Spirit of Philanthropy 2016-2017

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The Spirit of Philanthropy Team

Published by Live Publishing Company Publisher: John Schambach Project Director/Editor: Gail Kerzner Project Director: Jeffrey Ritter Senior Writers: Connie Swenson, Mary Ethridge Art Direction & Design: Ben Small Production Manager: Gail Smith Operations Manager: M. Melinda Myer Operations Assistant: Beth Koblitz Cover Photo: Bruce Ford 4

Spirit of Philanthropy

6 Sophie Albrecht: A Cinderella Story 7 Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh: Vision for Child’s Play

8 Jim Crutchfield: Indie Films Flourish in the 330

10 Robert and Regina Cooper: Uplifting the Vulnerable

11 Lisa and David Craine: Battling Cancer Through HEALTH


12 Signet Jewelers: Building a Gem at Akron Children’s

13 Muffins for Mammograms: Life-saving Treats 13 Ann and David Brennan: Ensuring a Healthier Community


14 The Bonskys: Let’s X-Out AxD



hortly after Prince died in April, his friend, activist Van Jones, told Rolling Stone the artist was a secret philanthropist whose giving went beyond money. “His cause was humanity,” Jones told the magazine. Since its inception in 2014, the Spirit of Philanthropy has had a simple mission: To Elevate. To Encourage. To Engage. Our goal is to inspire the many by highlighting the good works of a few. In this year’s issue, you’ll meet our 21 Game Changers—individuals, programs and organizations who are uniting creativity, collaboration and compassion to help others, just as Prince did in his life and music. Their passions vary—Youth, Arts & Culture, Health and Human Services, Community Development and Education—but their mission is the same: to serve as champions of change for improving our local and global communities. They range from an 11-year-old Hudson boy who united with the NFL on behalf of his cause to those in established Greater Akron institutions taking radically new approaches to community issues. The Spirit of Philanthropy began, as so many good ideas do, with a conversation at a bookstore coffee shop. Now, we’ve expanded beyond the annual print and electronic publications to social media. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, thanks to Focal Point Social Media, owned by Shon Christy and Mark Krohn, champions of change themselves. Their individual philanthropic spirits demonstrate engagement as collaborative game changers, whatever their passions. We’re currently beta testing the Spirit of Philanthropy website that encourages viewers to “Get Engaged” by matching their passions with opportunities to attend nonprofit events, to volunteer and to donate. The website also encourages the community to share inspirational stories that demonstrate how Greater Akronites believe, as Prince did, that compassion is an action word with no boundaries. May you be elevated, encouraged and engaged.

15 Evan Delahanty: Peaceful Fruits’ Nourishing of Spirit and Body

16 Women Up to No Good: A Catalyst for Promoting Inclusive Talent

17 Kirsten Lino: Not Your Mother’s Network 18 Diversity on Board: Minority Leadership at the Table

20 Bernett L. Williams: Treasure Chests for Fosters 21 Eva and Riley Kemper: Hands-on Hunger Relief 22 Kristie Warner and Anne Davis: Gavin Scott Salon and Spa’s Stylin’ Philanthropy

24 Aiden Dine: Tackling Diabetes on Home and Away Fields YOUTH

“Compassion is an action word with no boundaries”—Prince (1958-2016)


Table of Contents


26 Girls on the Run: Building Muscles and Esteem 27 Philip M. Maynard: Supporting Youths’ Hearts and Minds

28 Jen Vliet: Akron Hope’s Accent on the Positive 29 Ramona Hood: Family Giving by Doing Well

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Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Sophie Albrecht, Magical Theatre Company

Fundraising Wand Revives the Magic


ophie Albrecht has had many roles in her life: attorney, magistrate, mother and grandmother, among others. But the Magical Theatre Company in Barberton offered her a chance to try out for a new part: its fairy godmother. She got the job. Albrecht of Akron, along with Dennis Liddle of Barberton, led a $2 million fundraising campaign to renovate the theater company’s home, once known as The Park, built in 1919. Although it required far more than the wave of a wand and sparkle dust, the transformation of the theater is as dramatic as anything performed on its stage. “If it weren’t for Sophie’s hard work helping to lead the fundraising, we’d still be in the position of waiting for our dream to come true,” says Holly Barkdoll, who revived the failing troupe with husband, Dennis O’Connell, 23 years ago. The theater annually reaches more than 50,000 children in 23 counties. The mission was—and remains—to provide professional performances for children of all ages. While the shows have always been top-notch, the setting

was anything but, according to Albrecht, who first toured the theater as a board member of the Corbin Foundation. About three years ago, the company applied to the foundation for a grant, and Albrecht visited as part of the review process. “I was one of those people who wondered why they just didn’t move. I had real safety concerns for the children and for the members of the company,” says Albrecht. “I couldn’t sleep that night (after the tour); I kept thinking about what could happen.” Parents would direct their children not to drink anything before the shows so they wouldn’t have to use the dilapidated bathrooms with their rusty sinks and unreliable toilets, she said. The staff would turn lights on with a plastic wrench to avoid electrical shock. Performers changed in the basement behind bed sheets and under a crumbling cement ceiling. Albrecht contacted some of Barberton’s leaders about her safety worries, and they told her they had some concerns, too. The Barberton Community Foundation awarded a lead gift of a $750,000 matching grant to the cause. That’s when Albrecht began to work her

Rehabbed, intimate seating space is part of the magic. 6

Spirit of Philanthropy

magic, leading the way to meeting not only the match, but surpassing it to reach a $2 million goal in a matter of months. “Once that gift was in place, others realized we could really make this happen,” says Albrecht. “The enthusiasm began to grow, and others came on board.” The theater closed for renovation in Spring 2015 and re-opened in time for that year’s holiday season. The rehabbed theater includes cosmetic improvements such as teal and gold wallpaper and glossy woodwork, but it also has rehabbed bathrooms, steel rigging, changing rooms for cast members (under a solid ceiling) and an up-to-date electrical system. The marble ticket counter was salvaged, and in the course of moving it, workers found a 1919 Mercury dime. “That kind of history can’t be manufactured,” says Albrecht. “It’s part of the myth and mystery of Barberton, known to area residents as the Magic City.” And what was the first show put on in the renovated theater? Cinderella, of course. And the fairy godmother had a front row seat.—ME

Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh, Akron Children’s Museum

Fulfilling a Vision of Learning Through Play


n 2011, after traveling out of state with their two young daughters to several hands-on learning museums (commonly known as “children’s museums”), Betsy and Ryan Hartschuh recognized the value of creating a similar space in Akron where children and their families could learn through play. Along with a group of volunteers who were similarly intent on increasing the number of “learning through play” opportunities available for Greater Akron’s developing minds, they conceived the Akron Children’s Museum. The museum’s mission is to enrich the lives of all Akron-area children, inspiring lifelong learners and innovative leaders. Their vision is now becoming a reality. Volunteer board members, steadfast consultants and part-time staff have grown Akron Children’s Museum from an idea, to traveling and event-based activities, to a temporary space in downtown Akron, to a full-fledged children’s museum at Lock 3, with a grand opening planned for Thanksgiving weekend 2016. Akron Children’s Museum raised more than $90,000 in a late summer-early fall campaign to

support their opening. They are renovating space at Lock 3 to offer a safe space full of colorful, playful, interactive and educational experiences for children and their families. The museum will work with Lock 3 to offer packages to entertain groups and families for hours in downtown Akron. The museum is also starting an “All-Access Kids’ Fund” to support free tickets for individuals and groups in need, to ensure access and inclusivity. Business members are signing up to be part of the onsite experience, offer their employees benefits and provide passes or sponsored field trips through the All-Access Kids’ Fund. Now with three young children, the Hartschuhs are excited to see thousands of kids from Akron create, discover, imagine and play in the heart of downtown Akron.—CS

The Hartschuh children show their playful spirit.

