Funding Healthier Communities

In December of 1972, North Canton Medical Foundation (NCMF) opened its doors with five physicians who were passionate about making high-quality medical care accessible to our community. The medical practice was modeled after the Mayo Clinic, aiming to put the patients’ needs above all else.

Over the next 40 years, the nonprofit, multi-specialty, independent medical practice grew into one of the largest in the state with seven operating locations in Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

When its clinical operations were acquired by Aultman Health Foundation in 2013, NCMF converted into a 501(c)(3) grantmaking foundation. Proceeds from the acquisition enabled NCMF to provide philanthropic support for local health and wellness programs for generations to come.

“Even though we aren’t providing direct patient care, we’re still staying true to our mission by helping our community’s most vulnerable,” said Dr. John Humphrey, executive director of NCMF. Humphrey also worked for 35 years as an internal medicine physician for the original practice. “It’s important to us that we carry on our original founders’ legacy of serving the underserved.”

Today, NCMF awards grants to organizations that provide programs or services that will have a positive, sustainable impact on the health of our community. Recent grants have helped train and employ community health workers, supported nutrition education programs, provided medical care to migrant workers and helped ease the burden of cancer patients with gas and grocery gift cards.

Through a collaboration with the family of Ellen Gray, who passed away from melanoma at the young age of 29, NCMF supports and advocates for skin cancer education and awareness programs in our community.

“We’ve hosted free cancer screenings at Kent State University at Stark and unveiled an interactive community mural in 2019 that brings attention to the importance of loving your own skin,” said Julie Elkins, executive assistant and grants coordinator of NCMF.

While battling cancer, Ellen found great solace in painting as a release both mentally and physically from this horrible disease. The 680-square-foot mural in downtown Canton’s Arts District is a creative way to use art to educate the community Ellen loved.

NCMF is able to provide financial support to these and other health-focused programs in our community because its charitable dollars are strategically invested for long-term growth in an endowment fund at Stark Community Foundation.

“We wanted to invest our dollars with an organization that would not only help us grow as a foundation, but one that would partner with us to support projects and initiatives in our community,” said Humphrey. “It was a win-win.”

Most recently, NCMF joined a local philanthropic collaborative led by Stark Community Foundation and the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Canton and mobilized nearly $1.5 million in emergency funding to nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. The collaborative started meeting weekly in March to virtually review grant applications and make immediate decisions about which programs to support.

Through this collaborative, NCMF helped purchase cleaning supplies and hygiene products for high-risk residents, provide childcare for first-responders’ children and support Stark County households that suffered a job loss due to the pandemic with rent and mortgage assistance.

“In a time of limited resources, collaboration is key,” said Humphrey. “The community really benefits from these types of collaborations.”

In addition to philanthropic collaboratives, NCMF reviews grant applications twice a year from 501(c)(3) organizations located within Stark County or surrounding counties including Carroll, Holmes, Tuscarawas and Wayne. Its 20-member board of local physicians, administrators, nurses and residents with a passion for health care reviews grant proposals and makes funding decisions to improve the health and wellness of our community.

“Part of our mission is to provide funds to nonprofits who create innovative projects to help those they serve,” said Humphrey. “Our Foundation uses grants to reduce the financial risk and then assists the grantees to help make them successful.”

Nearly 50 years later, NCMF continues to embody its original founders’ vision by funding healthier communities.

To learn more, apply or support North Canton Medical Foundation, visit

As seen in the 2019-2020 Annual Report.

Share This Page