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$6.6 million dollar gift from James H. Hower will advance the mission of Akron Children’s

03-05-2024 (Akron, Ohio )

A transformational gift of $6.6 million from James H. Hower will advance pediatric health care, support the training and development of future health care professionals, facilitate innovation and support the delivery of world-class pediatric care at Akron Children’s.

The gift, received after James’ passing, is the second largest individual donation in the history of the Akron Children’s Foundation and will be divided between the previously established James H. Hower Endowed Scholarship Fund, the James H. Hower Prize in Children's Health Research Fund, the James H. Hower Career Launch Endowed Fund and the hospital's area of greatest need.

The funds will be used to:

  • Enhance Akron Children’s laboratories and clinical research environments, ensuring Akron Children’s scientists and research teams work within spaces where innovation thrives.
  • Develop new diagnostics, treatments, and interventions for Akron Children’s patients.
  • Attract and retain the brightest minds in pediatric health research and build a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve.
  • Improve experiences and outcomes through innovation.

The James H. Hower Endowed Scholarship Fund was established in 2020 to address a shortage of pediatric primary care physicians and has granted six scholarships. The first two scholarship recipients will finish residency this year and join Akron Children’s pediatric practices.

The James H. Hower Career Launch Endowed Fund has helped fund health care career advancement for 42 Akron Children’s Career Launch participants. Career Launch is a workforce development program that helps participants overcome barriers to a post-secondary education, including tuition and other expenses. Following program completion, participants are offered positions at Akron Children’s.

"We are extremely grateful for the most recent generous donation from a member of the Hower family,” said Chris Gessner, Akron Children’s president and CEO. “Jim's philanthropic legacy will ensure the continuity of these programs for future generations."

The Hower family have been long-time supporters of the hospital through their philanthropic support and have also served on various hospital boards.

James’ father, the late John B. Hower, was a member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees for 26 years and his mother, Mary, was a member of the Women's Board for 31 years. James’ brother, Otis, was also a member of the hospital’s Board of Trustees for 46 years.

James Hower was Vice President of Akron Selle Company and in charge of operations. Dedicated to a life of service, he was a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for 47 years. He rose to the rank of Assistant Chief in the Bath Fire Department and earned the Summit County Fireman of the Year award in 1997. In 1976, he graduated from Akron General Hospital's first class of EMT/Paramedics. A philanthropist to many organizations, he never sought recognition for his generosity.

Additionally, John Hower established the Mary A. Hower Medical Library at Akron Children's through a donation in memory of his wife. Akron Children’s also presents the annual John B. Hower Award to recognize excellence in pediatric neurology each spring.


About Akron Children’s 

Akron Children’s is an independent, nonprofit pediatric health care system that has been caring for children since 1890. With two hospital campuses, seven regional health centers and more than 50 primary and specialty care locations throughout Ohio, we are the only health care system in our region fully dedicated to pediatric care. With our vast network of Akron Children’s Pediatrics offices, we offer convenient access to expert pediatric primary care for patients from infancy through young adulthood. From our School-Based Health Care to our Quick Care Online virtual visits and Akron Children’s Anywhere app, we make it easy for today’s busy families to find the high-quality care they need. In 2023, our health care system provided nearly 1.4 million patient encounters and employed more than 7,000 employees. Learn more at

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