Foundation Awards $138k in Grants, Continues Support for Economic Development of Barberton

Foundation Awards $138k in Grants, Continues Support for Economic Development of Barberton

Foundation Awards $138k in Grants, Continues Support for Economic Development of Barberton

(March 21, 2024 Barberton, Ohio) – Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met at the Foundation’s office for a regular meeting on March 21, 2024 to approve $138,847.68 in grant funding to 13 nonprofit partners, affirmed a land swap deal to enhance the marketability of the Newell Street Industrial property, and provided second-year funding to the successful Main Street Barberton project.

“Between our various ongoing projects for economic development designed to improve our commercial building stock, and our continued grant investments in early childhood education resources and services, we are so excited to continue building momentum in the Barberton community,” said Josh Gordon, Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation.

Guest Sheila McGhee, Director of Barberton Preschool, spoke at the beginning of the meeting as the “mission moment.” Barberton Preschool has grown significantly since its beginning in 2017 with 60 students. Today, 240 students attend Barberton Preschool, and these students test higher and are more prepared for kindergarten than their peers who do not attend Barberton Preschool.

Highlighted committee reports include the Foundation’s economic development. The Foundation is currently accepting applications for a Director of Economic Development, with an anticipated start date in May.

Updates for Newell Street Industrial Park

Work continues on the Newell Street Industrial Complex, also known as the old Rockwell site. The Board authorized Executive Director Josh Gordon to enter into an agreement with Barberton City Schools and the City of Barberton regarding a portion of land owned by the District on Norton Ave. The Foundation and the Schools agreed to a swap of the property, allowing for a road for industrial access off Norton, and keeping heavier traffic off Newell Street, where the Middle School utilizes their drop off and pick up locations.

Supporting Downtown Businesses through Main Street Barberton

The Board approved $50,000 in operating funding for Main Street Barberton. This funding is part of a three-year commitment and partnership with the City of Barberton to fund the startup of Main Street Barberton. The organization is working to revitalize downtown by promoting current businesses, hosting events to bring visitors to experience the Magic City, and serving as a key strategist for new development.

Continuing the Foundation’s partnership with Main Street Barberton, the organization will launch a new sign design program beginning April 1, 2024, and the application period closes May 15, 2024. Businesses’ signs that are out of compliance will now have an opportunity to update their signage through a 50% matching grant program in partnership with BCDC.

First Cycle Grants Awarded

The main business of the meeting was to approve requests from the first grant cycle of the year. The Foundation awarded $138,847.68 to 13 nonprofits focused on Education and Workforce & Economic Development programs.

Barberton City School District was awarded four different grants totaling $46,847.68. Those grants include:

  • $24,000 to Barberton Preschool’s Summer Learning Program, offering a 3-week learning experience in July to better prepare students for their kindergarten year. The program prioritizes Barberton resident children entering kindergarten in the fall. Through the Foundation’s support, this program is free to attend, and transportation will be provided. For more information, contact the Preschool.

  • $9,846.68 to support services provided to families in AMHA housing from Barberton City School District. For this program, the District will match funds from the Foundation to increase (from 2 days to 4 days per week) on-site after-school tutoring for resident students at AMHA homes, provide bimonthly parent meetings, transportation to open houses and conferences, as well as student transportation for Upward Bound programs. Special note: we recognize Phil Hodanbosi for writing this grant on behalf of the District.

  • $9,000 for Improving Attendance at Barberton Primary and Intermediate Schools. Funding for this program is used for parent education, postcards, and student incentives. Chronic absenteeism is a hidden problem in schools because students can miss days for many different reasons. In the 2022-2023 school year, 284 primary students missed 18 or more days and 230 intermediate students missed 18 or more days. When students miss school, they miss important foundational skills and lessons which can never be made up. The district is hoping to close the attendance gap.

  • $4,000 to Barberton Middle School for STEM Supplies. In 2023, the School District expanded its STEM offerings to all 6-8 grade students. The District purchased $120,000 of equipment in technology-based career areas so students can explore areas that fit their interests and skills. This funding provides support for the cost of consumables used throughout the year in these labs. Examples include wood, glue guns and glue, and small hand tools for the energy lab, suturing materials for the nursing lab, and electrical wiring materials for the home maintenance lab.

