Arts Patron 2024

Arts Patron: An individual or organization or business that has sustained and enhanced arts and culture in our community through generous support, leadership and financial resources.


Through her professional careers and her community volunteer work in social services, healthcare, and the arts, Brenda Cummins connects people to organizations that impact the lives of the greater community. She currently serves as Director of Philanthropic Services at The Cleveland Foundation, and previous roles include director of Foundation Administration and Community Engagement at Summa Health System and development officer at the Akron Civic Theatre, where she was responsible for all aspects of fundraising for the 1920’s atmospheric theatre.  

Cummins has led significant local volunteer efforts in the arts, including as co-chair of the Akron Civic Theatre’s Evening with the Stars Galas and in partnership with the City of Akron to design and execute the very first HolidayFest in downtown Akron. She joined Akron Area Arts Alliance in 2005 and served on AAAA’s Board from 2008-2012. Cummins worked on transitioning AAAA from a membership organization to Summit Artspace, a vibrant arts organization and hub serving Summit County’s artists, arts organizations, and the community. Subsequently, she served on Summit Artspace’s board as well as two of the three Summit County Cultural Landscape Assessment Task Forces that helped create ArtsNow.  

Notably, Cummins created and staffed Summa Health’s HealingArts Program, infusing art into patient care areas to enhance healing. She brought original works of art to newly renovated patient spaces, engaged local and national musicians in live music performances in the cancer center, palliative care unit, and other patient care areas, and collaborated with Kent State University’s Wick Poetry Center to engage Palliative Care physicians and nursing staff in poetry writing exercises to help them cope with the stress of working with end-of-life patients.  

Cummins currently serves on the boards of Friends of 91.3 The Summit; Collide: Cuyahoga Falls (including as a Committee Member for the administration of a National Endowment for the Arts Grant “River in the City” project for the City of Cuyahoga Falls and as an ArtsForward Grant Recipient to build an Artists Paste-Up Wall); and Nightlight Cinema. She is a Member of the Assembly for the Arts (Cleveland).  

She holds a master’s degree in Audiology from Kent State University and a bachelor’s degree in Speech and Hearing from Bowling Green State University.  She is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and board member of Northeast Ohio Planned Giving Council and served as adjunct faculty at the University of Akron in the arts administration program from 2018 to 2022. 

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