The Akron Community Foundation is expected to receive more money to fund grassroots organizations that help Summit County residents directly impacted by the opioid epidemic.
The money comes from settlement funds the county received from a federal lawsuit over the role the pharmaceutical industry played in the ongoing outbreak.
The Akron Community Foundation in October approved 16 grants totaling $341,485 in the first round of grants from the Summit County Opioid Cure Fund, which the county’s Opioid Reduction Advisory Council established in the summer last using the settlement funds.
“These grants really make a difference in our community. We stay in constant contact with these 16 organizations,” said John Garofalo, vice president of community investment for the Akron Community Foundation. “And the funds they’ve received are being used wisely, efficiently, effectively to help address the opiate epidemic in the community.”
Grants from the fund are for organizations not currently funded by Summit County ADM Council and programs that provide peer support services, recovery-oriented services, and community recovery events.
Summit County’s 16-member Opioid Reduction Advisory Council, which recommends how the money should be used, has determined that many small, nonprofit agencies in the community provide basic assistance to people who are addicted to opiates. and their families, but they are usually not funded by larger organizations. agencies.
The foundation planned to award a total of $500,000 in grants, as it had received $500,000 in county opiate settlement funds, with individual grants totaling up to $25,000.
Garofalo said in the first round, 28 applications were received, with the foundation funding 16 of them for $341,000.
Garofalo said that when the foundation opened a second round, “we didn’t think we would get this much.” But the foundation received $481,000 in requests.
The foundation expects to fund about $275,000 of the requests, but needs more funding to do so, hence a request for more money for the county settlement.
Garofolo said eight of the programs requesting funding are new and did not receive first-round funding, while the others are from agencies that received first-round funding, but for different programs.
Last week, Summit County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee recommended passing a resolution to amend the county’s grant agreement with the Akron Community Foundation to provide an additional $250,000 to the program. .
The full board is expected to vote and likely pass the resolution at its next meeting on Feb. 28.
So far, Summit County has distributed more than $5.5 million in settlement funds — received as part of the federal trial involving Summit and Cuyahoga counties that focuses on the role of the pharmaceutical industry in the opioid epidemic – to local organizations.
The COVID-19 pandemic has indefinitely delayed the next phase of the trial, which focuses on the role of pharmacies in the opioid epidemic. Counties allege pharmacies saw but failed to act on overprescribing and overordering.
Who received money from the Summit County Opioid Healing Fund?
Organizations that have received funding through the Summit County Opioid Healing Fund thus far include:
• 3R Foundation, $20,500 for the Reentry, Reconnect, Restoration (3R) project, which educates youth and adults about the dangers of opioid use.
• Akron Say No To Dope, $15,000 to increase capacity at the New Beginnings Thrift Store on Kenmore Boulevard.
• AxessPointe Community Health Centers, $25,000 to increase awareness of the problem of substance use disorders among seniors through a year-long advertising and awareness campaign, with the goal of encouraging people struggling with substance use disorders to seek help.
• Broken Chains Jail & Prison Ministry, $25,000 to provide recovery services and workforce development programs.
• CASA Board Volunteer Association, $23,985 to provide advocacy support to children exposed to substance abuse.
• Freedom House for Women, $25,000 for the Courage to Change program, which provides peer support services to women with opioid use disorders.
• Hope United, $20,000 to provide bereavement support groups for Summit County residents who have lost a loved one to addiction.
• Keys to Serenity, $25,000 for the Keys to the Heart Family Program, a 12-month program that provides educational and supportive events and programs for families and children affected by substance abuse in the home.
• Legacy III, $25,000 to help women with a history of substance abuse find safe and affordable housing.
• MODE – Miracles Occur, Days Enriched, $20,000 to support addiction outpatient and partial hospitalizations.
• Rachel’s Angels, $15,000 to develop visual media and online content for peer prevention presentations in local schools.
• Safe Harbor Norton, $25,000 to provide Level II recovery housing for men in Summit County.
• Sarah’s House Inc., $7,000 for a prevention program for people over 60 years old.
• South Street Ministries, $25,000 to support the organization’s recovery and reintegration programs and events.
• The Packard Institute, $20,000 to provide ongoing recovery support and professional development for recovery coaches and other addiction professionals.
• Truth & Honor, $25,000 to provide recovery support services and training opportunities to veterans referred by the Summit County Valor Court program.