copyright © 2020 coming together stark county

Coming Together Stark County was founded in 1998 as the  Town Hall on Race Relations of Stark County following a call by President Bill Clinton for a national discussion on race.  The popular Town Halls were held across the country.  The first one was held in Akron, Ohio in 1997.

Several Town Halls were held addressing such issues as Race, Law and Law Enforcement, Employment, and Health.

In 2004, in addition to continuing to offer Town Halls, Coming Together Stark County, CTSC, received federal recognition as a nonprofit agency by obtaining the 501(c)(3) status and affiliated with the national agency, Coming Together, USA.  CTSC, which was operated by a full volunteer Board, hired its first Executive Director, Mr. Vince Watts.

During this period, CTSC convened four annual dinners; sponsored a film series in commemoration of Black History Month; presented two dramatic Players Guild performances, A Raisin in the Sun and A lesson Before Dying; hosted two annual Stark County Winter Walks on Diversity and participated with The United Way of Greater Stark County and the City of Canton government in discussions on diversity.

Founding board members


Lois DiGiacomo
Robert Fisher
Barbara Fleischer
Frank Fleischer
Ida Ross-Freeman
Marilyn Thomas-Jones
Martha Lottman
Ron Ponder
Ella Scott
Rabbi John Spitzer


The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton is a traditional financial supporter of CTSC and awarded the organization a multi-year grant in 2008 that ended in 2012.  Nadine McIlwain-Massey and Hundlean Tibbs Maske were hired as Executive Director and Diversity Coordinator as a result of the Foundation support. 

A partnership with The Repository led to a series of articles under the headline, Color of Stark, followed by community conversations throughout Stark County facilitated by CTSC.  The discussions centered on race relations and were held in Canton, East Canton, Jackson Township, Louisville, North Canton, Massillon, and Alliance.

In 2009, Black History Month and Women's History Month were celebrated by hosting two Historic Community Chats written by CTSC Board Member and Executive Director of the Rainbow Repertory Theater, Lois DiGiacomo.

To promote inclusion, diversity and dignity for ALL people in Stark County.