Columbus Day Parade Names John Calvelli Grand Marshal


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


(Washington, DC – September 15, 2009) John F. Calvelli, National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) secretary and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors, has been named grand marshal for the 33rd Annual Bronx Columbus Day Parade by the Bronx Columbus Day Committee. Calvelli will lead the parade along Morris Park Avenue and Williamsbridge Road on Sunday, October 11, 2009.

John F. Calvelli

“It is truly an honor to be chosen grand marshal. Both my parents were immigrants from Calabria, Italy and they felt it was very important to promote our Italian heritage. The Columbus Day Parade has always been a way for everyone to celebrate this beautiful culture,” Calvelli said.

Calvelli’s career in public service has been long and distinguished, including his participation in a clinical program with the Civil Division of the Office of then U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani and subsequently as Associate Counsel to the New York State Assembly. Calvelli served as Chief of Staff in Washington, DC to Congressman Eliot Engel (D-Bronx) where he worked tirelessly to strengthen and deepen relations between the U.S. and Italy. In 1999 the Republic of Italy bestowed the honorific title of Knighthood in the Order of Merit to Calvelli for his work. Presently Calvelli is the Executive Vice President of Public Affairs for the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a global conservation organization headquartered at the Bronx Zoo. He has been asked to help spearhead the national fundraising effort for the victims of the L’Aquila earthquake, with the community having raised more than $3 million to date to help alleviate the suffering of the victims.

As a student at Fordham University, Calvelli was a member of several Italian clubs and organizations including the Belmont Italian American Cultural Association. He also was the founder of Fieri, an international organization of students and young professionals celebrating Italian culture.

Calvelli is a graduate of Salesian High School, Fordham University and Fordham Law School. He and his wife, Maria, speak Italian to their 10-year-old son, John Domenico.

NIAF is a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the heritage and culture of Americans of Italian descent.