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Women’s Board of Summa Health members (from left) Jo Anne Kreiser, Julie Pasternak, Becky Coppock, Pam Conley and Gloria Smith show off the new and expanded Gift Shop on the Summa Health System ­— Akron Campus.

Women's Board fuels philanthropic projects

This story originally appeared in the Summer 2020 edition of Promise magazine.

A little retail therapy can go a long way in lifting one’s spirit. The Akron Campus Gift Shop located in the new patient tower does much more than that. Stocked with gifts, clothing, flowers and candy, the gift shop is a financial engine that fuels philanthropic projects for the hospital through the Women’s Board of Summa Health. 

This compassionate group of volunteers spanning multiple generations has raised more than $7.5 million to support healthcare in Akron and volunteered more than 350,000 hours in fundraising and patient service with the gift shop serving as members’ primary fundraiser. In recognition of this legacy of generosity, the Women’s Board was honored with the prestigious Boniface DeRoo Award for Philanthropy in 2019 – Summa Health’s highest philanthropic honor.

Proceeds from the gift shop have helped Summa Health acquire vital medical equipment for nearly every department, including 3D mammography, the most sophisticated breast imaging technology available, to SNOO bassinets for soothing opiate-addicted babies in the neonatal intensive care unit.

The Women’s Board’s annual support of scholarships for nursing education was a significant factor for Summa Health nurses on the Akron and St. Thomas campuses in acquiring Magnet status for nursing excellence and innovation. 

Most recently, the Women’s Board helped fund the point-of-sale system for the new Akron Campus Gift Shop, where 30 members actively volunteer every week.

“Our members have a service mentality and go beyond what’s expected to meet every need of our caregivers, guests and patients. That’s why we do what we do. Helping others gives us so much satisfaction,” said Barb Jones, chair of the Women’s Board Administrative Committee. 

Her comments affirm the core nature of this truly working board of volunteers whose mission is to serve the needs of Summa Health patients and their families. 

Much to their delight, the new gift shop — one of the largest hospital gift shops in Northeast Ohio — features practical and luxury goods as well as a new dressing room. Popular, new items include jewelry, designer handbags, baby items and nursing supplies, men’s gifts, Ohio-themed apparel and floral arrangements.  

“While many of us don’t need a reason to shop,” she said, “shopping for a good cause is always a win-win.” 

For more information about supporting the Women’s Board of Summa Health, contact Shelley Green at 330.375.6891 or


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