Cafaro Announces Scholarship as HQ Nears Completion

NILES, Ohio – As work on the Cafaro Co.’s new headquarters here advances toward a planned move-in date this spring, the Cafaro Foundation announced a new scholarship to help students at Niles McKinley High School continue their education.

During a news conference Wednesday at the Cafaro Co.’s Eastwood Mall, the Cafaro Foundation announced the establishment of the Cafaro Foundation Excellence Scholarship for Niles Red Dragons.

Endowed with a donation of $125,000 from the foundation, the scholarship fund will award up to $5,000 per student each year to graduating seniors at Niles McKinley High School to attend Kent State University at Trumbull in Champion Township.

“It’s a very specific kind of scholarship but is something that fills the gap for a lot of students who otherwise wouldn’t be going to college,” said Joe Bell, spokesman for the Cafaro Co. and its foundation.

“It’s a wonderful investment in the community from the Cafaro Foundation,” said Lance Grahn, dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State University at Trumbull. “It’s a wonderful investment in these students who want to pursue their dreams, pursue their potential and take advantage of the great opportunities that we have at Kent State Trumbull.”

The average cost to attend Kent Trumbull full time is $7,000 annually.

Anthony Cafaro Sr., retired president of the Cafaro Co., described the new scholarship as a “win-win-win” – for students who might not be able to otherwise attend college; for the Kent Trumbull branch; and for the community, “ because the more we can keep our local students here ithe better off we all are.”

Then Cafaro added a fourth win, for the foundation and the Cafaro family, “because were able to assist those in our area, the area that soon will be the corporate headquarters of the Cafaro family, so we’re very pleased about that.”

The Cafaro Co. announced in October 2014 that it planned to build a new headquarters building adjacent to the Eastwood Mall and move from its longtime offices on Belmont Avenue in Youngstown.

Finishing work is under way on the interior, said Bell.

“We wish we had this weather last winter, when everything was exposed,” he remarked.

Work on the headquarters was delayed during last winter’s particularly harsh conditions. Because the building is now enclosed, this winter’s mild weather isn’t consequential, he said.

Bell said the upcoming move “didn’t have a great deal to do with” the scholarship announcement. The foundation’s trustees have always been interested in promoting education and Kent Trumbull has maintained an ongoing relationship with the foundation regarding the possibility of an endowment or other ways to advance the university, he said.

“When we determined that we were going to move our operations into the city of Niles, it seemed like a good fit to do something to promote what is the hometown campus’of Kent State, and to use it to benefit students in Niles,” he explained.

To qualify for the scholarship, applicants must have a minimum 3.0 grade point average, be graduating from Niles McKinley and plan to attend Kent Trumbull, said Ann Marie Thigpen, Niles City Schools superintendent. The scholarship will be available for the fall 2016 semester.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for Niles obviously having the Cafaro headquarters in our community, but the fact that they even recognize the need for students who could potentially have a financial hardship,” Thigpen said.

“This is specifically for attending Kent State Trumbull and pursuing degree opportunities there, whether those degrees are associate degrees or baccalaureate degrees on our campus, or even associate degrees at our campus that can then be translated into a baccalaureate degree program on the [main] Kent campus,” Grahn said.

The number of scholarships will depend on how many people apply, Bell said. “If there is one student who’s deserving they would get the full scholarship,” he said. “There may be some instances where students only need a portion of the scholarship after they’ve gone through other Pell grants and other types of scholarship awards … in which case we could award the remainder of that $5,000 to another student.”

Pictured: Lance Grahn, Ann Marie Thigpen and Anthony Cafaro Sr.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.