Rich Center to Receive $500K from Hine Fund

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio –The Paula & Anthony Rich Center for Autism will be presented with a $500,000 check made possible by the Hine Memorial Fund of The Youngstown Foundation during a ceremony at 1 p.m. on Wednesday at The Rich Center.

The donation benefits The Rich Center’s “Building for Tomorrow 2020” Capital Campaign to help meet the growing demand of children and families across Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania affected by autism.

“The donation comes at a crucial time as the rate of autism impacting children rises at an unprecedented rate,” says The Rich Center’s executive director, Melanie Carfolo. “We truly appreciate The Youngstown Foundation’s support and generosity, and look forward to working together to provide the necessary resources for children with autism.”

Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the U.S. with one in every 68 children born today being diagnosed, a 119% increase from 2000, according to the Autism Society. With higher numbers of diagnosis, staff at The Rich Center have seen enrollment steadily increase since opening its doors in 1995.

Established through the collaborative efforts of the Kosar, Rich (Ricchiuti) and Rubino families, The Rich Center has provided families with research, education, therapy and support to children with autism at no cost. The school has grown from a six-week summer program for preschoolers to a year-round center for students ranging in age from 2 ½ to 19 years old.

To meet the growing demand, The Rich Center launched its Building for Tomorrow 2020 Capital Campaign last fall with the goal of raising $6 million by the year 2020 to enhance services and upgrade the school into a state-of-the-art facility that can be a model for similar facilities to follow.

Improvements include new flooring, autism-friendly lighting fixers with dimmers, paint, fixes to the roof and a new sprinkler system. Additionally, The Rich Center would be able to take over the entire space at Fedor Hall, and install an ADA-compliant elevator to connect all three floors of the building.

The $500,000 donation from The Youngstown Foundation brings the total amount of funds raised for the campaign to nearly $3 million.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.