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


Tuscora Park Health & Wellness Foundation Announces Fourth Quarter Grants


TPHWF Announces Fourth Quarter Grant Recipients

Tuscora Park Health and Wellness Foundation is pleased to announce the fourth quarter grant awards of 2020. The Foundation granted a total of $42,406 to nine area nonprofits serving Barberton, southern Summit County and surrounding counties.

Magical Theatre Company was awarded $7,500 for their PBIS Video Project. This project builds on their long-standing collaborations with Akron Public Schools and Barberton City Schools to provide a series of videos for the elementary and middle schools’ Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program. The videos will focus on anti-bullying and the Three Rs (Respectful, Responsible, and Ready). Students will learn to appreciate differences in others, develop tolerance, improve conflict resolution, reduce disruptive and noncompliant behavior, insubordination and bullying among students.

Akron Canton Regional Foodbank was awarded $7,500 for their 2021 Barberton Direct Distribution Program. This is a long-standing program that supports the food insecurity programs at the Barberton Salvation Army, including the distribution of a high volume of fresh produce.

The Barberton Community Wellness Collaborative, through Red Oak Behavioral Health, was awarded $6,406. The Collaborative consists of seven community behavioral health agencies: AxessPointe Community Health Centers, CHC Addiction Services, Child Guidance and Family Solutions, Coleman Professional Services, Greenleaf Family Center, Limitless Ambition, and Barberton City Schools, along with the Parent Teacher Student Association. Their mission is to support PreK-12th grade student success, strengthen resiliency and address the needs of the whole child, their families and school staff.

The CATCH (Coordinated Approach to Child Health) Program at Lake Anna YMCA received $5,000. CATCH provides latchkey afterschool programming to Barberton Schools. The program encourages overall health and wellness through physical activity and onsite food preparation demonstrations.

Family Promise of Summit County’s program called Family Wellness Initiative received $5,000. Family Promise works to help homeless families with children stay together while they achieve sustainable independence. Funds will be used to support case management, parent education, community resource referrals, and the purchase of oral care items, sanitizing agents, masks, hygiene products, toiletries, socks and underwear.

First Tee – Greater Akron was awarded $5,000 for their First Tee in Barberton 2021 program. First Tee is an educational, golf-based youth development program. It works with kids ages 4 to 18 with a focus on girls, minorities and urban, at-risk youth. With this grant First Tee will establish programs at Lake Anna YMCA and the Salvation Army in Barberton.

Services to Summit County Emancipated Youth in Foster Care, a program through Chair-ity, Inc., was awarded $3,000. This organization serves youth who age out of the foster care system at 18 and must begin independent living without the support system of parents, guardians, or relatives. Chair-ity, Inc. provides furniture and household goods.

The Foundation awarded Family & Community Services $2,000 to support their program called Meals and Supplements for Mobile Meals Recipients in Southern Summit County. This program provides meals to low-income and disabled individuals in southern Summit County.

The Foundation awarded $1,000 to support the Disaster Cycle program through the Greater Akron & Mahoning Valley Red Cross. This award provides support for disaster services, including financial assistance, food supplies, lodging, immediate mental health services and continued client management.

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 January 15, 2021.  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.

Barberton Community Foundation Announces Fourth Quarter Grants, New Board and Friends

Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met via Zoom on Thursday, November 19, to approve $89,224 in grants to 10 area nonprofits, to thank outgoing board members, to induct new board members, welcome the newest friends of the Foundation, and to approve the 2021 budget.

The City of Barberton was awarded $20,000 in matching funds for the Newton Park Improvement Project. Funding will be used to provide matching support for the Land and Water Conservation grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The finished project will include significant improvements to Newton Park for storm water management, as well as a playground, soccer complex, walking trail, lighting, and parking.

The Foundation granted $15,000 to Red Oak Behavioral Health to support the Barberton Community Wellness Collaborative. This Collaborative consists of seven community behavioral health agencies which are working together to support student needs at Barberton Schools. The Collaborative’s goal is to treat the needs of the whole child (pre-K – 12th grade students) and set them up for success.

Barberton Victim Advocacy Program received $15,000 to continue the services of a victim advocate at Barberton Municipal Court. The program is run by Victim Assistance Program, Inc. which provides support and safety to victims of crime, while informing them of their rights and guiding them through legal processes.

The Barberton Farmers’ Market Food Access Expansion program provided through Countryside received $9,500 in funding. The program provides tokens or vouchers to SNAP and WIC recipients which can be used to make purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables at Barberton Farmers’ Market.