Limitless Ambition received $20,000 for their program Purposely Chosen Teen Programming in Barberton City Schools. Limitless Ambition works with young women to overcome boundaries to their success. This program will work with 50 girls ages 13-18 throughout the school year, highlighting social-emotional learning, demonstrating leadership, and providing strong role models to help these girls build confidence, dream big, and achieve their goals.

National Inventors Hall of Fame, Inc. received $15,000 for 2024 Camp Invention in Barberton. Camp Invention is a summer enrichment program for Barberton Primary and Intermediate students (grades K-6) with curricula focused on developing creativity, inventive thinking, and problem-solving skills through hands-on STEM content. Funding supports 185 Barberton students by underwriting costs for children to attend based on financial need.

Child Guidance & Family Solutions received $10,000 for their program Toddlers & Preschoolers Succeeding (TAPS) in Barberton. TAPS provides on-site training for preschool and childcare staff on how best to respond to challenging classroom behaviors and improve kindergarten readiness. The organization anticipates serving 262 preschoolers with this funding.

Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio received $10,000 to support its Troops in Low-Income Communities program. This grant supports operating expenses, memberships, uniforms, and supplies for 20 girls in grades K-8 to engage in 20-week after-school STEM-based programming through the Girl Scouts.

Great Trail Council of Boy Scouts of America was awarded $10,000 to support The Exploring Program for middle and high school students. The Exploring Program is a workforce development program focusing on 12 career path exploration opportunities through a partnership with Barberton community partners (local businesses, organizations, and occupational professionals) during the school day.

United Way of Summit & Medina received $10,000 for support of their Financial Empowerment Center. The Center estimates serving 200 residents through free financial empowerment programming, including one-on-one financial coaching, tax preparation and banking assistance.

Junior Achievement of North Central Ohio received $7,000 for its program called Inspiring Barberton Students through JA Programming. Program funding directly supports financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and work readiness programming for K-12th grade students in Barberton. These programs are designed to teach students how to generate wealth and effectively manage it, how to create jobs that make their communities more robust, and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to a workplace.

Service Corps of Retired Executives Association – SCORE Akron received $5,000 for community and workforce development programs. We know small businesses are essential to the economic health of our community, but finding support can be hard. Services through SCORE include mentoring and workshop programs for Barberton entrepreneurs interested in starting their own business or expanding their existing business.

Project Learn of Summit County was awarded $5,000 for providing GED classes at the Barberton Public Library and estimates they will support 25 Barberton residents studying for the GED exam. Project Learn provides literacy and lifelong learning services that help adults achieve their goals as family members, workers, community members and lifelong learners. Since 1981, it has provided free classes to more than 27,400 adults throughout Summit County.


About Barberton Community Foundation

Established in 1996, Barberton Community Foundation has awarded over 8,500 grants and scholarships totaling more than $109 million since its inception. The Foundation strives to improve, now and forever, the quality of life for Barberton residents by providing leadership on vital issues, fostering collaboration, and creating a legacy of giving to do good. The Foundation strengthens the community for current and future generations by proactively directing its grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs. To read more about Barberton Community Foundation visit or follow us on Facebook at


Barberton Community Foundation Selects Josh Gordon as Next Leader

Barberton Community Foundation Selects Josh Gordon as Next Leader

Barberton Community Foundation Selects Josh Gordon as Next Leader

Gordon Begins Executive Director Position in mid-January, Focus on Building Community-Wide Understanding of Ways Foundation can be Impactful.

December 6, 2023

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

Josh Gordon starts as Barberton Community Foundation’s Executive Director on January 16, 2024.

Barberton Community Foundation is today announcing the selection of Josh Gordon as its next Executive Director.

Gordon is a long-time Barberton resident, husband and father of four kids who are all enrolled in the Barberton City School District.

He has also been an enthusiastic community volunteer and advocate, serving in various capacities with Barberton Community Foundation over the past decade including as a donor, board member, Educational Excellence committee chair, Vice Chair and Chair of the Board, and as a Friend of the Foundation. He has also worked on a variety of projects with the City of Barberton and the Barberton City School District to promote the community.

Gordon has over two decades of professional experience, beginning with radio, TV, and award-winning print journalism before entering the world of marketing communications. Gordon held various leadership positions in business, including leading marketing at an Akron-based software company and later as the global leader of marketing communications for ZimmerBiomet Surgical, a $600M+ division of global medical device company ZimmerBiomet.

Most recently he served as President at Full Spectrum Marketing, a full-service marketing communications firm in downtown Akron owned by Dix 1898. In his time with the firm it has grown over 9,200%, helped pass school levies in Barberton and other communities, in addition to serving the global business community with clients like Timken, Arctic Cat, as well as local and regional businesses.

