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Coleman receives Salem Humanitarian Award

1/24/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AKRON — The city of Akron announced the 2013 Charles Salem Humanitarian Award winner is community activist Claudia Coleman, Ph.D.

According to city officials, Coleman was selected from a field of a dozen candidates who were nominated for their humanitarianism. She was nominated by Malcolm Costa, CEO and president of the Akron Summit Community Action Inc., who has known her many years and said, “She has made a tremendous contribution to the community, advocates on behalf of those in need and would make Charlie Salem proud.”

In 1999, Coleman worked with community leaders to establish the North Akron Community Center Inc. (NANC), which advocated for a community learning center component for the new schools that were rebuilt in the Akron Public School District, according to city officials. As the volunteer executive director of NANC, she also facilitated free workshops for local activists on nonprofit management and other topics germane to organizational effectiveness, according to city officials.

She served as a member of the Community Advisory Committee at Summa Health System to help provide insight and guidance on chronic health care issues in the community and is a member of its White Coat program. She also serves as an Advisory Committee member of Oriana House.

She sponsored the first North Akron Carnival, which held its 12th annual event this past spring; the carnival generates funds to support the V Dove-Coleman Foundation that she established in 2007, according to city officials.

She was also a member of the Cascade Locks Park Association Howard Street Corridor Committee.

As program director of a HUD HOPE VI program, Coleman took students on fishing trips, exposed them to skiing and boating, and established an after-school tutoring program that tracked and measured the gains they achieved as a result of the one-on-one coaching they received, according to city officials.

While attending graduate school at The University of Akron (UA), Coleman organized the first banquet for the Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies and raised funds for the first doctoral student association at UA, which she helped charter, according to city officials. Coleman also established an Urban Lights Award.

Coleman served as a board member and as an officer of Akron Summit Community Action for five years, and was a member and/or executive committee member of more than seven other nonprofit organizations throughout her career, according to Akron officials.

Coleman was co-chair of a committee to help beautify the courtyard garden in Downtown Akron and has supported the city by hosting Neighbors Day and Night out Against Crime events, according to city officials. She also participated in the Imagine Akron 2025 initiative and has worked with neighborhood groups by volunteering for Cleanup Akron sponsored by Keep Akron Beautiful. 

Coleman has a doctorate in urban affairs and is currently a senior lecturer at UA in the Department of Public Administration and Urban Studies.

This year’s award was presented at the annual Akron Martin Luther King Jr. Inter-faith Celebration Jan. 20.


Stephanie Kist contributed to this report.

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