Foundation announces 2021 first grant cycle awards

Foundation Board Meets, Announces Job Opening, First Cycle Grant Partners

Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met via Zoom on Thursday, March 18, to approve $87,200 in grants to eight area nonprofits, to share committee updates, and to discuss the job opening for a Director of Economic Development.

Josh Gordon was in good spirits as he hosted his first meeting as the Chair of the Board of Directors. He welcomed and thanked everyone for attending. “The Foundation has long-emphasized a strong focus on economic development, and we are thrilled to open the search for a talented professional on our team that will help attract successful businesses to relocate and grow in Barberton,” Gordon said. “In addition to a new staff role, I am very excited about our newest Board Members who bring experience in economic development, law, and education to our board. We have also more than doubled the size of our Friends of the Foundation program, enhancing the strength and capabilities of our committees. While we are all working well virtually, we are excited to meet in person to continue our work together.”

The newly posted job opening is for a Director of Economic Development. Applications will remain open through April 23, with the interview process commencing after. The job description is available on the Foundation’s website.

Dr. Suzanne Allen, Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation, shared the reason for the new role.  “This new position is part of the Foundation’s strategic focus. Working with the City and BCDC to build on the strengths that have served Barberton well, and helping us continue to serve the businesses and the residents of our city are key components of this new job.”

A New Grant Cycle

The board approved motions for the Foundation’s first grant cycle of 2021. The Grants Committee utilized a new granting format that focuses each cycle into specific categories. For this cycle, only grants focused on education, workforce, and economic development were considered.

The Barberton City School District received the largest grant this cycle, $39,700 for technology improvements including: 500 computer mice for kindergarten and first grade students at both elementary schools, eight mounted interactive boards for Barberton Preschool classrooms, and two interactive boards on movable carts at each elementary school.

Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority was awarded $18,000 toward the installation of WiFi in the Crimson Terrace and Van Buren Homes housing developments. A reliable WiFi connection at these locations will help students to access school work and seniors or individuals with disabilities to access telehealth sessions and the internet. The project is a collaboration between the City, Barberton City Schools, the Foundation, and AMHA.

The Foundation awarded the National Inventors Hall of Fame $7,500 to continue Barberton’s partnership with Camp Invention. Funding supports scholarships for elementary students who wish to attend. The camp focuses on a week of STEM activities and utilizes Barberton teachers in programming.

Tri-County Jobs for Ohio Graduates (JOG) was awarded $5,000 to support their programming in partnership with Barberton High School. Four JOG programs are currently provided at Barberton High School including Schools-to-Careers, YEAR-13, Out of School programming and Subsidized Employment for high school dropout prevention, recovery services and career pathway planning.

The Foundation granted $5,000 to Akron SCORE for their Barberton Community and Workforce Development program. Throughout the year, SCORE anticipates serving as many as 150 Barberton residents who are considering starting or expanding their businesses.

United Way of Summit and Medina Counties received $5,000 for their program called Financial Empowerment Services for Barberton Residents. The program provides no-cost financial coaching, tax preparation, and banking access. United Way has a financial coach dedicated to Barberton, spending one day a week at a local nonprofit to meet with clients.

Soap Box Derby (SBD) STEM Education program received $4,000 to continue their Mini SBD STEM program for all fourth graders at both elementary schools. The program involves 250 youth and builds STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) strengths, provides summer camp scholarships for five BCS students and supports materials for the Barberton High School Gravity Racing Challenge.

The Great Trail Council, Boy Scouts of America was awarded $3,000 to provide scouting scholarships for youth and adult troop leaders in Barberton. The Boy Scouts have seen a decrease in numbers due to COVID-19. Currently there are about 100 scouts in eight units in Barberton.

Now Hiring: Director of Economic Development


Barberton Community Foundation is pleased to announce we are actively seeking a team member to join us in a newly established role as the Director of Economic Development. Applications are accepted through April 23 and details to apply are posted below. You can also access a printable PDF.

Established in 1996, Barberton Community Foundation is focused on improving the lives of Barberton residents, and is working with the City of Barberton and Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) to create a road map for economic development. This position will lead our economic development initiatives and will be integral in our success.

Barberton Community Foundation has awarded over 8,500 grants and scholarships totaling more than $109 million since its inception. Our role, now and forever, is to improve the quality of life for Barberton residents and enhance the economic vitality of our city.

