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.”