NIAF News Releases



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

*Chicago Blackhawks President Speaks at NIAF Media Forum*

(WASHINGTON, D.C. -- January 14, 2010) “Our Legacy Continues……The Italian American Agenda in Chicago”
was the theme of the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) seventh media forum on January 12, 2010. John McDonough, president of the Chicago Blackhawks, spoke to an audience of more than 30 journalists of Italian ancestry about the importance of building a bridge from the past to the present.

The Frank J. Guarini/ NIAF Media Forum, underwritten by The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame (NIASHF), was hosted by George R. Randazzo, founder and president of the NIASHF, and Robert V. Allegrini, NIAF regional vice president for the Midwest and Hilton Hotels Corporation vice president of corporate communications for the Americas. The luncheon was co-chaired by Mike Adamle, sports anchor for NBC5 Chicago, and Lissa Druss Christman, executive producer of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. Adamle and Christman opened the luncheon and thanked attending journalists for their continued support in promoting all things Italian.

To build on our Italian American legacy, as well as energize the Italian American community, NIAF President Joseph V. Del Raso discussed the importance of collaborating with NIASHF and local community organizations. Del Raso noted that television producers and programmers need to be held responsible for exploiting young adults and promoting bad behavior in such shows as MTV’s “Jersey Shore.”

At the podium McDonough remarked how he was surrounded by many of his heroes in the broadcast world seated before him at today’s luncheon. While discussing the Chicago Blackhawks legacy and heritage within the National Football League (NFL), he praised the makers in the industry including Tony Amonte, Tony and Phil Esposito, Dino Ciccarelli and Tony Granto. He also noted that the Blackhawks fan base is composed of Italian Americans.

Also joining Del Raso and McDonough at the forum were Peter Arduini, a member of the NIAF Board of Directors and corporate vice president of Baxter Healthcare Corporation, John C. Sciaccotta, a NIAF area coordinator and attorney at Shefsky & Froelich Ltd., Ken Marino, a NIASHF board member, and Alessandro Motta, Italy’s Consul General in Chicago. Lauren Schaal, a participant of NIAF’s Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program, an educational and cultural initiative that sends Italian American students to Italy, shared her experiences with guests.

Also on the agenda in Chicago, NIAF will launch its Sports and Entertainment Council, a special membership level for those in sports and entertainment-related industries, with the help of national and local sports figures in March. Similar media forums are planned in February in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit

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