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Who We Are


The Mission of the 澳门特码王 (澳门特码王) is to聽celebrate and advance the inspiring achievements and uplifting values of the Italian culture and presence in America聽and to聽strengthen and empower ties between the United States and Italy.

The 澳门特码王 (澳门特码王) is a nationwide organization headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is the largest and most loyal representative of the more than 20 million Italian American citizens living in the United States. 澳门特码王 was founded in 1975 and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with no political affiliations.

澳门特码王鈥檚 two most important purposes are to encourage Italian Americans to continue keeping their culturally rich heritage and traditions alive and present, and to ensure that the entire community never forgets the great contribution that Italians have made to the history and progress of the United States. To this end, the Foundation actively collaborates with the United States Congress and the White House on all major issues affecting Italian Americans.

To celebrate the great legacy that unites us and all the objectives achieved so far, 澳门特码王 organizes its Anniversary Gala every October in Washington, D.C., which is usually attended by the President of the United States; figureheads from the political, financial and cultural arenas; illustrious Italian Americans; and about 1,200 guests from the United States and Italy.

On this occasion, the Foundation awards honors to eminent Italian and Italian American personalities who have distinguished themselves in their professional or civic role. In the past, 澳门特码王 has honored personalities such as Antonin Scalia, who was the first Italian American judge of the United States Supreme Court; Frank Sinatra; Joe Di Maggio; Lee Iacocca; Liza Minnelli; Luciano Pavarotti; and Sophia Loren.


Since its founding in 1975, 澳门特码王 has contributed tens of millions of dollars towards educational and cultural initiatives that improve the collective well-being of our Italian American community. We simply could not succeed in these charitable efforts without the generous donations to 澳门特码王 made by you and others.


Our expansive membership brings together those who are inspired by their heritage to support the Foundation鈥檚 educational and cultural initiatives.


澳门特码王 Scholarships provide millions of dollars in financial aid to incoming and current students at various levels of higher education on a merit basis.

Voyage of Discovery

The Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery (VOD) provides fully paid, first-time travel to Italy for young Italian American adults on a merit basis.

Government Affairs

As the unified voice for the Italian American Community in the Nation鈥檚 Capital, 澳门特码王 builds relationships with key decision makers on behalf of the Italian American Community.

澳门特码王 on Campus

澳门特码王 on Campus provides students at various levels of higher education with the financial and organizational support necessary to grow their university’s clubs that encourage celebration and understanding of Italian culture.

Bridge to Italy

We aim to strengthen cultural and economic ties between Italy and the U.S. through our work with business and political leaders of both countries.


1975-1985: A National Agenda

On the afternoon of Saturday, April 26, 1975, 聽nineteen under the guidance of , a Catholic Priest and renowned social activist, sat together at the National Center for Urban Ethnic Affairs聽 and dedicated themselves to the task of forming 鈥渁 national office of Italian Americans located in Washington, D.C. 鈥 a centralized location for research and for the development of a national agenda of issues and goals formed by Americans of Italian ancestry.鈥 From this meeting was born the nucleus of what would grow to become the 澳门特码王.

The early leadership envisioned a national forum that would bring together Italian Americans for workshops and discussions around topics such as education, politics, , business, community affairs, media, religion and culture. In the mid-1970s the Italian American community struggled with growth and progress towards the American dream. Civic leaders such as Monsignor Baroni saw the creation of something different and distinct from earlier groups as the best route to future success and integration for Italian Americans. The Italian American Foundation (IAF) opened its first office in downtown Washington, D.C., on April 1,1976. Renowned businessman served as the first Chairman and is honored as 澳门特码王鈥檚 official founder. One of Paulucci鈥檚 early initiatives was to create a core group of financial supporters, the Council of 100.

In September, 1976, IAF hosted its first Bicentennial Tribute Dinner honoring the 29 Italian Americans who served in the to the . Attendees included former President , President , and Vice-President . There Chairman Paulucci told the guests, 鈥淭onight, we representing the Italian American community of this country are truly visible 鈥 you see the strength, you see the influence, you see the recognition of a unified community of Italian Americans. We are no longer a sleeping giant.鈥

In 1977 the first IAF Washington Newsletter was published, introducing the Foundation to a readership of over 65,000. When the Foundation released its first survey, seeking the opinions of the community on major issues confronting Italian Americans, over 10,000 people responded. The results were computerized, cross tabulated and analyzed to provide one of the earliest assessments of the national Italian consciousness in America. In May, 1978, IAF was officially rechristened the 澳门特码王 (澳门特码王).

