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This information has been compiled by United Way of Summit County and is considered to be an
ever-evolving document.

Please contact
Cory St. Esprit at
to provide additions, updates and corrections
to this information.

Updated March 12, 2015


What is Collective Impact?
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Collaborative Efforts
In Summit County

As financial resources become increasingly scarce in the nonprofit sector, while at the same time local needs become greater, one way organizations can build service capacity is through collaboration. Summit County is well known in northeast Ohio for its collaborative spirit. Recently, Donae Ceja Eckert, United Way’s Senior Vice President for Community Impact, illustrated the range and breadth of county collaborations by compiling a summary of existing local efforts for our Board of Directors.

United Way is a huge supporter of collaboration as the best way to stretch our donors’ generosity and make the greatest positive community impact. We have been at the forefront of many of these efforts and will continue to advocate for more and stronger collaboration.

We will update this listing regularly. If you have updates or additions to the list, please contact
Cory at If you would like to learn more or would like to find ways to participate in one or more of these collaborations, Cory would be pleased to help you make the right contact for your interests.


  • Summit County First Things First (FTF) FTF is a comprehensive “system plan” for early childhood development covering the areas of early childcare and education, health, behavioral health, family support, maternal depression, and special needs and early intervention. The plan strives to address systems gaps and identify improvements needed to ensure the greatest opportunity for our children, and then to broaden existing efforts by expanding their scope or extending their focus. First Things First continues to track its progress by measuring 16 specific outcomes.
    Coordinator: Jamie Kutner, Summit County Public Health

  • Summit County Cradle-to-Career Alliance – Coordinated by the Summit Education Initiative (SEI) the mission is to engage all sectors of the community to align resources behind research supported efforts which improve student outcomes along the pipeline from cradle to career, paying particular attention to key transition points where student success is critical to further educational advancement. First Things First (above), intersects with the work of the Cradle-to-Career Alliance at the early end of the continuum.
    Alliance Coordinator: Derran Wimer, Executive Director, SEI,

  • This City Reads! An alliance of over 90 organizations that champion and leverage the power of reading to promote the future success of families, individuals, and businesses in Summit County. Formed in 2003 as a project of the Educational Leadership Roundtable, led by Bill Considine and Rev. Ron Fowler, This City Reads! is committed to significantly raising the number citizens, young and old, who can read well. Partner organizations work together to share resources around a shared mission. While by design no formal organization exists, the Akron-Summit County Public Library provides significant operational support and Project Learn serves as the fiscal agent. Other partners provide expertise and support. This City Reads! sponsors the Annual Day of Reading and the Family Reading Festival in February each year.
    Co-Chairs: David Jennings, Director, Akron-Summit County Public Library & Chris Yuhasz, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority,

  • Reach Opportunity Center at Summit Lake - This collaboration aims to bring
    comprehensive learning opportunities and increased self-sufficiency to one of Akron’s most economically challenged neighborhoods. The focus of the
    Center’s work will be Adult Education and Job Readiness along with Early Childhood Learning and Development. The long term goal is to increase economic opportunities for all residents. Sparked by a $4 million competitive HUD grant to build the physical structure, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority (AMHA) initially partnered with Akron Public Schools (APS) to build the initial vision of the Opportunity Center. The Center will include 2 kindergarten classrooms and 4 Head Start classes as well as classrooms for adults and a computer center. More than a dozen partner agencies will provide programming in the Center.
    Project Coordinator: Chris Yuhasz, Akron Metropolitan Housing Authority,


  • Adult Diploma Pilot Program - Stark State College is using an Ohio Department of Education grant to design a dual enrollment program for adults age 22 and older to receive both a high school diploma and a college credential supporting entry into an in-demand, sustainable-wage job. The College is partnering with adult education and social service agencies to identify appropriate participants, coordinate assessments and provide accessible supportive services to ensure the greatest possibility of success for students from Summit, Stark and Wayne counties. Project Coordinator: Betty Rider, Stark State College, 330-494-6170 (ext 4644)


    • Bridges Summit County Collaborative (BSC) - Bridges Summit County is a collaborative of over thirty non-profits, businesses, governments, and organizations from Summit County who are committed to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through the collective work of individual, institutional, and community partners to inform and engage the community in addressing barriers. Using the Bridges Out of Poverty framework, to date more than 3,700 individuals have been through a workshop and over 300 have graduated from Getting Ahead, a 16-session curriculum looking at building resources to move towards self-sufficiency.


