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Neighborhood Partnership Program Awards Grants to Community-Based Initiatives

UPublish story by Tracy Burt

AKRON, Ohio (June 3, 2013) – The City of Akron and Akron Community Foundation announced matching grants totaling $219,461 to 56 community-based programs through the Neighborhood Partnership Program.

Now in its 17th year, the Neighborhood Partnership Program is a collaboration between the City of Akron and Akron Community Foundation that provides grants to small, neighborhood-based organizations throughout Akron working to beautify, unify and revitalize their community through innovative, citizen-led projects. Organizations must match the grants they receive through in-kind and volunteer services, as well as cash donations.

“The City of Akron and the Akron Community Foundation continue their commitment to improving Akron neighborhoods through the Neighborhood Partnership Program,” said Mayor Don Plusquellic. “These grants help residents and neighborhood-based organizations improve our City by providing funds to small but effective programs for vacant lot clean ups, tutoring and after school programs for children, and neighborhood events for residents of all ages.”

Every year, the community foundation commits $100,000, as well as grant-making assistance to the program, which is an initiative of the city’s Department of Planning and Urban Development. Akron City Council chooses the recipients from dozens of applications, which include beautification, community garden, festival and event, and youth projects. Recipients represent neighborhoods like Ellet, Kenmore, Summit Lake and more.

Grants for 2013 were awarded to the following groups:

Beautification Initiatives

• Braewick Drive Club, for beautification efforts at Braewick Circle Community Park in West Akron, $2,500

• Centenary United Methodist Church, for Operation Springboard, a beautification project for vacant inner-city homes and land, $1,500

• Downtown Akron Partnership, for flower planters and baskets, $3,000

• Downtown Akron Partnership, for Green & Clean Day 2013, $3,000

• Ellet Woman’s Club, for flower baskets and a community sign project, $7,500

• Firestone Park Home & Garden Club, to amend, plant and maintain the Firestone Park Peace Garden and the newsletter for the garden club, $500

• Leadership Akron Alumni Association, for a joint beautification project in the Summit Lake neighborhood, $7,500

• Opportunity Parish Ecumenical Neighborhood Ministry, for a beautification project at OPEN M in South Akron, $3,711

Community Gardens

• Brookshire Garden Group, to establish a community garden in West Akron, $4,000

• Crestland Park Neighborhood, for a rain garden in the West Akron neighborhood, $3,000

• Edgewood Village Resident Council, for a community garden in the inner-city AMHA development , $1,500

• Let’s Grow Akron, Inc., for three youth gardening projects in South Akron, $7,500

• Living the Legacy, for a food pantry and market garden in University Park, $2,000

• Ms. Julie’s Kitchen, for a garden project in South Akron, $5,000

• NEOhaus Institute, to expand the community garden program at Mason Community Learning Center in University Park, $5,000

Community-Building Initiatives

• North Howard Block Watch, for meetings and annual events in the neighborhood, $1,000

• Residents Improving Goodyear Heights Together (RIGHT), for the bimonthly community newsletter and various events, $7,500

• United Way of Summit County, to cultivate skilled neighborhood leaders throughout Akron through the Neighborhood Leadership Institute, $7,500

• West Hill Neighborhood Organization, for a neighborhood beautification project, two community events and a newsletter, $5,000

• Williams Challenge, for the Man2Man Program, a fatherhood initiative in West Akron that promotes male responsibility to their family, $2,500

Festivals and Events

• Akron African-American Cultural Association, for the 33rd Annual African-American Cultural Festival, $7,500

• Akron Community Service Center and the Akron Urban League, for Elegant Evenings, a dinner-dance for senior citizens that spotlights assistance programs in the community, $3,000

• Blessed Trinity Parish, to create Senior Community, a program of activities and meals in North Hill, $3,000

• Canal Park Condominium Owners Association, to host a community picnic on Sept. 14, 2013 in the inner-city development, $500

• Caring and Miracles Ministry, for a community outreach parade and festival at Hawkins Ball Park in West Akron, $3,000

• Charisma Community Connection, for DeBord’s 18th Annual Community Halloween Party in Kenmore, $2,000

• Ellet Woman’s Club, for the Community Summer Festival, $5,000

• Greater Akron Laos Association, for two Laotian community events in South Akron, $2,500

