The local auto dealer said his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic and compassion for the needy.
YOUNGSTOWN -- Shorty Navarro, a native of Puerto Rico who's made a mark on the Mahoning Valley's automobile industry, has established a $100,000 scholarship fund for Hispanic students at Youngstown State University.
The gift to YSU was announced this morning at the grand opening of the new facility of the Organizacion Civic y Cultural Hispana on Shirley Road.
"I am grateful to the Youngstown community, and I'd like to acknowledge it," Navarro said. "I established the endowment at YSU because education is the key to success, and not all students have the means to go to college."
The endowment will provide scholarships to students of Hispanic descent in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Lawrence or Mercer counties.
Reaction: YSU President David Sweet said the fund helps meet one of his top priorities -- increasing campus diversity.
"This gift will provide opportunities for students of Hispanic descent to obtain their education and secure their futures," he said.
Mary Isa Garayua, OCCHA executive director, said she also is grateful to Navarro, who helped OCCHA obtain its new facility.
"Because of Shorty's generosity, OCCHA will now be able to consolidate our programs," she said.
Biographical info: The oldest of 11 children, Navarro and his family moved to Youngstown's East Side from Puerto Rico when he was 12. Though the family was of modest means, Navarro said his parents instilled in him a strong work ethic as well as a compassion for those in need.
"I grew up watching my parents work hard and helping those with less," said Navarro, whose wife, Elba, is a teacher at Chaney High School. "How you are raised, in my opinion, determines how you become."
Navarro's 40-year career in the automobile industry began at a gas station where he worked while a student at the former East High School.
After a stint in the Marines, Navarro bought Belmar Motors on Market Street. In 1982, he bought Stadium Lincoln Mercury on Wick Avenue, and purchased Oldsmobile, Pontiac, Buick and GMC Truck in Salem six years later.
He acquired Columbiana Ford in 1990 and Parker Chevrolet Cadillac in Salem in 1993. Three years later, he sold Columbiana Ford and, in 1998, purchased Volkswagen-Mazda.
"When people ask me how to achieve business success, I say, 'Close your eyes, work every day, pay your taxes and the bank, and you can stay in business,'" he said.