Local Foundations Establish Community Redevelopment Fund

Four local foundations established The Stark County Community Redevelopment Fund through Stark Community Foundation in 2019 to finance redevelopment efforts in Stark County through grants and low-interest loans. Most recently, the fund awarded its first grant of $600,000 to Stark Economic Development Board to provide specific economic development services on behalf of the fund.

New Fund
Leaders of the George H. Deuble Foundation, Hoover Foundation, Stark Community Foundation and Timken Foundation of Canton were part of a larger philanthropic group in 1999 to provide a low-interest construction loan for the Millennium Centre, a three-story office building on Market Avenue North in downtown Canton. The repayment on the Millennium Centre loan helped jump start the fund, which is currently valued at $2.7 million.

The new fund aims to spur community redevelopment by providing grants and low-interest loans to local businesses and nonprofits whose projects will revitalize and strengthen Stark County. Additional resources are often needed in order to make projects a reality, whether it is for real estate acquisition, site development, building rehabilitation or equipment. This fund will help make those viable projects a reality in our community.

“The repayment of future loans will create a revolving funding source from which loans and grants can be made to finance other redevelopment efforts in Stark County,” said Mark Scheffler, executive director of the Timken Foundation of Canton. “Businesses and nonprofits are able to pursue their project and when they pay the loan back, they are paying it forward for others to have the same opportunity.”

First Grant
The Stark County Community Redevelopment Fund recently awarded its first grant of $600,000, made payable over three years, to Stark Economic Development Board (SEDB) to provide four economic development services. SEDB is the leading nonprofit focused on retaining, expanding and attracting business to Stark County. It is also the coordinator of Strengthening Stark, a county-wide economic development initiative.

As part of the grant agreement, SEDB will 1) recommend grants or loans the redevelopment fund should consider awarding, 2) conduct due diligence on any economic development proposals the fund receives, 3) coordinate the county-wide Strengthening Stark effort, and 4) evaluate the effectiveness of Strengthening Stark strategies supported by the fund.

When reviewing and recommending grants or loans, SEDB will pay close attention to community impact, economic growth, number of jobs created or retained and if it brings new projects or services to the community.

“This partnership allows us to tap the expertise of the Stark Economic Development Board to ensure we are making strategic decisions about where best to invest our dollars in economic development,” said Mark J. Samolczyk, president and CEO of Stark Community Foundation.

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