Stark Community Foundation Announces Inaugural Protecting Stark’s Future Grant Recipients

Stark Community Foundation today announced nearly $430,000 in inaugural Protecting Stark’s Future grants to 12 organizations to address child poverty in Stark County.

In partnership with the United Way of Greater Stark County, Protecting Stark’s Future supports collaborative community-based solutions to reduce child poverty at the neighborhood level. This initiative grew from recent data-driven work 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.

“The key to realizing success in this initiative is working alongside neighborhoods throughout Stark County,” said Amy Krebs, vice president of grants and community initiatives for Stark Community Foundation. “Tackling child poverty is a solid investment in Stark County’s future and we are committed to encouraging broad engagement and collaboration across the community."

To help spur ideas and fuel change, the Foundation committed to providing one-year planning grants up to $15,000 per project and one-to-three-year implementation grants up to $100,000 per project to eligible organizations.

Selected projects consider at least one recommendation from the 2020 study, improve one or more specific neighborhoods and embrace multiple community partners. Planning and implementation grants are supported by several charitable funds at Stark Community Foundation including the Protecting Stark’s Future Fund and Partners in Giving Fund.

The inaugural Protecting Stark’s Future planning grants are:

  • Access Health: $14,900 to explore the expansion of services to include the adolescent population and address gaps in transportation
  • Bridge Point Community Services: $5,000 to support the overall planning of learning centers in the Canton and Sandy Valley local school districts, which will provide a variety of resources for students and their families
  • Canton Abbey: $12,500 to create a local Christian Community Development Association network to connect churches and nonprofits throughout Stark County and explore specific ways to collaboratively address the issue of child poverty
  • Community Building Partnership of Stark County: $13,750 to present a financial fitness workshop series to families in Cedar Leadership School’s After School Program and use this experience to develop a collaborative child poverty team and plan
  • EN-RICH-MENT: $14,520 to complete a community needs assessment to identify concerns, priorities and resources for youth and their families living in the Shorb neighborhood of northwest Canton
  • First Tee of Canton: $15,000 to support consultants to assist with research, grant coordination and a neighborhood assessment to gather feedback from those within a two-mile radius of First Tee
  • JRC Learning Center: $15,000 to support a plan coordinator to facilitate research, development, goals, measurements and outcomes of JRC’s Preventing Generational Child Poverty plan
  • Leila Green Alliance of Black School Educators: $7,500 to plan and implement a relationship-based, pilot program that educates and equips northeast Canton families with the skills and tools they need to move and stay out of poverty through a series of educational programs
  • Stark County Community Action Agency: $15,000 to fund a needs assessment of the families living in the Harrisburg Royal neighborhood of northeast Canton, and the results will be used to develop family pathway plan strategies to address and achieve positive child poverty reduction outcomes
  • University of Mount Union: $14,000 to conceptualize and design an Alliance Community Learning Center for Adults, Youth and Children that aims to help adults and their children rise from poverty through skills training, mentorship, access to career services and other resources to assist along their journey of continued financial stability

“We are inspired by these recent projects and remain hopeful that through the collaborative work of many community partners that we can work together to help more families in our community break the cycle of poverty,” said Maria Heege, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Stark County.

The inaugural Protecting Stark’s Future implementation grants are:

  • Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio: $100,000 to help construct five new homes in the Lathrop neighborhood in southeast Canton for low- to moderate-income families with children
  • Habitat for Humanity East Central Ohio: $100,000 to help construct three new homes in southeast and southwest Massillon neighborhoods for low- to moderate-income families with children
  • Stark County Educational Service Center: $100,000 to implement a pre-K CARE Team and an Alliance CARES Network for the Alliance Early Learning School that will intentionally equip and empower economically disadvantaged pre-K parents/caregivers with coordinated support, skills and opportunities tailored to address their barriers, increase their income and build a stronger financial future for their young families

To learn more about Protecting Stark’s Future, visit

About Stark Community Foundation
Stark Community Foundation is the community’s trusted partner in giving to nearly 850 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 more than $200 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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