Children love learning at a museum-related event. Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Jim Crutchfield, Nightlight Cinema

Beaming Up for Indie Films


magine this screenplay: artsy types want to start a small theater to show independent films in a town known more for manufacturing than movies. Like all inspirational stories, this one is a tale of intrepid spirits. The plot arc is this: Nightlight Cinema— which started as the dream of some students and film fans—finds homegrown funding, a downtown home and a hometown audience. Jim Crutchfield, a board member of Nightlight, knows a good story when he sees one. As a longtime journalist and media executive, whose groundwork helped earn the Akron Beacon Journal a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 1994, Crutchfield believes all storytelling is an art, whether in print or film. Crutchfield has used his experience in business


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management, journalism and community engagement to help ensure Nightlight’s launch and future success. “The arts are a vital part of a community,” says Crutchfield, who has always enjoyed independent films but has become somewhat of an authority in recent years. He’s also always been community minded. He chaired the annual campaign of United Way of Summit County and served on the boards of many organizations, including the Akron Community Foundation and the Akron Art Museum. From 2004 to March 2016, Crutchfield was a trustee of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation after serving two years as the chair of its Akron Community Advisory Committee. Crutchfield, who was president

and publisher of the Akron Beacon Journal from 2001-06, left Akron after the newspaper was sold to a private company. He taught journalism at Arizona State University and Duquesne University, his alma mater, before returning to Akron in 2012. It was then that Crutchfield was asked by a friend to become

a member of the board of the Cleveland International Film Festival (CIFF). He was familiar with the festival, as the Knight Foundation sponsored the showing of CIFF films in Akron for several years. He saw the challenge faced by independent filmmakers who were battling studios with enormous budgets, and it appealed to his journalist’s inclination to side with the underdog. “If you aren’t making a Hangover or other blockbuster, it’s hard to get financing or an audience for your film,” says Crutchfield, who left the CIFF board to focus on the well-being of Nightlight. (He did, however, serve on a jury for the 2016 CIFF.) When Nightlight opened in the summer 2014, it drew rave reviews from film fans. It’s right in downtown Akron at 30 N. High St. It’s open six days a week and shows first-run movies, from foreign to American indie and art films. The Nightlight grew out of a semi-itinerant film festival started in 2002 and held at The University of Akron and the Akron Art Museum. The founding group of fans, known then as Akron Film + Pixel, eventually decided it wanted a permanent home. They found the space, a former document storage

warehouse and applied for funding from several local foundations. They also held a Kickstarter campaign that raised more then $20,000 for new seats. Don’t underestimate the power of cushy seats. “Movie-goers are used to those plush seats in the multiplexes,” says Crutchfield. “You want people to be comfortable watching the films.” For the future, Crutchfield

wants to make the theater selfsustaining financially, a tough order, considering the theater seats only 50. He also wants to encourage those who’ve never been to Nightlight or any other art movie house to give it a try. “There’s a little gem on High Street. We’ve polished it up,” he says, “but we’ll keep polishing.” —ME

True Power Comes from Empowering Others. We’re proud to be a part of this community and contribute to the legacy of giving in greater Akron.

Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Robert and Regina Cooper

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.” —Muhammad Ali


hen supporters of Stewart’s Caring Place gathered at the 13th annual Butterfly Gala on August 6, 2016, Robert and Regina Cooper received the Spirit Award, the organization’s highest honor. The Bath couple have a history of philanthropy that epitomizes the Spirit Award, for which the criteria say in part: “With a generous heart and character, they have made a personal commitment to lend a hand to lift up those in need at what is often the most vulnerable time of their lives...” According to Stewart’s Caring Place Executive Director Jeannine Marks, like many others, the Coopers “have been touched by

I provide food for 500 meals a month & will continue to do so

for generations to come.

For additional information about including the Foodbank in your will, contact Gina Campbell at 330.777.2308. 10

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cancer in their families and have been supportive of Stewart’s Caring Place since the beginning. We are thrilled to honor them.” Stewart’s Caring Place is a wellness center for cancer patients and their families, offering counseling, workshops, financial information, support groups and mental and physical therapy regimens. Robert Cooper said he first became involved with supporting cancer research and palliative care in 2001, when his mother lost a 17-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. “After she died, my father and I helped create the Summa Health Jean and Milton Cooper Pavilion,” says Robert Cooper, who serves as volunteer chair of the Summa Health Cancer Institute Leadership Council. Cooper says he respects the services provided by Stewart’s Caring Place, especially the classes, community support sessions and massage therapy for patients. “Best of all, the compassion shown by the staff to every patient and their family is so uniquely special,’’ he says. The Coopers’ philanthropic work has supported many of the most significant Akron area charities. Robert describes Regina’s philanthropic involvement as “wanting to remain behind the scenes. She is wonderfully supportive of everything I do and encourages me to be me.” In 2015, the Coopers lost their daughter to addiction and focused their efforts on treatment and advocating for more awareness of this disease. They lived 20 years of addiction with her. In his video remarks given at the 2015 Summa Health Sapphire Ball, Cooper recalls, “When she was 16, her first week driving, she hit a tree. It shattered her heel. She lived in constant pain. When the prescription drugs ran out, she went to others.” Cooper credits Summa Health with trying to create awareness of


Uplifting the Vulnerable

The Coopers enjoy the 2015 Summa Health Sapphire Ball.

addiction and fighting this disease that has affected so many people, especially in Ohio. “Effective care for addiction is something that’s possible,” he says. “Summa Health is trying to create awareness.” His daughter was admitted to Summa Health System-St. Thomas Campus, where she received wonderful care. She was able to help so many others with addiction but could not help herself. He believes, “It’s my responsibility to make it public. I’m carrying on the fight. She left it unfinished. I’m hoping I don’t. That is my goal. I wish we could have beat it.” A partial list of Robert Cooper’s involvement in community ventures includes current board terms at Akron Community Foundation, United Way of Summit County, University of Akron Research Foundation, Cascade Capital and FirstMerit Bank, as well as a recently concluded stint on Akron Children’s Hospital Foundation Board. Cooper also serves as Corporate Committee Chair for the Summa Health Sapphire Ball and is a member of the Summa Health Behavioral Health Leadership Council. Additionally, he is vice-chair of Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s Integrated Wellness Board and is on the hospital’s Strategic Planning Committee. He also sits on the University of Akron Business School Advancement Committee. Robert Cooper is the Akron director of CBRE, an international full-service commercial real estate services and investment company, which has offices in more than 60 countries.—CS

