The Devil Strip is an arts, news, culture and music publication 100% locally owned by hundreds of your neighbors and read by more than 40,000 people every month. Our mission is to help more people care more about Akron so they’ll want to help make life better here. With every story, event and issue, our goal is to help you understand our city, find your people and get involved where you live.
As is true in cities all over America, Akron’s very small businesses are struggling to survive as consumer habits have been radically altered since March 2020. The pandemic itself has disproportionately affected health and wealth outcomes for women and Black Americans the most, who were already at a disadvantage prior to the COVID-19 crisis. In fact, research by Elevate Akron identified economic inclusion as a key priority for local leaders who want to steer the local economy in the right direction. That means that targeting support for local businesses owned by women, Black residents, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other traditionally marginalized groups can directly improve outcomes while also simultaneously boosting the local economy and culture, both of which these businesses help define.
About the Community Partnerships Program
The Devil Strip is rethinking our relationship with local businesses, nonprofits and civic groups by focusing on understanding and addressing needs; building stronger connections between organizations and with our members and readers; and offering a way to directly support the vital journalism we provide free to, about and for people of Akron. This program features three core components: Community Partners (membership), Community Leaders (underwriting) and Community Catalysts (patronage).
Our work is grounded in the belief that the city and all its people benefit when we work together through shared values and purpose. For Akron to succeed, we have to create more bridging social capital — reciprocal relationships between groups — that builds on an existing strength in Akron: bonding social capital, the inward-facing relationships we already find in our sectors, neighborhoods and organizations.
Community Partners join for $200, paid quarterly, or $600 paid annually, and receive the following benefits:
Social and digital media audit with a business needs assessment
Placement in our online Community Partners Directory
Print recognition as Community Partner
Subscription to the print magazine with the option to become a drop-off location
Monthly Newsletter featuring lessons learned, partner profiles and opportunities
Discounts on ads and services
Job listings posted free-of-charge in The Devil Strip’s newsletter
Targeted training and workshops
Access to members-only forums and discussions
Community Leaders take charge for $400, paid monthly, or $4,000 paid annually, and receive the same benefits as our Community Partners, plus recognition — in print and digital formats, as well as in our Annual Report — as one of a limited number of underwriters for The Devil Strip’s storytelling. Choose from 10 topics to support: The Arts, Public Health, Food, Entrepreneurship, Equity & Inclusion, Family Life, Music, Economic Development, the Outdoors and Local History. When paid annually, Community Leaders receive special acknowledgement on our social media channels with a featured “Why I Support The Devil Strip” post.
Community Catalysts spark change by directly funding support for local businesses, nonprofits and civic groups who can’t afford the marketing and advertising they need to attract new customers. This is a highly customizable partnership, starting at $1,000 per sponsored business, that provides ad credit, coaching and Community Partner benefits for every participating business as well as Community Leader benefits for the sponsoring organization.
All Community Partners, Leaders and Catalysts will receive promo codes for their employees and customers to use for exclusive discounts on individual memberships for The Devil Strip.
If you’re interested in learning more or becoming a Community Partner, email firstname.lastname@example.org.