Cafaro Family gives $1.5 million for intramural field at YSU


The Cafaro Family is donating $1.5 million to the Youngstown State University “We See Tomorrow” campaign to fund the construction of the new Cafaro Family Field intramural complex on the north side of campus.

The field along Elm Street, which is expected to be lighted, will be used for a variety of student recreational activities, including soccer and lacrosse, and will include restrooms, seating and fencing.

“As our residential student population continues to grow, it is important that we provide the recreational opportunities needed to serve those students,” YSU President Jim Tressel said. “We thank the Cafaro family for again stepping forward to meet those needs and for their continued support of the university and our students.”

Anthony Cafaro Sr., retired president of The Cafaro Company and son of company founder William M. Cafaro, added: “YSU’s role as a significant catalyst for the region has only grown under the leadership of President Tressel. We are thrilled to be a small part of that success and to continue our ongoing commitment to YSU and its students.”

Over the past 23 years, the Cafaros have made gifts to YSU totaling more than $5 million, including $1 million for the Watson and Tressel Training Site, $1 million to name the Cafaro House residence hall, $250,00 for the Andrews Student Recreation and Wellness Center, $100,000 to establish the Joseph and Betty Nohra Scholarship in nursing and business, annual support for the William and Alyce and the John Cafaro Scholarships and gifts to help fund the Rich Center for Autism and various other scholarships.

Last year, the Cafaro Family received YSU’s Friend of the University Award, one of the university’s highest honors. 

The new Cafaro Family Field will be located adjacent to Cafaro House and is expected to help serve the university’s growing enrollment, especially students living on campus.

Overall enrollment is up this year for the third time in the last four years, and this year’s freshmen class is 32 percent larger than four years ago. In addition, all university residence halls and apartments are at capacity with 1,264 students. And, all three private apartment complexes, including the Flats, the Edge and the new Enclave on Wick Avenue, are at capacity with nearly 1,000 students.                                                                                                

“With so many more students on campus, we want to make sure that we provide an environment that meets the needs of our students, including recreation,” said Joy Pokabla Byers, director of Campus Recreation                                                                                                                                                                   

She said the fields allow YSU to offer more intramural sports, special event opportunities and club sport competitions, including club sports such as men and women’s lacrosse, men’s soccer and ultimate Frisbee. “This will allow our students to take pride in showcasing our university to visiting club teams, which is important for our recruitment and retention of club sport athletes,” she added.

The Cafaro Foundation is a charitable entity established in memory of William M. Cafaro and his wife, Alyce, by their children, Anthony M. Cafaro, John J. Cafaro and Flora M. Cafaro. For more than a half century, William, Alyce and brother John A. Cafaro supported churches, schools, hospitals and other charitable causes. The Cafaro Company is one of the nation's largest privately held real estate development firms, having developed more than 30 million square feet of property in 14 states.

The Cafaros' support for YSU dates to the 1960s. William M. Cafaro was a key advocate for Youngstown University becoming a state public university in 1968. He also was one of the founders and one of the first board members of the YSU Foundation. William's son, Anthony Sr., is a 1968 graduate of YSU and currently a member of the board of the YSU Foundation. Anthony's wife, Phyllis, served on the campaign cabinet for the recently completed YSU Centennial Capital Campaign. Anthony and Phyllis' sons, Anthony Jr. and William, a 1992 YSU graduate, now lead the company.  John J. Cafaro and his wife, Jan, have also been ardent supporters of the university, in fact their daughter, Capri Cafaro, currently serves on the YSU Board of Trustees.

The gift is part of the $100 million “We See Tomorrow” fundraising campaign, the largest in YSU history. The campaign is spearheaded by the YSU Foundation, the official fundraising arm of YSU. For more information on the campaign, visit www.ysufoundation.org.