A Letter From Our Chair

October 1, 2021

Dear Friends,

As the Sisters of Charity Foundation begins its 25th year of grantmaking, we have high expectations and great hope. This will be a year of celebration, and a year of transition as well.

Joni Close, who has served as President since 2009, plans to retire in June 2022. A Board committee has begun the search for our next capable, committed, and dynamic leader. Despite Joni’s departure, rest assured, we will remain focused – on our mission, on service to the community, on impact, and on collaboration.

Our founders, the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine, charged us with the responsibility to meet the needs of the poor and underserved by understanding the root causes of poverty, nurturing healthy communities, and evaluating the effectiveness of our work. They also trusted us to be good stewards of our resources.

As a result of Joni’s inspired leadership, unwavering commitment to our mission, and collaborative cooperation within our community, we have continued the legacy. The Foundation has awarded more than $72 million in grant funding, even while our assets have grown from $72 million to nearly $114 million.

The legacy of those investments is profound and diverse:

  • The Quality Child Care Initiative prompted significant increases in early childhood quality, the founding of the Early Childhood Resource Center, and the creation of the SPARK program, which has helped more than 16,000 Ohio children get ready to succeed in school.
  • Our homelessness work resulted in the creation of the Stark Housing Network, a backbone organization supporting Stark County’s Homeless Continuum of Care, which is working to end homelessness in Stark County.
  • And our mental health efforts introduced significant process and organizational improvements to stabilize and strengthen our community’s critical mental health organizations.

We have been blessed and fortunate to have Joni as our President and to have strong, mission-minded community partners, a committed and compassionate Board, and an exceptionally capable and devoted staff.

The work—and the impact—continues. We believe we have made the Sisters proud. But there is still a lot of work ahead. Joni and the Board are working diligently to achieve a smooth and seamless transition as we proceed with the search process.

The search committee has retained Waverly Partners, a national executive search firm based in Cleveland, to support the search for our next President.  Waverly Partners has been selected by Hunt-Scanlon Media as one of the Top 60 Non-Profit Search Firms in the nation.  Those seeking more information on the search process or the President position are encouraged to contact Waverly Partners consultants Heidi Milosovic and Eric Peterson at Foundation@Waverly-Partners.com.   

While we will miss Joni and wish her only the best, the Board remains committed to making a real difference through Foundation-led initiatives, strategic collaborations, and responsive efforts. We feel confident that the Foundation will continue to grow even stronger and more impactful in the decades ahead.


Jeffrey A. Halm
Board Chair 

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