2020 Game Changers Announced

Foundation announces 2020 Game Changers

Barberton Community Foundation is pleased to announce our 2020 Game Changers: Dorothy Somerville and the Barberton Area Jaycees!
Dorothy Somerville is the executive director of Barberton Area Community Ministries (BACM), a local food pantry providing services to Barberton area residents. Dorothy has converted her job into a personal mission. During the COVID-19 outbreak in March, when other food pantries closed, Dorothy expanded BACM’s services. Dorothy’s supporters say she has a tireless work ethic and her compassion and care for those in need of BACM’s services is witnessed and appreciated by many. Dorothy said, “I am overwhelmed and so humbled by this honor. Being a nurse, I am just doing what comes naturally-helping those in need.” Barberton Community Foundation is proud to recognize Dorothy as a 2020 Game Changer.
The Barberton Area Jaycees were nominated for the many years they have supported Barberton’s families through their volunteer work. The Jaycees are a not-for-profit organization of young people seeking to improve their community. The selection committee felt that their 76-year history of service, including their Back to School program, pageants, scholarships, Thanksgiving food basket program, Project Santa, Cherry Blossom Festival, and Christmas lighting downtown has long been unrecognized. Don O’Brien, President of the Barberton Area Jaycees, said he really appreciated the award. “On behalf of the Jaycees, I would like to thank the committee and the Foundation for this award. It has always been the mission of the Jaycees to impact our community for the benefit of all.”
Congratulations Dorothy Somerville and Barberton Area Jaycees!
Thank you to everyone who submitted a nomination. 2020 looks a little different for the Game Changers and Barberton Community Foundation. Our Game Changers are normally recognized during the Annual Dinner in November. This year, as we adapt to the changes COVID-19 has brought to our community, stay tuned for an in-depth story on the Game Changers in the Herald, online, and in our next newsletter.

The Foundation has a new Furry Friend

Summer Becomes First Furry Friend

John Yarsa and his therapy dog Summer are an incredible pair. John says Summer can brighten anyone’s day, and we have to believe that’s the real reason why Summer has so many pairs of sunglasses. Barberton Community Foundation staff had the pleasure of meeting Summer in early August. The staff was so delighted by her, they decided to make her the first “Furry Friend of the Foundation.”
John and his wife Laura worked together to train Summer. Laura especially believed in Summer and wanted to share her with the world. Laura sadly passed away last year, and John has continued to make visits to local organizations with Summer. You might have read about some of Summer’s activities. She’s participated at Barberton Public Library’s “Paws to Read” program, visited residents at Pleasant View Nursing Home, Summit DD, and more. John said he’s sharing Summer’s story because it’s important to remind people of the importance of therapy dogs. “She’s really something special,” said John. “I’d like to encourage more people to consider training their dogs for therapy work.”
As a Furry Friend, we have asked Summer to remind everyone that we have two funds that benefit our four-legged Barberton residents: The City of Barberton Dog Park Now and Forever Fund, which was established to maintain the dog park at Decker Park, and the Heart of Gold Humane Fund, which assists low-income Barberton residents spay or neuter their dogs and cats and also assists with the cost of rabies vaccines through One of a Kind Pet Spay/Neuter Clinic. Both funds are active and accepting donations. Visit and click “donate now.”
Thank you, Summer for being the sweetest girl and thank you, John for sharing her with us.

Become a Friend of the Foundation

Barberton Community Foundation is seeking candidates to serve as “Friends of the Foundation.” The candidates must be a current resident of Barberton, work in Barberton or volunteer in Barberton.

“Friends of the Foundation” play a significant role in the success of the Foundation. They are expected to actively participate in many areas of the organization’s work, which may include:
• Serve on committees as a voting member, as requested
• Assist with special events
• Be an ambassador for the Foundation
• Provide knowledge and assistance with donor outreach

We are seeking candidates who could bring knowledge and expertise in one or more of the following categories of need and possibly broaden our diversity:
• Experienced entrepreneur with innovative visionary mind-set for the future;
• Professional or entrepreneur experience in commercial and residential real estate and/or economic development;
• A public health professional or administrator;
• Professional experience in health and wellness;
• Experience with developing or professionally serving in education, arts, or in a social services area;
• Professional experience serving in the investment or financial services industry.

