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FORMER CONGRESSMAN AND NIAF CHAIRMAN EMERITUS FRANK J. GUARINI PLEDGES A $250,000 CHALLENGE GRANT TO NIAF AP LANGUAGE AND CULTURE PROGRAM

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:   Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106 or elissa@niaf.org


(Washington, D.C.—September 13, 2010) Hon. Frank J. Guarini, a leader in the Italian American community and an advocate for Italian language and culture, has pledged a $250,000 Challenge Grant to the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) Advanced Placement (AP) Campaign today.

Since March 2010, the Italian American community, in conjunction with the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., has worked to reinstate Advance Placement college credits for high school students enrolled in Italian language study. With a September 30, 2010 deadline looming, the Italian American community needs to save the nationwide program by raising $3 million. With Congressman Guarini’s quarter-million-dollar commitment, we are closer to raising the remaining funds required by The College Board. If the Italian American community does not meet The College Board’s requirements by September 30, 2010, the Italian language will lose its AP credentials among universities in the United States.

The study of the Italian language and its rich culture is an initiative that Congressman Guarini has made a top priority since joining the NIAF Board of Directors in 1988.

“Language opens the doors to its culture,” Congressman Guarini said. “Art, music, literature, science, fashion and architecture are born from it. With it, we are able to explore important business, government and commerce opportunities. Since language enriches every aspect of life, I am pleased to commit the necessary funds to bring us to the $3 million requirement. Therefore, the study of the Italian language will be preserved in the next generation.”

Under Congressman Guarini’s leadership, NIAF introduced a number of educational programs, including: the Teacher of the Year Award in Italian; Italian Culture and Language Fellowships - a partnership with the Washington Post and the Embassy of Italy; Teach the Teachers Workshops at Harvard University; and Lago del Bosco, the first Italian language and culture immersion camp in the U.S., in addition to placing a stronger emphasis on Italian in the Foundation’s scholarships and grant awards.

“As NIAF chairman, president and a board member, Congressman Guarini has worked tirelessly to champion the preservation of our heritage through the study of Italian, which is at the core of NIAF’s mission,” said NIAF Secretary John F. Calvelli, who also serves as Chair Emeritus and Co-Chair the AP Italian Committee.

To support this initiative, individuals and organizations wishing to make a donation to raise the remaining funds should contact Anne Drefs Kasputis, NIAF chief financial officer, 202/939-3110 or anne@niaf.org.

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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