“Josh is an experienced leader with an exceptional communications background and a true passion for Barberton,” said Jason Slater, Chair of the Board of Directors of Barberton Community Foundation. “I look forward to welcoming him to the Foundation in this new capacity.”

Gordon also serves as the chair of the Promotions Committee for Main Street Barberton and is a board member at Red Oak Behavioral Health, an organization that provides school-based mental and behavioral health services for K-12 students throughout Northeast Ohio.

“I am delighted to serve as the next Executive Director of this amazing institution,” Gordon said. “Though I have spent time involved with the organization in various capacities in the past, I am excited to work with our outstanding board and team to understand how to deepen our positive impact.


“I have a lot to learn, and like learning by asking questions. The first question I’ll ask is – if something is good for Barberton, what is the best way for the Foundation to be a partner?


“I really want to help everyone understand how the Foundation works. The more clear our role in the community is, the better partner we can be in everyone’s shared goal of building upon the positive momentum that is happening in the Magic City!”

Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors will welcome Josh Gordon as Executive Director at its annual meeting on Thursday, January 18, 2024.



About Barberton Community Foundation

Established in 1996, Barberton Community Foundation has awarded over 8,500 grants and scholarships totaling more than $109 million since its inception. The Foundation strives to improve, now and forever, the quality of life for Barberton residents by providing leadership on vital issues, fostering collaboration, and creating a legacy of giving to do good. The Foundation strengthens the community for current and future generations by proactively directing its grant dollars to the community’s greatest needs. To read more about Barberton Community Foundation visit or follow us on Facebook.


Foundation announces 2023 Arts and Community Grants

Foundation announces 2023 Arts and Community Grants

Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met at Summa Health – Barberton Campus on Thursday, November 17, 2023, for a regular meeting of the board. The focus of the meeting was approving the last grant cycle of 2023, featuring arts and community programs. The Foundation approved funding $93,375 to five area organizations including the Barberton City School District and the City of Barberton Parks and Recreation.

Barberton City School District received funding for two programs totaling $33,375. Bringing Barberton History to Life received $19,375. Barberton 3rd-grade students receive local history lessons as part of their social studies class. The school is working to update their curriculum with a new book on Barberton history and aligning it with Ohio’s Learning Standards. Students also receive a bus tour of the city and a tour of O.C. Barber’s Piggery as part of their class.

The school’s second program, called Refining Music Skills, received $14,000. The program requests support for funding skilled performance musicians to work with student percussion instrumentalists and advanced ensemble students at Barberton Middle School and Barberton High School. Their goal is to provide additional expert instruction to music students to improve skills and performance at band competitions and to inspire middle school students to continue with the orchestra once they enter high school.

The City of Barberton’s Parks and Recreation department received $15,000 to provide support toward the city’s programming, festivals and events including: “Day at the Park” youth programs, the senior fair and senior van trips, movie nights in the park and summer concert series.

Magical Theatre Company received $25,000 for their program called PACT (Performing Arts Can Teach). PACT provides meaningful live theatre experiences for Barberton students in grades 1,3,5,7,9, and 12. Students in these grades will take field trips to Magical Theatre Company performances. The program provides Teacher-Student Study Guides that tie into their current curriculum. Additionally, all grades in Barberton Primary and Barberton Intermediate will have professional theatre experiences at their school via touring productions.

Habitat for Humanity received $10,000 toward their 2024 Neighborhood Reborn event, which works to clean up, revitalize and transform a neighborhood in Barberton over the course of two days. This program expects to work with 45 residents, who will see direct impact on their neighborhood through tangible home and yard improvements as well as increased civic pride, improved public amenities, and an improved neighborhood perception of safety.

Barberton Diamond Sports received $10,000 to overhaul one of their baseball/softball fields and to assist in scholarships for players to alleviate expenses for families. Barberton Diamond Sports offers spring and fall baseball and softball seasons with 7 baseball teams, 4 softball teams and 4 tee ball teams, serving Barberton youth 5-14 years old and their families.

Foundation Announces 2023 Health and Wellness Grants

Foundation Announces 2023 Health and Wellness Grants

 Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met on July 20, for their regular meeting. The board approved 14 grants to area nonprofits focusing on health and wellness initiatives for Barberton. Total funding for this cycle is $139,500.