• Greater Bethel Community Development Center, for “Past Unforgotten IV,” an African-American musical, $6,000

• Greater Bethel Community Development Center, for a community jubilee celebration in East Akron, $7,500

• Heart 4 the City, for a community lunch and free clothing in Goodyear Heights, $1,000

• Hereford/Highland Block Watch, for a newsletter and community-building events in the Highland Square neighborhood, $3,000

• Kenmore Board of Trade, for community, holiday and seasonal events, $5,000

• Kenmore Community Council, Inc., for the 22nd Annual Kenmore Community Days Festival, $5,000

• NEO Jazz Orchestra, for a jazz music education and performance series in West Akron, $2,000

• North Hill Community House, for a neighborhood National Youth Night Out Against Crime event on Aug. 6, 2013, $2,000

• Truly Reaching You Ministries, for the Night Out Against Crime event in Highland Square, $2,000

• Visitation of Mary Parish, for a community health fair in Goodyear Heights, $2,000

Youth Programs

• Alchemy, Inc., for school/after-school programming and Summer Mentoring Camp at inner-city schools, $3,000

• Case Elementary School Parent Teacher Association, to provide after-school special programs for kindergartners through fifth-graders, including special needs children, $2,000

• Christian Fellowship Basketball League, for a community youth basketball program in Kenmore and West Akron, $5,000

• College for Kids, to introduce inner-city youth in fourth through sixth grades to career curriculum and professionals from diverse fields, $6,000

• First Presbyterian Church of Akron, for AMPLife Sports Camp, a sports day camp for inner-city children ages 8-13 years old, $3,000

• Leggett Community Learning Center, to purchase bikes for students with perfect attendance at the North Hill school, $2,500

• Litchfield Middle School, for the Dancing Classrooms program for eighth-graders, $3,000

• Miller Avenue United Church of Christ, for TNT Balanced Literacy Tutoring Center in South Akron, $2,500

• Mon Community of Ohio, to promote good behavior among inner-city youth through Mon literature, language and culture, $2,500

• North Hill Community House, for enrichment activities focused on education, character and leadership development for youths ages 6-18 years old, $7,500

• Pearl Foundation, for the Akron Kids Achieving tutoring program at Schumacher Community Learning Center in West Akron, $2,000

• Project GRAD Akron, for the 2013 Expo for Success event and Snacks and Educational Fun with Santa, a program in West Akron designed to strengthen connections between the home and school, $6,750

• South Street Ministries, Inc., for an incentive-based education and recreation program for South Akron youth that includes tutoring, gardening, and bike-riding and repair, $5,000

• Tennis AllStars, Inc., for the 2013 Summer Enrichment Program to teach youths living in North Hill the importance of exercise, academics and positive decision-making, $5,000

• Tennis AllStars, Inc., for the 2013 Summer Theater Program, which leverages history to raise self-esteem and build citizenship among youths living in North Hill, $5,000

• University Park YMCA, for Make a Splash, a water safety program for youths ages 8-12 years old, $6,500

• West Akron Little League, for the 2013 baseball season, $2,000

• Woodland United Methodist Church, for the iStrive after-school program in West Akron, $7,500

About the City of Akron Department of Planning and Urban Development

The Department of Planning and Urban Development is dedicated to the continuous renewal and maintenance of the Akron community. The Department of Planning and Urban Development promotes high standards for residential, commercial, recreational and community development so that the quality of the built environment enriches all of our lives. The Department looks forward to involving and serving Akron citizens to make the neighborhoods where we live, work and play true places of the heart.

About Akron Community Foundation

Celebrating 57 years of building community philanthropy, Akron Community Foundation embraces and enhances the work of charitable people who make a permanent commitment to the good of the community. In 1955, a $1 million bequest from the estate of Edwin Shaw established the community foundation. Today, it is a philanthropic endowment of more than $140 million with a growing family of more than 400 funds established by charitable people and organizations from all walks of life. The community foundation welcomes gifts of all kinds, including cash, bequests, stock, real estate, life insurance and retirement assets, just to name a few. To date, the community foundation’s funds have awarded nearly $105 million in grants to qualified nonprofit organizations. For more information about Akron Community Foundation or to learn more about creating your own charitable fund, call 330-376-8522 or visit

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