AKRON, Ohio—(Feb. 25, 2014) – Community Leadership Institutes, a program of Leadership Akron that offers local business people experience that builds leadership skills and community attachment, will expand with a $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Pioneered in 2010 with The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., Community Leadership Institutes partner with employers to provide staff from local businesses talent-development opportunities. Participants attend learning sessions at community nonprofits that excel in a specific area of leadership development. For example, participants may visit the Akron Zoo to learn about customer focus, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank to study effective communication, or the Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition to tackle problem-solving. Participants build skills and strengthen their connection to the Akron area.
With Knight funding, 20 to 25 local businesses and 60 staff members who are new to the Community Leadership Institutes will participate free of charge in 2014-2015 to encourage their long-term involvement. To continue the program’s growth, Leadership Akron will devise an outreach plan to highlight the advantages of the program and attract new talent.
“The Community Leadership Institutes have been our fastest-growing program area, connecting leaders from our foremost employers with one another and with the community. We help them discover what the community has to offer in ways that advance their growth as leaders. It’s a win for employers looking to develop their people; and it’s a win for Akron as they connect with the assets that make it a great place to live and work,” said Mark Scheffler, Leadership Akron president.
“The program provides Akron’s rising leaders with a tangible opportunity to connect with a host of community resources and be part of shaping the city in which they live and work,” said Carol Coletta, Knight Foundation vice president for community and national initiatives. “It is an impetus for people to do more, but also to strengthen community attachment and ensure a place for rising talent into the future.”
The Community Leadership Institutes provide employers additional avenues to connect talent to the community; they complement Leadership Akron’s other programs and its independent affiliate, Torchbearers. A typical Community Leadership Institute includes four to six sessions over several months, each of which is delivered on-site at a community setting and customized to the leadership priorities of employers. Since piloting the program with Goodyear, Leadership Akron has partnered with Akron General Health System and Bridgestone Americas to create their own Community Leadership Institutes. Based on growing demand, it also created an open-enrollment version that serves participants across multiple employers.
For 30 years, Leadership Akron has equipped participants for community involvement and leadership. The signature program offers intensive study of community issues and interaction with top decision-makers, enabling participants to expand their effectiveness as community leaders. In addition to the signature program, Leadership Akron empowers leaders across generations through its other programs. For more information on Leadership Akron or the Community Leadership Institutes, visit www.leadershipakron.org/.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. www.knightfoundation.org
Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.