NIAF News Releases



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

(WASHINGTON, D.C.--- October 2, 2006) President George H.W. Bush will give the keynote address at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) luncheon on Friday, October 20 at the Hilton Washington & Towers in Washington, D.C. President Bush will also receive the Foundation’s “One America” award. NIAF Chairman Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli will present the award to President Bush during the event, which will be held in the hotel’s International Ballroom East from noon to 2:30 p.m.

President Bush will be joined by Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush received the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Literacy during the Foundation’s Anniversary Awards Gala in 1991.

The NIAF “One America” award honors an individual’s commitment to improving the lives of other human beings. President Bush led the effort to raise private funds in the U.S. for the victims of the 2004 tsunami in Indonesia and Hurricane Katrina through the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund and the Bush-Clinton Tsunami partnership. President Bush devoted his time and efforts to child survivors of these natural disasters.

Past “One America” award recipients include Christopher Reeve and Dana Morosini Reeve, who in 2001 received the “One America” award during the Foundation’s 26th Anniversary Awards Gala. The award symbolized the Reeves’ team effort to help improve the lives of all Americans through their work raising funds for spinal cord injury research. The NIAF “One America’’ award was also presented to legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and his trainer and longtime friend, Angelo Dundee, in 2000 by President Bill Clinton. The award celebrated their outstanding partnership and friendship, which crossed racial and ethnic lines.

On Saturday evening, October 21, actor Alan Alda, baseball greats Yogi Berra and Tommy Lasorda, director Mel Brooks, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, and singers Neil Sedaka and Jerry Vale will join more than 3,000 people from across the U.S. and Italy at the Foundation’s 31st Anniversary Awards Gala. Academy Award-winning actress Anne Bancroft will be posthumously inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, Mel Brooks, will represent Bancroft.

This year’s gala honorees are Samuel Alito Jr., Supreme Court justice; Raffaello Follieri, chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments; Tom W. LaSorda, CEO and president of the Chrysler Group; Catherine B. Reynolds, chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, and Frankie Valli, legendary singer.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit

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