Friends are encouraged to attend Board of Director meetings, and will adhere to the same protocol offered to guests.

Friends may also be considered as potential Directors for the Foundation Board as vacancies occur within certain areas of need.

The deadline to apply is August 7, 2020.

If you are interested in becoming a candidate for the “Friends of the Foundation,” please send a cover letter and resume by email to Suzanne Allen, Ph.D., Executive Director, Barberton Community Foundation at or call 330-745-5995 should you have any questions.

Nominate a 2020 Game Changer

It’s that time of year again! The annual Game Changer Award is open and accepting nominations through August 1.

So far, 2020 has been unforgettable for many reasons. Help us identify those individuals and organizations who deserve recognition for an exceptional response to an exceptional year.


Nominees should be an individual or an organization that has made a positive impact in Barberton through their leadership, vision and/or commitment to the community. Positive impact is placed into four categories: community image, educational excellence, economic development, and social service. Finally, they should be connected to the community through their work, volunteerism, or by residency.


The Game Changer award is traditionally presented during Barberton Community Foundation’s annual dinner. Due to COVID-19, the Foundation has decided not to hold the annual dinner for the health and safety of our community. A recognition video will be made to honor award recipients.

Process and evaluation:

The application window is open until August 1. A committee, consisting of a cross section of citizens from Barberton, reviews all nominations and makes a selection by the end of August.

Tuscora Park Health & Wellness Foundation Announces Second Quarter Grant Partners

Tuscora Park Health and Wellness Foundation is pleased to announce the second quarter grant awards of 2020. The Foundation granted a total of $38,168 to five area nonprofit organizations serving Barberton and surrounding areas.

Embracing Futures, Inc. received $11,168 for their Orthodontic Care Program. This grant will fund the full cost of orthodontic care for two children. The program promises that children who complete treatment will receive straight and easy-to-care-for teeth, will have improved oral hygiene, and have increased confidence and self-esteem. Embracing Futures Inc. provides care for children with severe orthodontic problems who are growing up in economically disadvantaged families, and who have been turned down by Medicaid.

The Foundation awarded $10,000 to United Way of Summit County for their 2-1-1 Services for Barberton Residents program. 2-1-1 is a free, confidential, 24/7 information and referral helpline and website that helps residents find the health and social services they need.  During 2019, 2-1-1 provided 3,863 referrals to Barberton residents including referrals for food, utility assistance, and housing.

Rape Crisis Center (RCC) was awarded $8,500 for their RCC Summit County Advocate program. Funding will support one full time advocate providing core services to survivors and co-survivors of sexual violence in Summit County. The RCC provides counseling, outreach, advocacy, education, and many other services to the community.

The Foundation awarded $5,000 to OPEN M for their Medical and Dental Clinic and Pharmacy. Funding will support the continued operations of this free clinic and pharmacy for uninsured, low income patients. Funding will also be used to purchase medical supplies, equipment, and medications needed to treat patients. OPEN M is located in Akron and is currently providing free telehealth visits.

Victory Gallop’s Rider Scholarships for Children with Special Needs program received $3,500. The program will support rider scholarships for children with special needs who are from economically challenged families. They will participate for 12 to 36 weeks and be in at least one horse show and be able to participate in a range of other activities offered by Victory Gallop, including indoor and outdoor riding, horse shows, barn days, fitness activities, an in-hospital equine visitation program, an Adopt-a-Horse program and other fun activities and parties for children and their families.

