Mary Helen Petrus Joins Stark Community Foundation Team

Mary Helen Petrus recently joined Stark Community Foundation’s team as Senior Program Officer.

In this new role, she will support the Foundation’s competitive and responsive grantmaking program, review and analyze funding proposals, continue research and data initiatives that guide our grantmaking and assist in evaluating strategic collaboratives to address community challenges.

Petrus comes to Stark Community Foundation from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland’s Community Development Department, where she served in roles of increasing responsibility since 2008. She most recently served as assistant vice president and oversaw the Community Advisory Council, the Investment Connection program and other strategic initiatives. While at the Fed, she informed leadership and influenced policymakers to consider evidence-based interventions to improve economic mobility and resilience of lower-income individuals and communities of color.

Before working for the Fed, Petrus served as director of policy development for the former trade association Cleveland Neighborhood Development Coalition. She was a founding co-director of ReBuild Ohio, a statewide consortium of civic, academic and community organizations created to study and develop policy recommendations on the debilitating effects of vacant and abandoned property in Ohio. She also served as a budget analyst at the Congressional Budget Office in Washington, DC and public education director for the John Howard Association in Chicago, IL.

“Mary Helen is an exceptionally talented and accomplished community leader,” said Amy Krebs, vice president of grants and community initiatives. “She is extremely well-suited to help in our collective efforts to readily address community needs and opportunities.”

Petrus earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communication studies and political science from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts degree in public policy studies from the University of Chicago. She currently serves on the board of Seeds of Literacy and is a partner of Cleveland Social Venture Partners.

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