Torchbearers Celebrates 16 Years of Igniting Change

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Torchbearers welcomed nearly 300 community members to The Tangier on Thursday, February 21st for a sold-out dinner to celebrate its 16th Annual Anniversary.

Torchbearers President Samantha Coldwell offered an update on the organization’s accomplishments over the past sixteen years. She noted the impacts alumni and active members have made through collaborations around the community, and shared details of the organization’s strategic plan to create lasting impact in Greater Akron.

Coldwell highlighted areas of focus for this coming year including diversity, equity and inclusion, a project to build a fitness trail in the Park East neighborhood in collaboration with the Akron Civic Commons team and the Ohio Erie & Canalway Coalition and developing a thoughtful strategy for their endowment at the Akron Community Foundation.

“Torchbearers was founded on the idea of bringing together individuals with shared passions, a commitment to the community, and relationships built by doing. With a rich history crafted over the past sixteen years, collaboration among more than 400 alumni and 100 active members, and the support of leaders in our community, our organization has never been better equipped to pursue our mission to significantly impact Greater Akron,” said Coldwell reflecting on the evening.

While guests mingled during the Sweet 16 themed event, they had the opportunity to pose at the photo booth, stocked with fun, birthday-themed props. Birthday candles adorned each guest’s dessert and the talent of our alum on full-display when the call-to-dinner was made by Jocelyn Grant who sang “Sixteen Candles” to begin the program.

Torchbearers 2017 past president Michael Wilson commented, “It was great to see so many long-standing Torchbearer friends, to meet several new Torchbearer members, and to hear about the great strides the organization continues to make.”

Honored at this year’s event was William H. Considine, CEO Emeritus of Akron Children’s Hospital, as the Read Family Friend of Young Leaders Award recipient for being a dedicated steward of the Akron community and its young professionals. “Mentoring young people to assume leadership roles in our community is vitally important,” said Considine. “Torchbearers and other organizations play a critical role, but so do all of us currently in leadership roles. Identifying and nurturing talent will ensure our organizations and communities stay strong and continue to grow and attract the best and the brightest.”

Christopher Richardson, CEO of AxessPointe Community Health Centers and Torchbearers Class of 2011, was recognized as the Distinguished Alumni Award recipient for using the skills and connections he acquired through his Torchbearers experience to significantly assist young leaders in realizing their full leadership potential. Both award recipients highlighted the impact Torchbearers has on the greater Akron community, as well as the individual members who are increasingly in positions of leadership across the region.

Honorees received hand-crafted awards made specifically for Torchbearers by local artists Michael and Claudia Martell of Zeber-Martell.

Torchbearers would like to thank presenting sponsor Akron Children’s Hospital for its support of this event. Torchbearers would also like to thank sponsors Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, Billow Funeral Homes, Bober Markey Fedorovich, Brouse McDowell, FirstEnergy Foundation, Meghan MacDonald State Farm Insurance, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro’s Department of Job and Family Services, The Read Family, Tim Miller’s Insurance Service Agency, and The University of Akron.