Notables: Greater than the almighty pigskin

But the strength of Stark County and its citizens always has stemmed from something greater than the almighty pigskin. Philanthropy—doing the most good for the most people—is the foundation of any growing, vibrant community.

THE GREATEST MEN TO EVER PLAY THE GAME ARE NOT THE ONLY HEROES TO WALK STARK COUNTY

The “cradle of professional football,” the “Hall of Fame City,” a place of “Heroes and History” … each a worthy headline for our community. In this issue, you are going to read a great deal about travel and tourism gains in our region, and a great deal about the Hall of Fame Village development, an undisputed game-changer for Stark County when it comes to fruition.

But the strength of Stark County and its citizens always has stemmed from something greater than the almighty pigskin. Philanthropy—doing the most good for the most people—is the foundation of any growing, vibrant community. And the people of Stark County proudly have risen to that challenge, to “do good.” Giving back has been a hallmark of ours for more than a century—it is as much a privilege as a responsibility.

You’ll read about the Hall of Fame Village in this issue, and learn about the potential economic development it will bring to our region.

This is an exhilarating time in our community, a time of bigger and bigger dreams, no question, but this resident is more intrigued by potential we will have for doing even greater good as these developments unfold.

The following three organizations are a mere fraction of the those doing the most good here. Read on and imagine the impact we can make together once we’re all “dreaming bigger.”

For 45 years, ArtsinStark, The County Arts Council, has been raising funds to create smarter kids, new jobs and healthier communities here through the arts. The not-for-profit raised a record high $1.75 million dollars in 2014, and the organization has increased, and met, its goal each year for almost a decade. During the past eight years, it has has invested $400,000 in SmArts programming into 50 schools, provided $9 million in grants to the seven largest arts groups in the county—as well as $1.4 million in grants to small nonprofits and artists. All told, these programs reach 200,000 Stark County residents.

Stark Community Foundation, ranked in the top 10 percent of the nation’s community foundations, reached one of its largest contributions in a 50-plus-year history last year—$11.4 million—thanks to the generosity of more than 600 individuals, families, businesses and organizations. And $7.8 million went back out into the community via grants to 558 organizations. The foundation has provided $128 million to the community since inception.

For more than 90 years, United Way of Greater Stark County and its champions have worked to improve local lives in measurable and lasting ways by mobilizing thousands of people around the goal of advancing the common good. In 2014, United Way exceeded its $6.75 million goal thanks to the generosity of residents, businesses and community partners. That same year, United Way supported 103 programs across 43 funded partner agencies. It brought together more than 1,300 volunteers for the annual Day of Caring, and maintain an impressive volunteer database year-round in an effort to connect people with the nonprofits that need them. All told, more than $6.3 million was invested here to help people.

Above the Fold: BICENTENNIAL ART EXHIBIT OPENS DOWNTOWN APRIL 3

When a newspaper reaches a milestone—let’s say, for instance, a 200-year milestone—chances are, there is a spectacular celebration in store for the community. In the case of The Repository, the institution that brings you the story of our community daily, there are more than 30 events happening between now and March of next year. But make no mistake, this is no yearlong bicentennial birthday party. It truly is a celebration of our community and the history of the region.

This month, the celebration includes Above the Fold: Newspaper as Art, an exhibition of Stark County’s finest visual artists in an exciting thematic competition. We have more than 500 talented artists and craftsmen living and working in Stark County, and for this competition, the instructions were simple: create a work of art in any medium, be it painting, printmaking, sculpture, fibers or photography.

The only catch? Each artist must use newspaper, either thematically or in the actual materials!

Join us on Friday, April 3, during First Friday, the arts and entertainment celebration that sweeps through downtown Canton each month. Head to the Joseph Saxton Gallery of Photography, where we will be unveiling the newspaper creations of local artists and awarding prizes to the finest entries.

More information about the exhibit is available at AbovetheFoldExhibit.com.

RUN, CHEER VOLUNTEER

Run, cheer, volunteer. That’s the mantra coming from the organizers of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Marathon in this, its second run later this month. And at least one local resident is taking that last part to heart.

Jen Mucci and the Mucci Team from Cutler Real Estate are teaming up with more than 20 individuals around the county to raise money for the American Red Cross by running or walking in the Pro Football Hall of
Fame Marathon, Half Marathon and Team Relay on April 26. Mucci also will be running the Boston Marathon in 2015 to raise money.

To date, the team has raised more than $2,500 on its way to a $15,000 goal. Individuals and organizations can help by sponsoring each mile they run—and sponsoring just one mile raises $50 for the Red Cross. The money raised will help the American Red Cross Stark County Chapter provide disaster response and other programs to those in need. To learn more about each of the participating runners, and to donate, visit Facebook.com/WeRunForRedCross.