Learn about our experienced team who share a passion for helping you help our community.


Mark J. Samolczyk

Mark J. Samolczyk

President and CEO

Mark leads Stark Community Foundation's team in fulfilling its mission of partnering with individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits to help them achieve their charitable goals. He's the primary representative of the Foundation in the community.

Mark's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Strengthening economic development to help individuals overcome issues of poverty, hunger and education barriers

Part of His Job:
Personally interacting with staff members, community leaders and funders. As a business with a significant human element, Mark thrives on helping organizations and people achieve their charitable goals and working together to build a stronger community.

Things to Do in Stark County:
Reading, exercising at Stark County YMCAs and trying his hand at new recipes in the kitchen


Bridgette L. Neisel

Bridgette L. Neisel

Vice President of Advancement

Bridgette works with individuals, families, businesses and nonprofits to create new charitable funds and help them achieve their goals. She leads the advancement team in the areas of charitable gift planning, donor relations and donor communications.

Bridgette's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Education and youth

Part of Her Job:
Learning about what donors are most passionate about, and then designing a charitable plan for them that will maximize their impact today and forever

Place to Eat in Stark County:
The Desert Inn

Melissa J. Elsfelder

Melissa J. Elsfelder

Donor Relations Associate

Melissa processes donor grant recommendations and manages Stark Community Foundation's scholarship program.

Melissa's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Education, animals and health

Part of Her Job:
Working alongside the rest of the team and knowing the Foundation's efforts bring positive change in the community

Place to Visit in Stark County:
The Crush House at Gervasi Vineyard

Callie A. Livengood

Callie A. Livengood

Director of Marketing and Communications

Callie leads the Foundation's marketing and communication strategy.

Callie's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Music, education and women's health

Part of Her Job:
Hearing and sharing how the Foundation's family of donors are making an impact

Things to Do in Stark County:
Supporting the community's local restaurants and small businesses

Natalie A.  Mashchak

Natalie A. Mashchak

Marketing Specialist

Natalie supports the Foundation's marketing and communication initiatives and manages its website and social media presence and publication design.

Natalie's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Youth mentorship and equal education opportunities

Part of Her Job:
Telling the stories of donors and seeing all the ways they change the lives of others through supporting nonprofits

Things to Do in Stark County:
Attending First Fridays in downtown Canton, discovering new restaurants and walking with her dogs through Stark Parks

Casey T. Schandel

Casey T. Schandel

Director of Donor Relations

Casey oversees the daily stewardship operations of the Foundation and works with donors, their families and professional advisors to achieve their charitable goals.

Casey's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Children, education and animals

Part of Her Job:
Working with a fantastic team to help our donors make a lasting impact in Stark and Carroll Counties

Things to Do in Stark County:
Attending events at the Canton Palace Theatre and shopping at Dioguardi's Italian Marketplace


Carrie L. Bast

Carrie L. Bast

Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Carrie leads the strategy and direction of the Foundation's accounting, finance and human resource operations and maintains the financial integrity of the Foundation's growing asset base.

Carrie's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Children in need, education and religion

Part of Her Job:
Further contributing to the solid financial infrastructure of the Foundation and building positive and lasting relationships with an array of partners

Places to Visit in Stark County:
Walking and hiking the many available parks in our area and visiting the McKinley Monument

Stephanie L. Boka

Stephanie L. Boka

Staff Accountant

Stephanie maintains the Foundation's investment pool allocations, prepares bank reconciliations, processes donations, grants checks and assists the Chief Financial Officer and Controller in preparation for the annual audit and the organization’s tax returns.

Stephanie's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Children, volunteering and education

Part of Her Job:
Working alongside great colleagues in helping our community

Thing to Do:
Spoiling her chocolate labrador retriever, Abbey

Christine M. Cunningham

Christine M. Cunningham

Finance and Systems Officer

Chris processes the day-to-day financial transactions of the Foundation, provides HR support, including processing payroll and benefit changes, and manages the technology systems in conjunction with our outside IT vendor.

Chris's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Homelessness, human trafficking and mission work

Part of Her Job:
Learning new skills and problem solving

Things to Do:
Spending time and building memories with her husband, family and friends, trying new restaurants in the area and being involved with her church

Nicole L. Stelzer

Nicole L. Stelzer


Nicole directs the day-to-day accounting and financial processes of the Foundation. She oversees the annual audit and tax return preparation, serves as the liaison to the external auditors and manages the detailed quarterly reconciliation and fund statement process.

Nicole's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Education and housing

Part of Her Job:
Collaborating with everyone on staff

Place to Visit in Stark County:
Gervasi Vineyard


Amy B. Krebs

Amy B. Krebs

Vice President of Grants and Community Initiatives

Amy is responsible for Stark Community Foundation’s competitive grantmaking, the Foundation’s strategy, evaluation and research activities as well as overseeing neighborhood revitalization work.

Amy's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Advocacy, community development and education

Part of Her Job:
Being part of a top-notch team charged with effectively helping people achieve their charitable goals

Things to Do:
Spending time with family and friends

Dana S.  Johnson

Dana S. Johnson

Grants Administrator

Dana is the central administrator of the grant process from the intake and entry point throughout the life cycle of the grant. She provides clerical support for all grantmaking activities.

Dana's Favorite...

Causes to Support:
Animals, hunger and literacy

Part of Her Job:
Being a part of an organization that supports and helps address many different community needs to make Stark County a better place for current and future generations

Thing About Stark County:
The wide variety of parks, restaurants, entertainment and shopping destinations

Mary Helen Petrus

Mary Helen Petrus

Senior Program Officer

Mary Helen supports the Foundation’s competitive and responsive grantmaking program, reviews and analyzes funding proposals, continues research and data initiatives that guide our grantmaking and assists in evaluating strategic collaboratives to address community challenges.

Mary Helen's Favorite...

Cause to Support:

Part of Her Job:
Learning new things about Stark County, and collaborating with staff and community partners

Things to Do in Stark County:
Biking and hiking the Towpath Trail

Board of Directors

William R. Cook, Chair
VP and Senior Commercial Lender
Premier Bank

Jeffrey W. ZellersVice Chair
President and Chairman
K W Zellers & Son, Inc.

Brian S. Belden
VP of Sales & Marketing
The Belden Brick Company

Nancy S. Gessner
Director of Community Development

Gregory W. Luntz
Commercial Agent
NAI Spring

Tonja J. Marshall
Chief Marketing Officer
Visit Canton

Karen Soehnlen McQueen
Krugliak, Wilkins, Griffiths & Dougherty

Andrea M. Perry
Director of Public Safety
City of Canton

Todd E. Pugh
CEO and Founder

Gary D. Sirak
Financial Advisor
Sirak Financial Services

Nancy A. Varian
Director, Center for Professional Development
Malone University


Audit Committee

Steven J. Burger, CPA, MBA, Chair
Louanne M. Kiko, CPA
Tonja Marshall
Patricia D. Williams
Annie M. Yoder, CPA/CFF, CFE

Investment Review Committee

William H. Belden, Jr., Chair
Robert F. Belden
James A. Bower
Theodore V. Boyd
David J. Cornet
Thomas V. Ferrero, Esq.
Richard C. Hannon, Jr.
Clark Hegnauer
Gregory W. Luntz

Personnel Committee

Nancy S. Gessner, Chair
Nancy A. Varian
Jeffrey W. Zellers

Trustee Banks Committee

Huntington National Bank
JPMorgan Chase Bank
PNC Bank

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