Generosity can be the ultimate expression of gratitude. For Medina County businessmen and friends Norbert “Nobby” Lewandowski and John “Jack” Holland, their gratitude manifested itself as a permanent endowment for Medina County.
In the early 1990s, the two began talking about how they could do something to help their community. Lewandowski, a retired CPA, and Holland, an architect, had built a long-standing relationship with the residents of Medina County and were widely successful in their individual business pursuits. According to Lewandowski, “Both of us, in our own estimation, had been successful beyond our wildest imagination.” Lewandowski also recalls, “We began talking about how we could do something for Medina County that would outlive both of us.” Their discussions led to the beginnings of an endowment fund for Medina County. The idea was simple: an initial investment by them, combined with the ongoing generosity of other Medina philanthropists, both big and small. The result would be a permanent source of financial support to address important needs in Medina County and make it a better place, now and in the future.
In 1994, their dream became a reality thanks to a partnership with Akron Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity. The foundation serves as the fund’s fiscal agent that provides investment oversight, grant administration and daily operating support. Since then, the Medina County Community Fund has grown to over $700,000 and has distributed grants in excess of $300,000 to organizations that improve the quality of life for Medina County residents. “If the Medina County Community Fund didn’t exist, there are a lot of organizations that would not be able to do all the good things they make happen,” Lewandowski said.
Today, grants are awarded to qualified nonprofits that provide programs in the areas of education, health, culture and community services both through the Medina County Community Fund and through the creation of named funds.