In Youngstown: 201 E Commerce St., Suite 150 - Youngstown, OH 44503 • P: 330.743.5555 • F: 330.743.1802
In Warren: 147 W. Market St. - Warren, OH 44481 • P: 330.469.6832 • F: 330.394.5601

The William Swanston Charitable Fund

About the Swanston Fund

The William Swanston Charitable Fund, established in 1919, is committed to supporting children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties who have experienced crises, including those who are/have been abused, neglected or dependent. It has provided grants for such causes as early childhood education, health and fitness initiatives, after-school programs, parent seminars, anti-bullying measures and many other efforts in support of local children.

“The William Swanston Charitable Fund board continues to follow the legacy of the Canfield Township farmer and philanthropist to provide for the needs of children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, and the foundation is convinced its affiliation with the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley will help achieve that goal. Every child deserves to be well fed, educated and to have the opportunity to thrive in our community.”

–Ernest Brown, Chairman

Apply for Funding

All grant opportunities under the Community Foundation’s umbrella can be found on the Apply for a Grant page.


The William Swanston Charitable Fund is the legacy William Swanston, a farmer from Canfield Township who cared about his community and who especially wanted to help children. At his death in 1919, he 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 were considered frugal and wise. According to published reports about early families in the Mahoning Valley, Mr. Swanston 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, but there was not enough money in his estate to accomplish that in the years just after his death. When the interest from his money grew to the point where an orphanage could be built, society’s ideas and laws about orphanages had changed and trustees of Mr. Swanston’s estate were not able to carry out his exact wishes.

Instead, trustees and the Mahoning County Probate Court have worked to meet Mr. Swanston’s intent without building the home. Over the years, they have awarded funding to programs that support children experiencing crises, including those who are/have been abused, neglected or dependent.

Today, the Fund’s board of directors continues advancing William Swanston’s legacy of helping area youth through charitable grants to local initiatives and projects in Mahoning and Trumbull counties.