Barberton Community Foundation Receives Clean Audit, Opens Game Changer Nominations and Economic Development Funding at May Board Meeting

Barberton Community Foundation Receives Clean Audit, Opens Game Changer Nominations and Economic Development Funding at May Board Meeting

Barberton Community Foundation Receives Clean Audit, Opens Game Changer Nominations and Economic Development Funding at May Board Meeting

(May 20, 2024 Barberton, Ohio) –Barberton Community Foundation’s Board of Directors met for their regular meeting on Thursday, May 16, 2024.

The meeting opened with a “mission moment” from Barberton City Schools teacher Heather Miller and AMHA representative Valerie Bechtel. Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Bechtel shared how successful a tutoring program at Van Buren Homes has become. This program is a partnership between BCSD and AMHA to provide tutoring to students at the Van Buren Homes community center. Barberton Community Foundation has funded this program as a matching grant partner with the schools for the past two years. Mrs. Miller shared that since the program’s beginnings, it has expanded from 1 to 5 teachers on site, increased to 4 days a week, and teachers see an average of 25 kids from all different grades. The students are putting in the work, too. Mrs. Miller shared that one student was able to increase her math test scores by 20 percentage points since the start of the school year.

Another key outcome is that, while the program began as an outreach initiative to AMHA families, it has become successful enough that parents from around the city are taking their kids to Van Buren Homes for tutoring. Miller said they abide by five core tenants for the program. “We provide a safe space to work, a quiet space to work,” Miller said. “We provide help. We are a continuation of their school day, and we promote a culture of learning and inclusiveness.”

The Foundation’s grant approval in February secures funding for this program through the 2024-2025 school year.


Tiffany Peters, Director of Finance reported the Foundation has received a clean audit with an unmodified opinion for the 2023 fiscal year. The board unanimously approved the Foundation’s 2023 Audited Financial Statements. Josh Gordon, Executive Director, said,


The board approved a motion to bring Brad Angeloff onto the board, pending Barberton City Council approval. Angeloff is a lifelong Barberton resident and has a strong financial background, especially in banking and economic development projects, a key focus for the Foundation. “We think he’ll make a great addition to the board,” said Gordon. “We look forward to being in a position to add his talent and expertise to our board.”

Economic Development

The Board continues to focus on initiatives benefiting downtown and economic development in Barberton. Along with Main Street Barberton funding, Newell Street Industrial Park, and Program Related Investments, the Foundation funds two programs aimed at business and building owners. The Economic Development Assistance Program (EDAP) and Downtown Rehabilitation Program (DRP) applications are open June 1-30.

Game Changers

The Board’s Development Committee is seeking nominations for the 2024 Game Changer Award. This award recognizes an individual and an organization or business that has made a positive impact on the community. Details and nominations are open now until June 10. Game Changers are recognized at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner Celebration on November 7. Make your nomination today!

Other Business

Peters announced the launch of GOfund, a new portal where donors and fund representatives can log in to an account and see fund activity, donation history, investment returns, and spendable amounts of the fund. “Adding GOfund to accommodate our donors is a significant advancement for the Foundation and our focus on technology that provides transparency and clarity for donors and fund representatives,” Gordon said.

The Health and Wellness grant cycle applications are due Monday, June 3. Grant partners should submit an LOI and complete an application in the GOapply portal. Contact Barberton Community Foundation at 330-745-5995 with questions.


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





Meet Barberton Community Foundation’s 2023 Game Changers

Meet Barberton Community Foundation’s 2023 Game Changers

Meet the Foundation’s 2023 Game Changers

Each year Barberton Community Foundation honors an individual and an organization that have made a positive impact in Barberton. The Foundation is proud to announce our 2023 Game Changers are Brian Canale and Common Threads Closet.

Brian Canale said it was a shock to hear he had won the nomination. “I thought I overdrew a fund!” He said. “I’d like to thank those who nominated me. I never expected to be recognized.”

