Hattie Larlham Named Outstanding Community Leader of the Year by NSME

(TWINSBURG, Ohio) Feb. 27, 2016 – On Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016, the Akron/Canton affiliate of National Sales & Marketing Executives™ (NSME) honored Hattie Larlham with the Outstanding Community Leader of the Year Award. Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen accepted the award for Hattie Larlham on stage at the 44th annual Accent on Excellence gala at the Tangier in Akron.

The award recognized Hattie Larlham’s track record of working with community partners to create new opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to succeed in Northeast Ohio.  Recently, Hattie Larlham joined forces with the Akron Zoo to create Hattie’s Gardens at the Akron Zoo.  The sustainable garden on a site adjacent to the zoo serves as a work training program where employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities learn sustainable gardening practices.  At the same time, the garden allows once vacant lots to be utilized in making fresh, local food available in an area that has been designated a food desert.  

As a natural extension of that work, Hattie Larlham next partnered with the Ohio State University Extension, Payto Architects, the Summit County Land Bank and the City of Akron to begin work on Hattie’s Food Hub.  The food hub will create business opportunities for local growers who need processing and packaging capacity, all while creating employment and job training for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Hattie’s Food Hub will open in spring 2016. 

Hattie Larlham also recently collaborated with the Akron Area Arts Alliance to showcase artwork from Hattie’s Creative Arts in a new space on the third floor of the Summit Artspace building.  Hattie’s Creative Arts is an art program that empowers people with developmental disabilities to communicate through artistic expression.  The partnership with the Akron Area Arts Alliance allows Hattie’s Creative Arts to further integrate its artists in the community.

“Upon first glance, it might appear as if there would be no viable opportunities for an organization that cares for people with developmental disabilities to partner with a zoo, local food producers or an arts alliance,” said Hattie Larlham CEO Dennis Allen.  “By being creative and looking for shared common values, we have been able to create initiatives that improve the lives of people with intellectual an developmental disabilities, add value to the audiences of our partners and serve the greater good of the Northeast Ohio community.”


Established in 1961, Hattie Larlham is a nonprofit organization that provides services to more than 1,500 children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Hattie Larlham inspires people with disabilities and their families to dream and achieve through the medical, residential, vocational and recreational services the organization offers. For more information, visit


National Sales & Marketing Executives (NSME), a new professional association, provides high-caliber educational and valuable networking opportunities for sales and marketing leaders in the greater Akron/Canton region.  Building on a 52-year legacy as an affiliate with Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), the Akron/Canton NSME group has more than 50 members who provide sales and marketing expertise for a wide range of businesses and non-profit organizations. 


Hattie Larlham Facebook

Hattie Larlham Twitter

Hattie Larlham LinkedIn

Hattie Larlham Instagram


Tania Santos
External Communications Officer
Hattie Larlham
330-274-2272, ext. 3049


Scott Juba 
Radar Public Relations & Consulting