Foundation Announces 2022 Game Changers

Foundation Announces 2022 Game Changers

Congratulations Game Changers

Barberton Community Foundation is proud to announce the 2022 Game Changers: Mike Moore and the Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329. This individual and organization are recognized for their history of service and on-going commitment to Barberton.

Please join the Foundation in congratulating Mike Moore and the Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329 as our 2022 Game Changers. We will celebrate their accomplishments at our Annual Dinner on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at the Galaxy Restaurant. Tickets will go on sale in September. 

Mike Moore: A Life of Service

Mike Moore was selected for the Game Changer award in recognition of his willingness to help those in need. A member of St. Augustine Church, Mike currently serves as the president of the Coalition of Concerned Christians, a network of nine area churches that provide everything from the weekly soup kitchen at First Presbyterian Church, to clothing and laundry support through Common Threads Closet, to support with rent and utilities from the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Mike is also an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Barberton where he installs grab bars in showers and bathrooms for senior citizens with disabilities for a $25 donation to the club.

The many stories of Mike’s service tell us that he is a doer and a problem-solver. There are stories of folks needing extra food, gas money, car repairs, hedges trimmed, outfits for work, covering a shift at the soup kitchen, or simply an encouraging word. Whatever is needed, Mike finds a way to provide help.

Mike moved to Barberton in 1972 and worked a thirty-year career as the maintenance planner at PPG. He views himself as a D.I.Y. guy who has managed to surround himself with many wonderful people. Primary among those individuals is his wife of thirty-four years, Linda Moore. “She is the driving force behind me,” Mike says. They are often seen working the soup kitchen as a team. When asked about why he gives so much to his various causes, Mike told the story of a particular day in the soup kitchen. “Ray Leach gives us donuts to pass out at the soup kitchen,” he says. “Well one day, a little girl picked up one of those donuts and said to her parent, ‘Look mommy! I get breakfast tomorrow morning!’” Mike paused and said, “If that don’t knock your socks off… I don’t care how much gas it takes, how many stairs I’ve got to climb, how hard it is, or what I need to fix. I’m going to do it.”

Mike said that volunteering is inherently rewarding. “The actions that we take on behalf of others are our reward.” 

Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329: A Culture of Giving

Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329 was selected to receive the Game Changer award for their many years of service in support of the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser, organized by Magic City Kiwanis each year. “We are incredibly excited to receive this award,” said Mike Beckman, president of the Firefighters Association. “It’s wonderful for the guys to be recognized for their hard work and volunteerism.”

The Esther Ryan Shoe Fund Spaghetti Dinner has become famous over the years for the participation of Barberton’s firefighters. Mike Beckman explained that the association took over the task of cooking the spaghetti (and guarding the recipe for the sauce) from a group of teachers in 1992. “That started the tradition here and we’ve continued to build on it,” he said. For thirty years, Barberton firefighters have been donating their time to this fundraiser, including through the pandemic, when it was take-out only.

Mike said that giving back is a particular value of the culture at the Firefighters Association. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the guys who came before us leading the way. We try to build on and expand what they’ve done, so we are always volunteering in the community in some way.”

The Firefighters Association awards an annual scholarship to a Barberton High School senior, which they’ve increased to two students this year, and they fundraise for Operation Warm, which provides coats for kids. Last year they donated over 200 coats to kids at Head Start. They also participate in Adopt-A-Family as well as sponsoring many local fundraisers for student sports.

With roughly half of their 40 members living in Barberton, Beckman said it’s important to keep volunteerism as a core piece of the association’s culture. “If you are called to service as a firefighter, you are called to help people. You want the best for your community. Around here, someone always steps up.”

Foundation Board Meets at White Rabbit, Awards Funding for First Grant Cycle

Foundation Board Meets at White Rabbit, Awards Funding for First Grant Cycle

Barberton Community Foundation Logo

The Barberton Community Foundation Board of Directors held their second meeting of the year at White Rabbit Galleries.

The board discussed regular business and approved $119,220.86 for thirteen grants in the first grant cycle of the year: Education and Workforce & Economic Development.

The board approved a fund name change from the Esther Ryan Shoe Endowment Fund to the Magic City Kiwanis/Esther Ryan Shoe Endowment Fund. This change came after the Magic City Kiwanis agreed to partner with the Foundation and merge two funds under the Foundation’s management. Magic City Kiwanis will continue to host the annual Spaghetti Dinner.

Another fund change was for the Barberton Community Health Clinic Endowment Funds. At the direction of fund holder Donna Keim, the health clinic funds will transfer into a new scholarship called the Walter Ritzman Scholarship Fund. This change comes as the Health Clinic no longer exists to serve the community. The scholarship will provide support to Barberton students pursuing a pharmacy degree.

Grants Approved

The Foundation awarded thirteen grants totaling $119,220.86 in their first grant cycle of the year.

Child Guidance & Family Solutions received $10,000 for their program Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding program (TAPS) which improves kindergarten readiness and reduces preschool expulsion rates in four Barberton preschools annually. TAPS helps preschools focus on children’s social-emotional needs by providing trauma-informed approaches, classroom management techniques and embedded social-emotional models.

