Open Table is Set and Ready for Oct. 3

Join the Conversation
Posted on 09/27/2018
Image of On the Table Greater Akron (Jennifer Conn writing for Cleveland.com)

If you're looking for a place to join a meal-time conversation during the On the Table Greater Akron event on Wednesday, Oct. 3, several public meetings are still available.

Led by Akron Community Foundation, On the Table for the second year will bring together small groups of people who will sit down at tables across Summit County for meals or coffee to talk about the community's most pressing needs.

Akron Community Foundation is partnering with the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau for a series of public conversations at Greystone Hall in downtown Akron at 8 a.m., 10 a.m. and noon. The Akron-Summit County Public Library is hosting public conversations at locations across the county, while Mustard Seed Market & Cafe is hosting public conversations at both of its Akron locations. You can sign up for any of the public events here.

So far, at least 600 conversations are scheduled to take place around Summit County, with more than 7,000 people signed up to attend. About 1,500 students are expected to participate this year, including 1,100 Akron Public Schools freshman who will join conversations in their classrooms, said Akron Community Foundation Sr. Director of Marketing & Communications Tracy Burt.

Unlike last year's free-flowing conversations, this year's conversations will be structured by topics drawn from a survey conducted last year. The survey helped identify the top issues residents believe require action in their community.

Those issues and this year's topics include:
  • economic issues & poverty
  • equity & social inclusion
  • drugs & addiction
  • education & youth development
  • public safety & the judicial system.
Many of last year's hosting organizations are returning, with some groups partnering to focus on one or two specific topics. Several new organizations will also host this year, Burt said.

The foundation also has created a grant program this year, offering Community Impact Awards up to $2,000 for ideas that surface during conversations that can spark action, Burt said. About $50,000 will be available for grants.

"Not only are we providing grants for ideas that come out of On the Table Greater Akron, but we will also use the information gathered to help drive proactive funding," Burt said.

The foundation and other participating groups will also create community programs based on what is gleaned from this year's event.

More information on the grants is available at the On the Table Greater Akron website. Applications can be submitted for an On the Table Community Impact Award starting Nov. 1.

Again this year, participants will be given a survey that they can take the day of the event or for up to a week following the event via an email link that will be sent to them, Burt said.

In 2017, Akron was one of 10 U.S. cities chosen to host an On the Table event, which was funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Huntington Bank is also a sponsor this year.

For more information about the On the Table event visit On the Table Greater Akron website or send an email.

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