Read Family Difference Maker

Read Awardees 2020

(top) Dr. Cynthia Capers, John Williams, Jim Mullen, Roxia Boykin; (bottom) Ethel Vinson, Robert DeJournett, Bernett Williams, Dr. Steve Ash

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We are excited to announce recipients of the 2020 Read Family Difference Maker Award as the group of individuals who were the visionaries behind the Diversity on Board program, which is now beginning its 5th year. The objective of Diversity on Board is to provide leadership development, education, and board placement services to advance minority representation on nonprofit and public boards. (You can read more about Diversity on Board here.)

Many of these individuals were involved in the program design, and have also acted as coaches, coach-coordinators, speakers, and facilitators. This group also plays a significant role in recruiting and selecting individuals who participate in the program.  The success of Diversity on Board reflects the commitment and passion of these individuals.

The Read Family Difference Maker Award, created in July 2017, honors the Read family (Roger, Judy and Scott) in recognition of their involvement in advancing the mission and work of Leadership Akron, promoting community leadership, and strengthening the Akron community's well-being. Each year the award recognizes an individual or group of individuals whose efforts have been instrumental in expanding the scope or impact of Leadership Akron's mission and work.

The Read Family Difference Maker Award was created not only as a form of recognition, but as an opportunity to create something meaningful for others. The resulting concept was an installation of Gingko trees, provided by the City of Akron, at Cascade Locks Park that would add to the environmental and scenic quality of the area for the benefit of all. At the site stands the sculpture crafted by Michael Marras to honor the Read family and the award recipients. The sculpture, Together We Grow, conveys the growth and connectivity that benefits the Akron community. Each year, a new tree will be planted at the site in honor of the recipient(s).

We are grateful to these partners in creating the site:

  • Cascade Locks Park Association
  • City of Akron
  • Environmental Design Group and Jeffrey Kerr
  • Ohio & Erie Canalway Coalition
  • Summit Metro Parks

The recipients of the Read Family Difference Marker Award are:

2017 - Roger & Judy* Read, recognized for establishing the Leadership Akron Endowment Fund, extending the reach and impact of Leadership Akron across the spectrum from Junior Leadership Akron to NEXT.

2017 - Scott Read, recognized for his efforts to launch Torchbearers, in independent affiliate of Leadership Akron that focuses on connecting, developing and engaging emerging leaders to serve the Akron community.

2018 - Laura E. Culp, Ronald S. Kopp, Kyle Kutuchief, Amanda Leffler, and Brian Pollack, recognized for their work on the Leadership Akron and Torchbearers Partnership Agreement Team that forged the formal partnership between Leadership Akron and Torchbearers in 2009.


The inaugural Read Family Difference Maker award, 2017

The inaugural Read Family Difference Maker award, 2017

2018 Read Family Difference Maker awardees

2018 Read Family Difference Maker awardees

sculpture by Michael Marrass

sculpture by Michael Marrass