Lisa and David Craine

Funding Groundbreaking Cancer Research


n 2010, Lisa Craine was diagnosed with Cholangiocarcinoma, a rare bile duct cancer, and was given six months to live. She has since endured five recurrences, eight tumors and more than 30 hours of surgery while never giving up hope. In fact, Lisa and her husband, David, are fighting back against this rare disease with low survival rates. The Craines wanted to provide hope to Cholangiocarcinoma patients by raising critically needed research money for this aggressive and deadly disease with no cure, and to support them as they navigate their journey, through mentoring, love and prayer. There was little to no Cholangiocarcinoma research in 2012, so they started the Craine’s Cholangiocarcinoma Crew Fund at Akron Community Foundation. Since then, they have granted $25,000 for groundbreaking research at the Cleveland Clinic’s Taussig Cancer Institute. Recent years have brought new clinical trials, targeted therapies and innovative research and radiation treatments, and Lisa is hopeful there will be a cure someday. But until then, she uses her own experiences to help other patients navigate their treatment journey. She believes this is what she was meant to do: provide hope to the hopeless. Together, Lisa and her husband have embraced this mission with grace and love.—CS

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These are some of the people making a change in our community. Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Some Kids Begin with Kay Signet Jewelers’ donation builds NICU and more at Akron Children’s Hospital


Spirit of Philanthropy



n Northeast Ohio, diamonds and doctors may just be a child’s best friends. In 2015, when a sparkling, seven-story addition opened on the campus of Akron Children’s Hospital, there wasn’t a doubt about the people who helped make it possible. The leadership and employees of Akron-based Signet Jewelers, which operates Kay Jewelers, have supported the hospital for years, but a $10 million donation from the company—the largest single gift in the hospital’s century-plus history— was the kind of rock the hospital could build on. And build it did. The 337,000-square-foot Kay Jewelers Pavilion, which cost $180 million to construct, houses the hospital’s new emergency department and 100-bed neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), along with an outpatient surgery center and labor and delivery unit for high-risk births. The money from

Signet Jewelers also allowed the hospital to set up an office to cultivate and manage such large corporate gifts efficiently. “It’s an honor for us to be a part of a great organization that has such a vested interest in the health and well-being of our community,” says Mark Light, chief executive officer of Signet Jewelers. Light called the opening of the pavilion “the beginning of an exciting new chapter in our partnership.” In its first year of operation, the NICU served 831 patients, and the new emergency department dealt with 63,840 visits—about 175 cases per day. Since 1988, Kay Jewelers has supported Akron Children’s Hospital by sponsoring numerous fundraisers and events. In 2007, it established the Sterling Jewelers Family Respite Area in the Reinberger Family Center, a private section of the center that houses six sleeping rooms for parents and family members caring for their hospitalized children. Signet employees have been generous as well, donating handmade blankets and adopting

families during the holiday season, fulfilling their “wish lists” with toys, clothes and other needed items. They’ve delivered presents to families served by the Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center. They’ve collected aluminum cans for burned children and put on an aquatic-themed festival for patients and families. “Their continued investment in our hospital represents how special Akron Children’s is while validating their own commitment to strengthening our community,” says William Considine, president and chief executive officer at Akron Children’s. In other words, Signet Jewelers knows a gem of a philanthropy when they see one.—ME

Muffins for Mammograms

Saving Lives One Treat At a Time women and have saved countless lives. The annual bake sale distributes breast health information with muffin orders during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness month. A woman named Lisa is just one of many whom Muffins for Mammograms has helped. When Lisa was without insurance and needed an annual mammogram, her doctor referred her to Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s annual October the program. “Being muffin sale funds thousands of mammograms. able to get my yearly checkup was very important to me. I wouldn’t have out that her sister had purchased been able to afford a mammogram a muffin from the program. “So I if I had to pay for it myself,” she said thank you—that helped buy a says. When she told her sister mammogram for someone.”—CS about her experience, it turned



uffins for Mammograms is the epitome of an amazing private/public partnership that impacts entire families throughout Greater Akron. Nearly 200,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016. Now in its 24th year, this partnership between Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Main Street Gourmet, Rubber City Radio Group and the Akron Racers has raised nearly $900,000. Funds are used year-round to provide free mammograms to thousands of uninsured or underinsured

Ann and David Brennan

Ensuring a Healthy Community says Ann Brennan. The Brennan children were born at Summa Health, and she credits the hospital with saving her husband’s life by quickly treating his illnesses. In 2003, Ann chaired the Summa Health Critical Care Campaign. She and her husband were both inspirational in raising funds to complete the project to help serve the needs of the Akron community. Ann Brennan is known for her business and civic leadership and is a past board chair and trustee of both the Summa Health System and Summa Health Foundation Boards of Directors. She is currently a member of the Women’s Board of Summa Health System. David Brennan is a well-known businessman and successful industrialist.—ME



hilanthropists Ann and David Brennan have a longstanding love for and devotion to the Akron community. They believe, “Our personal mission is to continue to keep Akron an exciting and stimulating place where everyone can live and grow. We want to encourage young people to create business opportunities here. We respond to the needs of not-for-profits working to keep our community healthy and thriving.” At Summa Health, the Brennans’ support has been unparalleled. In 2015, the Brennans gave a $6 million gift to Summa Health. The Brennans’ generosity goes beyond financial gifts, including time, encouragement and expertise. “Our roots are deep at Summa,”

Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Christopher and Jennifer Bonsky, Elise’s Corner

Battling Alexander Disease With Advocacy


hen Elise’s parents, Christopher and Jennifer Bonsky, received word of their 3-year-old daughter’s diagnosis in mid-November 2014, they were left devastated, without any contacts to reach out to. They were told that she had a serious neurological disorder—one that would eventually strip her of everything that made her their energetic, carefree child. This news was too much for any parent to process. After the reality of the diagnosis set in, the Bonskys became determined to do anything to help their beautiful child. However, because Alexander Disease (AxD) is such a rare and complex disease, there simply was no clear path to follow, no definitive ‘next steps’ to take. They were told, the disease could not be reversed—there was just no cure. During those first few weeks, Elise’s parents needed to talk to someone who could offer support, guidance or some glimmer of hope. While an incredible group of people in Elise’s life came racing to her family’s side, there was no one who could provide a real cure. The Bonskys, who moved from Cuyahoga Falls to Copley in 2016, want to ensure that no patient, parent or family member ever has to experience the helplessness that they felt on that Thursday morning, so the family launched Elise’s Corner on Mother’s Day in 2014. The foundation is dedicated to spreading awareness of AxD by aiding research efforts that will identify treatments, therapies and ultimately a cure for AxD and other Leukodystrophies. All proceeds from the fund go to further research of AxD. From that day on, they have used national and local resources to support their cause. After reaching out to several leading researchers: Dr. Amy Waldman (Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia), Dr. Albee Messing 14

Spirit of Philanthropy

(University of Wisconsin, Waisman Center) and Daniel Bonthius (University of Iowa, University of Iowa Children’s Hospital), the couple became more educated— and hopeful. The doctors and their respective facilities shared a common goal of trying to turn off the abnormal GFAP gene, or preventing its harmful effects. The family also turned to local resources: Akron Community Foundation and Focal Point Social Media of Akron began to help spread the word. The Bonskys also gained local support through LeBron James, who was touched by Elise’s story and met her in 2015. Elise made James a crown (for King James), which he displayed in his locker room during the 2016 season. In January 2016, with the assistance of the Bonsky family,

