On August 14, 2018, United Way of Summit County announced that it would name its new facilities at the Sojourner Truth Building after noted local business leaders and philanthropists Thomas and Lisa Mandel.
The announcement was made at a patron party that brought together board members and major donors to see firsthand the organization’s recently opened offices at 37 N. High St. in Downtown Akron. Attendees included William and Rebecca Considine, who were also honored at the event as chairs of the United Way’s Centennial Campaign.
The newly dedicated Thomas and Lisa Mandel Community Center is home to the recently expanded staff of United Way. Last month, the organization merged with Info Line, Inc. with 2-1-1 and Housing Services becoming programs of United Way.
The naming of the organization’s headquarters follows a generous $1 million investment in United Way by the Thomas and Lisa Mandel Fund of the Morton and Barbara Mandel Family Foundation. Over the years, Thomas and Lisa Mandel have maintained a close relationship with United Way, serving as advocates, longtime members of the Tocqueville Society and volunteer leaders – including chairing the United Way board – and investing more than $400,000 in the organization in the last decade alone. Thomas Mandel is president and CEO of Rubber City Radio Group.
“We are immensely grateful to the Mandels,” said United Way president and CEO, Jim Mullen. “So much of what we are accomplishing today – whether it’s working toward our Bold Goals or growing as an organization – would be impossible without the support Thom and Lisa have given throughout the years. They have left an indelible mark on our organization, and we are proud that we will now work every day to better our community in a facility that bears their name.”
The Sojourner Truth Building itself will retain its name and historic association with the abolitionist and civil rights activist who gave her well-known “Ain’t I a Woman” speech in Akron on May 29, 1851. In addition to the Thomas and Lisa Mandel Community Center, the Sojourner Truth Building houses tenant spaces on the first floor. United Way, which owns the Sojourner Truth Building, plans to rent these spaces to other nonprofit organizations, further activating the stretch of Downtown Akron that has become known as the High Street Arts District.
“Lisa and I are longtime believers in the power of the United Way to improve lives in our community, and really in every community where United Way serves,” said Thomas Mandel. “We believe that the new Thomas and Lisa Mandel Community Center, here in this historic building, will be instrumental to achieving our United Way's Bold Goals by the year 2025. And we are happy and proud to be able to assist in that effort.”
“The Mandels’ generous gift will empower our United Way as it embarks upon its second century of work in this community. The gift is both pragmatic, enabling teams of United Way staff and volunteers to work collaboratively on our Bold Goals, and inspirational, casting a vote of confidence in the organization and its future. We are deeply grateful,” said Christine Amer Mayer, current board chair of United Way.