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Akron Zoo Receives Grant to Further Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion

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The Akron Zoo has a plan to review many aspects of the organization with the possibility of making changes now that it has landed a grant to advance its DEAI initiatives.

The Akron Zoo has received a grant to advance diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion.

The zoo received a $68,000 matching grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to further its DEAI initiatives.

President and CEO Doug Piekarz says this funding will go toward finding the best practices for DEAI and researching how the zoo can implement them.

“We’ll be reviewing all policies and infrastructure at the zoo to make changes.," he said. "We’re also looking at accountability measures to the community and looking at our marketing and all of our staff education, so it’s a wide, all-encompassing effort.”

Piekarz says the money will also be used to build on the DEAI practices already in place.

Piekarz on finding the best practices for DEAI

“One of the things that we want to know is not just what have we done, but truly today where are the best practices in engaging diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion at organizations like ours, so that would be a part of the study that’s funded by this grant,” Piekarz said.

He says these efforts to make everyone feel welcome at the zoo are vital to its mission of inspiring lifelong learning and conservation action.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media. A Northeast Ohio native and lifelong listener of public radio, Abigail started in public radio as a news intern at WKSU. She graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Kent State University.