NIAF News Releases



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

MEDIA ADVISORY EVENT: NIAF 34th Anniversary Awards Gala and Annual Convention

SPONSOR: The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

WHEN: Friday, October 23, 2009 --
9 a.m. Conferences, 8:30 p.m. Evening Entertainment
Saturday, October 24, 2009 --
9 a.m. Conferences, 6 p.m. Reception, 7 p.m. Dinner and Awards

WHERE: Hilton Washington
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. (202/483-3000)

Jimmy Kimmel
, host and executive producer of ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!,” will emcee the Foundation’s annual black-tie gala before more than 3,000 guests from the United States and Italy. In keeping with our tradition of hosting the president, President Barack Obama is expected to attend.

U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi will attend the Foundation’s gala. She will be joined by Hon. Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Vinny Cerrato, Hon. Louis Freeh, Representatives Bill Pascrell, Jr. and Pat Tiberi, and other dignitaries and special guests.

2009 NIAF Gala Honorees: • Lidia Matticchio Bastianich, chef, restaurateur, cookbook author, philanthropist and Public Television cooking show host, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service;
Massimo F. d’Amore, CEO of PepsiCo Americas Beverages, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business;
Carla Gugino, actor from the film “The Watchman” and in the HBO series “Entourage”, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Entertainment;
Janet Napolitano, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award for Public Service;
Antonello Venditti, renowned Italian singer and songwriter, will receive a NIAF Special Achievement Award in Music.

Highlights of the NIAF weekend include “Antonello Venditti Live!” an exclusive performance by Venditti, on Friday, October 23 in the hotel’s International Ballroom.

During NIAF’s convention weekend, the Foundation will host Piazza d’Italia, a two-day exhibition of Italy’s Best, and a Celebrity Auction and Luncheon. Also part of the convention is a screening of the documentary “Pane Amaro: The Italian American Journey from Despised Immigrants to Honored Citizens” by a NIAF grant recipients and a seminar focusing on the culture of food and wine. Tickets to Saturday’s gala begin at $400 per person. LM Wines will be the official wine sponsor for the gala dinner. Proceeds will benefit NIAF’s educational programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact Jerry Jones at 202/387-0600 or, or register online at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent.

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