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 • 2008 Home Run For The Homeless Photo Page

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 • 2005 Home Run For The Homeless Photo Page

 • 2004 Home Run For The Homeless Photo Page

 • 2003 Home Run For The Homeless Photo Page

 • 2002 Home Run For The Homeless Photo Page


Gennesaret was founded in October of 1986. Gennesaret is an innovative all-volunteer nonprofit corporation operating under the direction of a board of directors. We are a unique provider of long term housing for homeless two-parent families in Summit County. Our program enables the participants to stay together as a family in a furnished apartment for one to two years. At the end of their stay, the family has the opportunity to apply for a grant from Gennesaret to be used for a down payment on a home of their own. The families must have a church sponsor and abide by basic rules of conduct. We also operate a Family Nutritional Center, which provides free hot meals every Tuesday and Saturday to needy families and individuals in the community.


Our mission is to provide interim housing, food, training and support services for those families who are earnestly seeking to improve their lives and living conditions. Our commitment is to do this without government funding or paid staff, but by uniting our community in the true spirit of service. Gennesaret does not promote any religious organization or practices; however, it was founded on Christian principles. Encompassing our mission is our unbending goal to treat those whom we serve with respect to enable them to retain their dignity in difficult and stressful times.


Our primary objective is to feed and educate the poor of our community, and to enable motivated fathers, mothers and their children to purchase a home of their own. Gennesaret provides interim housing and support for those families who are earnestly seeking to improve their lives and living conditions. Families who qualify for this program must be at risk or homeless.


Gennesaret is an all-volunteer organization, including its board of directors. Its accomplishments are wholeheartedly attributed to God and to the dedication and selfless service of its many volunteers. Over 350 volunteers are currently working with Gennesaret. We come together by giving of our valuable time.


As a grassroots organization, Gennesaret relies on the many individuals, businesses, churches, student groups and organizations that have donated everything from time, money, labor and materials to major appliances, furniture, food and clothing. Since the opening of our buildings and services in 1993, Gennesaret has been awarded numerous grants and awards. On Holy Thursday 2002, St. Hilary Church of Akron raised $3,389.00 for Gennesaret. In 1993 WITAN (a prominent women's community service organization) granted us $5,000 to help pay utilities, insurance and maintenance of equipment. We received a $30,000 grant in 1994 from the Akron Golf Charities for the down payment on a four-unit apartment building to house families-in-need. In June 1994 we were honored with the East Ohio Gas 1994 Neighborhood Enrichment Award, which included a $10,000 check. The Kenneth L. Calhoun Charitable Trust granted Gennesaret $1,000 in July 1994 and $1,500 in 1998. In the fall of 1994 and the spring of 1995, our Founder/President Bob Dirgo and Vice President Mary Dirgo, each received J.C. Penny's Regional Golden Rule Award, which included two $1,000 checks. Bob Dirgo was also named Ohio's "Outstanding Volunteer Administrator of the Year" in 1996 and was presented with a $1,000 check for Gennesaret by Volunteer Ohio. And, in 1996 we received a private donation of nearly $35,000. Since 1996 Gennesaret has been thrilled to be the recipient of an annual $10,000 grant from the M.G. O'Neil Foundation. Gennesaret, Inc. has also received many other grants and awards. In 1998, we received over $9,000 for our four-unit apartment building at 401 W. Cedar St., Akron. In November, 1999, we received $6,750 from Gencorp Foundation, Inc. for anew rubber commercial roof for our four-unit apartment building; $5,000 from the Charles E. & Mabel M. Ritchie Memorial Foundation toward the purchase and installation of 32 vinyl replacement windows; and $17,400 from the Sisler McFawn Foundation for the repair of the exterior west side of our Family Nutritional Center. In addition, we were given 55 gallons of paint from Sherwin-Williams Company, and $500 from the Allstate Foundation. We receive numerous donations from individuals and groups including a local couple/business owners who generously donate $1,000 each month toward the operation of the soup kitchen. The business also leases to Gennesaret its Family Nutritional Center building for $1 per year on a 99-year lease. In addition, we have various community fundraisers. Our eleventh-annual "Home Run for the Homeless" race on Thanksgiving Day, 2002 drew a crowd of nearly 1100 runners and walkers, including Olympic Gold Medallist and World Record Holder, BUTCH REYNOLDS. Many youth, church and business groups have raised funds for Gennesaret, Inc. Every penny donated to Gennesaret makes a difference in the ability of this organization to complete its mission and objectives. The work only gets done because we all work together to make it happen.