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Women's Endowment Fund awards $72,050 to women’s, girls’ causes

UPublish story by Kristen Ashby

A grant to Bridges Summit County will help women living in transitional housing at ACCESS and other local shelters move out of poverty.

The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation recently awarded $72,050 to 11 nonprofit organizations that improve life for Summit County’s women and girls. This latest round of grants was ratified by Akron Community Foundation’s board on Friday, Feb. 21, at its quarterly meeting.

Among this year’s funding priorities were health and wellness, safety from violence, and economic empowerment for local women and girls. Nearly half of the grant funding supported programs for women who are transitioning out of homelessness, including a $10,000 grant to Bridges Summit County for its Getting Ahead program. During this 16-week program, participants examine what keeps them in poverty, assess their existing resources, and develop a plan to build those resources as part of their move to self-sufficiency.

The grant will help women living in transitional housing units, such as ACCESS, Legacy III, Harvest Home and Freedom House for Women, where they have access to the basic building blocks for success, including food, clothing, shelter, and mental health and addiction counseling. This funding will provide them with the next layer of tools, including career assessment and counseling, financial literacy, conflict resolution and stress management training. The goal is to help women make the giant leap from survival to stability.

Donae Ceja, senior vice president of community impact for the United Way of Summit County, the fiscal sponsor for Bridges, thanked the Women’s Endowment Fund for supporting an important collaboration for women. “This grant allows for the services of these sheltering agencies to be leveraged by a new, robust Getting Ahead program, providing the best chance for these women to break the cycle of generational poverty,” she said. “As a new model, it also has the potential to inform the entire Getting Ahead effort.”

The following is a full list of organizations receiving Women’s Endowment Fund grants:

ACCESS Inc., to provide reliable used cars to women transitioning out of homelessness so they can find employment and become economically self-sufficient, $10,000

Asian Services in Action Inc., to provide culturally sensitive support groups and domestic violence education to Hmong women in Akron, $5,000

Bridges Out of Poverty Summit County Collaborative, United Way of Summit County, to provide the Getting Ahead program to women in transitional housing at ACCESS, Legacy III, Harvest Home and Freedom House for Women, $10,000

Building for Tomorrow, to raise awareness about maternal depression, and to provide education and support to mothers in Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority neighborhoods, $10,000

Collaborative Against Human Trafficking of Summit County, for the Save Our Adolescents from Prostitution (SOAP) Project, which distributes bars of soap with the National Human Trafficking Hotline phone number to high-risk motels in Summit County and educates cleaning staff about reporting suspicious behavior, $3,550

Community Legal Aid Services Inc., for the HEAL Program at Summa Women’s Health Center, which helps patients address non-medical barriers to health, including economic instability, insecure housing, threats to physical safety, and poor access to education, $10,000

gHealth Solutions, to mentor female entrepreneurs and help them launch their own businesses in the technology, retail and service industries, $2,500

Girls on the Run of Greater Summit, Jewish Community Center of Akron, to mentor girls in high-poverty neighborhoods through a program that combines fitness training with discussions about personal values, respect and self-worth, $5,000

Legacy III Inc., to provide transitional housing and case management for homeless women recovering from addiction, $6,000

Ruling Our eXperiences Inc., for an empowerment program at Green Middle School that helps girls develop their self-worth and offers a supportive environment to address issues of bullying, sexual violence, peer pressure and body image, $5,000

Shelter Care Inc., for the Wonder Women program, which helps at-risk girls at the Safe Landing Youth Shelter learn healthy behaviors and positive decision-making skills, $5,000

About the Women’s Endowment Fund

The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation was established in 1993 as a permanent endowment committed to encouraging the advancement of Summit County women and girls. To date, it has grown to nearly $3 million and awarded more than $650,000 in grants. Contributions of any amount are welcome and can be made online at or mailed to Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation, 345 W. Cedar St., Akron, Ohio, 44307. For more information, call 330-376-8522 or visit

About Akron Community Foundation

Celebrating 58 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 $181 million with a growing family of more than 440 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 more than $111 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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