About GAR

GAR Staff

The professional staff at GAR Foundation is dedicated to meeting the needs of the community through charitable giving.


Our offices are located at the Andrew Jackson House, 277 East Mill Street, Akron, Ohio 44308. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. For information about the Foundation, please contact us by phone at 330-576-2926 or via email at info@garfdn.org. Visit our contact page for additional details. 

Christine Amer Mayer

Born and raised in Akron, Christine Amer Mayer has deep ties to the Foundation's base in Summit County. She received her Bachelor's degree in English from Duke University in Durham, N.C., and her law degree from The Ohio State University.

For eight years after law school, Christine practiced commercial litigation and business law with Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs. She has worked with GAR Foundation since 2001. Mayer has a special interest in regional economic development and has been heavily involved in The Fund For Our Economic Future – a philanthropic collaboration focused on improving the economic trajectory of Northeast Ohio, where she presently serves as vice chair. Christine serves on the boards of United Way of Summit County, Leadership Akron, and the Greater Akron Chamber. She also serves on the advisory board of Milestones Autism Organization. Christine lives in Solon with her three children.

 Candace Campbell Jackson
 Consulting Program Officer

Candace Campbell Jackson has worked with GAR Foundation since 1998. In recent years, she has served as a Consulting Program Officer for GAR, dedicating the majority of her professional time to her role as Vice President and Chief of Staff at The University of Akron. Formerly, Jackson was in the public law and corporate departments of law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Howard University in Washington D.C. and a law degree from The University of Akron. She and her husband, Mark, have four children.

 Kirstin S. Toth
 Senior Vice President

Kirstin Toth joined GAR Foundation in 2007. Previously Kirstin served as the consulting project director for the Great Lakes Environmental Finance Center at Cleveland State University's Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs. Kirstin has also worked in the private sector at Bank One and in the public sector as an aide to the president of the Board of Cuyahoga County Commissioners. She earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from Ohio University, and a Master of Public Administration in economic development from Cleveland State University.

Currently, Kirstin serves on the Board of Directors of the Summit Education Initiative as its past chair, and on Summit County's First Things First advisory committee. She is a member of the national Grantmakers for Education, and is active in the education advisory group of Philanthropy Ohio (formerly Ohio Grantmakers Forum.) She lives in Hudson with her husband, David, and their two sons. 

 Brittany G. Zaehringer
 Senior Program Officer

 Brittany Grimes Zaehringer joins the GAR Foundation with several years of experience in non-profit management.  Most recently she was the Director of Operations for the Delta Research and Educational Foundation in Washington, D.C.  Formerly, she held several non-profit and government positions in Akron and Philadelphia, including COO of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, Equal Employment Opportunity Compliance Officer for Summit County and Director of Advocacy, Quality Assurance and Staff Development for CGFNS International. She was an associate attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs, LLP.

Brittany received her JD and Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Michigan. Brittany is a 1991 graduate of John R. Buchtel High School in Akron. Over the years, Brittany has been active in her community through several non-profit boards and affiliations. Brittany lives in Akron with her husband Peter Zaehringer.


 Christian A. Turner
 Communications & Event Associate

Christian Turner served as GAR Foundations Communications and Event Associate until April 18 when she embarks on a new journey with the U.S. Army. An Iraq war veteran, Christian now rejoins the reserves in Fort Snelling, Minnesota where she will continue her career in public and press relations.  We will miss her and we wish her a fond farewell.  Look to this website for an update on our Communications staff on April 28.  


Julie A. Watson
Grants Manager, Program Assistant

 Julie Watson is GAR Foundation's Grants Manager and Program Assistant. She has been with GAR since 1998. Previously, she served for 20 years in several roles with the former Roadway Services Inc. (now Caliber Systems Inc., a part of FedEx Corp) including as Administrative Assistant to the Vice President of Corporate Planning. Ms. Watson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Bowling Green State University. She and Dave reside in Cuyahoga Falls.Falls.Falls   

Lisa M. Yates
Operations Coordinator

Lisa Yates recently joined the foundation as Operations Coordinator.   A long-time employee of Roadway Express and YRC, Lisa worked as the Office Manager in YRC’s Akron Legal Department and was Executive Assistant to the Deputy General Counsel.  She earned a Master of Arts in Technical Education from the University of Akron.  She and her husband, Brad, have one daughter and reside in Cuyahoga Falls.  

Lucille Esposito 
Consulting EIG Program Manager

Lucille Esposito joined GAR Foundation in November 2013 to manage the Educator Initiative Grants (EIG) program. As a career educator, Lucille most recently hails from the Hubbard Exempted Village School  District as Assistant Superintendent and Special Assistant to the Superintendent. Her responsibilities include leading and managing curriculum and instruction for instructors and students throughout the District, and she has taken an active role in supporting teachers' adoption of new learning standards, assessments and innovative teaching platforms.

Also an Adjunct Instructor for Ashland University, Lucille holds a masters of Curriculum and Instruction from Ashland, as well as a bachelor's in English and History from the University of Akron. A lifelong Summit County resident, Lucille has also taught throughout the region, including many years at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School. 


Special Spotlight: A Lesson on the Common Core from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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Letter of Inquiry

January 6, 2014
April 7, 2014 
July 8, 2014
October 6, 2014

Grant Applications

February 1, 2014

April 18, 2014 for Capital requests only (separate application form)

May 1, 2014

August 1, 2014

November 1, 2014

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