Common Threads Closet is located at 211 3rd Street NW in the lower level of Lakeview United Methodist Church. The organization provides clothing, shoes and small home goods to those in need. Director Cindy Bach couldn’t wait to tell her volunteers. “Everyone here is so excited. Our volunteers are absolutely game changers.”

The Game Changers will be celebrated at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner, held on Thursday, November 2, 2023. Get your tickets today!

Meet Brian Canale

Most of Barberton will recognize the name of third generation operator and owner Brian A. Canale, who runs two of Barberton’s beloved chicken houses: White House Chicken and DeVore’s Hopocan Gardens. Beyond his role as a restaurateur, Brian has been quietly donating to area school sports programs and supporting hunger initiatives for years. A fun fact, Brian is a founding member of the Barberton Sports Hall of Fame. He signed up the first year they offered memberships in 1979 and, more recently, he received their O.C. Barber Award in 2020.

Brian Canale sets a strong example as a community-focused businessman and servant leader. If you have ever participated in a Barberton sports team, chances are high he has sponsored, donated to, or fed your team. Brian has never shared much about his charitable giving because, as he says, “It’s just something you’re supposed to do.”

Brian says charity is a family value, but it really showed when he began working at Hopocan Gardens. He said, “My dad taught me the business, but my grandfather taught me the wisdom.” His grandfather, William DeVore, was the original owner of DeVore’s Hopocan Gardens. When Brian took over the business, William said something that has stayed with him. “We feed everybody.”

“He was referring to our employees and customers,” Brian said. “All I’ve done is take that message beyond the restaurant’s walls.”

That sense of community is the reason Brian is being recognized this year. Brian holds two funds at Barberton Community Foundation: the Barberton City Schools Synthetic Football Field Turf Fund and the Chicken Open Fund. He is chair of the Turf committee, the group responsible for the annual Turf Auction, the main fundraising event for the synthetic field at Barberton High School. The school’s turf project launched in 2018 and raised more than $250,000 in its first year toward upgrades to the stadium and to install synthetic turf on the field. His second fund, the Chicken Open, is an annual golf tournament supporting Barberton and Norton high school golf teams, Barberton All Sports Boosters, and food-based charities like Barberton Area Community Ministries (BACM) and the Akron-Canton Food Bank.

As an extension of his grandfather’s message, Brian wants to benefit the Ben Curtis Family Foundation and their Birdie Bag program with his Game Changer title. Bridie Bags are given to children who need extra meals over the weekend in Barberton City Schools. In 2022, Ben Curtis Family Foundation provided over 1,400 Bridie Bags each month. Each bag contains six meals and four snacks.

Those who want to celebrate Brian are invited to support Ben Curtis Family Foundation’s Birdie Bag program through the Foundation’s website.

Common Threads Closet Volunteers

Meet Common Threads Closet

Common Threads Closet is a Barberton nonprofit organization providing clothing of all sizes, shoes, home goods, and small appliances to those in need. Families and individuals pay $5 a year (which isn’t required up front) to have an account. Those in need can take up to 30 items per person each month. Anything chosen is tracked on a database and credited to their account. A team of volunteers processes each donation, organizes items and prepares hot meals. The closet is open twice a week, on Thursdays from 4-7pm and Saturdays from 10am-1pm.

Common Threads first opened on January 3, 2013. A decade later, they currently serve over 2800 families from multiple counties and process more than 80,000 items a year.

“The general thought at the beginning was, the economy was bad, and we could help people with clothing,” said director Cindy Bach. Common Threads stayed with that mission, to provide clothing to those in need, until COVID. “Then people needed more help, and they were coming in with different problems. We realized we needed to provide food and meals as well.”

COVID decidedly changed how Cindy sees the role of Common Threads in the broader network of agencies that provide social-support services. “One of the things I learned early on is that needs in this community differ greatly, and when you’re serving an at-risk population, you are always trying to lower barriers.”

