Charitable dollars to The Village of St. Edward ensures our residents receive the fullest lives possible

Green Community Shot
Your support of the Village of St. Edward is more important than ever before. Find out how you can help to enrich the lives of the seniors who live here—and the community itself.

By Patricia Nugent

Merriam-Webster defines “generous” as “showing a readiness to give more of something, as money or time, than is strictly necessary or expected.”

The nearly 700 residents and families at The Village of St. Edward communities are compassionately supported and enriched through the generous spirit of those who donate to its foundation.

“This generosity provides valuable resources that allow us to provide the lifestyle and care we each want for those we love,” says Vondea Sheaffer, vice president of development. “These gifts, large and small, make an immediate difference in the lives of those living at The Village, with locations in Fairlawn, Green and Wadsworth.”

There are many ways to give to The Village of St. Edward. In addition to cash and check, you can include VSE in an estate plan, stocks, bonds, real estate, retirement assets, insurance policies, marketable securities and appreciated assets and IRA rollovers or retirement Required Minimum Distributions. Pictured is Tiana, Director of Nursing, (center) with two lovely residents in the common area living room.

A Why Not Approach

One of the main fundraisers hosted by the Foundation is VillageFEST. Last year’s proceeds provided resources for important technology initiatives at each of the communities.

“We launched Touchtown, an in-room information television channel for all residents, added digital information monitors in each community, and implemented a family communication app,” she reports. “This year’s VillageFEST will help us launch VillageLIFE, providing aspirational, bucket-list activities for residents. We have a ‘can-do’ and ‘why-not’ approach to resident life. We encourage them to continue to learn, explore, engage and approach aging with enthusiasm and optimism.”

Another way The Village follows its mission and ministry is by making a promise to each resident that he or she will not be asked or encouraged to leave if they outlive their resources.

VillageFest—a mini-music festival open to the public—features live entertainment, a celebrity bartender competition, a raffle, a silent auction and a wine pull. It will be held at the Green location on Wednesday, June 22. Proceeds benefit programming at The Village of St. Edward.

“Gifts from friends and families and others provides direct support to those who have outlived their resources and helps offset a portion of the nearly $1 million of The Village’s uncompensated care,” says Vondea. “Our philosophy is people over profit.”

Enriching a spiritual life is also at their core, and gifts help with the cost of maintaining chapels at each community and provide for a chaplain and two Dominican Sisters who comprise the spiritual care team. The compassionate staff also provides end-of-life hospice care for residents and families.

The gifts support upkeep of the facilities, too. Last year, because of many thoughtful gifts from friends and families, and a special bequest from former resident Matilda Varga, The Village was honored to name The Matilda Varga Wellness Garden at the Fairlawn Community.

The faith-based, not-for-profit Village of St. Edward relies on donations to continue programming. No monies are received from Catholic Charities, so it’s important for the community to provide support.

“The garden is a permanent reminder of Matilda’s love for gardening and her appreciation for the care and special friendships she found at The Village,” says Vondea. “These gifts completed the garden and provide a safe, beautiful space for residents and families to reflect and enjoy the outdoors.”

In a true “like family” approach, The Village takes good care of its staff as well. The Employee Emergency Support Fund helps support staff members who have experienced an unexpected financial crisis or hardship. And gifts to the foundation help provide scholarships for caregivers pursuing further education and training.

Legacy Gifting

“We offer creative ideas to give philanthropy more meaning, including life income charitable gift annuities,” says Vondea. “People can memorialize or celebrate a special person in their lives. Our past donors, of both modest and wealthy means, have found a way to ‘live forever’ through thoughtful and strategic legacy gifts.”

There are many ways to give in addition to cash and check, such as including VSE in an estate plan. Each year The Village also receives in-kind or tangible gifts, such as pro-bono services, donated items like iPads, games and art supplies for activities.

A Time Capsule of Giving

Back in the 1950s, Germaine Karg and Anna Doran Walsh saw a local need for a Catholic home for the aging. Akron’s Sisters of St. Dominic agreed to staff the proposed home.

In 1962, Joseph and Sophie Jacobs, siblings of Akron Dominican Sister Cornelia Jacobs, generously gifted their family home and 26-acre property to establish the original Village of St. Edward, which opened in 1964. Since then, the Fairlawn campus has evolved to include facilities for independent living, as well as a number of options for supported and assisted living, including a rehabilitation and nursing center for round-the-clock care and memory care units.

Village locations in Green and Wadsworth opened in 2019 to offer rustic, home-like accommodations for independent and assisted living, as well as memory care.

At all the locations, the faith-based legacy continues. Dominican nuns Sister Marilyn and Sister Barbara lead the spiritual programming, along with Father Novak and other local parish priests.

Mass is celebrated at the St. Edward and St. Mary chapels at the Fairlawn location, and non-denominational services are also offered.

Whereas in The Villages’ early years most residents were Catholic, today residents come from all faiths. The community offers Bible study and spiritual programming to nurture everyone.

The Village of St. Edward Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that exists for the sole purpose of supporting The Village of St. Edward communities. The three locations include: Fairlawn, 3125 Smith Road, 330-668-2828; Green, 3813 Fortuna Drive, 234-294-0010; and Wadsworth, 880 Main Street, 234-217-8735. There are no long-term contracts and residents will not be asked to leave if they run out of funds. The Village receives no financial support from Catholic Charities. For more information, go to or call Vondea Sheaffer at 234-466-0556.