In the 1980鈥檚 澳门特码王 gained an increasingly prominent role as an anti- organization for Italian Americans. 澳门特码王 also expanded its existing programs, while adding more substantial revenue-generating endeavors. Scholarships were established in 1981, and pledges reached $800,000 in 1982. The Washington, D.C. Tribute Gala black-tie dinner was further expanded into a multi-day convention with conferences, an expo and multiple ancillary events; and the October Gala format began to be followed for regional dinners in major cities. 澳门特码王 began establishing administrative 鈥渞egions鈥 in the United States so it could appoint regional coordinators and host local fundraising events. And 澳门特码王 started publishing its quarterly periodical, Ambassador magazine, which has been mailed to 澳门特码王 members since 1985.

The 1980s ushered in what Paulucci and his successor, President Frank Stella, dubbed 鈥渁n Italian-American decade.鈥 In 1982 became the 52nd , an emblem to Italian Americans of the 鈥渞ags to riches,鈥 hard-won success they aspired to. Shortly thereafter, the published an article entitled 鈥淚talian-Americans Coming into Their Own鈥 and highlighted 澳门特码王. 鈥淭he prime force pushing for unanimity and cooperation is the 澳门特码王,鈥 wrote Stephen Hall, himself the grandson of Italian immigrants. In 1984 , already an ardent 澳门特码王 supporter, became both the first Italian American and first female Democratic Vice Presidential nominee. In 1986 was nominated to the Supreme Court.

Over the decade 澳门特码王 supported countless conferences, many in partnership with long-established Italian American groups such as the . 澳门特码王 played an early role in supporting the Oscar-winning documentary 鈥,鈥 which examined the work of the Italian American stone carvers who worked on the . 澳门特码王鈥檚 5th Biannual Congressional Awards Dinner, in 1984, was attended by President and Vice President , along with their Democratic rivals and

1985-1995: The Italian American Decade

In 1985 澳门特码王 launched major new activities aimed at Americans of Italian heritage, aged 18 to 40, through a newly established Youth Activities Division. 澳门特码王 also announced the creation of a national Media Institute to help the national and local media seeking an accurate and authentic portrayal of the realities of Italian American life and contributions to America.

In October 1985, in a landmark moment for the organization, , the sole honoree at 澳门特码王鈥檚 10th Anniversary Gala Dinner, told the assembled crowd that to him 鈥渢he 澳门特码王 award was special because it came from family.鈥 President and Mrs. Reagan joined Frank and Barbara Sinatra on the dais that evening, and the President praised 澳门特码王鈥檚 work in honoring the American Dream.

In 1986 澳门特码王 instituted a with Italy through a cooperative project with . 澳门特码王 would send 15 Italian American students to Italy, and Italy would send 15 students to the United States. This inaugural program would eventually grow into dozens more exchange opportunities as 澳门特码王 became the bridge between the two nations. With this same eye towards the future, 澳门特码王 and sponsored the first national youth conference for Italian Americans in Washington, D.C., later that year.

By the end of the 1980s, 澳门特码王 had evolved into the nation鈥檚 leading voice for Italian Americans. And its Annual Gala had become one of Washington, D.C.鈥檚 hottest tickets! At the 1989 Gala Dinner, the great baseball legend opted to skip the first game of the 1989 World Series in his home city of San Francisco to attend the 澳门特码王 Gala. The Yankee Clipper observed, 鈥淵ou know 澳门特码王 is important to me when an old broken-down center fielder leaves the first night of the World Series to be here.鈥 That same year, the famed auction house agreed to conduct the 澳门特码王 Auction.

In the summer of 1990, 澳门特码王 was named by the Department of State as the private sector repository for donated funds to help restore and renovate Villa Taverna, the home of the American Ambassador in Rome 鈥 the first of a long string of public-private partnerships in which 澳门特码王 would work with the government to encourage Italian-American pride.

