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Valuable lessons have been learned in the infancy of Protecting Stark’s Future, a Stark Community Foundation-led initiative to support collaborative, community-based solutions to reduce child poverty at the neighborhood level. Recently, a second round of funding was awarded to local organizations combating child poverty.
The Protecting Stark’s Future initiative grew from data-driven community research and the release of Protecting Stark’s Future: A Call to Coordinate Child Poverty Strategies, an eye-opening 2020 study of the child poverty challenges facing Stark County. While examining community data, it became apparent that every issue of concern was related to poverty. In particular, the high child poverty rates in our community demand increased and continued attention.
To spur community-based solutions and fuel lasting change, the Foundation provided nearly $430,000 in inaugural Protecting Stark’s Future grants to 12 organizations in 2021 to address child poverty in Stark County.
While working alongside these community partners, the Foundation has learned several valuable lessons that will guide its future funding:
For the second round of funding, Stark Community Foundation solicited the best ideas through a request for proposals process from organizations that partner with imaginative solutions to address child poverty at the neighborhood level. One-year planning grants up to $15,000 per project and one-to-three-year implementation grants up to $100,000 per project were considered from eligible organizations. Selected projects consider at least one recommendation from the "2020 Protecting Stark’s Future" study, engage one or more specific neighborhoods and involve multiple community partners.
The second round of Protecting Stark’s Future grantees includes TomTod Ideas, The Wilderness Center, Tri County Jobs for Ohio’s Graduates and the University of Mount Union.
Learn more about Protecting Stark’s Future, lessons learned and 2022 grantees at www.starkcf.org/child-poverty.