Akron – Knight Foundation



Knight supports informed and engaged communities where the Knight brothers owned and operated newspapers. We believe an engaged community is one in which people are attached to the place where they live and are invested in the community’s future. Learn more through our Statement of Strategy.

In Akron, Knight prioritizes investments in downtown and the city’s inner ring neighborhoods with an emphasis on public spaces and public life. We’re focused on enhancing the quality of life to create conditions that foster stability and growth. Our work is in response to public and private sector alignment, optimism and resident-centered action to build a vibrant core that has an outsized impact on the future of the city.Knight also invests in Akron’s arts and culture as a way to connect people to place and to one another. Investing in arts and culture is central to Knight’s effort to build stronger, better informed and more engaged communities, which are critical for a more effective democracy. Recent signature investments include support for the Akron Art Museum, the National Center for Choreography in Akron and ArtsNow. Learn more about Knight’s Arts program.


The foundation’s support for Downtown Akron Partnership continues to keep the core of the city as a place attracting residents, retailers and those seeking recreation. The University of Akron is a driver of downtown’s success and the region’s economy and talent pipeline. In 2022, Knight committed $20 million towards a $42 million capital campaign to turn the Polsky Building into a vibrant gateway from campus to Main Street. In Middlebury, Knight has provided $6 million to support The Well Community Development Corporation’s initiative to rehabilitate housing and provide wrap-around services for residents.

In 2017, Akron was selected to participate in a national initiative called Reimagining the Civic Commons. The Akron Civic Commons team has focused on the city’s shared civic assets from Downtown Akron to Summit Lake along the Towpath trail to foster engagement, equity, environmental sustainability and economic development. This resident-centered work has led to catalytic capital projects including the Knight Stage at the Akron Civic Theatre, the Summit Lake Nature Center, the transformation of Lock 3 Park and the creation of a Summit Lake Park.

Akron Program Staff


Akron Community Advisory Committee members:

Robert Cooper, CBRE; Cynthia Knight, Community Volunteer; Kirsten Lino, Huntington Bank; Blake Squires, Founder and Executive Coach

Knight’s Akron Office:
277 East Mill St.
Akron, OH 44308