About GAR

GAR Staff

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

Christine Amer Mayer
Twitter: @christinemayer4

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.

Kirstin S. Toth
 Senior Vice President
Twitter: @Toth4GAR

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 Grimes Zaehringer, Esq., MSSA
 Senior Program Officer
Twitter: @bzaehringer
Brittany Grimes Zaehringer joined GAR Foundation in 2013. A nonprofit, legal, and government sector professional, Zaehringer previously served as the director of operations for the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) in Washington, D.C., where she restructured the charitable engagement strategy and worked with various national funders including W.K. Kellogg and Bill and Melinda Gates foundations. Prior to joining DREF, she was the chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of North East Ohio.  She also held several positions creating and implementing EEO and quality control measures in the non-profit and government sectors, and was an associate attorney with Buckingham, Doolittle and Burroughs, LLP.
An Akron native, Zaehringer has been active in her community through service in over 30 non-profit boards, committees and affiliations, including her recent appointments to the Summit County Children’s Services and Akron Civic Theater board of directors.  She is an active, Diamond Life Member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Zaehringer received her Juris Doctorate and Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan. If she’s not traveling with her husband Peter, you can find her baking, at the billiard table or riding her bike on the Ohio and Erie Canalway Towpath Trail.


 Candace Campbell Jackson
 Consulting Program Officer
Twitter: @candaceakron

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. Currently, Jackson serves as the Vice President of Student Success and Vice Provost for Academic Studies 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.

Dina Younis
 Communications Manager
Twitter: @dinasdays
Dina Younis joined GAR Foundation in 2014. A communications professional with a diverse background in the nonprofit sector, she previously held the position of grant writer at the Battered Women’s Shelter and served as the marketing and development director at Greenleaf Family Center. Born in Akron but raised in Jordan, she spent several years in the Middle East before moving back to Ohio. Younis also manages a lifestyle blog, Dina’s Days, which has been featured on Fox 8 - New Day Cleveland and the Akron Beacon Journal. She also helped to launch Akron2Akron, a civic leaders group that coordinates neighborhood walking tours in Akron. 
Younis earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Akron, where she studied Business and Organizational Communications.


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 joined GAR Foundation in 2012. A long-time employee of Roadway Express and Yellow Roadway Corporation, she previously served as executive assistant to the deputy general counsel and office manager for the company’s legal department. She attended the University of Akron where she earned both a bachelor’s and master’s in technical education. Yates is a devoted Walsh Jesuit volunteer and member of the Parish Council at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.  She and her husband, Brad have one daughter Christina, who attends John Carroll University. Yates travels often with her family to the west coast. 

Lucille Esposito 
Consulting EIG Program Manager

Lucille Esposito joined GAR Foundation in 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, where she led and managed curriculum and instruction for instructors and students throughout the District. 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. 

Grantee Spotlight 

Alchemy, Inc. 
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A Closer Look blog:
Akron2Akron: Become a tourist in your own city



Letter of Inquiry

LOIs are reviewed on a weekly basis, so you may submit one at any time. Please visit our Letter of Inquiry page for detailed deadline information.  

January 5, 2015 

April 6, 2015 

June 29, 2015 

October 5, 2015 

Grant Applications 

February 1, 2015 

May 1, 2015 

August 1, 2015

November 1, 2015

April 17, 2015 Capital requests only 

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