Many families in our region live paycheck-to-paycheck and struggle to find a clear path towards financial stability. But poverty doesn’t have to be permanent. We can help individuals and families improve their socio-economic status.

At United Way, we help create a pathway to financial stability by equipping people with the tools they need to obtain better jobs, keep more of what they earn and save for their children’s futures. We have made economic mobility a priority for Stark and Carroll Counties by creating partnerships that connect employed individuals and their families to resources that provide opportunities for growth in income and assets.

With your help, more families in our community can gain financial independence. Join the fight, and together, we can create a better future for our community.

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We envision a community where all individuals and families can improve their socio-economic status.


Many Stark and Carroll County residents face ongoing
financial stability challenges

12 percent of Stark County residents live below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines
Since the recession in 2007, the cost of meeting basic needs in Ohio has increased by 23 percent while the median income has increased by 2 percent
1 in 4 Stark County children under age 18 are living in poverty
39.1 percent of Stark County residents are liquid asset poor, meaning they do not have access to sufficient funds to subsist in case of an emergency
The average hourly wage one must earn in a 40-hour workweek to afford the Fair Market Rent of $717 per month for a 2-bedroom apartment is $13.79. The average Stark County renter’s wage is $10.86 per hour


Many Stark and Carroll County residents face ongoing
financial stability challenges

the research tells us

Securing a job that can support a family is vital to getting and keeping Ohioans out of poverty. Barriers such as gaps in education, transportation, childcare, and more can prevent families from getting or maintaining a steady income, which can also prevent asset development and long-term stabilization. In the U.S., four out of every ten families can’t afford a $400 emergency expense such as a car repair or home repair. This threatens a household’s ability to obtain or maintain work. (Source: Ohio’s Community Action Network, Annual Report 2018)

How we invest in solutions

Since August 2020, our Prosperity@Work program has helped more than 400 employees from three local companies with coordinated services that help maintain a steady income, including financial education assistance. An initial survey of their employees revealed:

  • 64.6% feel they do not have adequate dollars saved to cover an emergency
  • 52.9% are concerned they will not have the ability to retire when they want
  • 35.4% report that they are not able to keep up with their debt

Through Prosperity@Works, these employees have been able to connect with resources for financial coaching, mental health support, housing and utility assistance and relationship challenges.

why it matters

We work to improve the financial stability and economic mobility of individuals and families in our community through:

  • Increased resource connections
  • Job advancement
  • Policy change at family-sustaining jobs
Basic Housing Needs

Meeting the basic housing needs of community members remains of great concern to United Way. Funding has been set aside to support currently funded providers of those programs, i.e. homeless and domestic violence shelters, utility assistance and rent/mortgage payment.

Available funding is contingent upon the annual fundraising campaign.

Economic Mobility

In order for people to achieve financial stability and subsequently improve their socio-economic status, individuals need the education and skills to maintain a good-paying job with the possibility for promotion; access to affordable financial products; and the knowledge, skills and supports to make choices that help them achieve their financial goals.

Our goal and strategies were created to ensure that people living and working in the Greater Stark County area, are making progress towards increased mobility from poverty and that through resource connection they would be provided the information and tools needed to succeed.


Utilizing United Way’s Prosperity Platforms, Prosperity@Work connects employed individuals and their families to resources that provide opportunity for growth in income and assets.

  • Financial stability for at risk populations
  • Attain, retain and promotion in jobs for at risk populations


How We Measure Our Results
United Way currently invests $722,232 in 15 programs focused on providing pathways out of poverty through basic housing need programs, allowing families to build long-term economic independence and mobility. We fund community programs and services that provide:

Financial Stability Opportunities

  • Access to affordable housing
  • Financial coaching
  • Household stabilization
  • Job training and preparation

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance

One of our financial stability programs, VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance), is a service that helps moderate to low-income households file their taxes for free, meet basic needs and build financial assets as they continue to achieve long-term financial independence. For families struggling to make ends meet, a few extra dollars in their pockets can make all the difference. IRS-certified volunteers ensure clients receive the credits and refunds for which they are eligible including the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the nation’s largest anti-poverty programs.
Through United Way’s Economic Mobility Center, collaborations and our funded partner programs, we’re helping to lift more families in our community out of poverty.
Community Investments List



United Way is working to create economic mobility for at-risk populations with the help of partnerships and programs in our community.

Prosperity@Work provides support to retain and strengthen the local workforce. This program helps employees overcome personal barriers, improve their quality of life, and increase their success in the workplace by reducing the causes of negative workplace stress.

Prosperity@Work focuses on attaining, retaining, and promotion opportunities in jobs for at-risk populations.

Learn more