United Way of Summit & Medina announced that it had awarded grants to 56 programs representing 46 organizations throughout Summit and Medina Counties for its one-year funding cycle beginning in April 2021. To receive funding, organizations had to demonstrate how their programs would help meet the basic needs of local residents or advance United Way’s Bold Goals by 2025.
United Way’s previous funding cycle, announced in late 2019, had been expected to last through 2021. However, the COVID-19 pandemic spurred the board last year to redirect funding to programs supporting residents left struggling by the global crisis. This latest round of funding returns the focus to United Way’s Bold goals for Summit County and its work to support education and basic needs in Medina County.
United Way is working to boost third-grade reading scores, high school graduation rates, and college and career readiness among Akron Public Schools students, promote financial empowerment and decrease ER visits due to overdoses in Summit County by 2025.
In 2020, United Way of Summit County and United Way of Medina County merged into one organization – United Way of Summit & Medina. While United Way’s board of directors is at work identifying goals specific to Medina County, the organization awarded grants focused on advancing basic needs and education in that community.
Grant applications were narrowed down through a months-long process led by volunteer members of United Way’s Community Impact Task Force. Final approval was given by United Way’s board of directors in March and funding began in May. More programs and agencies will receive grants during the 2021-2022 funding cycle than in the previous period, and of the organizations receiving grants, 9 have never received a grant from United Way before.
Grants, however, are just a portion of United Way’s investments in the local community. In 2021, United Way will spend more than $18 million to support programs – both external and internal – that serve Summit & Medina County residents. This includes the Financial Empowerment Center, created through a partnership between United Way and the City of Akron and serving clients throughout the counties, and United Way’s 211 – which answered more than 90,000 calls for help from Summit & Medina County residents last year. Additionally, this investment includes dollars to support housing services. As a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic, United Way of Summit & Medina has been working with various community partners and agencies, including the County of Summit, to support rent, mortgage and utility assistance in the community through Summit County CARES.
“We’re proud of our program partners and the critical work they do in delivering services to people in Summit and Medina counties,” said Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina. “COVID-19 showed the importance of having programs that can help people in moments of crisis. As we move past the pandemic, we will continue to work towards a full recovery, and to ensure that our community has the services and the resources to withstand future crises.”
United Way Funded Agencies for 2021:
Akron Area YMCA
Akron Inner City Soccer Club
Akron Urban League
Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank (Summit Food Coalition)
Alternative Paths, Inc.
Asian Services in Action (ASIA, Inc.)
Battered Women's Shelter
Boys and Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio
Building for Tomorrow (AMHA)
Child Guidance and Family Solutions
Community Drug Board Inc. (CHC Addiction Services)
Community Outreach Resources Exchange
Early Childhood Resource Center
Family Promise of Summit County
Feeding Medina County
Genesis Experience Theatre
Greater Akron Chamber
Heart to Heart
Jobs for Ohio Graduates (JOG)
Kent State University Foundation
Law and Leadership Institute LLC
Medina County Police Activities League (MCPAL)
National Inventors Hall of Fame
Opportunity Parish Ecumenical Neighborhood-Ministry (Open M)
Pastoral Counseling Services of Summit County (Red Oak Behavioral Health)
Portage Path Community Mental Health Center
Project GRAD Akron
South Street Ministries
Stewart's Caring Place
Students with a Goal (SWAG)
Summer Reinforcement Program
Summit Education Initiative
The Salvation Army
Truly Reaching You
Victim Assistance Program
The Well Community Development Corporation