Stay Informed!

Be the first to know with our newsletter! By subscribing, you’ll receive exclusive community updates, news and events straight to your inbox.

New Yorkers To be Honored at


Contact: Elissa Ruffino (NIAF) 202/939-3106202/939-3106 or

** Actor Robert De Niro, Saks Fifth Avenue’s Christina Johnson
& Sony’s Tommy Mottola **

(WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 6, 2002) Robert De Niro, actor, director and producer, Christina Johnson, president & CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, and Thomas (Tommy) D. Mottola, chairman and CEO of Sony Music Entertainment, Inc. will be honored at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) 27th Anniversary Awards Gala, Saturday evening, October 26 at the Hilton Washington & Towers, Washington, DC.

Actress Sophia Loren and Robert De Niro will be inducted into the NIAF’s Italian American Hall of Fame for their work in the entertainment industry. Earlier this year, actor Nicolas Cage was the first Italian American inducted into the Foundation’s Hall of Fame for his work in the cinema at the NIAF West Coast Gala.

Joining fellow New Yorker Robert De Niro will be Christina Johnson, who will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business and Thomas (Tommy) D. Mottola will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in the Music Industry.

Among the many celebrities attending the dinner, include singers, Tony Bennett and Connie Francis and actors Ruth Buzzi, Robert Davi, Tom Dreesen, Doris Roberts and James Woods. AIDS researcher, Dr. Anthony S. Fauci and Olympic gold medalist, Brian Boitano will also join the celebrities and NIAF honorees at the dinner.

Dick Grasso, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) chairman and NIAF vice chairman, is this year’s dinner chair. The NIAF Gala is one of the premier annual events in Washington, DC, attracting more than 3,100 people from throughout the country and abroad. Members of the Italian American Congressional Delegation and Italian American leaders in business, sports, entertainment and the arts traditionally attend the event which has also been attended by every U.S. President since 1975.

During the NIAF gala, Paul Chiapparone, vice chairman of Electronic Data Systems (EDS), will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service. Robert Nardelli, chairman, president and CEO of The Home Depot, will receive the NIAF’s Special Achievement Award in Business.

The NIAF Gala Awards weekend will also feature conferences, exhibits, the traditional celebrity luncheon and auction, and a seminar on tourism. At a Friday conference, attendees will view a piece of American history when the Declaration of Independence Road Trip makes a stop at the NIAF’s annual convention. The Region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, this year’s sponsoring region from Italy, will host a wine and food tasting event.

Dinner tickets begin at $350 each. Proceeds from the event benefit the NIAF Scholarship and Education Programs. For tickets or sponsor information, contact: Michael Sanzi at 202/387-0600202/387-0600 or