Five people who built a bridge between two Akron-area leadership organizations are being honored for establishing the successful partnership.

The Leadership Akron Alumni Association has named Laura Culp, Ron Kopp, Kyle Kutuchief, Amanda Leffler and Brian Pollak as this year’s recipients of its Read Family Difference Maker Award.

The award honors individuals who have been instrumental in expanding the scope and impact of Leadership Akron’s mission and work.

The 2018 recipients worked together on a team that forged the formal partnership between Leadership Akron and Torchbearers.

A collaboration agreement between the groups was announced in 2009, reinforcing each organization’s efforts to improve the community through a network of emerging and existing leaders. As a result, the groups support one another in programming, fund development, events and communications.

Culp of Sikich LLP and Pollak of UBS Financial began the initial stages of the process to establish the formal relationship.

They enlisted attorneys Kopp of Roetzel & Andress LPA and Leffler of Brouse McDowell to formalize the legal agreement. Kutuchief, who would assume the role as Torchbearers president later that year, worked with the four throughout the process. Kutuchief is now the Akron program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“We are thrilled to honor these key individuals who were instrumental in shaping the relationship between Leadership Akron and Torchbearers,” said Scott Read, co-founder of Torchbearers. (He is one of the award’s namesakes along with his parents, Scott and Judy Read.) “The collective effort of this core group has transformed how Akron approaches community leadership development.”

The recipients of the award will be recognized with a ceremonial gingko tree planting in October at Cascade Locks Park.