The new City Club of the Mahoning Valley has its first event on Sept. 21

By David Skolnick


The new City Club of the Mahoning Valley, which its founders say will be a forum for open debate and the exchange of ideas, will have its first event Sept. 21.

The club, a chapter of the City Club of Cleveland, will “feature a high level of discussion on various issues,” said Phil Kidd, its co-founder and the associate director of Youngstown CityScape. “We need something similar to the City Club of Cleveland, and that’s what we’re working to do here.”

The club received about $5,000 from the Raymond John Wean Foundation to cover the start-up costs including marketing and website creation, he said.

There will be monthly events in 2016, and if the club proves to be a success, there will be quarterly events in 2017, Kidd said.

“We know the time is right for a forum like this in the Mahoning Valley,” said Tim Francisco, co-founder and a Youngstown State University English professor. “We’re experiencing new energy and innovative thinking here, and we are certain the City Club will spark new connections, partnerships and projects.”

The first event is a Sept. 21 panel discussion on economic development in the Mahoning Valley at Stambaugh Auditorium, 1000 Fifth Ave. Doors will open at 5 p.m. with dinner at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion starting at 6 p.m.

The panelists are ex-Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams, who heads the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration; state Sen. Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd; Youngstown State University President Jim Tressel; and Thomas Humphries, president and chief executive officer of the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.

Tickets are $30 each. Tables for eight, which includes sponsorship of the event, are $350 each.

Tickets are available at the club’s website – – through Stambaugh online at or the auditorium’s box office by calling 330-259-0555.

The club’s other events are a political discussion, “Battleground Ohio: Politics, the Press and Life in a Swing State,” at Stambaugh on Oct. 28, and Marilyn Geewax, senior business editor for National Public Radio, will speak in mid-November at the Wean Foundation, 147 W. Market St. in Warren.

There will be an education-themed event in December at Stambaugh with details not finalized.

If something of interest in the community occurs, Kidd said the club can schedule an event to discuss it, particularly in 2017 when there will be four events for the entire year.

The club organizers will seek funding to continue events in 2017 and would like to raise enough money to hire staff, Kidd said.