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.