Our History

Our History

Originally known as the International Center, IIA was founded in 1916 by the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) to help foreign-born women integrate into American society.  After the United States entered World War I, the International Center broadened its scope to assist both men and women affected by the war.  In the 1930’s, the International Center officially separated from the YWCA and began to receive funding from the Better Akron Foundation, a predecessor of the United Way.  The responsibilities of the International Center increased even more during the 1940’s, as it began to take care of whole families fleeing the atrocities of World War II.  The International Center was reorganized and rechartered as the International Institute of Akron (IIA) in 1958 to provide comprehensive immigration programs and services to the Summit county community and in 1979, IIA officially established a Refugee Resettlement program.

See the timeline below for more information about IIA and immigration in the U.S.