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Vernon L. Odom Fund grants support diversity initiatives throughout Summit County

Published: February 27, 2014 12:46 AM

AKRON, Ohio – On Friday, Feb. 21, the Vernon L. Odom Fund of Akron Community Foundation awarded $7,800 in grants to programs that promote diversity and enrich the quality of life within local minority communities.

Two grants went to partners of the newly formed Summit County Fatherhood Initiative, a collaboration spearheaded by Akron Community Foundation to pool resources to end father absenteeism locally. Fathers and Sons of Northeast Ohio and Williams Challenge each received $900 to help at-risk fathers develop healthy relationships with their children.

The Williams Challenge grant will fund the Man 2 Man Fatherhood Building Program, a series of educational workshops for men who are transitioning out of the court system or have otherwise been absent from their children’s lives. The free program teaches fathers important parenting skills and provides a supportive environment for men who need help finding employment, gaining visitation rights, and re-entering society from prison.

Similarly, a grant to Fathers and Sons of Northeast Ohio will support fatherhood education classes for homeless men at the Haven of Rest shelter. Men in the program will receive child support debt counseling and learn how to navigate the court system to request parenting time. They will also receive employment coaching specifically designed for people with a history of felony convictions and substance abuse. The ultimate goal is to help these men become better fathers and play an active role in their children’s lives.

Other grants this year will teach leadership skills to inner-city adolescents, prepare at-risk students for college, and provide financial literacy training to minority youth.

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The following is a full list of Vernon L. Odom Fund grants:

About the Vernon L. Odom Fund

The Vernon L. Odom Fund was established in 1993 in honor of the late Vernon L. Odom Sr., respected long-time leader of the Akron Urban League. Since its inception, the fund has grown to more than $225,000 and awarded nearly $130,000 in grants to innovative programs that promote ethnic and racial harmony and improve the quality of life within greater Akron’s minority communities. For more information about the Vernon L. Odom Fund or to contribute, visit www.akroncf.org/odom or call 330-376-8522.

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