Tuscora Park Health & Wellness Foundation is a private and independent philanthropic organization and awards grants on a quarterly basis. For the next grant cycle, proposals are due July 15, 2020.  The Foundation asks any grant applicant to first submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) before submitting their application. More information about the LOI process is available online at For those nonprofits interested in applying to Tuscora Park Health and Wellness Foundation, please download a grant application from or contact Carrie Herman, Director of Community Impact for Barberton Community Foundation, at 330-745-5995 or email her at Proposals must promote health and wellness opportunities to the residents of Summit and contiguous counties.

COVID-19 Small Business Loan Partnership and Expansion of Emergency Response Fund

Barberton Community Foundation Board of Directors votes to create the Barberton Small Business COVID-19 Emergency Loan Fund and provide further funding to the Emergency Response Fund

On Monday, March 30, the Board of Directors of Barberton Community Foundation held an emergency meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on Barberton and the role of the Foundation during this difficult time.

In response to the pressure COVID-19 has placed on our community’s small businesses, the Foundation board voted to create the Barberton Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, in partnership with the Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) and the City of Barberton. The fund will be administered by BCDC and will be available to Barberton small businesses who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Wagner, Executive Director of Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) said, “This decision exemplifies how important it is for the Foundation, the City, and BCDC to work together. We’ve achieved a real strategy to help our small businesses weather this crisis.”

The Barberton Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will provide $200,000 to loan to small businesses. BCDC will oversee this fund, which will provide a maximum loan amount will be $10,000 per business. Loans will be offered at 0% interest and will provide short-term (1-3 year) payment terms. Additionally, payments will be deferred for 60 days. To be eligible, a small business must be a for-profit enterprise with its principal place of business located in the City of Barberton. The business must employ a minimum of three and a maximum of twenty-five individuals for at least twenty hours per week. Businesses must demonstrate a financial need and desire to continue operations by first applying for a U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan specifically related to the COVID-19 pandemic and/or another SBA loan program established to support small businesses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additional guidelines are available. Additionally, the business must not be in receivership or bankruptcy and cannot primarily sell tobacco products. The loan proceeds also cannot be used for vehicle or equipment lease or rental payments for personal property acquired on or prior to March 15, 2020.

Mayor William Judge stated, “I am pleased we are able to administer a useful and needed program that can have a quick turn-around for the business community. We’re here to help in any capacity needed.”

Barberton Community Foundation Board Chair Denny Liddle said he is proud of the Foundation’s ability to quickly respond. “The Barberton Community Foundation strives to position itself as a community leader, and we are proud of our quick response to COVID-19. Today we were able to build on that response and expand our commitment to the community by making funds available to BCDC and in partnership with the City of Barberton. I want to thank our board members for recognizing the need in our community and for pursuing a plan that puts us ahead of this crisis.”

Barberton small businesses can apply for this Emergency Loan Fund, along with SBA loans and the new Summit County Small Business Emergency Relief Grant Program to help provide continued working capital during the pandemic. For more information on this program, please contact Scott Wagner, Executive Director of Barberton Community Development Corporation ( or Brett Fogle, Director of Finance of the Barberton Community Foundation (

Additionally, during the emergency meeting the Foundation board voted to approve funding of an additional $50,000 from the Foundation’s Reserve Fund to the Foundation’s new Emergency Response Fund that was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This Fund was created to provide financial assistance to nonprofits responding to the broader social impact of COVID-19 in Barberton. To date, this fund has distributed over $11,000 to nonprofits working in our community thanks to the donations of private individuals and organizations.

Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Allen said, “Today’s decision shows the commitment of our board to Barberton’s successful future. I’m encouraged by the creativity and willingness of our community leaders to think and respond quickly to the needs of the community.”

The emergency fund is something board member Tina Linton is particularly proud to see. She said, “Community members immediately looked to the Foundation in concern for our children when schools closed earlier this month. It quickly became clear there were also other related community needs as well. The Foundation stepped up to collaborate with the schools, the City, food banks, and donors.”

Allen said the community has already showed their resiliency by giving to the fund. “I want to thank the individuals and businesses that have already donated to the emergency fund. In this time of uncertainty, choosing to donate is a powerful decision and makes a direct impact.”

