Half-million dollar donation supports YSU speakers forum - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Half-million dollar donation supports YSU speakers forum

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Youngstown State University is receiving a $500,000 donation to support a program that helps bring new and diverse thoughts and ideas to campus.

The university announced Monday that the pledge was made by the James and Coralie Centofanti Charitable Foundation to the Centofanti Symposium.

The symposium has brought nationally- and internationally-recognized speakers to Youngstown over the last five years, including women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem, political satirist W. Kamau Bell, Medal of Honor recipient Sal Giunta, and Ben Carson, former presidential candidate and current U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

“The Centofanti Symposium has attracted thousands of people from across the region to YSU and to Youngstown to hear some of the most intriguing, influential and entertaining people in the country today,” YSU President Jim Tressel said.

The gift is part of YSU’s $100 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign.

The Centofanti Foundation donated $1 million to YSU in 2012 to establish the James and Coralie Centofanti Center of Health and Welfare for Vulnerable Populations at the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services.

The center focuses on providing support for educational initiatives, student scholarships, research, and workforce development that promotes the well-being of individuals affected by debilitating illness, poverty, disability, and discrimination.

Since its inception, the center has provided $150,000 in student scholarships, offered more than 20 continuing education workshops to more than 150 community human service professionals, provided monetary support for numerous community educational initiatives directed at quality of life issues affecting vulnerable populations, supported research grants to study social and economic factors affecting vulnerable populations, and sponsored five symposiums.

James Centofanti of Canfield, a business owner, and philanthropist died in 2010. His wife, Coralie, died in 1999.

Centofanti was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Farmers National Bank in Canfield, a supporter of numerous educational and community-based activities in and around the Canfield area, and the recipient of numerous awards for his humanitarian efforts.

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