Some barriers are higher than others, and Common Threads is taking aim at some of society’s most systemic issues. Cindy explained that many people she sees are grandparents on fixed incomes or are considered the working poor. Some are homeless or have health problems. Common Threads is growing toward meeting the needs of these most at-risk populations. “We are starting to offer more support for people by getting ID’s, and finding housing that is appropriate,” she said. They’re also looking at introducing mentors: volunteers helping homeless individuals through the system.

Cindy Bach opens Common Threads Closet Endowment Fund

The growth of this organization wouldn’t be possible without dedicated volunteers. Cindy credits extending and embracing a culture of “everyone is welcome” through her volunteers for the success of Common Threads. “We take everybody,” says Cindy. “We have folks who volunteer from home because they have limited mobility. If you want to help out, we will work with you. There’s a job for everyone.”

Common Thread’s history is tied to Lakeview United Methodist Church, where they’re located. “In the past you had to belong to the church to volunteer at the closet, but now our doors are wide open. We have every faith you can imagine volunteering here.” Cindy added, “We’re not religious, we’re faithful.”

Common Threads Closet recently established an endowment fund with the Foundation. The fund will support the continued growth of Common Threads and provide future resources. Readers are welcome to support Common Threads through their fund by visiting the Foundation’s website.

Annual Dinner

Both Brian Canale and Common Threads Closet will be recognized as Barberton Community Foundation’s 2023 Game Changers at our Annual Dinner on Thursday, November 2, 2023 at the Galaxy in Wadsworth. Tickets will go on sale online on Friday, September 1. Donations can be made to the Ben Curtis Family Foundation Birdie Bag Fund or to Common Threads Endowment Fund by visiting our donation page, or by mailing a check to 460 W. Paige Ave. Barberton, OH 44203. Call us at 330-745-5995 with donation or ticketing questions.

Foundation Announces 2022 Game Changers

Foundation Announces 2022 Game Changers

Congratulations Game Changers

Barberton Community Foundation is proud to announce the 2022 Game Changers: Mike Moore and the Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329. This individual and organization are recognized for their history of service and on-going commitment to Barberton.

Please join the Foundation in congratulating Mike Moore and the Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329 as our 2022 Game Changers. We will celebrate their accomplishments at our Annual Dinner on Thursday, November 10, 2022, at the Galaxy Restaurant. Tickets will go on sale in September. 

Mike Moore: A Life of Service

Mike Moore was selected for the Game Changer award in recognition of his willingness to help those in need. A member of St. Augustine Church, Mike currently serves as the president of the Coalition of Concerned Christians, a network of nine area churches that provide everything from the weekly soup kitchen at First Presbyterian Church, to clothing and laundry support through Common Threads Closet, to support with rent and utilities from the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Mike is also an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Barberton where he installs grab bars in showers and bathrooms for senior citizens with disabilities for a $25 donation to the club.

The many stories of Mike’s service tell us that he is a doer and a problem-solver. There are stories of folks needing extra food, gas money, car repairs, hedges trimmed, outfits for work, covering a shift at the soup kitchen, or simply an encouraging word. Whatever is needed, Mike finds a way to provide help.

Mike moved to Barberton in 1972 and worked a thirty-year career as the maintenance planner at PPG. He views himself as a D.I.Y. guy who has managed to surround himself with many wonderful people. Primary among those individuals is his wife of thirty-four years, Linda Moore. “She is the driving force behind me,” Mike says. They are often seen working the soup kitchen as a team. When asked about why he gives so much to his various causes, Mike told the story of a particular day in the soup kitchen. “Ray Leach gives us donuts to pass out at the soup kitchen,” he says. “Well one day, a little girl picked up one of those donuts and said to her parent, ‘Look mommy! I get breakfast tomorrow morning!’” Mike paused and said, “If that don’t knock your socks off… I don’t care how much gas it takes, how many stairs I’ve got to climb, how hard it is, or what I need to fix. I’m going to do it.”

