Akron nonprofit organizations and Knight Arts Challenge winners receive grants from GAR Foundation

Brittany LaPointe \
August 19, 2020

GAR Foundation awarded $928,000 in grants to Akron nonprofit organizations at its August grant distribution meeting. This round of funding included matching grants for 10 Knight Arts Challenge projects.  

Several community and place-based organizations received funding, including Downtown Akron Partnership, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, and LINKS Community & Family Services. Downtown Akron Partnership received $75,000, Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance received $20,000, and LINKS Community & Family Services received $25,000 for operating support.

“From economic development to basic needs, these organizations have gone above and beyond to provide holistic support and resources at the neighborhood level during a time of crisis,” said Christine Mayer, president of GAR Foundation. “We continue to be impressed and inspired by the work they are doing to provide critical support to individuals, businesses, and families in Akron.”

GAR offered a competitive, limited funding application round this quarter for Knight Arts Challenge winners, granting matching funds to 10 projects. The projects are led by artists and arts organizations and engage and enrich Akron through the arts. Many of the winners focused on projects that uplift the voices of residents of the Black community, LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and refugees, and those with disabilities.

“We often lean upon the arts to bring us comfort, joy, and connection with others,” said Bronlynn Thurman, program officer at GAR Foundation. “This is even more true in light of the challenging times we find ourselves in, both with the public health crisis and civil unrest. Uplifting these projects is a step in rebuilding the vibrancy of our community while supporting the great talent in Akron.”

Gum-Dip Theatre received $5,500 for Three Countries, One Mother, a play centering the stories and experiences of Bhutanese‐Nepali Americans developed from a collection of interviews, story circles, and workshops with North Hill community members.

Roots of American Music received $5,000 for Akron Heritage Music Project. The project documents and builds awareness of regional music through musical performances in, or inspired by, historic locations that tell the story of Akron’s past. The University of Akron’s Art Bomb Brigade received $10,000 for a series of place-based murals and paintings.

Other notable grants include $80,000 to Child Guidance & Family Solutions for the Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding program; $25,000 to Open Tone Music for music education programming in Akron; and $50,000 to the Haven of Rest to provide basic needs services over two years.

Some of the organizations receiving support include:
  • Akron Civic Theatre, $90,000, for operating support
  • Akron Soul Train, $15,000, for operating support
  • Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, $150,000, for operating support over two years
  • Alchemy, Inc, $70,000, for operating support
  • Amber D. Kempthorn $10,000, Ordinary Magic: A Sunday in the Cuyahoga Valley. Fiscal sponsor: Greater Akron Musical Association
  • Art Resources Transformations, $10,000, for Curated Storefront
  • Center for Applied Drama Autism, $7,000, for Along the Graveyard Path
  • Center for Applied Theatre and Active Culture, $2,000, for Lost in Translation
  • Child Guidance & Family Solutions, $80,000, for TAPS
  • Downtown Akron Partnership, $75,000, for operating support
  • FRONT Exhibition Company, $10,000, for the FRONT International Exhibitions and Installation in Akron
  • Greater Akron Musical Association, $70,000, for operating support
  • Gum-Dip Theatre $5,500, Three Countries, One Mother. Fiscal sponsor: The Miami Foundation
  • Haven of Rest, $50,000 for operating support over two years
  • International Institute of Akron, $45,000, for operating support
  • Kenmore Neighborhood Alliance, $20,000, for operating support
  • Les Delices, $5,500, for The White Cat project
  • LINKS Community & Family Services, $25,000, for operating support
  • Nightlight Cinema $30,000, for operating support
  • None too fragile, $15,000, for operating support
  • Open Tone, $25,000, for operating support
  • Roots of American Music, $5,000, Akron Heritage Music Project
  • Rubber City Theatre, $8,000, for the Rubber City Theatre Musical Incubator
  • University of Akron Foundation, $5,000, for Synapse: Nature’s Solutions
  • University of Akron Foundation, $10,000, for the Art Bomb Brigade
  • Urban Vision, $45,000, for operating support
  • Weathervane Community Playhouse, $45,000, for operating support

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

GAR Foundation

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 www.garfoundation.org for more information.

Image (top): An actor performing in Gum-Dip Theatre’s Three Countries, One Mother production. Image courtesy of Gum-Dip Theatre