NIAF News Releases



Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or

(WASHINGTON, D.C.--- April 23, 2007) Despite pouring rain and driving wind, more than 800 guests including actor Danny Aiello, baseball great Yogi Berra and legendary actress Gina Lollobrigida attended the National Italian American Foundation’s East Coast Gala on April 16 at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square. The evening honored prominent Italian-American businessmen John G. Giumarra, Jr., vice president of Giumarra Vineyards; Mark Juliano, COO of Trump Entertainment Resorts; Paul M. Montrone, chairman of Latona Associates; Peter J. Striano, chairman and CEO of Unity International Group.

NIAF East Coast Gala Chairman Frank J. Petrilli welcomed guests to the Marriott Marquis Broadway Ballroom. Additionally, NIAF President Salvatore J. Zizza spoke to guests about NIAF’s many important scholarship and grant programs.

Lollobrigida presented a scholarship in her name to Anthony M. Aiello of Brooklyn, a junior studying theater and broadcast journalism at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The actress reminisced about a scholarship she once received as a child in Italy; given in lire, it amounted to about $5 – a far cry from the generous scholarships now bestowed by NIAF, she noted.

Tim Ryan, president of the Culinary Institute of America, presented Giumarra with a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business, which the businessman dedicated to his Italian grandmother. Frank Pellegrino, owner of the legendary RAO’s restaurant in New York City, presented a NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service to Montrone while Bishop Joseph Sullivan presented a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business to Striano.

Highlights of the evening included a performance by Italian singing sensations Andiamo and a live auction featuring several baseballs signed in person by Berra, dinner for six at RAO’s, a Vespa scooter, an exclusive get-away provided by Trump Entertainment Resorts, and other luxurious prizes.

Fox News Channel anchor Jamie Colby served as master of ceremonies. Michael Zampardi, NIAF regional vice president for the Greater New York Area and senior managing director at Bear Stearns Asset Management, also attended the celebration.

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