With the new Barberton Intermediate School beginning next year, The Foundation awarded $4,800 to Barberton City Schools for t-shirts to all the staff and students of Barberton Intermediate to support community and pride.

Tri-County JOG was awarded $26,500 for their program, Municipality Workforce Development for Barberton Youth, which share municipality employment opportunities with Barberton High School juniors.

The Akron-Barberton Community Workforce Development program, managed by SCORE Akron, received $5,000 to assist with their mentoring and educational workshops for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Camp Invention, a popular summer program organized by the National Inventors Hall of Fame received $10,000 to provide financial support to Barberton students who would like to attend the program.

United Way of Summit & Medina received $5,000 for their Financial Empowerment Services programming provided to Barberton residents. The center estimates they will serve 75 residents through free financial empowerment programming, including financial coaching, tax preparation and banking assistance.

The Foundation supported JA programming through Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio with a $5,000 grant to provide support for JA’s K-12 programming which focuses on financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness.

The International Soap Box Derby received $4,000 to continue their SBD Mini Car STEM program with Barberton City School elementary students and provide materials for middle school students’ gravity racing challenges.

Red Oak Behavioral Health received $13,000 for summer programming in partnership with Lake Anna YMCA.

Barberton City Schools Theatre Department received $20,000 to upgrade the theatre equipment. Currently the sound and lighting boards are failing. Upgrades will benefit both the school and community groups who use the theater.

Barberton City Schools eSports received $5,671.70 to purchase three additional computers for student players. The program has a waiting list for players and is fundraising for team jerseys.

The Foundation awarded two grants to Barberton City Schools for additional programs: $2,796.92 for their program Learning under the Lights, which is a summer reading and math event, and $7,452.25 for building a Magical Reading Nook at Barberton Primary School for students to read under the stairs in a cozy environment.

Other business:

The Foundation Board passed several policy updates out of the governance committee and welcomed Tiffany Peters to the Foundation staff as the new director of Finance. Tiffany started on Monday, March 14 and is joining the Foundation from serving in various financial roles with United Way of Summit and Medina Counties.


Hal Naragon’s 2022 Charity Golf Outing

Hal Naragon’s 2022 Charity Golf Outing

Join us for the Second Annual Hal Naragon’s Charity Golf Outing on May 7, 2022

The ptoceeds raised for this charitable event will aid the Hal Naragon Memorial Scholarship Fund held at Barberton Community Foundation, which assists three Barberton High School seniors, one each from the baseball team, softball team, and a student pursuing a vocational or technical degree. Donations can be made payable to Barberton Community Foundation to support the golf outing or directly to the scholarship fund. This event also supports a local Akron/Canton National Guard or Reserve Unit.

Registration at 8:00 AM | Start at 9:00 AM

Entry Fee: $100/person or $400/foursome

For questions regarding sponsorship opportunities or raffle prizes, contact Chad Bradley at

Deadline to register is April 22 at 4:00 pm

Register Online

Registration closes in:








Read more about Hal Naragon

Paper Registration Form

Foundation Hires New Director of Finance, Tiffany Peters

Foundation Hires New Director of Finance, Tiffany Peters

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Barberton Community Foundation welcomes Tiffany Peters as the new Director of Finance effective March 14, 2022.

“We are delighted to welcome Tiffany to Barberton Community Foundation and to introduce her to the Foundation family,” said executive director Suzanne Allen. “We are happy she is bringing her time and talent home to her community.”

A resident of Barberton, Tiffany is an Ohio “boomerang,” growing up in Portage County and then moving with her family to Florida, where she received her MBA with a concentration in finance, management, and information systems from the University of South Florida. She returned to Ohio in 2002 and settled in Barberton in 2014 where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Tiffany said she decided to accept the position at the Foundation to be close to her children and to serve her community in a larger capacity. “I am excited to be working in Barberton,” said Tiffany. “The people in Barberton have an incredible amount of pride for their city, and I am looking forward to bringing that passion to my role with the Foundation.”

Board chair Jason Slater says he couldn’t be happier with the hiring decision. “It is a privilege to see the direct impact of your work in your own community. Tiffany is an exceptional talent, and we offer her a warm welcome.”

Tiffany brings more than 20 years of financial experience and more than 15 years of nonprofit volunteerism and experience to the role, previously serving in financial leadership roles at the United Way of Summit and Medina.

She will manage all finance, accounting, human resource and program-related investment functions of the Foundation. Accounting and finance responsibilities include overseeing all financial reporting and presentations, the annual budget and spending policy process, as well as cash management to meet all the Foundation’s granting, investment and operational needs.

Foundation Board Holds Annual Meeting, Swears In New Slate of Officers

Foundation Board Holds Annual Meeting, Swears In New Slate of Officers

Barberton Community Foundation Logo
(L-R) Justin Greer and Josh Gordon
(L-R) Slate of Officers: Deb Shreiner, Jason Slater, Denny Liddle, Jennifer Bidlingmyer

Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met at the Active Adult Center for their annual meeting on January 20, 2022.