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) launched the beginning of a clinical trial for AxD. To date, 25 patients have traveled to CHOP (there are only 75 AxD cases known across the globe), with many other families participating via phone conference. The Bonskys have granted $100,000 to CHOP to help fund the clinical research portion of the trial. This means that when patients travel to CHOP, they incur no expenses related to the research. Additionally, the family has granted an additional $50,000 to the Waisman Center to continue research on a potential cure. For a fund that was only established in 2014, Elise’s Corner has raised well over $500,000. The family will stop at nothing to ensure that a treatment is found.—CS


Evan Delahanty, Peaceful Fruits

Energizing Communities in Akron and Across the Globe


van Delahanty founded Peaceful Fruits after returning to Akron from the Peace Corps. His goal for the organization is to make delicious, fair trade snacks that improve healthy options, provide jobs for people with disabilities in Akron and protect the Amazon Rainforest through sustainable local agriculture. He calls his snacks “simple, sustainable superfood, that are made from nothing but fruit and love.” “Our vision is to show that it’s possible to make marketcompetitive products that respect people and the environment at every step of the way—empowering people at both the margins of society and the center to do more with their lives,” he says. Delahanty employs people with disabilities to produce his snacks. This is a full-wage jobs program in partnership with two local nonprofits: Hattie Larlham and The Blick Center. His team of people with disabilities and their dedicated support staff make the snacks, package them and ship the orders. “In the Peace Corps, I lived with people who subsisted on less than a few dollars per day and

faced hard choices. To provide for their families, they often were pushed to sacrifice their culture and the environment. Peaceful Fruits offers a better option: We create economic opportunity that is in balance with their way of life and puts their destiny back in their own hands,” he comments. “Our acai grows wild in the untouched Amazon Rainforest. It is a premium, renewable resource that Evan Delahanty (right) and AJ, a team member gives the local people a from The Blick Center, show off their product. source of eco-friendly income that does not disrupt their the rainforest untouched. This environment or their way of life. gives people a way to provide for And, because wild acai gets a their families without abandoning premium price in the market, there their traditions or letting outsiders are incentives built in to help keep exploit and destroy their land.”—CS


people of all


Coordinating personalized supports for people with developmental disabilities.

Summit DD connects children and adults with disabilities to the community through a lifetime of support, so that each person can live their vision of a happy, healthy and engaged life.

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Women Up to No Good Again Working Toward Inclusion at High Levels


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omen Up to No Good Again (WUTNGA) was created three years ago by a group of women leaders who were looking for ways to make the community more hospitable for employers and more attractive for employees, especially at the top. They also wanted to serve as a catalyst for growing a culture of inclusion at the highest levels of the region’s businesses, nonprofits and public entities. That means promoting and embracing diverse viewpoints on boards and at top levels of leadership. It also means exploring the widest range of perspectives and valuing gender equality. In short, they wanted to be “Champions of Change.” So, Women Up to No Good Again has started a conversation: “How can we make the Akron region more attractive to all potential employees? How can we use all talent, especially including women, to its fullest potential? How can we assist diverse women in achieving top positions? How can we maximize an entity’s talent to grow its bottom line?” The project was born at Marie Covington’s dining room table in 2013, where a small group of professional women gathered to assess the state of women’s professional status. Covington, former director of employee communications at BF Goodrich, and now-retired president of Covington Communications, (with a roster of high-profile industrial clients such as Eaton Corp., Timken Co. and Continental Tire), used her expertise to fire up this panel of women. Buoyed by their success, the women looked for the next great challenge. Energy flowed. And so did creativity. “We want to be a catalyst for change in the most positive way,” says Laurie Zuckerman, president of Zuckerman Consulting Group. Zuckerman explored the idea of creating a local Male Champions of Change group, an idea that

Left to right: Theresa Carter, Laura Culp, Karen Lefton, Pat McKay, Marie Covington, Norma Rist, Pam Kiltau, Laurie Zuckerman, Ilene Shapiro, Carrie Herman, Sherry Neubert.

originated in Australia where it is thriving. The heart of the Champions’ strategy involves men of power and influence forming a high-profile coalition to achieve change on gender equality issues in organizations and communities. Zuckerman is among six women who have formed WUTNGA’s steering committee, meeting periodically over eggs and oatmeal to strategize about ways to engage current business leaders in the discussion. The other steering committee members are: Theresa Carter (president of OMNOVA Solutions Foundation), Laura Culp (a CPA with Sikich LLP, formerly BCG & Co.), Karen Lefton (attorney, The Lefton Group), Norma Rist (Norma J. Rist CEO Consulting, Inc.) and Ilene Shapiro (Summit County’s first female executive). “This is good for women, but it also is good for business, good for the community and good for families,” says Carter. Shapiro wants “the next generation’s leaders to look more like the community. That will only happen if it’s intentional.” One of her major goals, she says, is to

promote diversity at top levels throughout the county. She wants the value of diverse thinking to be top of mind as current business leaders look to groom the next generation. And she wants the next generation to be on board sooner rather than later. Lefton, an attorney and business owner, articulates the group’s goals modestly: “We are merely trying to plant the seed to change the culture of our community.” Any such initiative starts with the seed of an idea and, tended carefully, grows into a movement. “We are finally, seriously, strongly taking root,” says Lefton, who emphasized WUTNGA’s collaborative spirit as it hosts private meetings with change agents and launches public discussions with other entities. As those roots grow deeper, the region will benefit from the energy and creativity of WUTNGA’s leadership. Businesses, nonprofits and public entities will retain and promote the talent that has been buried on their benches, and Akron will become known as the City of Opportunity For All—including diverse women.—CS

Kirsten Lino

Leaning Forward Through Women’s Network


hen the Women’s Network of Northeast Ohio was launched in 1978, women were just emerging from the broom closet into the workforce in large enough numbers to be noticed. Dressed for success like men—except for silky bows at the neck—they had lunch together, shared resumes and horror stories and hoped someone’s business card would lead them to a good job. Female entrepreneurship was defined mainly by the neighborhood Avon lady. Women’s Network served a vital role at the time, says Kirsten Lino, current board president of Women’s Network. It offered support, basic skills and direction to displaced homemakers and women struggling to move up from the ranks of so-called pink-collar jobs. But times have changed, according to Lino. Women still struggle with issues particular to being female, but more women have extensive work experience, skills and entrepreneurial possibilities. The question for women, businesses and the community is how best to enhance and leverage these, she comments. When Lino—a native of Montana, former Marine corporal and now vice president and business banking team leader at Huntington Bank—was appointed president of Women’s Network in 2012, she knew the organization needed an overhaul. Although she’s quick to give credit to others, those who know Lino aren’t surprised that the organization has evolved rapidly under her guidance. “She’s a dynamic person; her work has been transformational,” says Mark Scheffler, president of Leadership Akron. To understand how it could best offer support, Women’s Network developed a strategic plan based in large part on surveys and focus