Mike said that volunteering is inherently rewarding. “The actions that we take on behalf of others are our reward.” 

Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329: A Culture of Giving

Barberton Firefighters Association Local 329 was selected to receive the Game Changer award for their many years of service in support of the Esther Ryan Shoe Fund Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser, organized by Magic City Kiwanis each year. “We are incredibly excited to receive this award,” said Mike Beckman, president of the Firefighters Association. “It’s wonderful for the guys to be recognized for their hard work and volunteerism.”

The Esther Ryan Shoe Fund Spaghetti Dinner has become famous over the years for the participation of Barberton’s firefighters. Mike Beckman explained that the association took over the task of cooking the spaghetti (and guarding the recipe for the sauce) from a group of teachers in 1992. “That started the tradition here and we’ve continued to build on it,” he said. For thirty years, Barberton firefighters have been donating their time to this fundraiser, including through the pandemic, when it was take-out only.

Mike said that giving back is a particular value of the culture at the Firefighters Association. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without the guys who came before us leading the way. We try to build on and expand what they’ve done, so we are always volunteering in the community in some way.”

The Firefighters Association awards an annual scholarship to a Barberton High School senior, which they’ve increased to two students this year, and they fundraise for Operation Warm, which provides coats for kids. Last year they donated over 200 coats to kids at Head Start. They also participate in Adopt-A-Family as well as sponsoring many local fundraisers for student sports.

With roughly half of their 40 members living in Barberton, Beckman said it’s important to keep volunteerism as a core piece of the association’s culture. “If you are called to service as a firefighter, you are called to help people. You want the best for your community. Around here, someone always steps up.”

Virtual Dinner a Success

Virtual Dinner a Success

Barberton Community Foundation Logo

On Thursday, November 4, Barberton Community Foundation held its Annual Dinner virtually on Zoom

Over 100 people joined, with some choosing to host small gatherings in their homes to watch the event. The night was full of celebration for the Foundation’s 25th anniversary and included a check presentation for $2.1 million to Barberton City Schools for the final payment on Barberton High School. The payment represents the completion of the first promise Barberton Community Foundation made to its residents: agreeing to build Barberton High School. The Foundation has been making payments on the building for more than 20 years and has saved residents $58 million in real estate taxes.

Josh Gordon, Foundation Board Chair, said that the completion of the school payment is a success we all share. “As we celebrate the conclusion of the biggest project in the history of the Foundation, we must begin the work of finding the next aspects of our community in need of support. We are focused on identifying our greatest needs, especially in the areas of economic development and education. After 25 years and more than $105 million in grants, Barberton Community Foundation is just getting started.”

The honored guests of the evening were 2021 Game Changers Lisa McLean, Dr. Michael Hughes representing Summa Health – Barberton Campus and Jeff Ramnytz, representing Barberton City Schools. Each Game Changer received an award from the Foundation and a proclamation from the state. 

Suzanne Allen, Executive Director of Barberton Community Foundation, said that while this annual dinner was unique, the sense of gratitude and appreciation for the Barberton community that is so present during the traditional event, was definitely felt through the screen. “I want to thank everyone who attended virtually tonight. Thank you for helping to make this event safe and accessible to all, and for helping us celebrate tonight.” Suzanne said. “I especially want to thank our Game Changers for joining us, and for the incredible work they have done for this community. Each of you and your organizations are truly appreciated.”

The evening ended with an announcement from Suzanne regarding a new fund called Celebrate Barberton, created with the Foundation’s anniversary in mind. The new fund will partner with the City of Barberton to provide grants to each ward in the City for community projects, fostering engagement and community sprit across the city.

“Barberton is special,” Suzanne concluded. “Not only is it one of a very few small towns with a significant community foundation, but it has an enormous sense of pride – purple pride. For that too, we are thankful. Thank you all.”