    • Summit County Reentry Network (SCRN) - Assists adults coping with the barriers that result from criminal convictions. United Way teamed with Akron Community Foundation and the County’s Executive Office to provide funding to hire a Summit County Reentry Coordinator in September 2010. Current funding sources reflect increased collaboration and Network members include city and county officials, probation and parole staff, as well as business and faith community representatives. The program seeks to aid the approximately 1,500 returning citizens who leaving incarceration and come to Summit County annually. About ½ arrive without the benefit of parole/probation supervision. The Network is honored to assist ex-offenders: the vast majority of whom are eager to locate jobs, housing and the safe support systems needed to become financially self-sufficient. Reentry success rates continue to rise annually and this contributes to increased public safety, stable families, and a stronger economy for all citizens of Summit County.
      Coordinator: Terry Tribe Johnson, Summit County Reentry Coordinator

    • Income, Education & Workforce Development (IEWD) - a Summit 2020 Committee (reports up through the Social Services Advisory Board) charged with providing employers a competitive and productive workforce. The committee works to improve the work readiness of the current and future workforce of Summit County as well as increasing employers’ understanding of recruitment and retention initiatives of mutual benefit to employers and their employees. It has created and annually updates a Job Seekers Resource Guide and a Career Mapping Guide, as well as an Employers Services Guide. It is currently working on a soft-skills certification pilot project for County Executive Pry.
      Chair: Nan McClenaghan, President, Goodwill Industries of Akron

    • Summit County Continuum of Care (CoC) - Long standing coalition of agencies involved in providing or funding emergency, transitional, permanent, and supportive housing programs. The goal is to identify and fill gaps in the sheltering system, to prevent duplication and to accumulate data required to access HUD and other sources of funding. Many UW affiliates participate. Current focus is on implementing requirements of the HEARTH Act. There has also been discussion about drafting a Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness by adopting strategies that have worked in other communities.
      CoC Chair : Sue Pierson, Info Line & Helen Tomic, Akron Planning Department.

    • Local Housing and Services Cooperative (LHSC) - A Regional collaboration addressing the community living needs that will allow senior citizens to stay in their homes (“age in place”) and promote the independent living and integration of individuals with disabilities in Summit, Stark and Portage County. The cooperative focuses on housing, transportation and home modification/assistive devices.
      Contacts: Rose Juriga, Executive Director Tri-County Independent Living Center, Inc., Becky Stevens, Independent Living Advocat


    • Austen Bioinnovation Institute of Akron (ABIA) – ABIA is a collaborative effort of the three Summit County hospitals, UA, NEOMED and the Knight Foundation. While a large majority of the available funding will be focused on economic development surrounding bio-med, a portion is focused on community health and wellness. ABIA is leading the planning for an Accountable Care Community (ACC) which will be a collective effort to create a healthier community and lessen the burden of disease in the Akron region. ABIA and 7 collaborators received a $500,000 Community Transformation Grant from the CDC to build capacity for the ACC. United Way will act as a lead agency for building the supporting community and cultural networks and for providing leadership in the area of socio-economic environmental issues. The ACC will have intersection with the Summit 2020 project, Access to Care and the Minority Health Roundtable (all existing collaboratives with their own targeted goals).
      Dr. Janine Janosky, Vice President, ABIA’s Center for Community Health Improvement

    • Minority Health Roundtable the mission of the Roundtable is to improve the health of minority populations in Summit County through collaborations, advocacy, community awareness and education. Over 40 organizations participate ranging from the three hospitals to grassroots and faith-based agencies.
      Chair: LaTonya Lewis

    • Prism Health, LLC – Prism Health is a formal collaboration of three leading healthcare providers in Summit County: Community Health Center, Community Support Services, and Portage Path Behavioral Health. Prism Health Systems has expanded their services with non-profit affiliate members in Stark, Portage, Geauga, and Cuyahoga Counties. The Prism collaboration has captured significant cost savings through our increased purchasing power: shared resources including consultation services; and has opened a start-wide 24/7 Call Center and individuals seeking information or help for mental health and substance abuse concerns. Any Not-For-Profits organization is eligible to become an affiliate member of Prism Health Systems.