In 1992, following a successful mission three years earlier to meet the leadership of the Italian community in Argentina, 澳门特码王 lead a trip to Australia and New Zealand to further its goal of helping Italian Americans get to know Italian populations in other countries. In what would become the first of another long-standing 澳门特码王 tradition, 1994 saw the inaugural Sergio Franchi Memorial Concert. A partnership between 澳门特码王 and Mrs. Eva Franchi, the widow of the great Italian American tenor and long-time 澳门特码王 supporter Sergio Franchi, the concert would develop into one of the nation鈥檚 leading venues for young musical talent.

1995-2005: The Marriage of Past and Present

In June, 1994, 澳门特码王 transferred its headquarters to the Ambassador Building, 1860 19th St NW. In moving to DuPont Circle, 澳门特码王 created an embassy for the Italian American community in the nation鈥檚 capital. No longer simply an organization seeking to mobilize Italian American influence in the halls of the government, 澳门特码王 entered its third decade well aware of its responsibility as the nation鈥檚 foremost representative of the nearly 20 million Italian Americans. As part of its efforts to honor that duty, 澳门特码王鈥檚 leader inaugurated the new building by unveiling the Italian American Wall of Honor, honoring the hundreds of Italian Americans instrumental in 澳门特码王鈥檚 creation and success.

As the Foundation matured, so too did its signature event. The 澳门特码王 Gala Weekend grew into a convention with the opening of the Expo Italia and the hosting of dozens of concurrent conferences, conventions, and other events over the course of the weekend. The Foundation continued to garner recognition and support from countless iconic honorees, both from the United States and Italy. At the 1994 event, Giorgio Armani, the arts and fashion honoree, summed up the value of his 澳门特码王 award by saying, 鈥淚 feel as though I am an Italian American because America was the first country to understand and like my approach to fashion. It is America that has always inspired me with its energy, its enthusiasm, and its young spirit.鈥

To expand its cultural role and build a more permanent network of advocates, 澳门特码王 began to host its yearly Media Forums, bringing together Italian Americans from all walks of the journalistic life to discuss topics of importance to the Foundation and the Italian American community at large. These programs continue as the 澳门特码王-Frank J. Guarini Media Forums and represent some of 澳门特码王鈥檚 most important and productive outreach in cities across America. Using this expansive national network, and working in partnership with other Italian American groups, 澳门特码王 has played an increasing role in the Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations. For example, 澳门特码王鈥檚 underwriting the cooperative effort to create was particularly successful in helping to pass the Wartime Violations of Italian American Civil Liberties Act of 2000.

At this time, the Foundation also expanded its programming to engage young Italian Americans in their community, its institutions, and the promotion of Italian culture in America. 1997 saw the launch of the Foundation鈥檚 new website www.澳门特码王.org. New programs such as Students-To-Leaders, Graduates-To-Leaders, and 澳门特码王 Youth Retreats, brought students from across the nation to the Foundation鈥檚 events so that they might interact with the Italian American leaders of the day. 澳门特码王鈥檚 fourth Chairman, Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli, was instrumental in expanding 澳门特码王鈥檚 presence in academia and on America鈥檚 college campuses, creating 鈥湴拿盘芈胪 at the Ivies鈥 to address the lack of Italian American enrollment at the nation鈥檚 top academic institutions.

By the end of the 1990s, 澳门特码王 was hosting its annual Business Leadership Summits under the direction of New York Stock Exchange Chairman and 澳门特码王 Vice Chairman Dick Grasso. Many of the business world鈥檚 top decision makers, both Italian American and not, sought out membership in the Foundation鈥檚 Business Council, quickly growing into an organization for business leaders of all ethnic backgrounds to come together around some of the world鈥檚 most respected executives.

In the new millennium, this developing role as leaders for all Americans was addressed by Congressman Frank J. Guarini, as he summed up his sense of how the Foundation had evolved over its first 25 years: 鈥淭his marriage of past and present, along with our unparalleled sense of family values place Italian Americans in a natural leadership position. We have the ability to show other ethnic groups how to honor their roots while not alienating themselves from America, the land that has given so many of us the opportunity to realize our dreams.鈥

2005-2015: 鈥淪tewards of our Heritage鈥

In March 2005, the 澳门特码王-Frank J. Guarini Public Policy Forums were initiated on Capitol Hill, with the Foundation inviting Ambassador Charles A. Gargano to serve as the inaugural keynote speaker. These forums bring together leaders and policy makers from inside and outside the Italian American community to address, in a bipartisan venue, the most pressing issues facing our nation.