Josh Gordon, outgoing chair, welcomed Justin Greer to the board. Greer is automatically appointed to the Foundation board with his seat as City Council President and will serve an intial three-year term with the Foundation.

The Foundation also swore in a new slate of officers for 2022. Jason Slater will serve as Chair of the Board with Denny Liddle serving as Vice Chair, Jennifer Bidlingmyer serving as Treasurer and Debra Shreiner serving as Secretary.

Other business included the economic development committee’s report on the Foundation’s contract with Heritage Ohio to provide a Downtown Assessment Review Team (DART) visit this spring. The Foundation is also working with Measurement Resources to conduct a needs assessment for the Barberton community. The Foundation is partnering with the City, Schools, and Summa Health Barberton Campus on the assessment.

Jim Bauschlinger, chair of the economic development committee, reports that the 10-year lease to Stark State College’s Barberton Campus for the Armory building, which is a Foundation property, will expire this summer. Stark State is planning to consolidate their welding program in Akron. The Foundation will be making a decision as to how best to utilize this property.

Suzanne Allen, Executive Director, shared that the Foundation had a record year for donations. “We are extremely grateful that we serve such a giving community,” she said. The Foundation also established four new funds in 2021, three of which are scholarships for Barberton students. The scholarship window is currently open for Barberton High School students to apply through the School’s website. Suzanne shared that the Foundation is looking forward to increasing the scholarships for the 2022 school year.

If you want to learn more about the Foundation, visit our website at or please give us a call at 330-745-5995.

White Rabbit Galleries Establishes a New Scholarship

White Rabbit Galleries Establishes a New Scholarship

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White Rabbit Galleries Establishes a New Scholarship

Barberton Community Foundation is pleased to announce the White Rabbit Galleries Scholarship Fund established by Laura Smith and Molly Brown. This scholarship is dedicated to supporting the local Arts and Artists in Barberton by assisting Barberton students pursuing an arts degree.

White Rabbit Galleries, women-owned and established in January 2021, is located at 571 W. Tuscarawas Ave. It is operated by Laura Smith and her daughter, Molly Brown. In addition to a large public gallery, they rent space to seven artists and curate a regular schedule of shows. Molly is a full-time artist, previously working as a resident artist of Summit Artspace on Tusc. When Summit Artspace closed their gallery in 2020, Molly and Laura had a vision for a fresh start.

“When Molly and I talked about it, we knew we needed to be vocal about supporting the arts. We know how much support athletics gets in Barberton,” said Laura. “We wanted to send a message to kids: the arts are valuable, too.”  

Their first show was the Student Art Show in April 2021. Then in May, Tracy Marsh approached them for a memorial show for his wife, and the Carol Marsh Memorial Show kicked off their grand opening. Proceeds from the show and an additional gift in honor of Suzanne Jones Richardson provided the initial principle for the scholarship.

“White Rabbit is more than a gallery,” Molly said. “We want to make a bridge for the artist to the community.” She is proud of their subheading: Community Art Center. “We put the emphasis on community,” she said.

Molly graduated from Barberton High School, where she attended art classes taught by Ron White. She credits his teaching with declaring art as her major in college and completing her BA in Studio Arts. “I had a fantastic experience with the arts when I went to BHS. We had a fully functional darkroom for photography. That’s what really got me started. We have drawing, glass, metal working and ceramics because of Ron White. Other schools don’t have the creative experiences that we have in Barberton.” She added, “He taught me how to offer and take constructive criticism; something you don’t normally learn how to do until college.”

Molly hopes this scholarship will reflect her family’s broader mission at White Rabbit Galleries: to help students have confidence and a bridge to art.

This bridge will need support.  Laura changed her career choice from an art focus when she was in college because she didn’t feel supported. She looked at her daughter and said, “But I changed my life so that I could support my kids.” This is a generational change in the family. Laura wanted her daughter to be able to pursue an arts degree because she understood that desire not being able to pursue it. “As a parent, what you hear about scholarships is, you’re either smart, or athletic. You don’t see encouragement for art. This is such a blue-collar, hard-working community. But art is hard work too. You don’t have to appreciate all of it; art is just as important an outlet as therapy. It’s necessary.”

Laura hopes the scholarship will be a good start to supporting young local artists. White Rabbit Galleries is planning a student show in the spring and hopes to encourage young artists to utilize the consignment option at the front of the building.

Currently, White Rabbit Galleries is hosting their Squared Fundraising Show. The theme of the show is just that – square. Every art piece must be square – and prices are set by size varying from 5×5 to larger pieces. The show runs until January 22. Then, in February, they will host the Remarkable Diner Artist Collective, featuring Lance Apple, Jack Hickson and Dennis and Denise Lundell. “We are incredibly excited,” said Molly. “We’re all looking forward to seeing what comes next. There are a lot of possibilities for this space.”

White Rabbit Galleries Scholarship Fund celebrates those who have supported the arts. Scholarships are given in memory of Suzanne Jones Richardson and Carol Marsh. If you would like to support this fund, please give us a call or you can donate now. They hope to make their first scholarship award this spring.