Urban League to re-purpose 7,000 square foot banquet facility.

Feb 12, 2018

Akron Urban League’s Board of Trustees along with the President have decided to adjust its operations model of President’s Hall to strategically align and address core needs of the community it serves. The new operations model, that will take effect on February 15, 2018, will help serve a larger audience and at the same time help achieve the organization’s financial goals.

The Urban League’s programs and services are focused on education and employment for those ages 5 to 85+, with the intent of empowering individuals and families to become economically self-sufficient,” stated board president Theresa Carter. "In order to ensure what we offer at the League fits into that model and mission, we believe it imperative that we seek to continue programming and purposing to ensure that we deliver on our mission. We thank all the Summit County community for its long-term partnerships with the Akron Urban League and we look forward to many more years of service.”

The Akron Urban League, a 92-year old Summit County organization, opened its doors at its new location at 440 Vernon Odom Blvd. Akron, Ohio, in 2007. The building which has 25, 000 square feet, houses 28 employees and 4 contractors who deliver the programs and services of the organization. It also has one tenant who leases approximately 2000 square feet. President’s Hall is a 7,000 square foot space, originally designed to be a full-service banquet and wedding facility. Over the years, it has served the Urban League and the community at large in that capacity.

"President’s Hall will still be used for our mission-based events and gatherings, but now it will also be able to be used to meet some of the most basic needs of our community,” stated Akron Urban League President, Dr. Sadie Winlock. “Instead of operating as a party space for a few individuals each month, the space could serve as a space for education.”

The League engaged current funders, both corporate and foundations, as well as community organizations in the conversation to re-program/re-purpose President’s Hall.

“The Akron Urban League is essential to the core fabric of our great City,” said Daniel Horrigan, Mayor, City of Akron. “I, my administration, and the City of Akron remain fully committed to the Urban League’s refocusing efforts and its central mission."

“Re-purposing President’s Hall is a key ingredient in aligning all facets of the Urban League towards its ultimate goals and vision,” commented Bishop F. Josephus Johnson, II, Senior Pastor of The House of the Lord, Presiding Bishop of the Beth-El Fellowship of Churches. “We support the overall community goals and vision of this organization.”

“For years, Akron Community Foundation has been a strong advocate of Akron Urban League’s mission. We also recognize when change is needed to move an organization forward, like the re-purposing of President’s Hall,” said John Petures, President and CEO of Akron Community Foundation. “This change will position the agency to provide more programs and services to those who need them, and we believe it will strengthen not only the organization, but our community as a whole.”

The original financial model for the “Hall” was to add $280,000 to the operational budget of Akron Urban League within its first two years of operation. These funds were to be directed towards general operating costs such as utilities, facilities maintenance and security. Over the 10 years of operation, the League has tried several business models to support the Hall from being managed by an internal department, external organization, leased space as well as rental to others. None of the models achieved the planned goals needed to fulfill its financial obligations.