Faith in Stark Raises Money for Small Businesses

A group of local faith-based leaders, business partners and philanthropic organizations have come together to launch Faith in Stark, a community-wide effort to provide hope and stability to small businesses in Stark County. Coordinated by Strengthening Stark, Faith in Stark is currently raising money to provide one-time grants to small businesses negatively impacted by COVID-19.

“It is such a privilege for churches in Stark to have the opportunity to link arms with so many other organizations to bring good news to small businesses here in Stark,” said Jason Lantz, pastor and vision leader of RiverTree Christian Church.

The Faith in Stark Fund has been established through Stark Community Foundation with an initial gift of $100,000 from JumpStart in partnership with KeyBank and $50,000 from the Gessner Family Foundation. The goal is to raise $1 million dollars.

“In response to the rapidly-changing economy, KeyBank and JumpStart, together with our partners, are committed to deploying relief funding to small businesses, said Timothy Burke, KeyBank Northeast Ohio Market President. “It is crucial that these businesses have access to funding that will enable them to stabilize and respond to financial uncertainties. Together with state and federal agencies, our community has come together in support of the individuals and small businesses effected by the global health pandemic.”

Community members can support small businesses in the community by making a gift of any size to the Faith in Stark Fund. Donations can be made online at Checks can be made payable to “Stark Community Foundation” with “Faith in Stark” in the memo line and sent to 400 Market Ave. N, Suite 200, Canton, OH 44702. For gifts of stock, contact Stark Community Foundation at 330-454-7992.

Starting April 14, local small businesses affected by the devastating outbreak of COVID-19 can apply online for a one-time grant of up to $5,000. Funds can be used for any business-related expenses such as payroll, rent, utilities, etc. Businesses must be located in Stark County and have 10 or fewer employees to be eligible. A committee made up of faith and business leaders will evaluate the applications on a weekly basis beginning April 24.

Churches interested in getting involved in Faith in Stark should email To learn more about the community-wide effort, visit

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