Congratulations to the June 2021 Graduates of Project Blueprint for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

(Stark and Carroll Counties, OH) June 10, 2021 – On June 3, United Way of Greater Stark County celebrated the graduation of its second class for Project Blueprint. 

The event, held at Walsh University’s Hoover Hall, recognized 14 class participants for their completion of the program, which is designed to identify, recruit, train and place diverse volunteer leaders into policy making roles to enhance the effectiveness of nonprofit agencies.

“Better decisions are made with diverse teams,” said Michael L. Howard, Chair of United Way of Greater Stark County Board of Directors and Retired Judge of Stark County Family Court. “It used to be a challenge to assemble a diverse team. Now, with Project Blueprint, that is no longer an issue. We have many community members who are willing and qualified to serve on boards and committees. It’s time for the community to benefit from their wisdom and backgrounds and I look forward to seeing all the graduates in leadership positions.”

Fourteen individuals graduated June 3: Isaac Baez, Summa Hospital, Primary Prevention and At-Risk Populations Manager in the Health Equity Center; Charday Burford, Synchrony, AVP Project Management; Nicole Bush, Canton City Schools, Principal; Jenny Chan, Marathon Petroleum Company LP – Ohio Refining Division, Engineer & Project Manager; Latasha Ellis, YWCA Canton, Rapid Re-Housing Case Manager; Paul McCollin, Diebold Nixdorf, US Payroll Manager; Jamie Moore, ICAN Housing, Inc, Program Coordinator; Tiffany “TK” Kinnard-Payton, Walsh University, Associate Dean of Students; Tamara Ramos, Stark State College, Student Success Coach; Amber Robinson, Advantage Home Health Service, Marketing Liaison; Jennifer Ross, Akron Urban League, Director of Diversity and Strategic Initiatives; Carla Sarratt, University of Mount Union, Director of Libraries; Amanda Stewart, Stark County Community Action Agency, CSBG Director; Darnell Tucker, University of Mount Union, Communication & Event Manager.

“I was a Vice Chair who was promoted to Chair and Project Blueprint helped me navigate through that transition,” said Tiffany “TK” Kinnard-Payton, Project Blueprint graduate and Associate Dean of Students at Walsh University. “Everything you need to know about being part of a board or committee is provided to you in this program – economics, Roberts Rules, strategic planning or roles and responsibilities – United Way provided the training by partnering with local leaders who walked you through the process. I learned that it is important to know who you have at the table and excited to share my training with others, as well as staying connected to my fellow graduates so we can be resources for each other.”

This 9-week course is designed to increase the involvement of underrepresented groups on local nonprofit and public-sector boards, committees and leadership roles. This past session’s format was weekly, 90-minute online classes that consisted of a series of training sessions and activities that introduced participants to the roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board, while developing skills which help them become successful board and committee members. Hands-on training includes session topics such as economics, boardsmanship, Roberts Rules, financial management, strategic planning and agency spotlights. Each weekly topic was presented by local speakers including: Betty Smith, Ray Hexamer, Hector McDaniels, Bob Fay, Renato Camacho, Shana Smith.  The five local agencies that were spotlighted were JRC, TomTod, Stark State’s Fame, First Tee, and Alliance Domestic Violence Shelter.

“I am very grateful that this program provided us the space to come together and learn about the opportunities in our community,” said Amber Robinson, Project Blueprint graduate and Marketing Liaison at Advantage Home Health Service. “As a team, we absorbed and shared information while learning how to be active leadership participants.”

The next session of United Way of Greater Stark County’s Project Blueprint begins September 16, 2021. Ideal candidates are culturally and ethnically diverse professionals with the desire to accept volunteer leadership roles at nonprofit organizations. Applications are currently being accepted online now.

The program cost is $200 per attendee and attendees are chosen by a committee of local community leaders and volunteers who have guided this program since its inception. Each session, a limited number of participants will be selected through an application process. Please submit your information at for consideration.

Any questions on this program can be directed to LaFlovia “Flo” Ginanni, Director of Project Blueprint, 330-491-9984, [email protected]

About United Way of Greater Stark County
United Way of Greater Stark County fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. We win by living United. By forging unlikely partnerships. By finding new solutions to old problems. By mobilizing the best resources. And by inspiring individuals to join the fight against their community’s most daunting social crisis. Our mission is to improve the quality of life in our communities by leading in the development of solutions to critical social issues in the areas of health, education and financial stability. In order to live better, we must live United. For more information about United Way of Greater Stark County visit Offices are at 401 Market Avenue North, Suite 300, Canton, Ohio 44702. (330) 491-0445.