Celebrities to Attend Largest Italian American Gala in Nation’s Capital **Tony Danza to Emcee NIAF Gala**


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

(WASHINGTON, DC – October 5, 2005) Actors Danny Aiello, Dennis Farina and Antonio Sabato, Jr., singers Jay Black, and Natalie Merchant, and baseball greats Yogi Berra and Tommy Lasorda, will join the more than 3,000 people from across America and Italy at the National Italian American Foundation’s (NIAF) 30th Anniversary Gala on October 15, 2005. Popular entertainer Tony Danza will be the evening’s master of ceremonies. The NIAF gala will be held at the Hilton Washington & Towers at 6 p.m. followed by dinner.

During the gala Paul S. Otellini, president and CEO of Intel, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business. General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Military Service. Michelle Peluso, president and CEO of Travelocity, will also receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business. Ambassador Peter F. Secchia, chairman of the board at Universal Forest Products Inc., and managing partner of SIBSCO LLC, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for International Affairs. The NIAF Dinner Chair is Willis Group Holdings Chairman and CEO Joseph J. Plumeri. 

The Foundation during its convention weekend (October 14-15), will host conferences, wine tasting events, the traditional celebrity luncheon and auction, a youth networking breakfast, and the 6th Annual Salute to the Martini with music by Jay Black and the Americans. A screening of the film Uncle Nino starring Joe Mantegna, NIAF celebrity spokesperson, is scheduled for Friday, October 14. The following day, NIAF will host a screening of Sophia Loren’s film Francesca e Nunziata. The Region of Piedmont, this year’s sponsoring region from Italy, will host a wine tasting event and provide products that are typical of the region.

Dinner tickets begin at $400 each. Proceeds to benefit the NIAF Scholarship and Education Programs.For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Bonni Cellini at 202/939-3114 or bonni@niaf.org or register on-line at www.niaf.org.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC and dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visitwww.niaf.org