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Sarah Watkins (third from left) and her family have been bringing a meal to the Akron Campus Emergency Department every Wednesday since the pandemic began. Mrs. Watkins is holding a painting by Summa nurse Nancy Donel – a thank-you gift from staff.

Summa Health's COVID-19 response

Help for our healthcare heroes

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2021 edition of Promise magazine.

When we asked for support for our healthcare heroes, the response was overwhelming. In gifts of all sizes and sorts from individuals, businesses and foundations, our community came to the rescue with generous donations, face masks and shields, boxed lunches and pizzas, morale-boosting thank-you notes and prayer, perhaps the most priceless gift of all. In hundreds of kind gestures, our community cared for our frontline caregivers as passionately as they cared for patients. The examples here are a small sampling of the responses that make our community a family.

Barberton Community Foundation provided funding for the purchase of masks for nurses on the Barberton Campus and the installation of a thermal scanner. Pictured are, from left, Michael Hughes, M.D., president, Summa Health System — Barberton Campus, and T.J. DeAngelis, BSN, vice president and chief nursing officer, Summa Health System — Barberton Campus.

Local foundations join the fight

In the struggle to contain the spread of COVID-19, Huntington-Akron Foundation added significant muscle to the fight with a gift of $50,000. “As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has touched everyone in our community,” said Nick Browning, president of Huntington Bank, Akron Region. “We’re proud to help Summa Health care for our community during this pandemic.”

A gift of $50,000 from FirstEnergy Foundation for telehealth devices and digital equipment supported the ability of Summa Health Equity Center to provide virtual office visits in underserved areas. 

A gift of $45,000 from United Way of Summit and Medina provided personal protective equipment and other safeguards for frontline caregivers.

With COVID taking a significantly higher toll in African American communities, the GAR Foundation awarded a grant of $35,000 to Summa Health for kits containing vital COVID-related information for distribution to households in Middlebury, North Hill and West Akron. 

“GAR is proud to leverage the medical knowledge and expertise of Summa alongside the deep community connections and long-standing credibility of neighborhood organizations to provide personal protective equipment and culturally relevant COVID and vaccine messaging to Akron neighborhoods,” said Christine Amer Mayer, president of GAR Foundation. 

Akron Community Foundation, Barberton Community Foundation and Centering Healthcare Institute also gave generously to help our healthcare heroes.

Additional benefactors who donated gifts of $10,000 or more:

  • NelDerm
  • Living Essentials
  • Cisco Systems Inc.
  • Sandy and Tony Solaro
  • The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
  • Wildflower Foundation
  • GOJO Industries, Inc.
  • City Barbeque
  • Delta Dental Foundation
  • DuBois Family Foundation
  • Hasenstab Architects, Inc.
  • Women’s Board of Summa Health

See the list of all gifts in support of our Healthcare Heroes.


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