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GAR Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-10-11

At A Glance

GAR Foundation

277 E. Mill St.

Akron, OH United States 44308-1735

Telephone: (330) 576-2926


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $166,556,185

Total giving: $8,018,567





Additional Contact Information

E-mail for Christine Amer Mayer:


Established in 1967, GAR Foundation was born of the philanthropic desire of the Roush family to support the needs of those in the local community. GAR is an acronym for its founders, Galen and Ruth Roush and is pronounced je-a-ar. Galen Roush co-founded Roadway Express during the Great Depression in 1930 with his brother, Carroll. By 1939, Roadway was the largest long-haul trucking company in the United States. Galen and his wife Ruth loved their home area of Akron and Summit County, and never stopped investing in their community. GAR Foundation was established by Galen and Ruth Roush to be a way in which their legacy of serving others could continue on long after they were gone.

Purpose and Activities

Grants for education, arts and arts education, health and social services, civic enhancement, and for nonprofit enhancement.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Arts and Arts Education

The grant area supports arts programs and cultural institutions within Summit County and the region. The two priorities are: 1) to support arts institutions that enhance the quality of life in the foundation’s area, serving a significant number of Summit County residents and making a significant contribution to the region’s reputation and identity; and 2) to support arts education programs where excellence is measured by the level of participation-based programs delivered to low-income Summit County children, offered in collaboration with other arts organizations and historical or educational institutions.

Civic Enhancement

The grant area’s three priorities are enhancing the economic strength of Akron and Northeast Ohio, improving the vibrancy of place and supporting community development.


From early childhood to K-12 education and beyond, the foundation funds quality, strategic programs all along the educational continuum in Summit County. The foundation’s education grantmaking focuses on the following priorities: 1) Early Childhood Education: supporting parent education and school readiness, and access to high-quality programs; 2) Kindergarten through 12 (K-12): supporting efforts to increase high school graduation; out-of-school time (OST) enrichment; STEM and options for low-income learners; 3) Bridge to Post-Secondary: increase students continuing on to post-secondary education; increase availability of financial resources for students to attend post-secondary options; 4) Post-Secondary: improve retention and completion among targeted, at-risk students; support efforts that tie post-secondary education to workforce needs; 5) Lifelong Learning: support adult literacy; and 6) Systemic Change & Improvement: support for programs that improve the overall function of and outcomes produced by the education system, including smoothing the transitions from one level of education to the next.

Educator Initiative Grant Program

The program offers funding to teams of K-12 educators who are working to develop, implement, and assess instructional strategies for 1) helping their students meet Ohio's academic standards and; 2) helping their schools achieve goals identified in their school improvement plans. Only teams of educators from public, private, parochial and charter schools in Summit County may apply for Educator Initiative Grants. These teams must consist of at least two K-12 classroom teachers. Administrators may also be team members, but should submit applications only in concert with a group of teachers who will share responsibility for implementing the project for which funding is requested. All applications must be endorsed by the appropriate building principals and, in the case of public schools, by the appropriate district superintendents (by the superintendents of all districts that will be directly affected by the project). One superintendent must accept fiscal responsibility for any grant resulting from the application. For operations about the EIG Program, Contact: Jolene Reinhart, e-mail:

Health and Social Services

The program supports health and social service agencies serving Summit County. Funding is in two specific categories: 1) Community care grants are awarded to support youth development programs that help at-risk young people define better futures for themselves, to support organizations which provide basic needs to people in crisis, for programs helping seniors remain in their homes, for organizations which provide health care to people at risk and to those who help address immediate housing needs of low-income families; 2) Community catalyst grants are awarded to enhance the capacity, reach and effectiveness of multiple agencies or systems and to help address key community issues.

Non-Profit Enhancement

The program facilitates collaboration among nonprofits, disseminates information, and provides technical assistance to grantees and other partners. Grants are awarded to enhance and support the effectiveness of GAR grantees and applicants and to bolster the effectiveness and efficiency of Summit County’s nonprofit sector.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Early childhood education
  • Economics
  • Education
  • Elementary and secondary education
  • Higher education
  • Human services
  • Secondary education
  • Youth services
Population Groups
  • Academics
  • Adolescents
  • Adults
  • Children
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Ethnic and racial groups
  • Female young adults
  • Females
  • Homeless people
  • Immigrants and migrants
  • Low-income and poor people
  • Male children and youth
  • Male young adults
  • People of African descent
  • People of Asian descent
  • People of Latin American descent
  • Seniors
  • Students
  • Victims of crime and abuse
  • Young adults

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $166,556,185 (market value)

Expenditures: $10,647,656

Total giving: $8,018,567

Qualifying distributions: $9,784,279