Dave Lieberth, the local historian and volunteer who has helped to raise significant dollars for Akron civic, cultural and charitable organizations, is the 2019 recipient of the Akron Community Foundation’s Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award.
Lieberth, a former deputy mayor of Akron, has a big connection to the award: He wrote and produced the Polsky awards program for nearly three decades.
He will receive the award at the annual Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award dinner Oct. 15 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.
Lieberth, will be the 52nd recipient of the award, which is presented each year to an individual or couple who has shown “selfless dedication to humanitarian causes in Akron,” the foundation said in a news release issued Thursday.
The award was established in 1969 to honor Bert A. Polsky, the former chairman of Polsky's department store. Polsky was a founding trustee of the Akron Community Foundation.
Lieberth has had a varied career — as reporter and news director for WHLO radio, lawyer and civic leader.
In 1984, Lieberth became the community foundation’s youngest board member, and in recent years has served on the boards of Downtown Akron Partnership and the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau.
He coordinated the first bikeathon sponsored by LeBron James, the NBA superstar from Akron. He also has been part of James’ philanthropy since 2005, serving as a charter member of the advisory board of the LeBron James Family Foundation.
A longtime member and former chair of the Summit County Historical Society, Lieberth is a “veritable walking history book for the community,” the foundation said.
He’s one of the founders of Leadership Akron — which seeks to develop community leaders — and has participated in every one of Leadership Akron’s 36 yearlong “signature” programs.
In 2012, following his retirement, Leadership Akron created the Lieberth Community Vision Award.
In the 1980s, Lieberth led several initiatives to advance child advocacy in Summit County and served on the boards of Summit County Children’s Services and the Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority. He has been part of the board of Summa Health, currently chairing its Community Engagement Committee, for 20 years.
Lieberth chaired volunteer groups that won Akron’s designation as an “All-America City” by the National Civic League in 1995 and 2008. He was the first president of the National Inventors Hall of Fame in Akron.
He has received awards for his professional accomplishments and commitment to the community, including the Sir Thomas More Award from the Akron Bar Association; the H. Peter Burg Award from the American Red Cross Summit County Chapter; the John S. Knight Award from the Society of Professional Journalists; and the Community Medal Award from the Salvation Army of Summit County.
Lieberth was selected to receive the Polsky Award by a committee of past honorees. Recent recipients include Stark & Knoll co-founding attorney Thomas G. Knoll; the retired Judge Carla Moore; Oak Associates Ltd. founder Jim Oelschlager and his wife, Vanita; and GOJO Industries Chairman and CEO Joe Kanfer.
The community foundation is seeking sponsors for the Oct. 15 award event. Sponsorships start at $2,500 and go up to $25,000. For more information about sponsorships, call Margaret Medzie, vice president and chief development officer, at 330-436-5610. To receive an invitation to the event, call 330-376-8522.