Spark Montessori 

Chicago, Illinois

Story Overview

Spark Montessori is an early childhood learning center located in the Ravenswood neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. The center opened in February of 2019 after converting a former 1880s horse stable into a school building.

After only one year of operation, Spark was faced with Illinois’ statewide stay-at-home order and the cancellation of all classes beginning March 13, 2020. Founder, Sara Hruska needed to find a way to maintain connections with the teaching staff and the families within the Spark community. While Spark had embraced e-learning strategies, the school felt it needed to reduce the financial burden for families no longer able to send their children to in-person classes.

However, with a reduction in tuition, Spark was faced with the prospect of being unable to pay its 10 employees. Hruska turned to the PPP loan as a life preserver, and CRF delivered the help the school needed to survive until in-person classes were able to resume.

The people on the CRF team were true heroes at a time when we needed it most. The PPP loan was a massive relief. Not only did it help us pay our staff, but it also helped our families access educational support while maintaining this vital connection to our community. We’ve been so lucky to have such dedicated employees and families, and CRF helped us keep them so we can emerge stronger in the future.

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