United Way has a long history in the greater Stark County area. The current United Way of Greater Stark County is one of more than 1,350 community-based organizations of the United Way nationwide. United Way of Greater Stark County was founded by the Alliance Area United Way, the United Way of Central Stark County and the United Way of Western Stark County and serves all of Stark County and parts of Carroll, Columbiana, Mahoning and Wayne Counties. The United Way serves a population of more than 380,000 and funds programs and services that address the critical health and human service needs of our community.

Central Stark County United Way, 1922-2004

The Canton Community Chest grew out of the War Chest of World War I and the post-war situation. William R. Timken suggested to Paul Belden that he go up to Cleveland and investigate the Community Chest which had recently been organized there—one of the first in the United States. A one-day investigation by Mr. Belden led to a more extended investigation, which was made by Mr. H.C. Pontius at the request of Mr. Timken. At that time there were about 40 community chests in the country.

Mr. Pontius drew up a constitution and by-laws based upon the experience of the chests already in operation. A cardinal principle insisted on by Mr. Timken in a matter where there was much difference of opinion and practice was that under no circumstances was the community chest to assume responsibility or direction of operation of the agencies.

The articles of incorporation were signed February 20, 1922. Nine principles were adopted.

  1. To work out methods of cooperation between agencies.

  2. To eliminate superficial, unnecessary and overlapping work.

  3. To study local conditions, to make plans to fill existing gaps in social work.

  4. By official joint action to bring about greater usefulness of public administrative departments.

  5. To inaugurate and carry out joint activities for all agencies.

  6. By educational propaganda to acquaint the city with the service of the social agencies.

  7. To bring about consultation regarding budgets and effecting mutually agreed upon changes.

  8. To bring about the development of a community fund and to participate in the formation and administration of same.

  9. To engage in such other enterprises as may be wisely carried out.

The first community campaign was held in May 1922. The quota for the first campaign was $321,879. Agencies which participated in this first chest were the American Red Cross, Aultman Home, Aultman Hospital, Boy Scouts, Goodwill Mission, K of C Boys’ Department, Mercy Hospital, Salvation Army, Social Service Exchange which was organized during 1922, Urban League, Visiting Nurse Society, YMCA, YWCA, Bethshan Home, Briar Brae Home, Ann Day Nursery, and Recreation Council.


Today, the United Way of Greater Stark County—founded by the Alliance Area United Way, the United Way of Central Stark County and the United Way of Western Stark County—is as relevant as it was in 1922.

The Task Force, comprised of members from the three founding United Ways, set fourth four new guiding principles for the creation of the new United Way:

  1. The new Board will be representative of the entire greater Stark County area and the communities served.

  2. The new organization will provide a two-year period of stable funding of services in each founding community to prepare for a new system of allocations.

  3. The new organization will maintain some form of local presence in each of the founding organizations’ communities.

  4. There will be a period of transition to the new allocation model that will be determined by the new organization.