On the Table Conversations

Host a Conversation

On the Table Greater Akron is expected to return in 2021. However, we encourage residents to host their own conversations this year. For a host toolkit and other planning resources, please visit www.onthetableakron.com/resources.


What does a host need to do? What’s involved?

As a host, you determine a location for 8-12 of your friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues to meet for a mealtime conversation to discuss the ways in which we can collaborate to make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic – communities where opportunities grow, quality of life is enhanced, and families thrive.

The options are as varied as the participants. You can host your conversation at any time of day, for a full meal or just a snack.

Hosts can cook, purchase a meal, or ask their guests to each bring a dish to share potluck style. These are just a few options; there is no right or wrong way.

What if I can’t host on the event date?

That’s ok! While we’d like to have most people convene on the same day, if you can’t, we’d still love to have you participate. If you can host your friends and family within a week of the event, we’ll still be able to gather your surveys.

How do I get started?

The first step is to fill out the Host Registration Form. If you do not have all the details now, fill in what you know and you can send us an update when you have the details. The second step is to check out the Host Information page and the Resources page. Finally, sign up to attend a host training or view our online training video so you’ll be prepared for the event.

Who do I invite?

The guest list is up to you. If you’re unsure, start with people you know – friends, family, colleagues and neighbors. You may consider reaching out to a larger community by co-hosting your event with a local church or nonprofit. Consider asking your guests to bring a friend or invite people from your network who don’t already know one another.

Eight to 12 guests per table is ideal. On the Table is about giving everyone a chance to speak and be heard. If you want to host a larger gathering, consider breaking into smaller groups and allowing time for each group to discuss and report out to the larger group.

Conversations can either be private or open to the public.

What if I want to invite the general public to my conversation? How will I know if guests are coming and how many to expect?

If you plan to host a public conversation, download our information sheet. While you’re responsible for getting the word out and finding your participants, this sheet will give you some thoughts on how to do so. We’ve also created some customizable invitations, available on our resources page, to help you get started.

What should an On the Table Greater Akron gathering look like?

Hosts are encouraged to be creative. The priority is to create an atmosphere conducive to meaningful conversation – a potluck in your dining room, a picnic in a nearby park, a gathering at a neighborhood restaurant, or a backyard barbecue are just some of the many possibilities. Plan on a 60- to 90-minute conversation and leave 15 minutes at the end so you and your guests can fill out a survey.

What is expected of a host?

  • Host a 60- to 90-minute mealtime conversation. Invite 8 to 12 friends, family members, neighbors and colleagues; expand your circle to other networks. The food doesn’t need to be elaborate; it can be a potluck, a brown bag or a simple snack. Gather at home, work, church, a coffee shop or restaurant. You can host multiple conversations.
  • Attend a host training or view one online.
  • Record the names and emails for each guest. This information will ONLY be used for emails related to On the Table, including a link to the survey.
  • Fill out the Participant Form. Each guest should provide their name and email address. You can also text, email or mail your participants’ information to Akron Community Foundation.
  • Complete a post-event survey and ask your guests to do so, as well. This is a crucial part of On the Table. The survey allows us to collect the creative ideas and actionable plans discussed during the event.

Why should I host an On the Table Greater Akron conversation?

By hosting or joining a mealtime conversation as part of On the Table, you’ll be part of an exciting, community-wide initiative to explore the ways in which we have the power to collaborate to make our communities stronger, safer and more dynamic.

Our community-wide conversations will generate new ideas, bold solutions and opportunities for investment. When we come together as a community to learn from and with each other, we have the power to impact neighborhoods and lives. That’s what On the Table is all about.

What is a Super Host?

Organizations, institutions, churches and businesses are invited to participate as Super Hosts. These groups will host 15 or more conversations of 8 to 12 people on Oct. 3, 2019.

What do I need to provide as a host?

If you are hosting at a restaurant or other business, please make sure they can accommodate your group and let guests know if they are responsible for paying for their own meal.

If you are hosting your conversation at a public place such as a park, please check with the location on where and what is acceptable and follow all necessary rules for the facility.

If you’re hosting your conversation at a community center or hall, please make sure to reserve the location in advance.

Wherever you plan to host, make sure you let your guests know if you will provide food or if they will be purchasing their own food, providing a dish to share, or bringing their own individual meal.

Costs of food, travel, supplies and other items purchased for the event is the responsibility of the hosts and guests, unless otherwise agreed upon with Akron Community Foundation prior to the event. Expenses associated with On the Table are not tax deductible for hosts or guests.

What happens after the event?

  1. Fill out the Participant Form: Provide the names and email addresses of your participants so Akron Community Foundation can send your guests a link to the survey. Email addresses will be used only for On the Table updates.
  2. Share your stories: Stories will be shared to inform and inspire new solutions that address our priorities and aspirations. These stories will ultimately build a deeper and broader civic voice in our region. We encourage all participants to share insights, photos and videos on social media using the hashtag #OnTheTableAkron.
  3. Complete a short survey: Share your experiences, thoughts and ideas that arose from these conversations. Be part of the community report.
  4. Akron Community Foundation will share a community report highlighting the ideas, conversations, themes and outcomes that emerge from On the Table Greater Akron. This data will inform the community foundation’s proactive community investment strategies.

Where can I find more information about On the Table Greater Akron?

New and updated information will be posted regularly on our website. You can also sign up for On the Table Updates to receive more information. Or, contact us via email at Info@OnTheTableAkron.com or call us at 330-376-8522.