Nonprofit Partners Release Stark County Child Poverty Report

November 30, 2020

STARK COUNTY, Ohio – Today, Stark Community Foundation and United Way of Greater Stark County, in partnership with The Center for Community Solutions, released Protecting Stark’s Future: A Call to Coordinate Child Poverty Strategies. Rooted in research, the report outlines why Stark County needs to intentionally work together to coordinate efforts and target resources to reduce child poverty.

Protecting Stark’s Future comes after a year spent analyzing the 2019 Stark County Community Assessment, a data report of more than 50 health, social and economic indicators curated by the three nonprofit partners.

“As we drilled down into our community’s data, we noticed that every single issue of concern was related to poverty in some way,” said Maria Heege, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Stark County. “In particular, child poverty rates in our community demand our increased attention.”

One of the key findings of the report is that of the nearly 20,000 children living below the poverty threshold in Stark County in 2018, around 9,000 or 47% resided in communities outside the City of Canton, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2019, the child poverty rate in the City of Canton was 56.9%, tying with Youngstown as the second worst child poverty rate of any city in the United States with a total population greater than 65,000.

“Many organizations are working tirelessly to meet the immediate needs of struggling Stark County residents and help children overcome their disadvantages,” said Emily Campbell, associate director of The Center for Community Solutions. “Still, too many children in Stark County are growing up in poverty. The problem is so large and complex that one agency cannot tackle it alone.”

Protecting Stark’s Future provides seven recommendations of how Stark County can reduce child poverty by working together to address immediate needs, increase the earnings of families and break cycles of poverty at the neighborhood level.

“It is not an exaggeration to say that everyone has a role to play in reducing child poverty,” said Mark Samolczyk, president and CEO of Stark Community Foundation. “As with economic development, it will take government officials, nonprofits, businesses, residents and philanthropy to develop strategies, act and monitor results. This level of collaboration may be unprecedented, but Strengthening Stark has shown us that broad-based coordination is possible in Stark County.”

To learn more about Protecting Stark’s Future, a webinar has been scheduled for Wednesday, December 2 at 10:30 a.m. During the webinar, the three nonprofit partners will share highlights from the new data-driven report and announce a new funding cycle to support child poverty reduction plans. Visit to register.

To read Protecting Stark’s Future, visit or

About Stark Community Foundation

Stark Community Foundation is the community’s trusted partner in giving to more than 800 individuals, families, businesses and organizations that have created charitable funds to impact the lives of others through the most effective philanthropy possible. Ranked in the top 10 percent of community foundations in the United States today, Stark Community Foundation is committed to serving donor needs and strategically addressing local issues. The Foundation and its family of donors have granted over $185 million to nonprofits since 1963. Learn how you can simplify your giving and amplify your impact through our Center for Partners in Philanthropy at

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

About The Center for Community Solutions

Established in 1913, The Center for Community Solutions is a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank, focused on solutions to health, social and economic issues. With offices in Cleveland and Columbus, Community Solutions identifies, analyzes and explains key health, social and economic data and issues, and proposes non-partisan solutions to improve the lives of Ohioans. For more information, visit