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Circle focuses on advancing healthcare for women

Provided two grants to Summa Health programs in 2017 totaling $100,000

Members of the Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists range in age from 35 to 95 and have diverse backgrounds in business, medicine, philanthropy and much more. They are wives, mothers, daughters and grandmothers. And they share a common goal: Helping other women.

That compassion motivates more than 50 members — a number that doubled in 2017 — in the Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists, which supports healthcare for women at Summa Health.

“I am so proud of our members, the strides we’ve made and what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said Ginger Marchetta, chair of the Circle since 2017 and a founding member. “Our support of the Circle’s mission through our annual philanthropic investment is helping improve the overall health of women in our community.”

2017 was a turning point for the group. Instead of one grant, the Circle made two grants totaling $100,000 — doubling members’ impact from previous years. In another first, members considered grant proposals from all Summa Health departments that provide healthcare to women, giving $50,000 each to the Traumatic Stress Center at the Behavioral Health Institute and to the CenteringPregnancy® program of the Women’s Center.

“Part of our success is our members having a sense of ownership,” Ginger said. “When we are considering grants, each member has an individual vote on what we should support. That’s not common, and it really makes the member feel like she has a connection with what the Circle chooses to support.”

The group started in 2013 with Julia Rea Bianchi, member of the Summa Health Foundation board of directors, as the founding chair. She saw the need to support women’s health when she learned that the Women’s Health Institute provided obstetrical and gynecological care at more than 15,000 patient visits each year for uninsured and under-insured women in the Akron region.

“Without Summa Health, they might not be getting care anywhere else,” she said. “What is being done here is so important for our community.”

Julia recruited Ginger and eight other founding members of various ages and involvement across the Akron community. The group has grown steadily ever since.

While 2017 was all about building a strong foundation, Ginger said 2018 will be “a year of ownership. We now have a formula that works,” she said. “The tremendous momentum of membership growth has created excitement, and the word is out: This is an engaged and determined group. Women want to be part of something special and that’s what’s happening here: Women advancing the health and well-being of women in our community.” 

NOTE: This article originally appeared in the Spring 2018 edition of Promise magazine.

To join the Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists, contact Shelley Green, senior director of development, 330.375.6891 or


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