    • Northeast Ohio Regional Indicators and Objectives (NEORIO) – this effort seeks to improve quality of life for Northeast Ohio communities across 16 counties as indicated by positive movements in specific measures of health, social, and
      economic conditions. To-date, 20 measurable indicators have been identified. The effort has been designed and coordinated by the Center for Community Solutions (CCS) in Cleveland. Local Contact: Rich Marountas, Summit County Public Health. CCS Contact: Emily Campbell,
      for health indicators and maps

    • Summit County Dental Task Force – the mission is to assure all people in Summit County have access to dental care. Oral health care remains the most important unmet health need for children and low-income adults in the county. The collaboration includes private dentists as well as the three hospitals, the dental clinics at Akron Community Health District and Akron Community Health Resources, several universities and United Way.
      Task Force Chair: Gene Nixon, Health Commissioner, Summit County Public Health

    • Safe Kids Summit County – this coalition, based at Children’s Hospital, is comprised of a number of county-wide organizations concerned with the health and safety of youth. Safe Kids promotes and implements strategies to prevent childhood injuries through community awareness, education and public policy changes; develops and evaluates community projects designed to prevent unintentional injuries and serves as a county-wide information resource center on childhood injury prevention programs. They also provide low cost safety equipment (bike helmets, car seats, life jackets, etc)
      Coordinator: Heather Trnka, Akron Children’s Hospital

    • Domestic Violence Coalition – The coalition’s mission is to act as a catalyst to protect, support and treat victims; to restrain and treat perpetrators; and to implement effective educational and prevention programs to reduce domestic violence in our community. Participating organizations include the Battered Women’s Shelter, Rape Crisis Center, Victims Assistance Program, Summa’s DOVE, OpenM, NAMI, the prosecutor’s office, domestic court, judges and the Akron Police.
      Coalition Chair: Terri Heckman, Battered Women’s Shelte


    • Summit 2020 - Initiated as Summit 2010 by the Office of the County Executive, the original intent was to strengthen collaboration between the major public systems, and the effectiveness of services they finance or deliver. Original partners included agencies such as Department of Job & Family Services, SCB, ADM Board, DD Board, AMHA, Metro Transit, the Juvenile Court, health departments (now consolidated) and the Area Agency on Aging. The plan called for 10 major goals with 25 measureable indicators. Summit 2020 has refined the effort into five broad initiatives: early childhood, supporting older adults, economic stability & prosperity, health & health disparities and government efficiency & effectiveness.
      Contact: Donna Skoda, Deputy Health Commissioner, Summit County Public Health


    • Neighborhood Leadership Institute of Summit County (NLISC) -is a collaborative effort developed by United Way of Summit County and fourteen community partners to increase grassroots leadership engagement. Its mission is to train and empower local residents and community leaders to promote positive changes in Summit County neighborhoods.
      Co-Coordinators Devoe Johnson, United Way & Aundrey Somerville, Akron YMCA,

    • Families & Children First Council (FCFC) The mission of FCFC is to improve access to and delivery of education, health, and social services for children and families in Summit County with emphasis on the safety of children, prevention and early intervention and to integrate these services so that families have an understanding and knowledge to access the help they need. 
      FCFC Director: Aimee Budnik, Summit County Public Health

    • Summit County Fatherhood Initiative The mission is to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers. Goals include everything from fathers gaining access to their children, cleaning up child support and custody legal issues, to placing fathers in sustaining jobs. Training and placement of participants in green energy jobs has been a very successful program, and also intersects with work done for ex-offenders reentering the community. Participating organizations are primarily grassroots and faith-based, but they use nationally recognized programming. Contacts: Don Lykes, Fathers & Sons; Eugene Norris, Fame Fathers; Frank Williams, Man to Man.
      Advisory Chair: Devoe Johnson, United Way of Summit County


    • Youth Emancipation Task Force & Summit Permanency Collaborative   The objective of the Permanency Collaborative is to reduce the number of special needs children in permanent custody of Summit County Children Services that age-out of foster care. “Special needs” includes any child over 12 and sibling groups who are difficult to place. The goal is to find permanent families for children currently in custody but even more importantly, to change the process to vastly reduce the number of children who enter foster care. The Emancipation Task Force aims to support those that do age-out. The two groups have recently combined efforts. Both are comprised of individuals representing child-serving agencies sharing the common goal that no child will age-out of foster care without permanent connections.
      Karla Day, Summit County Children Services

