Downtown Akron Partnership Launches Urban Corps Program with GiveGauge
By Bronlynn Thurman
Every spring, downtown Akron takes on a fresh look as volunteers tackle beautification projects through Downtown Akron Partnership’s Green & Clean program. This year, that program is going to look a little different with the announcement of the new Urban Corps program.
Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), downtown Akron’s special improvement district nonprofit, recently announced a shift in its Green & Clean program. For eight years, the program functioned as a one-day event where students and area employees volunteered by collecting trash, painting light poles, planting flowers and more. Soon the volunteer base grew to nearly 500 participants and DAP found that it was a challenge to handle for their small but mighty team.
“We felt that the volunteers weren’t getting the quality experience that we wanted them to have,” said DAP’s Director of Engagement & Events, Kelli Fetter.
In 2016, the program shifted to a multi-week event over a month’s time that allowed volunteers to pick and choose, while also keeping the volunteer groups small enough for the DAP team to manage. However, last year, DAP realized that with the increasing activity of downtown, including construction and more recent public space projects, they had a need for volunteers that extended beyond the springtime. This transition was a natural next step for the organization.
“We were getting questions often about how to get involved with Downtown Akron Partnership and we didn’t really have a good way to manage volunteers. We had systems in place for specific events, but not on an ongoing basis,” said Fetter. “It’s exciting to have a way to engage people on a year round basis.”
The Urban Corp program will engage with volunteers throughout the year and provide more expansive volunteer opportunities for those who want to have options beyond the traditional beautification projects.
“We’re building this team of people that care about Akron and want to give back….it expands our ability to recruit people that want to be involved and want to help revitalize downtown.”
This new program will be using a brand new volunteer platform called Give Gauge. Give Gauge, developed by Joe and Deborah Mazur right here in Akron, creates a centralized hub for volunteers to easily sign up, track their hours, and work towards incentives. This platform allows organizations to easily upload opportunities and see how many people volunteer across the community.
To learn more, visit Downtownakron.com/about/urban-corps