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Women’s Board of Summa Health 

Women's Board in New Gift Shop

The Women’s Board of Summa Health is a philanthropic service and fundraising organization whose mission is to advance patient care and comfort.

Since its initiation in 1892 as the “Ladies Auxiliary,” the Women’s Board and its predecessors have contributed more than $8.1 million dollars to the hospital system. In recognition of this support, the Board was awarded the Boniface DeRoo Award for Philanthropy in June 2019; Summa’s highest philanthropic honor. In addition to the Board’s monetary support, its members have volunteered more than 350,000 hours of service.

The Board’s current fundraising efforts come mainly from proceeds from the Gift Shop, where Board members volunteer. Women’s Board members also assist at sales by third-party vendors, and the Board receives a percentage of those sales.

In addition to working in the Gift shop and at vendor sales, Women’s Board members participate in several other areas of service:

  • Creating and hanging holiday decorations throughout the Akron Campus
  • Providing a small holiday gift each year for patients staying at Summa’s Akron Campus

Current ongoing areas of financial support include annual scholarships for nurses, camisoles and robes for breast cancer patients and medical research programs. Other projects are funded as requests are made to the Board – generally through the Summa Health Foundation.

Our Vision

The Women’s Board of Summa Health is an organization of active, committed, mission-directed members who engage in service projects including volunteering in the gift shop and/or other fundraising efforts within a facilitative organizational structure.

Our Values

  • Commitment
  • Kindness toward others
  • Dependability
  • Friendliness, inclusiveness
  • Desire to make a difference
  • Teamwork
  • Working together
  • Goal-directed

Strategic Goals

Our strategic goals include:

  • Increasingly successful fundraising and ensuring that other service projects are aligned with Summa’s strategic direction.
  • Membership is growing and members are actively engaged with each other in achieving the Women’s Board’s mission.
  • Organizational structure is efficient and effective in facilitating the work of the Women’s Board.
  • Communication network keeps members informed, connected to the Women’s board and each other, and promotes the Women’s board to the public.


The Women's Board of Summa Health was initiated in 1892. Then called the “Ladies Auxiliary,” the organization was created – according to local newspaper accounts – to  “raise a portion of the money needed to carry on the hospital work and to maintain oversight of the hospital work peculiar to women. “The Women’s Board, as it exists today, was founded in 1922 as the “Women’s Auxiliary Board of Akron City Hospital”. In 1958, a subsidiary Junior Board was founded by the Auxiliary Board to serve the hospital, to provide financial assistance and to stimulate interest in the hospital among younger women. The Junior Board and the Women’s Auxiliary Board consolidated in 2007. In 2022 the Women’s Board of Summa Health celebrated 100 years of service to the Summa Health System.

The original goal of the Women’s Auxiliary Board was to provide a Free Bed Fund for patients who could not pay their medical bills. One of the first fundraising projects was the annual community-wide Tag Day, beginning in 1909. The first Rummage Sale was held in 1930 with net proceeds of $758.45. Its subsequent 152 sales became legendary, drawing thousands of people for decades and raising hundreds of thousands of dollars. During World War II, members met monthly to sew linens for the hospital. Until 2013, the Art Committee matted, framed and hung pictures throughout the hospital’s public areas. In 1958, the Chapel Committee converted a small room on the first floor of the hospital to a chapel for use of patients and families.

The Women’s Board has raised and donated over $8.1 million allocated to the following:
  • Capital Funds, Equipment, Furnishings, Building, Supplies: $5,800,000
  • Women’s Health: $684,000
  • Patient Support Services: $482,000
  • Medical Education: $1,122,000
  • Community Outreach: $50,000

Examples of the Board’s support noted above include funding for camisoles and robes for breast cancer patients, annual scholarships for nurses, and the beloved pet therapy WagTime program, as well as several aspects of Summa’s multidisciplinary care programs, including the Dr. Gary B. and Pamela S. Williams Center for Breast Health, the Center for Health Equity, the Jean and Milton Cooper Cancer Pavilion, the Juve Family Behavioral Health Pavilion and the Ann and David Brennan Critical Care Pavilion.

The Memorial Research fund (originally called the “Flower Fund”) consists of contributions that are made in memory of or in honor of an individual or occasion. The fund’s main purpose is to support medical research that has been approved by Summa Health’s administration and medical staff. A project recently funded was the purchase of two Snoo Bassinets for opiate addicted infants. 

Since the fund’s inception in 1960, more than $175,000 has been contributed.

The Gift Shop

In March 2020, Summa Health opened one of the largest gift shops in Northeast Ohio to serve patients, families and employees at the Akron Campus.

The Gift Shop is sponsored by the Women’s Board of Summa Health, and all proceeds from the shop benefit the Women’s Board’s philanthropic endeavors. Many Women’s Board members staff the shop as volunteers.

The new and expanded Gift Shop features an expanded line of designer handbags, home décor, men’s gift collections, women’s clothing, jewelry, baby apparel, gifts for pets, Summa wear, stationery, and much more.


Requirements for active membership include:

  • Annual dues of $25.00
  • Attendance at general meetings
  • Committee service
  • Completion of at least 25 volunteer hours annually
  • Willingness to enjoy serving others and work together

How to Apply

Members in good standing receive a 25% discount in the Gift Shop. Membership requires an application to the Women’s Board and application to Summa Health Volunteer Services. For more information about how to become a Women’s Board Member, please contact Summa Health Volunteer Services at 330.375.3247 or by emailing The Women’s Board is actively seeking new members.


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