Community Partnership Spans County Lines

Kent State and Akron-based foundations strengthen the local community in the midst of the pandemic

Kent State University and Akron-area foundations have partnered to support students in the Greater Akron community in a time of dire need through a collaboration that prioritizes positive regional impact and improving lives through education. 

Six Akron-area foundations provided support in an effort to assist Kent State students from the Greater Akron area who were experiencing financial hardships related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Lehner Family Foundation, Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust, Akron Community Foundation, Laura R. and Lucian Q. Moffitt Foundation, Lloyd L. and Louise K. Smith Memorial Foundation, and Glenn R. and Alice V. Boggess Memorial Foundation donated a total of $21,500 to the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund. 

Established in March 2020, the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund assists students who are experiencing unexpected and urgent financial burdens as a result of the pandemic. Emergency grants of up to $1,000 can be awarded to help students with basic needs, including housing, food, rent, utility assistance, technology costs, tuition, fees and books. The ultimate goal of the fund is to keep students on track to graduation. 

The $21,500 provided by the foundations is earmarked to serve Kent State applicants in need who are graduates of Akron Public Schools or other Summit County high schools. Kent State currently serves 6,286 students from Akron and surrounding communities within Summit County. Of those students, 44% (Akron) and 33% (Summit County) are Pell eligible/low income, thus placing them at higher risk of negative economic impacts from the pandemic. To date, 43 Kent State students from Summit County have received assistance from the resources provided to the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund by these foundation partners.

Making a positive regional impact is one of the five strategic priorities of the university’s A Strategic Roadmap to a Distinctive Kent State. That begins by ensuring students of all backgrounds have the education, experiences and support they need to graduate. Community partnerships fuel that mission by investing in and supporting local students who will improve their communities upon graduation. Kent State is also dedicated to creating a diverse and inclusive environment with equitable opportunities and resources for all.

By prioritizing student success, Kent State has helped local students achieve their academic goals: 

  • About 6,300 students from Akron and Summit County are enrolled in undergraduate or graduate studies at Kent State.
  • Kent State is recognized nationally for its commitment to supporting underrepresented and first-generation students in their pursuit of higher education and career success.

“Recognizing the value of positive regional impact, Kent State and our community partners are working together to educate the next generation of leaders in our area and to build a brighter future for all in Northeast Ohio,” said Benjamin Tipton, executive director of foundation relations at Kent State.

Others interested in supporting the Kent State Emergency Grant Fund can do so at

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Media Contacts:
Benjamin Tipton,, 330-672-0416
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595

POSTED: Wednesday, December 23, 2020 - 10:17am
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 29, 2020 - 1:36pm