A Note on the Needs Assessment

From Suzanne Allen Ph.D., executive director of Barberton Community Foundation

By now you have heard about, or participated in, the needs assessment that Barberton Community Foundation and our partners facilitated at the beginning of the year. In the coming weeks, we are releasing the executive summary of those findings and considering how the assessment informs our strategic planning for the future.

I want to thank our board of directors for supporting the survey, along with our three partners, Jeff Ramnytz at Barberton City Schools, Dr. Michael Hughes at Summa Health – Barberton Campus, and Mayor Bill Judge with the City of Barberton for their collaboration on this effort.

I would also like to thank Measurement Resources Company (MRC), who conducted the community-wide survey, held focus groups and produced the final report and recommendations.

Why did we facilitate this survey and what do we hope to accomplish with the data we have received?

At the conclusion of 2021, Barberton Community Foundation completed our final payment on the construction of Barberton High School. For the past 20 years, the majority of our granting capacity has been tied to the high school’s debt payment. Now that this responsibility has concluded, we can turn our attention to other needs in the community. In order to do that, our plan is to identify what those needs really are.

The Foundation had three key questions for the needs assessment to examine. What strengths and challenges exist in Barberton? How do different elements of the community influence each other and contribute to the broader story of need? Where is the City of Barberton and the Foundation best positioned to make a real impact on quality of life in Barberton?

We found that Barberton community members value Barberton as a small-town and a family-oriented community with history and opportunity. However, adults and youth reported challenges with the social climate in Barberton, some difficulty in finding adequate opportunities for employment and voiced concerns over the condition of roads and sidewalks. Despite these concerns, there is a strong desire to see, and assist with, growth and improvements in Barberton.

One focus group participant said, “People who grew up here, live here, work here, take pride in being from here. There are a lot of people who step up and want to see the city get better due to that hometown pride.”

The Foundation is going to utilize this data to help us build our strategic framework for 2023 and in the future. The executive summary of this needs assessment report lists the strengths and top needs identified by the research and will be available on our website (www.barbertoncf.org) in the coming weeks.

If you are interested in a deeper conversation about the findings in the needs assessment, please contact me at (330) 745-5995.