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The Youngstown Foundation

Mission & History

Mission

The Mission of The Youngstown Foundation is to provide financial assistance to charitable, scientific and educational institutions that promote the mental, moral and physical well-being of the inhabitants of the City of Youngstown and vicinity.

 

History

In 1918, an influenza epidemic of gigantic proportions swept the world and terrified this country. In Youngstown, thousands were stricken and hundreds died. We were recovering from a savage riot in the mills that spilled over and gutted much of nearby Campbell. The winter was bitter cold. Adding to the misery, housing, food and fuel were short, and sometimes in critical supply. The demands of a war Americans were fighting an ocean away touched all of society. Yet, not surprisingly, Youngstown over-subscribed to war bond drives on four occasions. Such were the stresses—and the spirit—in this city when a group of local, prominent businessmen unanimously agreed to form The Youngstown Foundation.

Industrial pioneers including John Stambaugh, Philip Wick, Henry Butler, L.A. Manchester and Frank Hitchcock utilized their financial success to provide for the future needs of the community and inspire others to do the same by creating The Youngstown Foundation. Their vision was that the income from the Fund... "shall be applied perpetually... toward bettering conditions in the City of Youngstown and vicinity... making its citizens healthier and happier… and for assisting charitable institutions... promoting education... scientific research... the care of the sick, aged or helpless... the care of children... the betterment of living and working conditions... recreation for all classes... and for the purposes that will improve the mental, moral and physical well being of the inhabitants... regardless of race, color, sex or creed."

Since its establishment as a public charity those many years ago, The Youngstown Foundation has quietly served our community substantially, efficiently and repeatedly. Because of the foresight and courage of its organizers, the Foundation is structured to be just as... if not more generous... in the future. In giving substance to their social consciences, the founders created a perpetual fund and placed it under a permanent trusteeship. The trustees were charged with investing the Fund properly, protecting the principal so that income generated would guarantee the perpetual ability to make grants. The Dollar Savings and Trust Company served as the original trustee of this single trust. In 1994, National City assumed that responsibility when it acquired DS&T. Today, that role is being served through its successor, PNC Bank.

Knowing that the purposes to be served must by nature change with the times, the founders understood that yesterday’s donors could not be expected to know the problems of today. Nor could they know the investment opportunities. Therefore, the stewardship of the Fund was institutionalized and a system installed to distribute grants responsive to current needs, whatever form they might take.

The first grant was for $10,000 awarded in 1920 to the Child Direction Department of the Children’s Service Bureau for the purpose of furthering the education of the children of Youngstown by proper classification based upon scientific examination and tests given to the individual pupils. To date, over $90 million has been reinvested in the community through Youngstown Foundation grants to nonprofit organizations.

Our original founders’ dream began with an initial investment of $33,000. The returns on that investment are immeasurable today - The Youngstown Foundation has grown into an $100 million civic and community fund, embracing its responsibility as a leader in the community identifying issues, convening stakeholders and coordinating resources to promote positive change. It has evolved from an institution funded by the wealthy to one endowed by people of all income levels as it continues to foster charitable giving. It will continue to fulfill critical needs and strengthen our community’s health care, arts and culture, education, economic development and social services for years to come, because... just like our founders, we are compelled to ensure the quality of life for future generations.

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