Job Description-Director of Economic Development

Nature of Work

The Director of Economic Development will perform a variety of administrative, technical and professional work in preparation for and implementation of economic and community development plans, programs and services. This full-time position is responsible for working closely with Barberton Community Foundation staff, the Economic Development Committee and other economic development professionals within the Barberton community.

This position will include working with Barberton Community Foundation, the City of Barberton and Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) in providing guidance to individuals and companies to establish, relocate, expand or enhance their businesses within the community. This position will provide integral support in developing a plan to revitalize Barberton’s downtown. Additionally, this position will work with Team NEO, the JobsOhio, the Development Finance Authority of Summit County (DFA) as well as with local businesses in a concerted effort to enhance the viability of Barberton.

In addition to providing assistance in the planning and coordination of economic and community development projects and providing research for Foundation sponsored projects, this person who fills this position needs to have expertise as a convener and facilitator.

This position is a direct report to the Executive Director of the Foundation.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

  • Directs economic development initiatives to achieve the goals and objectives outlined by the Economic Impact Plan and guided by the Economic Development Committee, formulating and implementing marketing and business attraction strategies, including familiarity with the City of Barberton’s goals and objectives
  • Provides assistance in the development of short and long term economic and community development plans, as well as the gathering of research and information and the preparation of studies, reports and recommendations to achieve such goals.
  • Builds consensus and works to facilitate a downtown development action plan
  • Convenes groups and acts as a community facilitator
  • Maintains a liaison with various local, State, and Federal agencies, coordinating projects with agencies as deemed necessary and appropriate
  • Identifies gaps among the existing economic development partners and help to fill these gaps
  • Provides support and extra capacity to existing economic development partners on an as-needed basis, or in a more clearly defined ongoing role.
  • Facilitates regular communications and conversations among economic development entities in order to prevent silos of information or activity
  • Provides information and/or makes presentations to supervisors, boards, city council, civic groups, businesses, individuals and the general public on economic development issues, programs, services and plans
  • Becomes familiar with the existing inventory of available buildings and business and residential development sites within the community. This will include both public and private buildings and land areas
  • Serves as a member of economic development groups or task force that promote economic and community development at the local, State or Federal level, as deemed necessary or appropriate
  • Monitors legislation and regulations relating to economic development and reports findings to the appropriate impacted parties
  • Maintains strong working relationships with the general public, area businesses, local business clients, the media and others
  • Serves as a member of various staff committees, as assigned
  • Attends professional development workshops and conferences to keep abreast of trends and developments in the field of economic development and to represent the interest of Barberton on matters related to economic development
  • Serves as a team player with other Foundation staff and serves as staff liaison with the Foundation’s Economic Development Committee
  • Conducts other related work as assigned

Training and Experience Required:

  • Considerable experience in economic and community development, at least seven (7) years, including administrative responsibility; graduation from a four-year college or university, preferably with specialization in economic and community development or a related field; or any equivalent combination or experience and training
  • Considerable knowledge of business development, economic development, building and zoning codes
  • Training and work experience as a convener and facilitator, with knowledge of organizational development
  • Working knowledge of municipal zoning and infrastructure, planning programs and processes, and financial opportunities for local businesses
  • Knowledge of grantwriting for local, state and federal grant opportunities
  • Ability to communicate effectively to groups and individuals, engineers, architects, contractors, developers, businesses, supervisors, employees and the general public
  • Proven leadership, team building and negotiation skills
  • Ability to establish working relationships with other organizations and economic development practitioners
  • Ability to prepare and analyze reports and data, and utilize tools and equipment, i.e. computer, word processing, spreadsheet software and general office equipment
  • Availability and willingness to work flexible schedule including evenings and weekends; local travel and some out-of-town travel required
  • Ability to work with people of all backgrounds (race, ethnicity, socioeconomics, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, etc.)
  • Self-motivation and an ability to work toward objectives with minimal supervision

Salary and Benefits

  • Salary for this position will be commensurate with experience. This position is eligible for a full package of employee benefits, including health insurance, long and short-term disability, 401(k) plan, personal paid-time off, and paid holidays.

It is Barberton Community Foundation’s policy that, as required by law, equal employment opportunities be available to all persons without regard to race, sex, age, color, religion, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship status, genetic information, veteran status, or any other category protected under federal, state or local law.

How to Apply

No calls, please. Email cover letter and resume electronically, with salary requirements and the names of three (3) references, no later than April 23, 2021, to Dr. Suzanne Allen, Executive Director, Barberton Community Foundation at


Barberton Community Foundation