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The William Swanston Charitable Fund

About the William Swanston Charitable Fund

The William Swanston Charitable Fund, established in 1919, seeks to help improve the lives of at-risk children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It provides grants each year that support early childhood education, health and fitness initiatives, after-school programs, parent-involvement seminars, anti-bullying measures and many other efforts in support of local children.

Paul Dutton“When the William Swanston Charitable Fund affiliated with the Community Foundation in 2010, the entire Valley benefited. We are pleased to be able to provide resources to creative and dedicated professionals who redress problems affecting at-risk children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties to help them lead healthier, safer and more fulfilling lives.”

Paul M. Dutton, Esq., Chairman

 

History

The William Swanston Charitable Fund is the legacy of a farmer who cared about his community and who wanted to help the less fortunate, especially children. William Swanston, a farmer who lived in Canfield Township, was concerned about neglected and abandoned children. Swanston, who died in 1919, left his assets and his large farm to be used to help children who had nowhere to live.

Mr. Swanston, who was born in Northern Ireland, came to America when he was 10 years-old and and grew up working odd jobs throughout the Mahoning Valley. He and his many brothers and sisters lived through the Great Depression and was considered frugal and wise. According to published reports about early families in the Mahoning Valley, he left home when he was 17. He bought his Canfield farm in the mid-1800s for $7,000 and was able to pay off his entire mortgage within 10 years.

Originally, Mr. Swanston wanted his estate and farm to be used to build an “orphanage.” Trustees and the bank that was handling his estate were not able to build the orphanage because there was not enough money in his estate in the years just after his death. When the interest from his money grew to the point where an orphanage could have been built, society’s ideas and laws about orphanages had changed and trustees of Mr. Swanston’s estate were not able to follow his exact wishes.

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Instead, trustees and the Mahoning County Probate Court have worked to try to meet Mr. Swanston’s intent without building the home. Over the years, trustees have awarded funding to programs dedicated to the care of abused, neglected and dependent children, including initiatives led by the Mahoning County Children Services Board.

Today, it is continuing that legacy of helping area youth. The Fund’s formal mission is to provide support and assistance to abused, neglected and dependent children. Its board of directors is determined to translate that mission into charitable giving that will have a positive impact in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.