Congratulations to the Inaugural Class of Project Blueprint

(Canton, OH) January 23, 2020 – On January 9, 2020 United Way of Greater Stark County celebrated the graduation of its inaugural class of the Project Blueprint program.  The event, held at Sol Restaurant in Canton, 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.

“Ask, what can I do for my community? You have the talent, skills and expertise. We need that in our community,” said Rafael Rodriguez of Stark Economic Development Board at the graduation event.

The class was representative of many workplaces in Stark County, including The Timken Company, Williams and Hendrickson. Fourteen individuals graduated January 9: Quincy Jones, Rahul Chaudhari, Courtney T.K Chester, Onwar Shaheer, Lisa M. Cook, Michele Patterson-Stokes, Arlene Franco, Jaylon Amar Smith, Rocio N. Hernández Segura, Ma Soledad Alvarez, Iván Rosa, Monica Holt-Parish, Clishawn Robinson and Preston W. Robinson. Many of their bios can be found online at

Project Blueprint is such a blessing. Every meeting, I walk away with valuable information and am extremely excited to put what I am learning into good use. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of quality change,” says Courtney Chester, a graduate of the first session.

This 12-week course provides training for interested and engaged members of the community to serve on nonprofit boards and committees. Training requires continuous learning, and a participant’s willingness to explore the unfamiliar and an openness to new experiences. The program consists of a series of training sessions and activities that introduce participants to the roles and responsibilities of a nonprofit board while developing skills that help them become successful board and committee members. Hands-on training includes session topics such as cultural diversity, resource development, financial management, startegic planning and agency tours.

The program benefits include opportunities to sharpen leadership skills of employees, creates highly motivated and challenged employees who are prepared to go above and beyond their job responsibilities; enhances corporate image in the community and demonstrates community involvement; investment in employee development; opportunity to showcase organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion; and networking opportunities among companies in the community.

“We are excited to train more volunteers to have a voice in the community. Their diverse perspectives are central to building and strengthening Stark County for success and will serve well on nonprofit boards and committees, “says Flo Ginanni, the Director of Project Blueprint.

The next session of United Way of Greater Stark County’s Project Blueprint begins March 19, 2020. Ideal candidates are culturally and ethnically diverse professionals with the desire to accept volunteer leadership roles at nonprofit organizations.  Applications are currently being accepted now until February 6, 2020.

The program cost is $200 per attendee and attendees will be 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 lives by mobilizing the caring power of our communities in Greater Stark County. 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.