Press Release

January 3, 2019

Contact: Rochelle Sibbio

CEO and President, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County



Neighborhood Network, a program of Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, Receives Community Change Grant from America Walks

AKRON,OH- Habitat for Humanity of Summit County’s program, Neighborhood Network is honored to receive one of the 20 Community Change Micro Grants awarded by America Walks for use in 2019.  This grant program supports local efforts to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active for all community members. Since it’s beginning in 2015, this grant program has provided funds for a variety of projects demonstrating the creativity and passion of walking champions across the US.

Neighborhood Network was selected from over 600 applications for projects that demonstrate the passion, creativity, and commitment of local walking champions. With support from partners, including the Juliet Ashby Hillman Foundation, Lyft, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), and WalkBoston, 20 projects will be supported in 2019. Awardees will work with America Walks and other members of the Every Body Walk! Collaborative to successfully complete their projects and share their lessons with other community change agents. While the projects and programs work to improve walkability, the results of each grant will have a positive change on many areas of that community.

“Through our work, we know that when local community change agents work to get their neighborhood on the walking path, great things happen,” said Executive Director Kate Kraft. “Each of these grantees has a vision of how improving conditions for walking can lead to healthier communities. Our hope is that the work of these grantees will inspire action across the US to create communities where all can be active, healthy, and engaged.”

In April 2017, Habitat for Humanity of Summit County introduced a new program and service with the merging of Neighborhood Network (NN, previously a grassroots neighborhood organization) under their Neighborhood Revitalization Program. This program’s mission is ‘to build a unified voice to renew our community.’ They build relationships in the community; identify, strengthen and connect neighborhood assets; and advocate for action that attracts investment and ensures a safe, economically vibrant place to live, work and raise a family.

Neighborhood Network will facilitate the recruitment, training and support of ten resident-led walking audits to be completed in the spring of 2019. Each walk audit will gather information about sidewalks, streets and overall walking experience in the Middlebury neighborhood. The quantitative information will be analyzed and then – using the qualitative information along with further resident input as needed – prioritized. The ranked list of public safety problem areas will be a community-created document, used to advocate for action with the City of Akron and business owners in the Middlebury neighborhood. A portion of the grant money will be used to create the walk audit materials (training resources, route cards for each walk, pens, clipboards and flashlights), while $1,000 of the grant will be used to stipend Middlebury residents to take the Walk Leaders Training course and then successfully lead one of the ten walking routes in Spring 2019. To learn more about the training or to sign up as a Walk Leader please contact Marissa Little, NN’s Neighborhood Revitalization Coordinator, at

About America Walks: America Walks is a 20-year-old national non-profit organization dedicated to empowering communities and advocates to create safe, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and be physically active for all. The organization provides its diverse network of over 30,000 advocates and hundreds of local, state, and national organizations, with the tools, resources, and experts needed to build capacity, gain experiences, and successfully promote walking and walkability. Learn more at

About Habitat for Humanity of Summit County: Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing ministry, works in partnership with people in need to improve the condition in which they live. Habitat challenges people of compassion to provide the initial capital – through gifts and no-interest loans – to build simple, decent homes with the inadequately sheltered. For information about Habitat for Humanity of Summit County, call 330-745-7734 or visit