Saturday, October 29, NIAF will celebrate its 47th Anniversary Gala at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. Purchase tickets
Actress Liza Minnelli To Present NIAF Scholarship at East Coast Gala in NYC Lawrence Babbio, Yogi Berra, Ernest Borgnine, Lou Lamoriello, and Paul Tagliabue Honored


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

(WASHINGTON, DC – April 2, 2004) Actress Liza Minnelli will award a National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)/ Vincenzo Minnelli Scholarship in Music in memory of her late father to a student at the Foundation’s East Coast Gala on Tuesday evening, April 20 at the Grand Hyatt New York, in New York City. The gala begins with a reception and silent auction at 6:00 PM followed by dinner at 7:00 PM.

Amanda Chmela, a student entering the Department of Musical Theatre and Vocal Performance at SUNY Fredonia, will receive a NIAF/ Vincenzo Minnelli Scholarship before prominent Italian Americans in business, the arts, government and public service at the gala.

The NIAF will award more than 100 scholarships in the academic year 2004-2005. Since its inception, NIAF has awarded nearly $7 million in scholarships and grants across the country. In 2003, the Foundation awarded more than $1.3 million in cultural and language grants, and scholarships to hundreds of students. The NIAF scholarship program celebrated its 28th anniversary last year. It has grown from four scholarships of $250 each to more than 100 scholarships that range from $2,500 to $15,000 in the humanities, medicine, engineering, business, music, Italian language and culture and other specialized fields. Last year, the average scholarship was more than $4,000.

During the NIAF East Coast Gala, the Foundation will honor five prominent Italian Americans: Lawrence T. Babbio, president and vice chairman, Verizon Communications; Yogi Berra, baseball legend; Ernest Borgnine, Academy Award-winning actor; Lou Lamoriello, president, CEO and general manager, New Jersey Devils; and Paul Tagliabue, commissioner, National Football League (NFL).

Vincent Viola, New York Mercantile Exchange senior strategic advisor and NIAF board of director, will chair the gala. The gala’s honorary chair is Christina Johnson, NIAF board member. Actor Danny Aiello and singer Tony Bennett are some of the celebrities attending the dinner. Bennett will be joined by his daughter, Antonia Bennett. She will perform during the gala.

Dinner tickets start at $250 per person. Attire: Business. To purchase tickets, contact Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or Register online at

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. Visit our website at