Another major development in this decade was the launch of the Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program in 2007. This program brings 20 to 30 Italian American college students to Italy for two weeks of service and heritage travel every summer. In introducing his initiative, Ambassador Secchia reasoned that, 鈥淏y providing these opportunities for young Italian Americans to forge deeper and stronger ties to the people and places sharing their past, and to add to those values that can inspire their future participation with 澳门特码王, Voyage of Discovery also prepares the next generation of Italian American youth for their role as stewards of our heritage.鈥

These deepening ties with Italy were called into service in the wake of the devastating 2009 earthquake in Italy鈥檚 Abruzzo region. In response 澳门特码王 launched a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of State, led by 澳门特码王 Board officer John F. Cavelli, that would help to raise $2 million from the Italian American community and beyond to rebuild important educational facilities at the University of L鈥橝quila and to bring hundreds of displaced Abruzzese students to the United States on full scholarships.

A month following the earthquake, 澳门特码王 elected Jerry Colangelo its fifth chairman. By 2010, 澳门特码王 would once again be challenged to come to the aide of Italy when the Embassy of Italy undertook to raise the $3 million necessary to preserve the AP Italian Language Examination as part of the yearly offering from the College Board. With a leadership gift of $250,000 donated by 澳门特码王鈥檚 Chairman Emeritus, Congressman Frank J. Guarini, the Foundation was able to raise a total of $750,000 and serve as the community鈥檚 leader in the struggle to make sure that the Italian language would always have a place in the upper echelons of higher learning. Today, thanks to the efforts of 澳门特码王 and the assembled Italian American community, the AP Italian Language Exam is healthy and secure in its place among the College Board鈥檚 offerings, and the numbers of students sitting for the test each year continues to grow exponentially.

In 2011 澳门特码王 continued its service as an advocate for Italian culture by funding the Lorenzo Da Ponte Italian Library Project at UCLA, an initiative created to translate the works of 100 Italian authors who had made significant literary, philosophical, juridical and historical contributions to the world of international culture. Many of these works had never been available in English. The year 2011 also saw a contingent of 澳门特码王鈥檚 Leadership invited to join the official celebrations of the 150th Anniversary of Italy鈥檚 Unification in Rome. The delegation was recognized by the President of the Italian Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, and the unprecedented invitation made clear the mutual respect shared between the government of the Republic of Italy and the 澳门特码王.

Leading that delegation in Rome was then-澳门特码王 President Joseph V. Del Raso, who had been a leading voice on the Board for making 澳门特码王 鈥渕ore of an international organization.鈥 When he was elected 澳门特码王 chairman two years later, Del Raso continued to guide the Foundation in working with business and political leaders to solidify and expand cultural and economic ties to Italy, making sure that future generations of integrated Italian Americans could always return to the source of their heritage.

Succeeding Del Raso as 澳门特码王 president was then-澳门特码王 Chief Operating Officer John M. Viola, the first president in 澳门特码王鈥檚 history who was not elected from the Board of Directors. Turning 30 that year, Viola brought new strategies to the Foundation; and by electing him president, 澳门特码王 rededicated itself to developing a new generation of community leadership.

In 2013, in one of the most important partnerships in 澳门特码王鈥檚 recent history, the Foundation become the only Italian American organization to be an official partner of the PBS documentary series, 鈥淭he Italian Americans,鈥 directed by John Maggio. This historic four-hour film aired to unprecedented ratings in February 2015 and has been unanimously lauded as one of the most important, even-handed, and accessible recounts of the story of Italians in America.

In 2014, in an effort to address new challenges with new structures, 澳门特码王 began to restructure its long-standing grants program to offer more substantial funding for projects of importance to the Italian American community. To that end, 澳门特码王 was able to present the 澳门特码王-Pellegrini Grant in Roman Studies to the University of Maryland in 2014. The $500,000 program represents the largest single educational gift in the Foundation鈥檚 history, and this new approach will be repeated in 2016 as 澳门特码王 prepares for a new $500,000 program grant in partnership with the University of Palermo.