groups involving area women, businesses and other community members. The plan identified three primary needs of women in the workplace: formal professional education, leadership training and entrepreneurial support. They needed a network that was collaborative, action-oriented and industry agnostic. Women’s Network has avoided duplicating other business-oriented

programs, instead promoting collaboration with other groups, Lino says. It joined with Leadership Akron to create the Women’s Network Community Leadership Institute (WNCLI) where women learn about leadership, the community and issues surrounding gender diversity in the workplace. Two classes have graduated from WNCLI, and another is in the midst of the program. It also started a year-long mentoring program called Thrive! and the Authentic Leadership Series that offers highlevel professional development training, including fostering leadership, emotional intelligence,

communication and self-promotion skills. The Empower! program is designed for women entrepreneurs or those in charge of strategy and operations. It’s also open to nonprofit leaders looking to apply sound business principles to their organizations. Women’s Network also grants scholarships to promising students and bestows awards on female leaders. “Every program we’ve started has been to fill a gap in the community,” she says. This approach—and Lino’s military-like attention to order and detail in the strategy— has helped attract funding from major foundations and corporations. The grants have allowed them to lease a permanent home in the Akron Global Business Accelerator in downtown Akron, develop a self-sustaining revenue stream and hire a small staff. Lino also believes the time is right to garner the support of male leaders in business. “These are men in their 50s and 60s with daughters in the workforce and Millennial men whose sisters or wives are building careers,” she commented. Lino says she’d like to expand the organization’s programs nationally. Indeed, many women’s networks are seeking to revamp themselves, according to several studies, including a 2014 global survey by D & I Solutions. Some groups have taken a rebellious, tongue-in-cheek approach—calling themselves “business broads” and “stiletto strategizers,” but Lino believes Akron now has a focused model that will work across the country. “I’ve always known since I was little that I wanted to help change the world,” says Lino. “I’m just trying to do my part.”—ME

Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Diversity on Board

Developing Inclusivity at the Table

Leiá Love stands outside her salon. 18

Spirit of Philanthropy



t age 31, Leiá Love has accomplished what many white and male counterparts haven’t done. She launched her own business in 2012 and made her eponymous hair and nail salon in Fairlawn a success. But one thing seemed to elude her: giving back to the community in ways that would have broad impact. She’d tried on her own by offering free beauty services to women in crisis. But she felt she wasn’t making the difference she wanted. Then came the chance to join the first class of Diversity on Board, a program led by Leadership Akron at the request of United Way of Summit County. United Way had been administering its Project Blueprint for 10 years with the goal of increasing diversity on nonprofit boards, but decided in 2014 it wanted to retool the project to increase its scale. Leadership Akron, with its extensive experience in developing community leaders, had the structure United Way wanted to expand the program. The two groups came together to develop a framework for Diversity on Board, the goal of which is to develop high-caliber minority

India Kaczmarek and Leiá Love are both part of the Diversity on Board experience

leaders through leadership development, education and service. Leadership Akron coordinates the program, and United Way provides seed money and promotional support. A committee of Leadership Akron graduates and United Way supporters selected the charter group of 21. They come from various industries—from energy to entrepreneurship. “We emphasize motivation, connection and preparation for nonprofit board leadership,” says Mark Scheffler, president of Leadership Akron. “It will strengthen our community on many levels.” Leiá Love says the program has taught her much since her classes started in March. “It’s given me more effective strategies to work with the community,” says Love. “It provides the information and connections I’ve needed.” She says she’s already learned about nonprofit board finance and governance, which she knew little of before. The program—which lasts from March to November—holds retreats, panels and classes. It

also provides coaches who are highly experienced in the nonprofit community; they meet with participants on a regular basis. Class members travel to different venues in Akron to see nonprofit work in action. Minority representation on Akron-area nonprofit boards is lacking, according to a study released in spring 2015 by the GAR Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. It was administered by BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence. The study found that whites make up 86 percent of all boards and blacks only 10 percent. Only one percent of nonprofit board members are Asians. There are virtually no Hispanics or multi-racial members on boards. The boards of local arts organizations were 93 percent white, six percent black and have no Hispanics. The study also found that boards were predominantly made up of people age 50 and older; the majority were men. Leadership Akron President Mark Scheffler says the program’s redesign was already underway

when the study came out, but “it sealed the deal.” In 2015, the Akron Beacon Journal came out with a series of articles titled “Who will Lead?” Business writer Betty Lin-Fisher, who did much of the reporting, says the series highlighted the concern that most of the boards in Akron are older, white men who are getting ready to retire. The series looked at race, age and gender and the role they play in board membership “The consensus was everyone wants a seat at the table,” Lin-Fisher says. “The series sparked a lot of conversation. People had strong opinions.” The series cited a projection from the U.S. Census Bureau that multi-ethnic groups now called minorities will rise from 33.3 percent in 2010 to half the U.S. population in 2040. “Akron is a vibrant, multifaceted city, so its nonprofit leadership should reflect its diversity,” says Jim Mullen, president and chief executive officer of United Way of Summit County. “We believe that bold, effective leadership comes from people who truly understand and represent this city and are fully invested in efforts to make it better.” Leiá Love is happy to have a way to engage in the community with other like-minded residents. “I’m grateful to have this opportunity,” says Love. “It’ll make me a better entrepreneur and a more effective member of the community.”—ME


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Bernett L. Williams

Collecting Luggage for Foster Children’s Treasures


Spirit of Philanthropy



ernett Williams admits she was “dipping,” or eavesdropping, when the idea first came to her. Two tablemates at a community event were lamenting that many foster kids carry their belongings in trash bags because they have no proper luggage. As vice president of external affairs for Akron Children’s Hospital, Williams deals daily with challenges facing kids, so she’s always looking for ways to help. “After hearing that, it was on my heart,” says Williams, who is also a mother of two. When she went home and told her family about the problem, her son Jacob, 17, reminded her of the Spiderman suitcase in which he once carried his toys. “I’d forgotten all about that suitcase, but he hadn’t,” she says. “He dragged that thing around with him everywhere. All children need a place to put their treasures.” There are more than 400,000 children in foster care at any given time in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. In Summit County, that number is around 700. The children move in and out of the system; as permanent as the county tries to keep placement, situations can and often do change for these children. “Many of the children who come into our care unfortunately arrive with just the clothing on their backs and their other belongings in a plastic trash bag,” says Julie Barnes, executive director of Summit County Children Services. Williams decided this was an issue she could do something about—a simple solution to an issue invisible to most. This philanthropic journey traveled from the lips of her tablemates to her ears to the generous souls of Akron-area residents. She put out the call for donations for new and gently used luggage and backpacks through

Shown during the delivery of the luggage to the Summit County Children Services are (from left): Amy Davidson, SCCS deputy executive director, social services; Darlene Baad, SCCS director of protective services; Sharon Geffken, SCCS retired deputy executive director, social services; and Bernett L. Williams, vice president of external affairs at Akron Children’s Hospital.

flyers and social media. Apparently, the region has baggage. Plenty of it. After the weeklong drive in September 2016, Williams had amassed more than 700 pieces—from backpacks to duffel bags. Joe Grieco, instructor of Naval Sciences at Garfield High School’s U.S. Navy ROTC program, donated 200 military backpacks. Grieco, a retired petty officer (USN), had picked up the camouflage bags for his students from the Navy’s surplus goods office. What his students didn’t need, they donated. Although the luggage drive wasn’t an Akron Children’s Hospital effort, the hospital gave her the use of storage space for donations as well as a van to transport them to Summit County Children Services, where they’ll be distributed to kids in need. “The response was more than I ever could have hoped for,” says Williams. “It underscores the generosity of our community.”