The Foundation granted Child Guidance & Family Solutions $8,500 for their Toddlers & Preschoolers Succeeding (TAPS) Program. This program helps preschool teachers in childcare centers recognize and appropriately manage challenging child behaviors in the classroom, with the goal of reducing/eliminating expulsion from preschool. 

Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank was awarded $7,500 for their 2021 Barberton Food Distribution efforts. Funding will support the direct distribution program of the Foodbank which is carried out by the Barberton Salvation Army, as well as a Foodbank food credit to Barberton Area Community Ministries (BACM).

The Foundation granted $7,500 to Magical Theatre Company for the Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Video Project. This project builds on Magical’s partnership with Barberton City Schools by providing a series of videos for the elementary and middle schools, focusing on anti-bullying and the “three R’s” (respectful, responsible, and ready).  

Girls on the Run Northeast Ohio received $2,500 to support their programming at Barberton Elementary West, Barberton Elementary East, and Barberton Middle School. GOTR has prepared programs for virtual participation that continue to promote their core mission of supporting healthy lifestyles in girls.

Barberton Girl Scouts, through Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio, was awarded $2,000. Funding will be used to assist families in Barberton who cannot afford the participation fee. There are 20 Girl Scout Troops in Barberton with 187 girls currently participating.

The American Red Cross of Greater Akron/Mahoning Valley received $1,724 for their Disaster Cycle Services. This program supports emergency disaster funding for families in Barberton.

The Foundation then approved the 2021 budget and concluded the meeting by inducting three new members to the Board of Directors.

The Foundation thanked Edna Boyle and Tina Linton for their service to the board. Edna has served on the Board of Directors since 2012 and Tina since 2013. Both have been instrumental on the Grants Committee and have provided valuable guidance over their terms.

The Foundation holds a 15-member board, with several members approved through Barberton City Council. With the transition of Michael Vinay away from the City, the Foundation approved Trevor Hunt to a board position with approval of City Council. The Foundation also welcomed Moriah Cheatham-Williams and Elizabeth Mayreis to three-year terms.

The Board approved Josh Gordon as Board Chair, Jason Slater as Vice Chair, Lynne Holcomb as Treasurer, and Jennifer Bidlingmyer as Secretary.

The Foundation would like to formally welcome the newest Friends of the Foundation: Joyce Coburn, Stuart Glauberman, Robert McDonald, Judge Todd McKenney, Denise Ratchford, Christopher Richardson, Bob Ryan, David Wynn, Susan Wynn, and Dustin Zuravel. They join current friends: Edna Boyle, Michael Chisnell, Mary Jo Goss, Tom Harnden, Paula Kallio, Kathy Maybin, and Melanie Vinay.

Barberton Community Foundation Announces Third Quarter Grant Partners

Barberton Community Foundation awarded $54,000 to five area nonprofits in the third grant quarter. Congratulations to our newest grant partners!

Barberton Parks and Recreation received $25,000 to support the continued work of the Parks Department. Funding will support programs and events such as the annual Mum Fest, Summer Concert Series, and Active Adult Center programing, as well as park maintenance and park improvements such as the addition of a pickle ball court and frisbee golf.

AxessPointe Community Health Centers, Inc. received $15,000 to support the expansion of their Food is Medicine Program to Barberton. AxessPointe is an integrated health hub helping underserved patients. The Food is Medicine program will address food insecurities and chronic health problems by providing healthy food, intervention, supplies, shopping tips and recipes for patients who are referred into the program.

The Foundation awarded OhioGuidestone $6,000 to distribute Telehealth Family Engagement Kits. These kits are used for in-home therapy for clients in Barberton. Providers are able to reference the kit’s materials during remote therapy, which has been shown to enable better engagement during sessions.

The Strong Start Program at Embrace Clinic & Care Center received $4,000 for program support. The Strong Start Program provides a mix of material support and a yearlong educational program for new families.

The Foundation granted Greenleaf Family Center $4,000 for their Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program (ASPP). The program focuses on mental health and wellness and suicide prevention for Barberton Middle School and Barberton High School students.

Barberton Community Foundation is changing to three grant cycles beginning in 2021. The deadlines are: February 1 for Education and Workforce & Economic Development; June 1 for Arts and Community; and October 1 for Health and Wellness. 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 If you are interested in applying for a grant from the Foundation, contact Carrie Herman, Director of Community Impact, at 330-745-5995 or email Grant recipients must be nonprofit organizations and programs must benefit Barberton residents.

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.

Read more in-depth about our 2020 Game Changers in the Winter 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.

Barberton Community Foundation