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Naomi Ganoe: Paying it forward by giving back to Summa

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

Naomi Ganoe and her daughter, Cassie

Naomi Ganoe always had a passion for helping people. She has acted on that passion in many ways, from serving as a foster parent and guardian ad litem for many years, to volunteering as an emergency medical technician and working in the emergency room of a local hospital. 

Today, she continues helping others in her role as a managing director and certified public accountant at CBIZ, Inc. for more than 22 years. At Summa Health, she devotes considerable time and expertise as the volunteer chair of the Charles Deering Legacy Advisor Leadership Council and member of The Circle of Women’s Health Philanthropists.

No matter which hat she’s wearing, Naomi is committed to giving back to the community that has given so generously to her. Her commitment to helping others, coupled with a desire to pay it forward, led her to make a generous gift of $250,000 in support of the Summa Health Behavioral Health Institute.

“I was the first person in my family to graduate from high school and attend college. As a young, single mother, I benefited from the help of many people. It is very rewarding to be able to give back and pay it forward.”

Naomi inspires those same values in her daughter, Cassie, who is following in her mother’s footsteps by helping those in need. After completing a degree in psychology, Cassie works for a Michigan-based school that provides a quality preschool education for underserved children.

This mother and daughter duo enjoys a close relationship, so it comes as no surprise they share a passion for supporting mental healthcare, an area of need that has grown in importance during the pandemic. 

“Now more than ever, every single person in our community is touched by a mental health need, whether it is your co-worker, family member or friend,” Naomi said. “We’ve lost a lot of people we loved. We saw people suffer. Many of us were not able to be with some of our loved ones.” 

Even before the pandemic, statistics showed that 1 in 4 people deal with a mental health issue at some point in their lifetime – right here at home.

As a foster parent, emergency medical technician and guardian ad litem, Naomi has witnessed firsthand the need for accessibility to mental wellness services in the Akron community and the stigma that still exists for those who seek help. 

After working closely with Summa Health in professional and volunteer roles, she knows the impact Summa Health has made in this area. “Through it all, Summa Health has been the leading provider in behavioral health and is always there for our community.” 

Naomi sees the new Behavioral Health Pavilion on the Akron Campus as a beacon of hope that will help raise awareness.

Her generous commitment to pay it forward while giving back to Summa Health will forever be recognized on the second-floor lobby of the new Behavioral Health Pavilion scheduled to open its doors in January 2023.

For more information about supporting Summa Health, contact Barbara Boyce at 330.375.6356 or


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