The mission of the Akron Urban League is to provide a holistic approach to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Summit County particularly African-Americans through Advocacy, Education, Economic Empowerment and Partnerships/Community Outreach.
The Akron Community Service Center and Urban League is a non-profit social service agency, National Urban League affiliate, and United Way affiliate, which seeks to improve the economic, cultural, social, educational, and recreational conditions affecting all citizens of Summit County, particularly African Americans, other minorities, and those most in need. As an affiliate of the National Urban League, it reaches nationwide audiences and partnerships with the other 114 affiliates making it a strong proponent for programs that can be replicated across the country.
Description of Organization
Since its founding in 1925, the agency has sought to eliminate racial and other types of discrimination and to achieve parity for African Americans and other disadvantaged persons in every phase of life. These goals are addressed though the following:
1 .Direct Services are provided to individuals and families in the areas of education, parenting, computer and business training, youth leadership, and food/resource assistance.
2. Research is conducted to study social and economic issues essential to the formulation of policies at the local and national levels and to enlarge the body of literature about Black America. This information is sent to the national organization and published annually in the journal, “The State of Black America.”
3. Advocacy is achieved for African Americans, other minorities and for the poor by speaking out on public policy issues that impact these groups.
4. Building bridges of understanding between racial, ethnic, and cultural groups is extremely important. The staff and board are interracial and promote diversity and collaborative efforts with other agencies to help build stronger communities.
In 1918 Akron was faced with the responsibility of meeting the social needs of its increasing Negro population. A group of Negro citizens headed by Attorney Thomas E. Green, Reverend R.A. Jones, Reverend E.J. Jackson, Mr. & Mrs. Williams Hardy and Mrs. Elbertha Turner asked the local Y.M.C.A. authorities for assistance. In April 1919 the Y.M.C.A. responded by employing Mr. George W. Thompson to coordinate Negro activities. Little was accomplished for the next few years. In 1924 Mr. Homer C. Campbell, Assistant Treasurer of The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company met with Mr. T.M. Fletcher who was advocating for Negro youth. Mr. Campbell brought the problems of this population to the attention of Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Sr. In 1925 The Firestone Tire and Rubber Company pledged $10,000 to be used for work with the Negro citizens of the community. These funds were administered by the Better Akron Federation and governed by a Board of Trustees that was charged with the responsibility of allocating public funds intelligently. Having no background through which they could interpret the social needs of the Negroes in the community, it appointed a five-member committee to study this particular phase of community organization and make recommendations. On this committee were Dr. Park Noble, President of The University of Akron; Mr. C.W. Seiberling, Vice President of The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Mr. E.S. Babcox, President of Babcox Publishing Company; Attorney J.B. Huber; Mr. Charles Herberick, President of The Depositors Savings and Trust Company and Mr. Homer C. Campbell. In March 1925 a meeting was called at the home of Mr. Harvey S. Firestone, Sr. to reveal the work of the committee. Invited to this meeting was Mr. George W. Thompson, the Negro secretary at the Y.M.C.A. On that night in the home of Mr. Firestone the Association for Colored Community Work (the Association) was born.
In the beginning the Association functioned under two separate boards. The Board of Trustees, a white governing body was responsible for the finances of the agency and controlled the titles to the property. The Board of Directors, a Negro group of men was responsible for creating and conducting programs of the agency, which would meet the needs of the colored citizens of the community to the greatest extent possible with its limited facilities and budget. During the years the Association accepted the responsibility of functioning as a clearing house for all types of problems in which Negroes were involved. For example, it aided in the adjustment of difficulties in industry and in all places of employment where race was a factor. The Association for Colored Community Work assisted in the development of projects, such as Elizabeth Park and advocated for coloreds in the workplace, such as public schools and the rubber factories. Mr. George W. Thompson continued to see more in the future for Negroes in Akron. In 1944, Mr. Thompson hired Mr. Raymond R. Brown who was a student at the University of Akron to help run the Association. Under the leadership of Thompson and Brown, the name of the agency was changed from the Association for Colored Community Work to the Akron Community Service Center.
In 1910, prior to the formation of Akron’s Association, a policy-driven organization was founded in New York called the National Urban League. The guiding principle of the Urban League was: “Let us not work as colored people nor as white people for the narrow benefit of any group alone, but together as American citizens for the common good of our common city, our common country.” Akron became the newest National Urban League affiliate in March 1925.
- Year established:1925
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
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Types of funding being sought (i.e. funding type)
- None specified
Program areas of focus and activity (i.e. funding cause)
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Geographic areas of focus and activity (i.e. geographic area)
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