1. Victim Assistance Program was awarded $25,000 to support their 2024 Barberton Advocacy Program. This program supports 300 Barberton residents who have been personally impacted by crime, violence and trauma, as well as 300 additional clients from surrounding communities who utilize the Barberton Municipal Court.  

2.  AxessPointe Community Health Centers received $25,000 to update equipment at the Barberton location on Robinson Ave and in the mobile unit. Equipment includes an EKG, vitals machine, scale and an otoscope. The mobile unit will receive portable equipment including an HbA1c test to measure blood sugar.

3. Habitat for Humanity of Summit County received $15,000 for their 2023 Barberton New Home Build project, which will be used to construct a home on Norman Street.

4. Embracing Futures received $10,000 for their Orthodontic Care Program, which provides braces for children with low-income families.

5. CareStar Community Services received $10,000 for Community-Based Wraparound Services to Barberton students and families. CareStar Community Health Workers provide home visits, services and resources, including health screenings, as part of their wraparound program.

6. Humane Society of Summit County was awarded $10,000 to support the MABEL Mobile Veterinary Clinic visits to Barberton. The MABEL bus provides veterinary services such as spay and neuter for dogs and cats, as well as vaccines. Funding allows low-income Barberton residents to utilize the clinic for free. Funding is expected to cover spay/neuter services for 172 cats and dogs and vaccines for 80 cats and dogs.

7. Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank received $7,500 the Barberton Direct Distribution program provides food and groceries monthly at Barberton’s Salvation Army on Wooster Rd. The program’s goal is to serve 85-100 families each month and distributing an average of 18,000 lbs. of food.

8. Greenleaf Family Center was awarded $7,000 for their Adolescent Suicide Prevention Program (ASPP) which will provide suicide prevention programming for Barberton Students from July 2023 to June 2024. The programming is for approximately 1800 Barberton Middle and High School students, along with training for school staff.

9. Ben Curtis Family Foundation was awarded $6,500 to support their Birdie Bag Program. Each bag contains six meals, four snacks and toiletries for students on long weekends.

10. Stewarts Caring Place received $5,000 for cancer wellness and support services. Stewart’s Caring Place provides wigs, fittings and supplies, family and legal counseling, and assists with advocacy.

11. Family and Community Services received $5,000 to support Mobile Meals which provides hot and frozen meals and supplements to elderly, disabled or low-income residents.

12. Rape Crisis Center received $5,000 to support 150 Barberton residents in 2023 with outreach and education, support groups, crisis intervention, advocacy, therapy and other services.

13. CASA Board Volunteer Association received $5,000 for Barberton volunteer recruitment. CASA, or court appointed special advocates, are trained community volunteers appointed by a juvenile court judge to speak for a child’s best interest.

14. United Way of Summit and Medina received $3,500 to support 2-1-1 Information and Referral Services. 2-1-1 is a free, 24/7 helpline and database for health and social services available in Summit County. The helpline serves about 2,500 Barberton residents each year.

Foundation Hires New Director of Finance, Tiffany Peters

Foundation Hires New Director of Finance, Tiffany Peters

Barberton Community Foundation Logo

Barberton Community Foundation welcomes Tiffany Peters as the new Director of Finance effective March 14, 2022.

“We are delighted to welcome Tiffany to Barberton Community Foundation and to introduce her to the Foundation family,” said executive director Suzanne Allen. “We are happy she is bringing her time and talent home to her community.”

A resident of Barberton, Tiffany is an Ohio “boomerang,” growing up in Portage County and then moving with her family to Florida, where she received her MBA with a concentration in finance, management, and information systems from the University of South Florida. She returned to Ohio in 2002 and settled in Barberton in 2014 where she now resides with her husband and two children.

Tiffany said she decided to accept the position at the Foundation to be close to her children and to serve her community in a larger capacity. “I am excited to be working in Barberton,” said Tiffany. “The people in Barberton have an incredible amount of pride for their city, and I am looking forward to bringing that passion to my role with the Foundation.”

Board chair Jason Slater says he couldn’t be happier with the hiring decision. “It is a privilege to see the direct impact of your work in your own community. Tiffany is an exceptional talent, and we offer her a warm welcome.”

Tiffany brings more than 20 years of financial experience and more than 15 years of nonprofit volunteerism and experience to the role, previously serving in financial leadership roles at the United Way of Summit and Medina.

She 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 the Foundation’s granting, investment and operational needs.