A tradition of giving Featured

9:32am EDT July 22, 2002

UNB Corp.'s chairman and CEO Roger Mann is at a loss for words. When it comes to pinpointing what organizations his financial services holding company and its 350 employees help the most, there are almost too many to name.

"I really say this with pride, I don't think there's anything that's a driver in this community that we're not involved in," Mann says. "We, as a corporation, just feel it's a civic responsibility and our people welcome that."

For Mann and his company, community giving, whether through financial contributions or volunteer hours, is as important to a business as sales and customer service.

"If you don't have a caring community, your businesses are not going to succeed, your churches are not going to flourish, nothing really happens," he says. "Without that sense of community, I really don't think the community has a chance to prosper or go forward."

This year, UNB Corp.'s employees have pledged more than $45,000 to dozens of local and national charitable organizations. More than $166,000 has been donated from the company's charitable trust, ranging from contributions to Walsh University, Stark County Out of Poverty and the United Way to the Cultural Center for the Arts and Alliance Community Hospital, as well as many others.

But it's not just about financial donations. UNB Corp.'s employees volunteer hundreds of hours a month to local educational, youth and humanitarian organizations in the Canton area. UNB employee Jeff Ferry, for instance, spends more than 50 hours a month volunteering for Meals on Wheels of Stark & Wayne counties, United Way and Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Junior Achievement and coaching in the North Canton Little League.

Barb Heinricher, who heads UNB Corp.'s training department, volunteers more than 20 hours a month for Junior Achievement, Mayor's Literacy Commission of Canton, Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Stark State College of Technology.

"I teach kids how to keep a check register, make out deposit slips and checks," Heinricher says. "They get a sense that, 'Hey, I can do this -- I can understand this,' and they're so excited."

These are just two examples of a spirit of volunteerism that has always been a part of UNB Corp., which includes United National Bank & Trust Co., United Banc Financial Services Inc. and United Insurance Agency Inc.

"This company goes back to pre-Civil War days," Mann says. "Wherever I have been through the years, I always felt it was very much a responsibility, a pleasant one, to try and serve your community, so I was really blessed when I arrived here."

UNB Corp. has had two of its CEOs volunteer to serve as campaign chairperson for the United Way, which prompted United Way of Central Stark County president Steve Miller to nominate the company for the 2000 Pillar Award for Community Service.

"We thought it was unique that the company would show that kind of commitment over the years," Miller says. "They walk the talk and they are expansive in their generosity. We've been partners as long as I can remember." How to reach: UNB Corp., (330) 438-1119

Morgan Lewis (mlewis@sbnnet.com) is a reporter for SBN.