including none too fragile, Rubber City Theatre, and Kent State University’s music faculty member, Chris Coles for the Nine Lives multi-media project.

The organizations receiving support this quarter include:

  • Akron Area YMCA, $15,000, for the Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County
  • Akron Children’s Hospital, $50,000, for Advocacy for Early Childhood Education
  • Akron Soul Train, $25,000, for Artist Fellowships
  • Akron Urban League, $50,000, for operations
  • Alchemy, $45,000, for in-school mentoring in Akron Public Schools
  • ArtSparks, $25,000, for the Dynamite Duos program in Akron Public Schools
  • Bechdel Fest, $18,000, for Bechdel Fest, a female-centric film festival that celebrates women both in front of and behind the camera. Fiscal sponsor: Crafty Mart
  • Blu Jazz Master Class Foundation, $10,000, for free, monthly Jazz Master Classes for students
  • Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, $3,000, For QuTheatr, a gay youth theater training program
  • Child Guidance & Family Solutions, $80,000, for Toddlers and Parents Succeeding (TAPS)
  • Community Support Services, $12,000, for the homeless outreach and intake center
  • Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park, $75,000, for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts
  • Crafty Mart, $10,000, for operations
  • Curated Storefront, $10,000, for Curated Storefront, a series of ongoing exhibitions activating unused storefronts with multimedia art installations. Fiscal sponsor: Miami Foundation
  • Daniel Mainzer, $2,000, for production of a book and exhibit featuring a collection of photographs by Firestone and General Tire’s sole, in-house photographer from 1967 to 1987. Fiscal sponsor: Miami Foundation
  • Downtown Akron Partnership, $85,000, for operations
  • East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation, $ 40,000, for operations and the East Akron Neighborhood Revitalization Plan
  • Greater Akron Musical Association, $70,000, for operations*
  • Haven of Rest, $50,000, for operations
  • International Institute of Akron, $45,000, for operations
  • Magical Theatre Company, $25,000, for operations
  • Ma’Sue Productions, $8,000, for the production and tour of the original show Or Does It Explode? Fiscal sponsor: Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture
  • Nine Lives, $10,000, for Nine Lives, a multi-media production reflecting on the Charleston church shooting and the nine lives that were ended. Fiscal sponsor: Kent State University Foundation
  • none too fragile, $10,000, for production of BoogieBan, a two-man play focused on a veteran with PTSD to be toured in Akron, Chicago, and New York.
  • Rubber City Theatre, $ 3,000, for Shakesqueer, a two-part production taking well- known Shakespeare characters and framing them in a way that they reflect those in the gay community.
  • Salvation Army, $134,000, for The Learning Zone Preschool
  • Stark State College Foundation, $300,000, for the CDL Training Center*
  • The Devil Strip, $25,000, for operations
  • The Well CDC, $50,000, Akron Food Works shared-use kitchen and incubator
  • Tuesday Musical Association, $8,000, for the Decompression Chamber project
  • United Way of Summit County, $450,000, for United Way’s Bold Goals 1 & 2 focused on education
  • University of Akron Foundation, $34,200, for the Center for Literacy to provide preschool teacher coaching at Akron Public Schools
  • Urban Troubadour, $8,000, for an interactive, roving chamber concert highlighting the hidden gems of Akron. Fiscal sponsor: Chamber Music Society of Ohio
  • Wandering Aesthetics, LLC, $8,000, for Bigger Than a Breadbox
  • Weathervane Community Playhouse, $45,000, for operations
  • YEPAW, $30,000, for operations


*part or all of the grant is a challenge grant

For more information contact Dina Younis [email protected], 330.572.2809

GAR Foundation was established in 1967 by Galen Roush, co-founder and chief executive officer of Roadway Express, and his wife Ruth Roush. GAR Foundation’s mission is to help Akron become smarter, stronger, and more vibrant. Visit for more information.