More important, she says, the drive started a conversation about the everyday needs of children in foster care. “I would like to thank Bernett Williams, Akron Children’s Hospital and everyone in the community who donated to this luggage drive; their generosity will make such a positive difference in the lives of the children we serve,” says Barnes of Children Services. Williams has a long track record of successes and community involvement. She has spent her career in leadership roles at public service organizations. Previously, she served as president and chief executive officer of the Akron Urban League, where she was credited with restoring its professional and financial standing. Currently, she serves on numerous community committees and boards, including the Diversity on Board program of Leadership Akron and United Way of Summit County.—ME

Eva and Riley Kemper

Battling Hunger with Love and Lemonade


t nine and 12 years old, Eva and Riley Kemper have a lot of life figured out already. “We just don’t know what other kids are going through,” says Eva who is in fourth grade at Price Elementary in Cuyahoga Falls. “What if they are having a bad day, or what if they are hungry? Since we never know, you just have to be nice. The kids who are sad or mean need you to be nice to them— probably more than anyone.” Eva and Riley—who is a seventh grader at Bolich Middle School in Cuyahoga Falls—are regular volunteers at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank. During the summer months when most children are thinking about going to the pool and riding bikes, this dynamic duo is thinking about ways they can help kids in their community struggling with hunger. One of their favorite activities is hosting “Lemon-aid” stands with neighborhood friends to raise funds for hunger relief. When asked why they like supporting the Foodbank, Riley says, “If I’m hungry at night, I sneak in the kitchen and get a snack from the cupboard. But what about kids who don’t have snacks? I want to help them. It makes me sad to think that when other kids are hungry, they don’t have anything on their shelves.”

Eva and Riley’s mom, Angie, is the Foodbank’s volunteer center supervisor, a position she calls “the best job on the planet. Where else can you work with people ages 10 and up who want to be there, who want to do something good for others?” The Foodbank is close to Angie’s heart. When she was a child, her father lost his job at Goodyear Aerospace, which affected the family financially. “My church, which received their food from the Foodbank, fed my family for a year when I was a kid,” says Angie. “How could I ever forget that?” When Angie was hired by the Foodbank, Eva and Riley were immediately on board. “They said, ‘Mom, now we can go to work with you and help out.’ I didn’t ask them; they just wanted to do it,” says Angie. Eva and Riley were students at St. Anthony of Padua Elementary School before transferring to the Cuyahoga Falls City District Schools in 2016. At St. Anthony’s, the girls held a drive to collect canned goods and held fundraisers in their classrooms, all to benefit the Foodbank. Although they just started in their new schools this

year, they’re already getting to work. Riley recently joined the antibullying group STAND. But Angie says the girls enjoy volunteering at the Foodbank more than anything. “On weekends, on snow days, on other days off—they always come in to help,” says Angie. They put labels on boxes and help organize the donations of food, among other chores. They and the other volunteers are often entertained by Angie’s singing and dancing as they work. “I often say I’m a 12-year-old trapped in a 40-year-old body,” says Angie. “I just act silly and make it fun. I’m so happy to be doing what I do.” Angie says she and her husband, Chad, have never needed to push the girls to give back to the community. They seem to have been born that way “I see such compassion from my sweet girls, but after watching them, I’ve learned compassion can’t be taught,” says Angie. “I can say all day, ‘Be nice and kind,’ but that doesn’t have the same effect as watching them feel compassion and pride when they help others.” —ME

Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Kristie Warner and Anne Davis, Gavin Scott Salon and Spa

Shaping a Philanthropic Style


ur goal is to help our clients ‘Look good. Feel good. Do good.’ The first two are achieved through the services we offer. The third is achieved by the opportunities we give our clients to support local nonprofits through giving and donating,” says Kristie Warner. Kristie Warner and Anne Davis, Co-Owners of Gavin Scott Salon and Spa, say, “Our answer is ‘Yes.’ Now what was the question?” Their “yes” answer goes far beyond what color or cut a client wants. These entrepreneurs host different fundraisers almost every eight weeks for local charities. “We leverage our strong relationships that we and our associates have built with their clients to help out an organization or person in need,” says Warner.

“We want to serve as role models to other area citizens and businesses about how even a growing, small business can make such a huge difference in our community,” Warner says. In 2016, the owners participated in Grapes and Gourmet Guys, which benefits The Griefcare Place; collaborated with The Shoppes of Stow Plaza and the American Red Cross to collect 97 pints of blood; raised more than $2,000 for Akron Children’s Hospital as change bandits; collected 5,500 diapers for the Portage-Summit Diaper Bank; collected $1,008 for the Autism Society of Greater Akron; and repurposed 900 purses which raised $4,500 for the Humane Society of Summit County (formerly Pawsibilities). They also collected 1,000 pieces

We are YOUR

Kristie Warner (left) and Anne Davis

United Way of Summit County

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what this place needs is more mentors. one child. one hour. one day a week. Mentoring is about relationships – pure and simple. United Way’s iC.A.R.E. Mentoring program trains and supports mentors to be caring, consistent adult role models for Akron Public School students.

get involved at

uwsummit.org/ mentor

of jewelry for The Jewelry Box Project benefiting ACCESS; filled 75 bookbags for the Empowering Scholars Project; and collaborated with 10 different organizations to cut hair and provide items to 220 individuals through Akron Snow Angels Christmas in July event. Since opening in 2008, Stowbased Gavin Scott Salon and Spa has donated more than $300,000 in cash, services and in-kind contributions. “Not too shabby for a little hair salon,” says Warner. “Most importantly, it’s not about making a bunch of money. It’s about doing what’s right. Anne and I were brought up that way. We sleep better at night knowing that we made a difference in our community.”—CS

Know a Game Changer? Here’s your chance to submit a nomination for a 2017-18 Game Changer. Consider inspirational people, organizations and their staffs—whose bold thinking, compassionate hearts and fearless spirits improve our local and world communities in meaningful ways. We’re not necessarily looking for millionaires, although some may be, and Game Changers can range in age from 9-100.

