New Civic Solutions Lab at Leadership Akron will connect leaders on community solution-building with $100,000 from Knight Foundation


AKRON, OHIO – July 24, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Leadership Akron today announced the launch of The Civic Solutions Lab, a new effort that will gather leaders from different backgrounds and sectors to work together on Akron’s most pressing needs. Supported by $100,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Civic Solutions Lab will provide graduates of Leadership Akron’s community involvement programs and other leaders hands-on experience and training in solving complex community challenges.

The lab will give participating leaders the opportunity to spend a year exploring an issue of community importance together. They will ultimately develop an action plan to advance positive change in the chosen area. The yearlong program aims to attract participants from a variety of generations and sectors; it will create solutions that take into account diverse views and perspectives. Participants will be drawn from graduates of Leadership Akron programs and its affiliates, including its signature program, Community Leadership Institutes, Torchbearers and Leadership Akron N.E.X.T.

It will draw upon a nationally recognized model developed in Louisville, Ky., known as the Bingham Fellows, which is operated by the Leadership Louisville Center. Examples of issues that have been tackled in Louisville’s program include early childhood education, revitalizing underserved neighborhoods and supporting local food producers.

“The lab is an exciting new program for Leadership Akron that builds on the impact of our other opportunities. It creates another avenue for graduates of our experiences to not only learn about the community’s challenges but apply their leadership in responding to them,” said Mark Scheffler, president of Leadership Akron. “The support from Knight Foundation will seed this program, getting the first group of leaders together this year. It is anticipated that the program will become a resource for organizations to engage citizens and leaders in developing solutions for issues significant to Akron.”

“By bringing together a diversity of leaders to address important issues in our community, the lab will help build a bigger community of problem-solvers in Akron and spark new connections, while engaging talented workers to invest in the future of their city,” said Kyle Kutuchief, Knight Foundation program director for Akron.

Support for Leadership Akron forms part of Knight Foundation’s efforts in Akron to attract and keep talented people, expand economic opportunity and create a culture of civic engagement. Since 2008 Knight has invested more than $58 million in Akron.

For more information on Leadership Akron, visit

About Leadership Akron

For over 30 years, Leadership Akron has equipped participants for community involvement and leadership. Through a variety of experiences, Leadership Akron serves over 300 leaders each year with experiences that grow their community awareness and involvement. For more information on Leadership Akron, visit their website at

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. For more, visit



Mark Scheffler, President, Leadership Akron, 330-436-5291,

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646,

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