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Chamber honors Valley leaders

By Don Shilling

Friday, April 4, 2008

By Don Shilling

Anthony Lariccia said his donations are inspiring others to give more.

BOARDMAN — Anthony Lariccia celebrated receiving a Regional Chamber award in style.

The renowned philanthropist joined with his longtime singing partner — Anthony Cafaro Sr. — in delivering a spirited rendition of a 50-year-old classic, “Tears on My Pillow.”

Most of the 300 people who attended the chamber’s annual meeting Thursday had left by the time the singing broke out, but those who remained applauded the effort. With arms around each other’s shoulders, the two business icons ended their performance at Mr. Anthony’s with broad smiles.

Lariccia said he and Cafaro, who is president of The Cafaro Co. in Youngstown, are comfortable together because they get together to sing three or four times a year.

They were celebrating Thursday because Lariccia and Cafaro’s son, Anthony Jr., had just been honored by the chamber.

Lariccia, an investment adviser with Merrill Lynch, was given the William G. Lyden Jr. Spirit of the Valley Award. He was honored for his contributions of $11 million to charitable causes in the Mahoning Valley.

Cafaro Jr., who is vice president of the real estate development company, was given the Donald Cagigas Spirit of the Chamber Award. He is vice chairman of the chamber’s executive board.

Lariccia said after the event that his giving is motivating others to donate more.

“A lot of people tell me that they are giving much more than they did before,” he said.

Even if they aren’t giving millions of dollars like him, they are making a $5,000 donation instead of the $1,000 donation that they used to make.

“And they are finding it satisfying, too,” he said.

Lariccia, 62, of Boardman, said he has no plans to slow down his giving, which has included $5.3 million to Youngstown State University, $1.3 million to Angels for Animals and $1 million to the YMCA in Boardman.

“As long as I’m living, I’ll always be doing this. It’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Cafaro Jr. said he has devoted so much time to chamber causes because he thinks area governments and organizations should continue to focus on making the Valley one region.

“We are stronger if we work together,” he said.

Tom Humphries, president of the chamber, said Cafaro has shown wisdom beyond his 33 years.

“When you see him at a board meeting, everybody listens because he is really bright,” Humphries said.

The third honoree of the meeting was Attorney General Marc Dann, who received the Chairman’s Political Achievement Award.

Dann, a former Liberty school board member and state senator from the area, said he has shifted the attorney general’s office from focusing on legal representation of state agencies to representing the people of the state on issues such as consumer fraud.