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Stark Community Foundation Partners with SCORE to Help Nonprofits Succeed

Date: April 26, 2017

Stark Community Foundation Partners with SCORE to Help Nonprofits Succeed

A local nonprofit that’s long been known for helping small business owners has been putting more of an emphasis on assisting nonprofits, thanks to the continued support from Stark Community Foundation.

While Canton Regional SCORE has always offered free mentoring and training to nonprofits, it wasn’t until a conversation in 2011 that SCORE began expanding and tailoring its services to help nonprofits operate more effectively and efficiently. This enhanced effort started when Mike Johnson, then chairman of Canton Regional SCORE, and Mark J. Samolczyk, president of Stark Community Foundation, spoke about an intentional partnership focused on helping nonprofits recognize the benefits of a business model.

“After evaluating a number of grant requests from area charities, we started seeing a need for nonprofits to operate more like for-profits,” said Samolczyk. “We thought, ‘who better equipped to educate nonprofits on successful business practices than SCORE?’”

Through a grant from Stark Community Foundation, retired and active business professionals from our community – also known as mentors – started providing a series of workshops in 2012 designed to better serve the needs of nonprofits. These free workshops focus on a wide array of workplace issues, ranging from board structure and cash management to grantwriting and social media marketing.

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, which has led SCORE to offer more workshops each year and the Foundation to continue to financially support these efforts. Today, nearly 50 mentors provide cost-free training and education to nonprofits about how to achieve new levels of success. SCORE is on pace to offer more than 70 workshops in 2017, compared to 62 in 2016.

Many Stark County nonprofits are taking advantage of SCORE’s services including Canton Palace Theatre, JRC and Stark County Hunger Task Force. After attending a workshop, all three saw the benefit SCORE could provide in moving their organizations forward. SCORE and its team of experienced mentors helped JRC create a marketing plan for its rebranding initiative and assisted both Canton Palace Theatre and Stark County Hunger Task Force in the development of a strategic business plan.

“It’s great to see business professionals with decades of experience give back to their local community in this way,” added Samolczyk.

When asked why mentors volunteer their time and talent to help nonprofits, Johnson said “We like the world of business and enjoy giving back to the community at large. We love to see clients’ eyes light up when they see the path to success become more clear.”

Canton Regional SCORE has been an invaluable resource to the local community since 1990, and others are taking note. Canton Regional SCORE was chosen among 340 chapters nationwide as the 2016 Chapter of the Year by the organization's national board of directors. This honor is based on meeting and exceeding measurable goals.

To learn more, visit https://canton.score.org.

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