The City of Akron, United Way of Summit County and Huntington National Bank today announced that they would be partnering to launch Summit County’s first Financial Empowerment Center in the Akron neighborhood of Kenmore. This is being made possible by Huntington Bank’s donation to United Way of its Kenmore branch at 1060 Kenmore Blvd. The 4,000-square-foot facility will provide a venue for financial counselors – hired and trained by United Way – to meet with local residents and help them build assets, reduce debt, budget for the future, improve their credit scores and access safe and affordable banking services.
Set to open in the first quarter of 2018, the Financial Empowerment Center in Kenmore will directly support United Way’s Bold Goals, which seek to improve key conditions in the local community by 2025. For its Bold Goal #3, United Way is working to financially empower 11,000 Akron residents, especially those who are working, but who are struggling to get traction financially.
“We are extremely grateful to Huntington Bank for giving us the opportunity to accelerate our Bold Goal work in partnership with the City of Akron,” said Jim Mullen, United Way president and CEO. “United Way’s Financial Empowerment Centers will help thousands of Akron residents build more stable, financially secure lives. And we are thrilled that the people of Kenmore will be there to help us build a better future for Akron, just as they are working so hard to revitalize their own community.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of a recent study commissioned by Ohio United Way, United Way of Summit County and 45 other Ohio United Ways that draws attention to the struggles of Ohio’s working families. Released earlier this month, the Ohio ALICE Report found that 40 percent of Summit County households – and 57 percent of Akron households – earn less than Ohio’s basic cost of living. This is the same population United Way hopes to partner with through its Financial Empowerment Centers.
“Kenmore is a vibrant neighborhood at a tipping point in its development,” said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. “The City is working hard to facilitate a continued stream of public, private and philanthropic investment into Akron that will have a significant impact on the social and economic health of our neighborhoods. We are incredibly proud to welcome the first United Way Financial Empowerment Center to the Kenmore neighborhood to complement the growing activity along Kenmore Boulevard and to provide valuable services that will help empower and uplift our working families. We look forward to being a key partner in the Center’s success here in Akron.”
“Huntington is proud to partner with United Way and the City of Akron to invest in pathways that lead to a stronger tomorrow,” says Nicholas Browning, president of Huntington Bank’s Greater Akron Region. “The Financial Empowerment Center will benefit thousands of people in Summit County. Our friends and neighbors will now have access to sound financial education and counseling, which will strengthen the fabric of our community by enabling families to pursue their dreams and secure a future filled with financial success.”
The facility – located in the heart of Kenmore in southwest Akron, adjacent to neighboring Barberton – makes for an ideal jumping off point for United Way’s financial empowerment work. From there, United Way will be able to serve residents of both Akron and Barberton, and the lessons the organization learns there will fuel the expansion of Financial Empowerment Centers to other locations in Akron.
“This is a landmark moment for United Way of Summit County,” said Christine Mayer, chair of United Way’s board of directors. “It’s an important step towards the board’s vision of a United Way that advances its work both through partnership with other nonprofits, and through direct service. With this donation, Huntington has greatly accelerated our first foray into the direct service part of that vision.”
“We are incredibly thankful to Huntington Bank and to the residents of Kenmore with whom we are eager to partner,” she added.
Find out more about United Way’s forthcoming Financial Empowerment Centers at uwsummit.org/FEC.