The Akron Community Foundation is continuing its focus on early childhood education, funding a variety of area programs aimed at kindergarten readiness.
Here's the press release on this year's grants:
For the third consecutive year, Akron Community Foundation focused its education grants on programs that help prepare Summit County's young children to succeed in school. On Friday, Feb. 18, the foundation's board directed nearly 50 percent of its $469,000 in discretionary, or board-determined, grants to early learning initiatives. It also ratified 222 donor- and committee-directed grants from 180 designated, donor-advised and scholarship funds totaling $1,292,744. Total grant distributions equaled more than $1.76 million.
In all, $214,500 in discretionary grants will support early childhood education and development programs in greater Akron. The majority will address strategies identified in the First Things First planning initiative, a collaborative effort to create a holistic early care and education plan for Summit County. A $25,000 grant to Summit County Family & Children First Council will help the agency create and implement a developmental screening process for all Summit County children from birth to age 5. It will also create a system to refer children with developmental needs to the appropriate service providers. Such screenings and referrals are key components of First Things First's broader plan to create an efficient, cohesive early childhood system in Summit County.
Other grants awarded this quarter will prepare high school students for college; provide after-school and summer enrichment programs for elementary school students; and support the growing need for adult learning.
The following board-directed grants were made from these discretionary funds, which donors created to support the community's changing needs in specific areas of interest, or in general: the Charles C. and Dorathea S. Dilley Fund, Arthur Kelly Fund, William C. Krisher Fund, Helen S. Robertson Fund, James G. Robertson Fund, Roush Memorial Fund, Sanatorium Contingent Fund, Shaw Foundation Fund, Ronald L. Stiles Fund, and the Community Fund:
Early learning grants:
Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority, to continue and expand education programs, special-needs assessments, comprehensive health services and family support services for children under age 5 living in AMHA housing communities, $95,000
Asian Services in Action Inc., for the Ready Program, an early childhood development program for children in refugee families, $12,500
Child Guidance & Family Solutions Inc., for the Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding Program, which evaluates, supports and enhances the social and emotional well-being of children at child care centers in Summit County, $50,000
Family & Children First Council, to plan and implement a developmental screening and referral process for all children ages birth to 5 in Summit County, $25,000
Project GRAD Akron, for a kindergarten readiness summer camp for 50 students and their parents in the Akron Public Schools Buchtel cluster, $22,000
Twinsburg City School District, for the Project Star summer reading program, which aims to improve reading proficiency in elementary school students who are reading below grade level, $10,000
Other discretionary grants:
Akron Council on World Affairs Inc., for the Global Scholars program, which teaches Akron high school students critical thinking skills while they interact with foreign diplomats, $7,500
Akron International Friendship, to support a pilot project that teaches sixth-graders in Akron, Tallmadge and Revere schools about the importance of ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, $5,000
Alchemy Inc., for Myth, Muses & Scribes, a collaboration with Kent State University that uses myth to teach writing skills to urban adolescent males, $7,500
All Star Training Club, for the Summer Academic Sports Camp for children and young adults with disabilities, $12,000
The Arc of Summit & Portage Counties Inc., for the People Together program, which increases disability awareness and acceptance among students in Summit County schools, $10,000
Beacon Journal Charity Fund Inc., to teach good oral health behaviors to third-grade students in Summit County, $5,000
BioInnovation Institute in Akron, for the BEST Medicine Engineering Fair, a science fair that encourages middle and high school students to develop solutions to medical problems with the help of professional mentors, $10,000
Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, for after-school and summer programs that encourage good character, physical health and academic success among teens at the Eller Club in southeast Akron, $35,000
Charisma Community Connections, to help unemployed and underemployed fathers find jobs in the green industry by providing them with energy efficiency training and certification, $20,000
First Book, to purchase books for at-risk children, $7,500
Hattie Larlham Foundation, to support a gardening employment program for adults with developmental disabilities at Crown Point Ecology Center, $20,000
He Brought Us Out Ministry, for after-school and summer programming that teaches academic and life skills to low-income youth in Akron, $7,500
Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio Inc., for JA More Than Money, a program that teaches workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy to students in after-school programs at the YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, and various Akron Afterschool locations, $10,000
Old Trail School, to support a summer enrichment program for Akron Public elementary school students that combines academic classwork with outdoor recreational learning in conjunction with Old Trail's summer camp, $15,000
Planned Parenthood of Northeast Ohio, for the Teens Talking to Teens program, which promotes healthy lifestyles and responsible choices among adolescents in Akron, $15,000
Project LEARN of Summit County, to reduce the number of students waiting for classroom GED instruction by providing appropriate distance-learning and accelerated GED preparation options, $20,000
The Research Education & Charitable Association for the Benefit of the Chefs & Farmers (Veggie U.), to purchase Earth to Table science kits, which teach fourth-graders in Akron Public Schools about sustainable agriculture and healthy eating, $10,000
Summit Education Initiative, for Destination College, which prepares students at six local high schools for college by helping them improve their ACT scores, complete their applications, and apply for financial aid, $20,000
Tri-County Jobs for Ohio's Graduates, to support the Dropout Recovery Program, which provides academic and employment support to Summit County youth who have dropped out of high school, $10,000
Young Men's Christian Association of Akron, to provide after-school programming that teaches social skills and healthy behaviors to at-risk girls, many of whom are referred from juvenile court, $7,500
About Akron Community Foundation
Celebrating 55 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation is a $126 million philanthropic endowment with a growing family of more than 350 funds. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the foundation, which works to improve the quality of life in greater Akron. It accepts charitable gifts and bequests from individuals, families, organizations and corporations committed to making a difference in the community for generations to come. To date, the foundation and its funds have awarded more than $90 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. To learn more about Akron Community Foundation or its funds, call 330-376-8522 or visit www.akroncommunityfdn.org.