Herald Staff Writer
In December, people, both individuals and groups, pause a minute to take a look back at the year behind them.
The Barberton Community Foundation took that break with The Herald at the table.
This past year was one of significant transition at the Foundation. For the first time in its existence, it was free of debt service for the high school, having cut the last check last year. This shook loose an extra $100,000 per year for grants and prompted the Foundation to wade into economic development.
In 2022, the Foundation awarded 32 grants to 26 different recipients for a grand total of $350,000. For several years, the Foundation has carved its grant year into thirds. Education, along with workforce and economic development went first, with 13 grants adding up to $119,244.14. The second cycle was health and wellness, with another 13 grants for $133,535. Six grants went to the third cycle, devoted to arts and community, totaling $97,244.14.
Grant administrator Carrie Herman was reluctant to pick a favorite for each cycle.
“It really is like choosing your favorite child,” she said.
Pressed, she decided United Way of Summit County’s Financial Empowerment Center had the most impact in Cycle 1.
“This really changes people’s lives,” Herman said.
The center helps clients navigate the complexities of personal finance and better their fiscal standing.
Her favorite in Cycle 2 was the Girls on the Run program, which helps preteen girls with social development and healthy habits.
“Actual running is really only a small part of it,” Herman said.
For Cycle 3 she picked a brand new program by Habitat for Humanity that will pick specific neighborhoods in Barberton and, with the neighbors’ participation, transform and revitalize them.
The Foundation also handed out 16 small grants in 2022, worth a total of $28,015.18.
Next week we’ll look at scholarships and finish Dec. 29 with economic development.