Anyone wishing to donate to the Emergency Response Fund should visit the Foundation’s website at or call 330-745-5995. To donate directly online follow this link:

If you are a nonprofit organization working to provide emergency food to insecure families, working in community health, or are providing additional services needed to alleviate hardships suffered by Barberton residents please contact Suzanne Allen, Executive Director ( or Carrie Herman, Director of Community Impact (

Barberton Resources (PDF)

New Emergency Response Fund

Barberton Community Foundation has established an Emergency Response Fund to provide financial assistance to nonprofits responding to the broader social impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) in our community.
After Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement yesterday that all schools will close for three weeks, our community is asking an important question: how do we feed our children?

Many organizations are working to answer that question, including Barberton City Schools, where 77% of students qualify for free and reduced lunch. Superintendent Jeff Ramnytz stated that the schools will be organizing food drops at bus stops for families, and other organizations and businesses in town are stepping up as well.

“Barberton is made of resilient people who take care of their neighbors,” said Denny Liddle, Barberton Community Foundation’s board chair. “I am so proud and relieved that our city has an organization like the foundation that can respond quickly to meet our community where they are.”

How can you help? Click here to donate now.

If you are a nonprofit organization working to provide emergency food to insecure families, working in community health, or you are providing additional services needed to alleviate hardships suffered by Barberton residents, please reach out to us. Call us at (330)745-5995 or visit us at 460 W. Paige Ave. Or email our executive director Dr. Suzanne Allen, at

BCF Announces New Hire for Director of Finance

Barberton Community Foundation welcomes Brett Fogle, CPA, MT as our new Director of Finance effective October 10, 2019.  

Brett 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 of the Foundation’s granting, investment and operational needs. Brett will work in connection with our economic development partners to monitor our program-related investments and Foundation-owned properties.

“We are delighted to welcome Brett to Barberton Community Foundation and to introduce him to the Foundation family,” said Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Allen. “Brett is a graduate of Barberton High School and has deep family ties to the community. He described working in Barberton as a dream opportunity. We hope everyone will give Brett a warm welcome.”

Brett has fourteen years’ experience in public accounting, with a concentration in nonprofit and small business accounting, cash management and administration. Professionally, he worked as a manager for Cohen & Company for two years, working as a client ambassador and consultant for tax credit and opportunity zone studies. He is a 2003 graduate of Barberton High School, from there earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Malone University and a master’s degree from the University of Akron. He is a Certified Public Accountant, and is a member of several nonprofit boards including Malone University School of Business Advisory Council.

Brett’s fun fact is that his was the last class to attend the old Barberton High School on Hopocan Ave. for one year. He and his wife, Susan, have two children. His favorite activities include watching his kids play soccer and spending time with family and friends around a fire. Brett has shared with us that he feels like he’s coming home. He is looking forward to making new partnerships and working with the many friends in the Barberton community he’s known his entire life.


Announcing our Third Quarter Grant Partners

Congratulations to our 3rd quarter grant partners

Barberton Community Foundation is pleased to announce our third quarter grants totaling $89,584 to six area nonprofit organizations serving Barberton. Grants were awarded to:

Greenleaf Family Center’s Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program was awarded $3,000. This program provides presentations to middle and high school students, staff, and community members regarding mental health, depression and suicide. Their goal is to reduce stigma, help identify and respond to youth in distress, and teach students a help-seeking process for themselves and peers in need. It is an evidence-based program that has been proven successful.

Embrace Clinic & Care Center’s program “Strong Start: Barberton” was awarded $3,000. The Strong Start program works in collaboration with the Safe Kids program from Akron Children’s Hospital. The program provides material assistance, as well as educational and emotional support to families for the first year of a child’s life. Funding this program allows Barberton families currently on a waiting list to receive support.

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. was awarded $15,000 for the expansion of the Barberton Health Clinic. AxessPointe provides dental, medical, behavioral health, and women’s health services to Barberton residents. The expansion will provide additional dental, behavioral health, and medical services, as well as a 340b pharmacy.