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Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Aiden Dine

Tackling Diabetes: On the Home and National Fields


Aiden poses in front of the U.S. Capitol. 24

Spirit of Philanthropy



hat do you do to knock over a room of some the NFL’s toughest players— all at once? If you’re Aiden Dine, 11, just be your articulate, charming and compassionate self. The Hudson boy, who was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes when he was 15 months old, represented the American Diabetes Association in April 2016 in Washington, D.C. during its Capitol Hill Advocacy Day. Appearing before members of Congress, he was joined by 45 current and former pro football players—the association’s “Team Tackle”—to lobby for support and funding. Wearing red-framed glasses, a sharp suit and his red-and-white American Diabetes Association scarf, he wowed them all. “You all know football. We know diabetes. We’ve got your back.” Aiden told the crowd. Sam Martin, a Detroit Lions player, had a grandfather who suffered from the same type of diabetes as Aiden: Type 1, which is autoimmune and has nothing to do with eating too much sugar or being overweight. He was so impressed with Aiden, he wrote

Aiden Dine sports his medals for award-winning fundraising for diabetes.

an essay about him for Diabetes Forecast, the association’s magazine. “As a professional football player, I know what it’s like to have kids look up to you. To admire you,” wrote Martin “But in that moment, as Aiden rallied the team, I was the fan—amazed by his grace and maturity, his ability to speak on the level of lawmakers, and his drive as a diabetes advocate fighting for research and program funding.” Aiden has raised funds for diabetes research practically since he could talk, says mom Kelly Dine, who is a science teacher with the Akron Public Schools. At age six, he came up with the idea of a fundraising carwash. His older brother’s football team helped out

by washing cars alongside Aiden that day and raised than more $1,000. Each year, Aiden asks local business owners if they would consider donating prizes towards a raffle for the diabetes association. He sells his raffle tickets, lemonade and snacks at family garage sales, estate sales and grocery stores on Saturdays and donates all the profits to the diabetes association. Aiden is also a Red Strider who participates in the Walk to Stop Diabetes fundraiser. Proudly, he wears his six large, gold medals, one for each year he has raised more than $1,000. “It’s never about Aiden. He’s naturally happy and outgoing,” shares his mom. “He’s not one for

Be the role model


self-consciousness. He’s a gogetter, but he’s naturally humble.” Kelly says she and her husband have always told their sons, “You can’t complain unless you become part of the solution.” Aiden says he took that message to heart. He was frustrated with how his school had dealt with his diabetes. He needs to check his blood sugar seven to ten times a day and had been told to go to the nurse’s office to do it. That office was far from his classroom, causing him to miss out on activities and studies. Staff had been reluctant to help him because of perceived liability issues. So Aiden went to Columbus in 2013 and testified before the General Assembly in support of House Bill 264, now a state law that requires schools to have adequate staff and training to deal with diabetes care and emergencies. “I don’t want this disease. Nobody wants this disease,” said Aiden. “I really want to get diabetes cured.”—ME

Aiden and the rest of Team Tackle present their case on Capitol Hill.

she’ll always remember. Visit gsneo.org/volutnteer

Working together, we can make a difference. As a nonprofit organization, Cleveland Clinic Akron General depends on the support of generous philanthropists like you to give community members longer, healthier lives. To make a donation in support of Muffins for Mammograms – a program that provides life-saving mammograms for women who are under or uninsured – please contact the Akron General Foundation.

Learn more 330.344.6888 foundation@akrongeneral.org

Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Robyn Cutler, Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio

Making Strides to Build Character


Spirit of Philanthropy



irls on the Run (GOTR) is a nonprofit, self-esteem, character-building program for young girls ages 8 to 15. It started out of Charlotte, N.C. and has expanded throughout the nation. In Northeast Ohio, there are two programs: Girls on the Run is for girls ages 8 to 11, and Heart & Sole is for girls ages 12 to 15. Robyn Cutler is executive director of Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio, which serves girls in Medina, Portage, Cuyahoga, Lorain and Summit Counties. She says up to 51 percent of the girls gain some sort of scholarship to participate. “We never turn a girl away for the inability to pay the registration fee. We serve all girls, including those with special physical or emotional challenges,” comments Cutler. Caroline Mizer, for example, runs with Girls on the Run and is one of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Heroes for the Akron Marathon. Her father, Kevin Mizer, reports, “Caroline’s vision was compromised by the optic nerve tumors which were diagnosed in her preschool years, causing her significant vision loss. Although legally blind, Caroline still wanted to stay active and began running with Girls on the Run. Since then, she has completed several 5K races and plans to keep up her stride.” Caroline’s Girls on the Run training prepared her for participation in the Akron Marathon’s Kids Fun Run presented by Sterling Jewelers—a one mile run which kicks off the Akron Marathon’s Race Weekend. She was also present at the September 2016 FirstEnergy Akron Marathon, Half Marathon & Team Relay, where she cheered on and highfived runners from her Hero Zone on Main Street right in front of FirstEnergy’s HQ, just a half mile from the finish line. Caroline also came down to Canal Park Stadium to hold the finisher’s tape for the Half Marathon winners.

Caroline Mizer high-fives marathon runners.

Girls on the Run take off.

Philip H. Maynard

Supporting Youths’ Hearts and Minds


GOTR hosts two 5ks, one in the spring in Akron and one in the fall in Cuyahoga County. The organization is not a running program, but it uses running as the physical activity for the girls to practice a physically healthy lifestyle that compliments the program’s emotional component. All girls make it to the finish line and receive a medal. Girls can run, walk, skip or jump. In addition, the girls participate in 20 lessons covering different topics such as bullying, gossip and healthy eating. The girls also complete a community service project. Confidence comes from giving back. “I learned of the program in early 2000,” says Cutler. “I am a runner and the mother of four kids; three are girls. After listening to a speaker address childhood obesity, I decided to introduce GOTR to Summit County in 2007. In my first season, I had 12 participants. Ten years later, my council has served over 6,000 girls.” “I never considered myself a leader,” says Cutler. “I always struggled with confidence. Girls on the Run has allowed me to become the person that I always hoped I could become. My hope is for the girls and volunteers who are involved with the program to realize beauty that comes from the inside. We all have gifts to share and the ability to become the very best versions of ourselves. If girls are confident, they are able to become better leaders, avoid peer pressure, develop empathy and compassion.”—CS

’ve been very blessed over the years and believe that when you give, you also receive; not only is it a duty and an honor, but it’s really a true joy. The Maynard Family Foundation is focused on children, education, and helping those who are working on reinventing,” says Philip H. Maynard. Maynard is chairman and CEO of ASW Properties Ltd., a real estate, development and investment company, and founder and chairman of The Maynard Family Foundation. Born and raised in Akron, Maynard served in the U.S. Army Intelligence Agency during the Vietnam conflict. Child Guidance & Family Solutions (CG&FS) officials say Maynard’s philanthropic efforts have long been focused on children and education. He currently serves as chairman of Akron Children’s Hospital’s Foundation Board and is past chair of Akron Children’s Hospital’s board of directors, the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Foundation and Archbishop Hoban High School board. “It’s very important to give back to the community,” Maynard says. “I’ve been affiliated with Akron Children’s Hospital for over 20 years, and through them have learned so much about the great work being done by CG&FS.” “Phil puts his heart and soul into everything he does, with knowledge and wisdom,” says CG&FS former President & CEO Elaine Harlin. “Through Phil’s dedication to children and youth, he is impacting the well-being of children as they grow up and become successful adults, which strengthens our community’s future.” Maynard was the recipient of the 2015 Friend of Children Award, given at the Child Guidance & Family Solutions Mending Hearts & Minds luncheon. Held annually, Mending Hearts & Minds is CG&FS’s report to

the community on its impact on the health of children, adolescents and families who struggle with mental, emotional and behavioral health issues. He also received the Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Lifetime Achievement Award, Akron Community Foundation’s esteemed Bert A. Polsky Humanitarian Award, the Boy Scouts Community Service Award, was named a Lifetime Trustee by Leadership Akron, and received the Lisle M. Buckingham Leadership Award and many others. One of Maynard’s favorite quotations is, “Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going.” He tries to live up to that.—CS

