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ACF, city join to award grants for local neighborhoods

8/28/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

AKRON — Akron Community Foundation (ACF) and the City of Akron have announced more than $200,000 in grants to help local residents improve their community through the Neighborhood Partnership Program.

In total, $226,250 will go to 55 projects throughout Akron. Grants range from projects that beautify local neighborhoods through landscaping to initiatives that provide children with after-school activities like basketball programs and music lessons.

The Neighborhood Partnership Program is a collaboration between ACF and the city’s Department of Planning and Urban Development. It funds grassroots, citizen-led initiatives that strive to revitalize and reinvent local neighborhoods. Each year, the ACF commits $100,000, as well as grant-making assistance, to the program, and Akron City Council chooses the recipients from the dozens of applications received.

Since its founding in 1999, the Neighborhood Partnership Program has approved more than $3.3 million in grants to improve the community, including the following grants awarded to local organizations in 2014:

  • Akron African-American Cultural Association, for the annual African-American Cultural Festival at Lock 3, which showcases local performers and highlights community resources by offering free health screenings and employment support, $7,500;
  • Akron Community Service Center and Urban League, for Elegant Evenings, a dinner-dance for senior citizens that fosters healthy social interactions between seniors and youth volunteers, $2,000;
  • Alchemy Inc., for a mentoring program that uses myths, writing and music to engage urban adolescent males at Innes, Litchfield and Buchtel community learning centers, $7,500;
  • Baldwin Wallace University, to support a music literacy camp for elementary school students in the Buchtel cluster, $4,700;
  • Brookshire Garden Group, for a community garden that revitalizes a once-vacant lot in West Akron, $2,000;
  • Centenary United Methodist Church, for Operation Springboard, a beautification project for inner-city vacant homes and land, $1,550;
  • Charisma Community Connection, for the sixth annual Fathers Walk, in which fathers all over Summit County show their support for their children’s education by walking them to school, $2,500;
  • Christian Fellowship Basketball League, for a mentoring-based youth basketball program in Kenmore and West Akron, $5,000;
  • Delta Academy/GEMS Youth Group, for a mentoring program that develops science, math and social awareness skills in adolescent girls in the Buchtel cluster, $3,000;
  • First Grace United Church of Christ, to provide free vocal music lessons to inner-city children, $3,000;
  • Glendale Community Garden, to revitalize the historic Glendale Steps and to create a rain garden demonstration site at the Glendale/Maple Street Triangle, $3,800;
  • Hereford/Highland Block Watch, for a newsletter and community-building events in the Highland Square neighborhood, $4,000;
  • Highland Square Neighborhood Association, for the 2014 Porch Rokr Festival, a one-day music and arts festival that showcases local musicians and builds relationships among neighbors in Highland Square, $7,500;
  • Let’s Grow Akron, to support children’s community gardens in the Summit Lake and Lane Field neighborhoods, and to teach innercity residents how to prepare healthy meals, $7,500;
  • Mountain of the Lord Fellowship, for the National Night out Against Crime event in West Akron, $2,000;
  • Project GRAD Akron, to support the 2014 Expo for Success event and “Snacks and Educational Fun With Santa,” a program for students in the Buchtel cluster designed to strengthen connections between the home and school, $6,750;
  • Truly Reaching You Ministries, for the National Night out Against Crime event in Highland Square, $2,000; and
  • West Akron Community Organization, for the West Akron Community Day Festival and parade, $4,000;
  • West Hill Neighborhood Organization, for two neighborhood events, beautification and a newsletter, $5,000; and
  • Williams Challenge, for the Man2Man Fatherhood Initiative, which helps at-risk men become a positive influence in their children’s lives, $2,500; and
  • Woodland United Methodist Church, for the iStrive Outreach Project, which provides after-school tutoring and enrichment activities for underserved youth in the Zahn Drive neighborhood, $7,500.

For a full list of grant recipients, see “ACF, city announce grants to revitalize local neighborhoods” at www.akron.com.

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