Strengthening Stark – A New Way of Doing Business

The keynote speaker for the evening was Ray Hexamer, president of the Stark Economic Development Board. He discussed a report commissioned by the Stark Community Foundation in 2017 on the economic wellbeing of Stark County. The bottom line is Stark County is becoming smaller, older and poorer. He discussed how the economic development organizations in Stark County are working together to turn this trend around. Also, during the evening, the Women’s Division presented their annual Athena Award. This year’s recipient was Kim Stanley, Executive Director of the Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter. The Athena Award is a national award presented to an outstanding business or professional woman who has attained and embodies the highest level of professional excellence in her business or profession, has devoted time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community and actively assists women in realizing their leadership potential. Kim is dedicated her life to helping others. She has been the director of the shelter for 13 years but is also involved in many other organizations in the area including MS Dreams, Ohio Domestic Violence Network, Stark County Domestic Violence Collaboration, Stark County Victims’ Rights Coalition, Alliance Area Child Injury Task Force, and a founding partner in the NEET Mentoring Program started by the Women’s Division of the Chamber. Congratulations Kim on a well-deserved recognition!! The past Athena Award and Woman of the Year recipients presented their fourth annual scholarship. The Athena/Woman of the Year Scholarship is presented to a deserving female high school senior who has demonstrated community involvement, academic achievement and leadership. This year’s recipient of the $1000 scholarship was Olivia Woods, a senior at Sebring McKinley High School. Congratulations Olivia!! The evening could not have happened without the financial support of our sponsors: Platinum Sponsors: Alliance Ventures, Consumers National Bank, and Nationwide Insurance- The Burgess Group; Gold Sponsors: Alliance Community Hospital, Stark Economic Development Board, Ermlich/Goris- Meadows/McConnell Insurance Agency and The Eastern Stark County Safety Council; Silver Sponsor Arthur Gallagher & Company. Your generous support is greatly appreciated, THANK YOU!!

**ATHENA SCHOLARSHIP UPDATE**

With generous support from the Alliance community, the Athena Scholarship Fund was established in 2013 by the Woman of the Year and Athena Leadership award recipients.   In collaboration with the Alliance Chamber of Commerce, a charitable fund agreement was set up with the Greater Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization.  Based on the same criteria as the Athena award, the scholarship is presented to a graduating female high school senior who exemplifies community service, academic achievement and leadership potential.  The honoree must reside within Alliance City, Marlington Local, Sebring or West Branch Local School Districts, and must attend and anticipate graduation from one of those schools, or from St. Thomas Aquinas.

To date, four scholarships have been awarded:

2014     Alexandrea Garrett     West Branch     NEOMed

2015     Alexis Austin                 Alliance             Capital University

2016     Alyssa Powers              Marlington        University of Akron

2017     Kaylen Sanor                West Branch     Ashland University

The scholarship is paid directly from the Greater Alliance Foundation to the college, university, or other educational institution in which the recipient is enrolled.  Celebrate with us at the upcoming chamber annual dinner in February 2018, when the next Athena Scholarship recipient will be announced!

It is hoped that this scholarship, awarded annually, will continue in perpetuity.  Please consider this worthwhile initiative in your year-end charitable giving.  Your tax deductible check is payable to the Greater Alliance Foundation.  Write “Athena Scholarship” on the memo line and mail the check to the Foundation office:  960 W State Street, Suite 130, Alliance, OH 44601.  Or simply go to:  www.GreaterAllianceFoundation.org and donate online.  Be sure to designate “Athena Scholarship.”  Your donation can be in honor of, or in memory of a significant woman in your life……….your grandmother, mother, or aunt; a sister or daughter; perhaps a special teacher or mentor.

With sincere gratitude for your ongoing support,

From the Woman of the Year/Athena Scholarship Committee