We envision an improved quality of life for Barberton residents, now and forever.

Economic Development: Partners and Programming

Barberton Community Foundation has long partnered with the City of Barberton and Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) to support businesses and economic development in Barberton.

In 2020 the Foundation contracted with the Greater Ohio Policy Center to assist with the creation of a new impact plan for economic development and the Foundation’s role within that space. The Impact Plan outlined several action steps focusing on downtown development, investing in Barbertonians and hiring an economic development expert to build programming. Ted Herncane was hired in 2021 to facilitate the priorities in the impact plan.

The programs and partnerships listed here are the result of the efforts of the Foundation to strategically look at ways to increase our communitywide impact.


Bounce Innovation Hub Partnership

A new opportunity for Barberton residents or Barberton business owners 

Foundation is embarking on a partnership with Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub to bring awareness of Bounce’s programs, services and facilities to Barberton residents.

Bounce is a nonprofit organization that serves northeast Ohio’s entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses and features co-working, private office and meeting and conference room space.

Founded in 2018, Bounce comprises nine floors and more than 300,000 square feet in a nearly 100-year-old rehabbed B.F. Goodrich tire plant on S. Main St. It currently houses more than 50 organizations and offers a vibrant, safe community for anyone who uses the space.

This partnership allows scholarships to two programs for individuals living in Barberton or whose business is located in Barberton, including the MORTAR at Bounce program (a value of $295)  and the Aspiring Entrepreneur class (a value of $75).

Barberton resident Jolese Rogers first to use Foundation scholarship at Bounce

Jolese Rogers is the first Barberton resident to take advantage of Barberton Community Foundation’s scholarship to MORTAR at Bounce Innovation Hub. MORTAR is a 15-week small business accelerator that helps established entrepreneurs take a deeper dive into the nuances of business ownership to grow their company.

Aspiring Entrepreneur Program

Enhance your entrepreneurial mindset and develop functional skill sets.

The Aspiring Entrepreneur program is a 10-week program for anyone thinking about becoming an entrepreneur and running their own business. As part of the GROW program at Bounce, participants will leave with an action plan and a new entrepreneurial mindset.

Program includes:

  • Action planning
  • The first steps to business validation
  • Curriculum and materials
  • Business coaching
  • Affordable workspace
  • Networking opportunities

MORTAR at Bounce

A program designed for women and minority entrepreneurs.

The MORTAR at Bounce is a 15-week business accelerator for established small businesses in a non-technology industry who are ready to grow and take a deeper dive into the nuances of business ownership.

The program is guided by a culturally competent curriculum and cohort-style classes encourage entrepreneurs to support each other. It focuses on serving minority- and woman-owned businesses, but applications are open to any entrepreneur or small business owner.

Program includes:

  • Cohort model for driven entrepreneurs to support each other
  • Access to legal support
  • One-on-one mentorship to provide guidance throughout the course
  • Opportunity to pitch your idea in front of potential investors, community leaders and customers
  • Ongoing support system provided by MORTAR and partner organizations and business support and brand development strategies that continue even after graduation

Bringing Heritage Ohio to Barberton


The Ohio Main Street Program, administered by Heritage Ohio, works with communities across the state to revitalize their historic downtown areas.

The program is designed to improve all aspects of downtown, including improving economic management, strengthening public participation, honoring historic preservation and beautification and making downtown a fun place to visit.

The D.A.R.T. (Downtown Assessment Resource Team) visit is one of the first steps toward establishing a Main Street program. Thank you to everyone who attended our public visioning session on April 26. 

Thank you to our sponsors: Barberton Community Foundation, Arts Now, the City of Barberton, Downtown Barberton Merchant’s Association, Ignite Brewery, NDS and Summit County Executive, Ilene Shapiro. 


For more information, visit

Barberton Needs Assessment

Barberton Community Foundation partnered with the City of Barberton, Barberton City Schools and Summa Health – Barberton Campus to conduct a citywide needs assessment. 

Now is a good time to be asking questions of our community. Not only has the pandemic has changed the way many of us work, it has changed the way we spend our time, our money, and set our priorities. The same is true for Barberton Community Foundation. In 2021 we completed our final payment on Barberton High School and we now have significant dollars to grant and invest for years to come in the community, and we want to make sure we are doing this prudently.

So, what are those questions? We want to know the top needs, at the community and individual levels. We also want to know what makes Barberton a good place to raise a family, build a career and explore the Magic City. We are asking where the community is currently directing resources, to what extent do our current priorities align with our community members’ needs, and where we should prioritize resources? The answers to those questions will help us determine our focus for grantmaking and economic development while also highlighting societal trends in education and the health of our community. Our partners are also interested in these answers and trends, as they will help them determine their priorities.

We are proud to share the executive summary of the needs assessment which outlines the answers we have received to our questions. The Foundation will use this assessment to assist with our strategic approach to 2023 and beyond.

The Foundation invites the community and our stakeholders to please call us with any questions at (330)745-5995.

Letter from the Director: Suzanne Allen, Ph.D. Discusses Needs Assessment

Suzanne Allen discusses initial takeaways from the Needs Assessment and why the time is right for a new study. Read more…

Partners Discuss Barberton Community Needs Assessment Report

Barberton Community Foundation, the City of Barberton, Barberton City School District, and Summa Health sponsored the 2022 Needs Assessment for the Barberton community. The Needs Assessment is an in-depth analysis of the top assets and needs within the historical and growing Barberton community. Read more…

Thank You to our Partners

Barberton Community Foundation would like to thank Dr. Michael Hughes and Summa Health – Barberton Campus, Mayor Bill Judge and the City of Barberton and Mr. Jeff Ramnytz and Barberton City Schools for their support of the citywide needs assessment.

PRI Loan Fund

The Foundation makes Program Related Investments (PRIs) in order to stretch our financial resources, enhance our philanthropic impact and implement our economic and community development goals.

Federal regulations list three characteristics that distinguish PRIs from traditional foundation investments:

  • The Foundation’s mission is the primary motivation.
  • Generating income is not a significant motivation.
  • PRIs cannot be made with intent to influence legislation or a political election.

The Foundation partners with Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) to provide PRI funding to Barberton businesses. The loan program has invested over $14 million in economic development projects since its inception.