Businessmen's gifts give big boost to new YMCA

YMCA officials hope the donors' gifts will encourage others to donate the $700,000 still needed.
BOARDMAN -- Two area businessmen, David "D.D." Davis and Tony Lariccia, have donated a combined $1.5 million toward construction of the Family Branch YMCA on the Humility of Mary Health Partners campus on McClurg Road.
Davis is former owner of Davis Construction, now Davis International. He now heads a new corporation, also named Davis Construction.
Lariccia is vice president and financial adviser at Merrill Lynch's Canfield office.
YMCA officials and the donors hope their gifts will encourage others to donate the $700,000 still needed to completely finance the surburban Y. The estimated cost of Phase I of the proposed Boardman Y is $6.2 million, said Kenneth L. Rudge, Youngstown YMCA chief executive officer.
Future benefits: "Being in America, it's easier to make money than to give it away intelligently. I try to make my giving have a ripple effect," Davis said, explaining his large gifts to the Y and other community organizations.
"When you give to the YMCA, the whole community is affected, not just in the present but for years to come," he added.
Davis donated $500,000 at the beginning of the Y capital fund-raising campaign in July 2000 and recently put up another $500,000, saying he would match gifts up to that amount donated by Sept. 1.
In addition, Davis has volunteered to oversee the new facility's construction.
Influence: It was Davis' involvement in the project that convinced Lariccia to meet Davis' $500,000 challenge.
"If D.D. is supporting a project, I'm for it. He's my hero in the Valley. We're both interested in the [community's] greater good," Lariccia said.
Davis, a longtime financial supporter of the Youngstown Y, grew up in Hubbard, lived in Boardman 50 years, and now is a Youngstown resident. He said he is drawn to the Y because of its Christian principles and to the Boardman facility because of the emphasis on family activities and programs.
He said he gives to various organizations for a couple of basic reasons.
"One, I'm convinced you can't take it with you, and if you give something back to the community while you're still alive you can see the results."
Also, if you don't give it away, "Uncle Sam will get it and he doesn't always spend it wisely," he added.
"This is a great project," Lariccia said of the Y's Boardman facility. He said he is interested in kids and believes the Y offers a wholesome safe harbor from the streets and the scourge of drugs and alcohol.
Lariccia added that his father, who came to the United States and Youngstown in 1912, stayed at the Youngstown Y during the Great Depression and spoke highly of it.
Lariccia, who with his family has donated to other organizations, grew up in Struthers and now lives in Boardman.
Partnership: The Boardman facility will be built on McClurg Road on property leased from HMHP, which operates St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown and St. Joseph Health Center in Warren.
In turn, HMHP will lease space from the Y in the new building to house a rehabilitation-wellness center.
HMHP proposed the joint venture, which Rudge called a "good marriage in which the Y and HMHP will share facilities, staff and expertise."
Rudge said he expects construction will begin this fall and be completed about a year later.
The Family Branch Y's annual operating budget is estimated at between $1 million and $2 million and YMCA officials expect to attract 10,000 new members.
Central Y: Kenneth J. Wilson, president of the Y's board of trustees, said studies show the impact on the Central Y, which is at near capacity, will be minimal.
He said the board has no intention of closing the Central Y. In fact, he said the Family Y is being built and programmed to complement rather than compete with the Central Y.
Basic membership costs at the Boardman Family Y will be similar to those in Youngstown and dual memberships will be available, Rudge added.

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