United Way of Summit & Medina today hosted its annual Report to the Community event at the John S. Knight Center in Downtown Akron. Bringing together a crowd of approximately 1,000, the event served as an opportunity to engage leaders across Summit and Medina counties at a pivotal time.
Highlighting the changes taking place across the community, United Way of Summit & Medina board chair, Brad Wright, encouraged attendees to be a part of the work that will shape the future of the community. “The conversation doesn’t end in this room,” said Wright. “I encourage you to listen and be ready to carry this conversation forward.”
The centerpiece of the event was a panel discussion featuring business and civic leaders from across the community, moderated by United Way’s strategic planning and diversity, equity and inclusion chair, Bishop David Parker of Zion Apostolic Church. On the panel were:
- County Executive Ilene Shapiro – County of Summit
- Shammas Malik – Akron Ward 8 City Council member and presumptive mayor of Akon
- Judi Hill – president, Akron chapter of the NAACP
- Tamiyka Rose – deputy chief of staff, City of Akron
- Kemp Boyd – executive director of Love Akron
- Tracy Carter – director, government affairs and health policy, Summa Health
The hourlong discussion focused on a wide range of topics, from the community’s response to the recent grand jury decision on the death of Jayland Walker to the economic future of Summit and Medina counties.
“I truly believe that we’re facing a moment that will define our community for the next generation,” said Bishop Parker. “It’s up to us to ensure that our future is defined by a shared sense of purpose, by compassion and by hope.”
Following the panel, Jim Mullen, president and CEO of United Way of Summit & Medina, took to the stage. He provided an update on the progress of the Sojourner Truth Legacy Plaza, now under construction at United Way’s office in Downtown Akron and expected to be completed this fall.
Looking ahead, Mullen highlighted the work United Way is doing across Summit and Medina counties especially in bringing services to where they’re needed most – into neighborhoods and within easy reach of those who need them.
“At United Way, we work in our community, with our community and for our community,” said Mullen. “So today, United Way services – from free tax preparation to housing assistance – are available in neighborhoods across Summit and Medina counties. And we’re committed to extending our reach, to ensure that these services, which help people succeed and thrive, are part of the very fabric of our community”