Community Found

New Leadership at Barberton Community Foundation

By Josh Gordon, Executive Director


A close up photo of Josh Gordon in a gray suit.

Josh Gordon, Executive Director

It is an honor to write my first article as the new Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation.  

For those of you who I have not yet connected with, let me share with you why I love being in Barberton.  

Born in Columbus, Ohio, I moved 13 times before finally moving to my adopted hometown, Barberton. I grew up as a “corporate gypsy,” traveling from community to community while my father was in pursuit of the next rung on the corporate ladder. I lived in communities outside Columbus, Chicago, Atlanta, Chicago (again), Charlotte, and more.  

I’m actually thankful for having moved so much now that I’m an adult. But my gratitude mindset would not be possible without having discovered how incredible  Barberton is over 20 years ago. 

Here’s why. 

Growing up, I didn’t know what a “community” was. I was moving every 1-3 years from the time I was born! I never felt the benefit of having a long-time group of friends, or living in the same neighborhood, or even having teachers who all knew me and my family. I never understood what a gift that is!  

Thanks to living in Barberton, and the amazing people in this community, I now have the perspective to appreciate how lucky I am to be in the Magic City.

Who are some of those amazing people?  

I could give a long list – but I’ll start with my neighbors. 

The neighbors on my left built a pool a few years ago and are kind enough to invite my family – including all 4 of my kids – over to swim whenever we want. How nice is that?  

My two neighbors across the street are also awesome. One is the teacher who has taught English language arts to two of my four kids (so far). Her husband is super smart, kind, and really good at disc golf. My other neighbor is a helpful man with a wonderful family… I often joke that he is “the man of the house” at my house because he can fix anything. He also teaches me a lot without even knowing it, like how to be a great neighbor by shoveling someone else’s driveway when they get busy with life. How kind and caring are these folks?  

On the other side is a family who has a daughter the same age as my youngest and they play together when it’s warm. Her parents are so kind when my daughter hangs out with them, giving her snacks. Why? Because they are loving people!  

During COVID, we talked a lot, (at a distance, of course!) as our lives weren’t as busy . Somehow keeping our distance in the world at that time managed to make us all closer as neighbors.  

I know if I ever need help or support, these folks would rally around me and my family.  

Plus, my in-laws live three blocks away. My family of six has eaten more of their food than is fair. But they welcome it. 

My best friends live six blocks away. Their backyard is our family’s oasis in the summer. Our kids are growing up together and are close friends, too.  

With all of my moves, I never once experienced the type of kindness and caring and connection that Barberton just “does” naturally.  

And all I had to do to “earn” everyone’s kindness and friendship was simply to live in Barberton!  

Here we root for each other. And we shrug off the doubters who make fun of our community,because we know how special it is. If only those doubters had the humility to come experience how great Barberton is.  

Again, I’ve moved 13 times. I’ve experienced a lot of communities and neighbors. The Barberton experiences I describe here are NOT common in the world. These neighbors, these friends, this magic – is rare. My experiences have taught me that Barberton is the exception, not the rule, as a community.  

In history class, my kids learned the “Magic City” got its name from its tremendous economic growth in the early 20th Century.  

But I know the real truth behind our nickname. The “Magic” in our city is the people and how much they care for and look out for one another.

How fortunate are we to be here?  

Barberton has another amazing gift – a Foundation that received an original gift of $86 million in 1996.  

In my new role as Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation, I get to work with others to take care of this gift and grow it to make sure it is providing as many opportunities as possible for our residents. Those opportunities come in the form of supporting nonprofits that serve our community, our School District, our City government, and our business community.  

Our team and board will continue to work hard to create the most positive impact for the most people here. 

I have been described as someone who has “a lot of energy” and passion for Barberton. Why? Because I know how special it is. My job now is to work hard to help make it a place where everyone feels lucky enough to live, learn, work, play, visit, and experience the Magic City.  

And I will need your help.  

To start – I’d like to connect! I have heard people have questions about the Foundation, and I’m happy to answer them all. I’d love to meet you at our upcoming Meet and Greet event on March 8 from 4-6pm at Kave.  

If you ask a question I don’t yet have the answer to, I’ll find the answer and follow up with you. That’s what we do for each other here in Barberton!  

I look forward to meeting you, serving you, and building Barberton together!  

In community, 

Josh Gordon


Meet & Greet

Like what you read about Josh? The Foundation is hosting a Meet & Greet with Josh Gordon on Friday, March 8 from 4-6pm at Kave Coffee Bar. Join us!