Stark Community Foundation Celebrates Record-Breaking Year

Stark Community Foundation and its family of donors awarded $13 million in grants and raised $16.8 million in new and planned gifts in 2019, making it the largest grantmaking year and third highest fundraising year in Foundation history.

“We are fortunate to live in a community where people donate their time, talents and resources to the betterment of our region,” said Mark J. Samolczyk, president and CEO of Stark Community Foundation. “These two milestones are a true testament to our community’s commitment to strengthening Stark County and beyond.”

The record-breaking $13 million supported nearly 600 organizations and provided scholarships to more than 275 students in 2019. Since inception in 1963, the Foundation and its growing family of donors have awarded $185 million in grants to support a wide array of causes like the arts, animal welfare, economic development, education and mental health.

Of the $16.8 million raised in 2019, $11.5 million was in outright gifts and $5.3 million was in planned gifts. The Foundation’s well-diversified portfolio of investments finished the year strong with a net investment return of 18.4%. Assets under management now total $285 million, which continues to rank Stark Community Foundation in the top 10 percent of community foundations in the United States.

“While the Foundation continues to grow in size, services and reach each year, our donors remain our mission,” said Bridgette L. Neisel, vice president of advancement. “For more than 55 years, we’ve helped individuals, families, businesses and organizations achieve their charitable goals. We are continually finding new and creative ways to assist donors on their personal path of philanthropy and bringing awareness to community needs and opportunities.”

Other highlights from 2019 include:

  • Teaming up with Strengthening Stark to host the inaugural THINKBIG: a day of engaging community conversations. Around 170 conversations centered on community needs took place across Stark County with approximately 1,700 diverse individuals who care about our community and its future.
  • Partnering with United Way of Greater Stark County and The Center for Community Solutions to release the 2019 Stark County Community Assessment, a comprehensive data report. The assessment pulls together, in one place, the most timely, relevant data on health, social and economic conditions in Stark County.
  • Awarding a $1 million grant to Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank to construct and operate a new facility in Canton, making it the largest grant directed by the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
  • Establishing 38 new charitable funds, bringing our total number of charitable funds to more than 800.
  • Earning re-accreditation from the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, the highest standards for philanthropic excellence.

About Stark Community Foundation
Stark Community Foundation is the community’s trusted partner in giving for over 800 individuals, families, businesses and organizations that have created charitable funds to impact the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Ranked in the top 10 percent of community foundations in the United States today, Stark Community Foundation is committed to serving donor needs and strategically addressing local issues. The Foundation and its family of donors have granted $185 million to nonprofits since 1963. Learn how you can simplify your giving and amplify your impact through our Center for Partners in Philanthropy at

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