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Champions of Change in Greater Akron



Jen Vliet, Akron Hope

Inspiring The Next Generation Through Outreach


en Vliet, The University of Akron student, started Akron Hope on campus in July 2015 when Charleston Hope founder Emily Hoisington reached out to her. Jen happens to be the cousin of Emily’s boyfriend, Chad Cooke, who had sadly passed away. Chad’s commitment to creating hope became the basis for expanding the organization into Akron. Akron Hope’s mission is to inspire hope for the next generation through various outreaches that promote positive and intentional living. The organization works in Title I schools within the Akron Public Schools system to fulfill those schools’ needs with its outreaches, volunteers and intentionality. In 2016, Akron Hope partnered with the Helen Arnold Community Learning Center (CLC) and Buchtel

CLC, and focuses its outreaches on three pillars: Inspiring Students, Supporting Teachers and Empowering Communities. Their biggest outreach is Adopt A Classroom, which takes place during the Christmas season. Volunteers seek to incorporate intentionality, giving back and showing all individuals that they matter, all in one incredible, Christmas experience. The program is not a toy drive; it is an intentional way of giving back during the busy holiday season. Through Adopt A Classroom, donors and sponsors are given multiple ways to be intentional through their donations, such as their meeting Akron Hope’s team face to face to drop off gifts, attending a wrapping night and meeting the student recipients by helping to deliver the gifts. This past Christmas, Akron Hope provided

every student at Helen Arnold CLC (286) with a present, hat and gloves. Exective Director Vliet says, “I love having the opportunity to serve the City of Akron in multiple avenues through my student activities as well as in the community with Akron Hope. I have learned so much through my campus involvements that intertwine with my leadership role in Akron Hope and am beyond

When you shop and donate to Goodwill, you are helping people in our community find jobs.

www.goodwillakron.org 28

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Experience Greater Akron_3.375X4.875

blessed for the opportunities that The University of Akron has provided me.” The Akron Hope Team consists of six full-time University of Akron students. Akron Hope is involved in other ways beyond the holiday season. Write For Hope is a pen pal program where volunteers can sign up to participate as a pen pal to a group of students in a classroom. Teacher’s Hope Closet helps support teachers by providing the gift of intentional time. For two hours on Fridays, volunteers go to the school and help make copies, organize bookshelves, or do any other miscellaneous tasks that teachers can always use help with. The Adopt A Team outreach partners with the nonprofit, Different Like You, to incorporate a mentorship program for Buchtel CLC’s football team. The organization also provides a team meal before all of their football games. Volunteers serve the food, eat with the boys and create additional mentoring relationships with them.—CS

Ramona Hood

Inspiring a Legacy Through Family Giving


orn and raised in Akron and now living in Copley, Ramona Hood has worked for FedEx for 25 years. She rose through the corporation through many levels, from receptionist to director, eventually achieving the position of managing director for FedEx Truckload Brokerage, one of FedEx’s major business lines. Hood was originally hired by Roberts Express (the company was taken over by FedEx in 2000) as a receptionist. Now, as a FedEx executive, she oversees more than 150 people and coordinates trucks that handle shipments of materials throughout North America. Hood has used her 25 years of hard work and success, along with respected mentors, to inspire

Ramona Hood celebrates receiving her Executive MBA from Case Weatherhead School of Management with daughters Mariah (left) and Kayla (middle).

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Champions of Change in Greater Akron




Celebrating the impact of philanthropy



Small Business Leadership

Lifetime Achievement

Rennick Andreoli

Rubber City Radio Group/ WQMX

Foundation Leadership

Walter W. Born Foundation

Volunteer Fundraiser

Dianne Newman, JD

Outstanding Philanthropist

Sandie Kramer

Corporate Leadership

PNC Bank

Outstanding Philanthropist

David M. Showers

Special Recognition

Rotary Club of Akron

Youth in Philanthropy

Kaden Stepp

Change the world with a giving heart

National Philanthropy Day is a way of showing appreciation for the many accomplishments that have been made in the name of giving. Our 2016 recipients were chosen in recognition of the difference they make in strengthening our communities. Please join us in celebrating their passion to change the world with a giving heart. Visit our website for awardee profiles and a complete list of sponsors.

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Spirit of Philanthropy


her two daughters, Mariah, 25, and Kayla, 14, to get involved in family giving. Recently, she set up a charitable fund at Akron Community Foundation in her family’s name to engage her girls in all they can do for their community. Hood has a long history of supporting nonprofits and serving on community boards to support their needs, including Summit Education Initiative, Court Appointed Special Advocates and Summit County Red Cross. She has used this involvement to continue the support system for her children. “We will have family conversations about where to give,” she says. “It (conversations about choosing grants) has allowed me to bring my children more intimately into my involvement and what nonprofits we have in our community.” Hood is building a strong philanthropic foundation for her children and stresses three areas for her children to contribute to: grants for women in leadership, underprivileged children and education. She and her children, she says, choose grants based on those preferred causes through family meetings—some at home as a family, some with the help of Akron Community Foundation staff. It’s part of what the community foundation offers all its fundholders. As a mother who wants to inspire her children to give back to the community they live in, she has taught her daughters to give back to local charities. She makes sure that they discuss where their investment returns to and the impact their investment will have on those charities. “For the last few years, I’ve involved my time and talents in the community, but wanted to give that (back) to my kids,” Hood says. “Our legacy, philanthropy, is to keep thriving. The list (of charities) will grow beyond children; we will have family meetings, and my children will be involved in the community.”—CS

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Spirit of Philanthropy


Acme Fresh Market......................................31 Akron Area YMCA.......................................... 8 Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank....... 10 Akron Children’s Hospital........................... 3 Akron Community Foundation...............32 Akron Rotary Camp....................................28 Association of Fundraising Professionals Northeast Ohio Chapter....................... 30 Athena Akron.................................................. 7 Cleveland Clinic Akron General Foundation..................................................25 Community Support Services..................19 FirstEnergy....................................................... 9 Gavin Scott Salon and Spa........................19 Girl Scouts of North East Ohio.............. 30 Goodwill Akron.............................................28 Habitat for Humanity Summit County ReStore.........................................................22 Leadership Akron..........................................19 Metis Construction Services....................29 Mobile Meals..................................................29 Omnova Solutions Foundation................. 2 State & Federal Communications............11 Stewart’s Caring Place...............................23 Summit DD......................................................15 United Way of Summit County...............22 The University of Akron............................... 5 Women’s Network.......................................23 Zuckerman Consulting Group, Inc........... 8

Feeding the Families of Our Community for Over 125 Years!

Champions of Change in Greater Akron





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Akron Community Foundation invites you into a whole new world of giving: one that’s inspired, connected and deliberate. A Donor Advised Fund at Akron Community Foundation helps you support the causes you believe in – now or in the future, here or across the country – while providing the maximum tax benefit at precisely the moment you need it. You also get local insight, responsive staff and more than 60 years of expertise. We help everyday people become philanthropists. Discover how a Donor-Advised Fund can help you at www.akroncf.org/fund.