About the Centofanti Center

James Centofanti was born in Sulmona, Italy, in 1920 and immigrated to the United States as a child. He grew up in Youngstown and served in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Upon returning to civilian life, Mr. Centofanti was a business owner, a local philanthropist, and an avid horseman. He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of Farmers National Bank in Canfield, a generous supporter of numerous educational and community-based activities in and around the Canfield, Ohio area, and a recipient of numerous awards for his humanitarian efforts. Mr. Centofanti died in 2010, preceded by his wife, Coralie, who passed away in 1999.

Mr. Centofanti was a charitable individual. He maintained the belief that those blessed with good fortune had a responsibility to help others who are in need. The legacy of his concern for the disadvantaged will live on through the initiatives of the James and Coralie Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare of Vulnerable Populations. The Center was created in the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services at Youngstown State University in 2012 as a result of the Centofanti Charitable Foundation. The Center will function within the College as a pivotal core for knowledge, dissemination, student scholarships and assistance, faculty research, and workforce development for regional health and human service organizations.


The James and Coralie Centofanti Center for Health and Welfare for Vulnerable Populations is committed to providing support for educational initiatives, student scholarships, research, and workforce development that promote the well-being of individuals affected by debilitating illness, poverty, disability, and discrimination.  Particular emphasis is placed on the health, social, and emotional needs of at-risk populations.   Activities of the Center address regional needs through focused community engagement.

Program Components

Centofanti Symposium. Opportunities to understand the issues and concerns affecting the overall welfare of vulnerable populations will be offered via educational forums for professionals and the community at large.  On an annual basis, (The Centofanti Symposium), featuring a speaker who is a distinguished scholar, will be open to the entire regional community with the goal of increasing public awareness about the health, social and emotional needs of at-risk populations.  In addition to providing an opportunity for civic education, the Symposium will serve to strengthen the community’s collective social consciousness in response to salient health and human service issues.

Continuing Education Seminars / Workforce Development. The Center will establish a process for planning and coordinating new and existing opportunities within the College for continuing education to health and human service professionals in the regional community.  These trainings will be designed to provide organizations with strategic approaches for expanding their scope and effectiveness in working with vulnerable populations.

Student Scholarships, Stipends, Assistantships. Competitive scholarships will be awarded to two undergraduate and two graduate students in health and human service majors who have expressed an interest in working with vulnerable populations and satisfy established criteria.  A process will also be established for providing two stipends to undergraduate students who are involved in research with a clear potential for publication.  Finally, two graduate assistantships for graduate students in health and human service majors will be supported on an annual basis.  Criteria for all aforementioned student assistance will include: financial need, academic performance/prowess, commitment to working with vulnerable populations, and other relevant standards established and evaluated in a committee process.  

Focused Research Grants. Opportunities for faculty to submit research proposals that demonstrate collaboration with community affiliates to study health and welfare issues affecting vulnerable populations will be provided on an annual basis.  Faculty whose proposals are accepted will receive seed money to develop pilot data and/or to conduct preliminary research in support of large extramural grant funding.