Embracing Futures, Inc. received funding for their Orthodontic Care Program totaling $5,584.00. Embracing Futures is a nonprofit organization helping children with severe orthodontic problems. Serving southern Summit County, 95 children received care in 2018. Funding directly supports programming and services.

Child Guidance and Family Solutions received $8,000 to support their Toddlers and Preschoolers Succeeding (TAPS) program. This grant impacts the Foundation’s educational excellence focus area. The TAPS program provides coaching and professional development for early childhood educators. Educators learn how to incorporate social-emotional skills in the classroom, and how to support children as they learn to process and communicate emotions. The program has been successful in decreasing preschool expulsions. Child Guidance and Family Solutions currently supports four Barberton preschool centers, impacting 200 children and training 30 educators.

Barberton City Schools received $55,000 for playground improvements to provide safety and handicap accessibility at Barberton Preschool. We understand that play is an essential component of learning for young children. Barberton Preschool is a high-quality preschool program that works to get Barberton students ready for kindergarten. This grant provides rubberized flooring for the first phase of the play space.

Barberton Community Foundation partners with community stakeholders, donors, and charitable organizations to improve the quality of life for Barberton residents by maximizing the strategic impact of charitable contributions. Our mission is to strengthen the Barberton community for current and future generations by providing leadership, fostering collaboration, and creating a legacy of giving to do good.

Barberton Community Foundation awards grants on a quarterly basis. For the next grant cycle, proposals are due October 1, 2019. For those nonprofits interested in applying to the Foundation, please download a grant application from or contact Carrie Herman, Director of Community Impact, at 330-745-5995. Grant recipients must be a nonprofit and must benefit Barberton residents.

Foundation Fund Donates new boat to City of Barberton Fire Department

Barberton Fire Department was able to purchase a new boat thanks to a generous donation from the City of Barberton Safety Services Fund held by Danny Sanchez at Barberton Community Foundation. 

Lt. Mike Beckman said the fire department desperately needed a boat like this. “It’s quick, versatile, and deployable which is important. We can fill it up using the air at the station or off the truck,” he said. The boat is made of a heavy durable material, and has many straps for places to hold onto. When not in use, it collapses to the size of a duffle bag for easy storage on a truck. The boat was built by Phoenix Safety Services in Ohio. 

Lt. Beckman explained that the boat could be used in many instances, such as ice rescue, in the canal, or during a flood. “We have a larger metal boat, but we can’t use that in knee deep water. With this boat, we can walk beside it, or  row it,” he explained. 

During the June floods Lt. Beckman said they received multiple calls for rescue. “In flood situations, a boat like this is handy for multiple rescues as we work down a street. Even in shallow water, you can’t always see where you’re walking. You don’t know where a curb or hole could be. Now we can help elderly or disabled individuals get out of their homes more safely.” 

Lt. Beckman continued, “This boat has made our job a lot easier, so thank you to the Foundation and Danny Sanchez with the Safety Services Fund for making this possible. We really appreciate it.”   

Danny Sanchez, from Casa Del Ranchero, said he had the idea to start a fund because he wanted to give back. “Both the Barberton fire and police have been coming to our place for years. We just really wanted to give back and do something for them.” Danny typically hosts a golf tournament every year to support his fund. “It has done more and grown bigger than I ever thought it would. Everyone wanted to get involved.” 

Fire Department and Boat

Photo- (L-R) Danny Sanchez, firefighter Chris DeFrange, firefighter Dominic Morbel, firefighter Richard Schwenning, Carrie Herman from Barberton Community Foundation, Lt. Mike Beckman, and Mayor Bill Judge

Fire Department and Boat

Photo- (L-R) Danny Sanchez, firefighter Chris DeFrange, firefighter Dominic Morbel, firefighter Richard Schwenning, Carrie Herman from Barberton Community Foundation, Lt. Mike Beckman, and Mayor Bill Judge


Barberton Community Foundation