    • Summit Food Policy Coalition – Convened by the OSU Extension, Crown Point Ecology Center and the Cuyahoga Valley Countryside Conservancy, the coalition works to improve healthy food access for all Summit County residents and spur economic opportunities for existing and beginning farmers in the Akron foodshed. Focus areas include policy, advocacy for healthy food access, entrepreneurial and market development and education. Current projects include the Summit Urban Farming Initiative which provides small grants to farmers to start or grow their business and the Corner Store project, an OSU-funded project to encourage fresh fruits and vegetables in corner stores, a mapping of county food deserts, and a Food Charter with model language on the right to healthy food access for all area residents.
      Co-Chairs: Chris Norman, East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation and Veronica Sims, Akron Summit Community Action, Inc.


    • Akron Area Arts Alliance (AAAA) – is committed to being the leading advocacy organization for arts and culture in Greater Akron, representing the collaborative voice of the non-profit community.
      Interim Director: Sandy Kreisman

    • Summit Animal Coalition – The Summit County Animal Coalition is a collaboration of local public and private animal welfare organizations that support one another for the benefit of rescued companion animals. Member organizations advocate for spay and neuter, partner to rescue, care for and shelter animals from hoarding cases, partner on community adoption events and education initiatives, share resources, identify service gaps and help one another find new homes for rescued animals. Members include Paws and Prayers, Pawsibilities, Humane Society of Greater Akron, One of a Kind Pet Rescue, Summit County Animal Control and other rescue local groups.
      Contact: Karen Hackenberry, Humane Society of Summit County


    • BVU/Center for Nonprofit Excellence BVU: The Center for Nonprofit Excellence promotes business volunteerism and fosters excellence in nonprofit organizations. With offices in both Cleveland and Akron, BVU strengthens nonprofits throughout Northeast Ohio by involving thousands of direct service volunteers from the community, matching hundreds of business executives and professionals to nonprofit boards of directors or skill-based consulting projects, providing leading-edge board and management consulting and training services for nonprofits, educational seminars, networking events, the Roger Read Resource Center and access to the Foundation Directory Online.
      Contact: Beth Winter, Regional Vice President, 330.762.9670,

    • Summit Foundations Coalition Foundations making grants in Summit County meet quarterly to discuss funding opportunities and strategies. Meetings normally have a theme, with one to several organizations making presentations. Organizations are usually invited by way of a supportive funder making the agenda request and give a brief presentation about their funding project but do not use this forum as a way to ask for a gift. Individual follow up usually takes place to the foundations from the presenting organization.
      Contact: John Petures, Akron Community Foundation

    • University of Akron Service Learning One of the key goals of UA’s Service-Learning program is to match and place community service projects within the curriculum of classes. For example, chemistry students learned about the nutritional makeup of packaged foods when they completed the “Feed a Family of Four for Fifteen” project for the Food bank. Many nonprofit organizations have benefited from this work over the last 5 years. In addition, the UA/United Way “Pay it Forward” student-led philanthropy program is also being incorporated into some classes to teach students about serving the community and learning to be a philanthropist.
      Contact: Dr. Theresa S. Beyerle, University of Akron

    • Leadership Akron’s LeaderSource – a system designed to enable users (initially LA Alumni) to connect with one another and with community opportunities that align with their individual interests and expertise. LeaderSource will widen the pool of qualified and interested prospects available for board, consulting, and specific volunteer opportunities for
      nonprofits and community initiatives.
      Contact: Mark Scheffler, Leadership Akron

    • and Akron Digital Media Center (ADMC) - free training of citizen journalists through the media center; allows for posting of original stories; many organizations have used the training to create their own videos and commercials. More than 1,100 individuals have been trained with thousands of stories created.
      Contact: Chris Miller, Akron Community Foundation

    • Civic Commons – The Civic Commons is an engagement utility and consultancy serving community leaders, institutions and the growing desire of citizens to be engaged and empowered on key initiatives. It conducts the bulk of its work on, an online environment combining the best and most effective aspects of social networking and social media and complements its online efforts with in-person engagement opportunities and tactics.
      Contact: Mike Shafarenko, Civic Commons

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