NIAF Honors Best and Brightest at 2017 New York Gala



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The NATIONAL ITALIAN AMERICAN FOUNDATION  honors best and brightest in business, sports, entertainment, politics last night at 2017 New York Gala, Cipriani’s 42nd  Street

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New York, NY and Washington, D.C.

Nearly 700 Italian Americans from New York and around the country gathered last night at Cipriani’s 42nd  Street as The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) hosted its annual New York Gala, March 22, 2017. This distinguished  event, held at this world-famous,  historical, New York City venue, celebrated  the very best in Italian food, beverage and cultural experiences – and feted some of the most notable and impactful luminaries of the Italian American community.   – The 2017 event was the most successful New York Gala (NIAF also hosts a yearly fall Gala Weekend in Washington, DC) in the organization’s history.

NIAF is the largest and most faithful representative of over 25 million Italian Americans living in the United States.

The two most important  objectives that the NIAF aims are to ensure that Italian Americans continue to keep alive and present the rich heritage of their values and cultural traditions,  and to make sure that the Italian American community preserves and remembers the great contribution Italians have made to the history and progress of the United States.

The 2017 honorees demonstrated the diverse impact members of the Italian American community have here in the

USA – they included Shirley and Vernon W. Hill, II, founders of InterArch and Metro Bank respectively; Founder

and Co-Managing  Partner, SkyBridge Capital, Anthony Scaramucci; Chairman, Jackson Lewis P.C., Vincent A. Cino; Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, Anthony Cammarata Jr. and Cooking with Nonna host, Rossella Rago. Of notable interest to New Yorkers is the awarding of the Mario M. Cuomo Award in Public Service to Superintendent  of the New York State Department  of Financial Services (DFS), Maria T. Vullo. Ms. Vullo was appointed to her post by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo – the Award is named for his father. Guests were out of their seats and dancing in the aisles as longtime  NIAF supporter,  singer-songwriter  ALFIO, having just returned from an Australian tour, belted  out classics such as ‘Oh Mama”. – a favorite of his father’s.

Family, preservation of cultural values and a healthy respect for hard work – were themes of the moving

Honoree  videos, as well as their  powerful  acceptance  speeches throughout the evening.  As Honoree  Vincent Cino ruminated  from the stage, “Like so many of you here tonight,  growing  up Italian American was all about  family….” the other honorees followed  suit –

“Today  I stand here in front of all my friends and family, a first-generation Italian American, married 29 years to my wife Laurie, my high school sweetheart, a house in suburban New Jersey, a Fortune 500 company – all the things my parents dreamed of when they came here.” Honoree Anthony Cammarata Jr. reflected  as he received his award.

Cooking  with  Nonna  host,  Honoree  Rosella Rago spoke  on the  importance  of previous  generations  instilling valuable lessons and guidance – If there is one thing I’ve learned on this journey, it’s this, we need our Nonnas’ love and guidance  now more  than ever because as the  world  changes so rapidly  around  us, the  values they teach us are timeless – unlike the ingredients  they cook with, these ladies have no expiration date.”

SkyBridge Capital Founder and Co-Managing  Partner Anthony Scaramucci continued,  “It has been the luckiest thing in my life to be born Italian, to grow up Italian, to have Italian grandparents, to eat Italian food and [share in] the pride we all have”, he enthusiastically stated from the stage – to an uproarious reaction of applause and cheers from the audience.

Matilda  Cuomo,  mother  of New  York State Governor,  Andrew  Cuomo  – and wife of legendary  political  force Mario Cuomo, stepped  to the podium  to bestow the latter’s namesake award to Superintendent  of the New York State Department  of Financial Services (DFS), Maria T. Vullo – and talked about the future of the Italian American community – specifically it’s female torchbearers – and urged the culture’s preservation in the next generation  – “Tell your younger daughters and sons and nephews and nieces, push this culture and speak the Italian language – its so beautiful.”

As Superintendant  Vullo took the stage – she spoke to on the legacy of Mario Cuomo – and how that legacy inspired her, “As an Italian American Mario Cuomo was an inspiration. Be proud to be Italian be proud to be an American, stand up for your principles always, be willing to stand up for what was right, rather than what was politically expedient.”

To  round  out  the  evening,  displaying  a reverence  not  JUST for  the  Italian  Americans  in  this  country  – but  also individuals  of all cultures contributing to the preservation  of Italian culture,  the One America Award was conferred upon  Shirley and Vernon W. Hill, II, founders  of InterArch  and Metro  Bank . This award has only been bestowed  4 times in NIAF’s history – previous Honorees included  Muhammad  Ali, Christopher  Reeves and President George  H. W. Bush.

This event also marks the finale of NIAF’s sitting  Chairman of the Board, Joseph Del Raso’s, term – NIAF President and  CEO John  Viola gave a moving  tribute  to  Mr.  Del  Raso, crediting  him  largely  for  his own  role  at NIAF  and describing  their relationship  as ‘very Italian’ in the way the have worked  together,  passionately, to guide  and grow NIAF. When Mr. Del Raso stepped  to the microphone,  he mused fondly  on his experience  as a 29-year member  of the NIAF Board of Directors. “I’ve served 29 years on this board and it’s been some of the proudest  moments of my life to represent out community  and celebrate  our Italian heritage  and I can’t thank you enough  for the support  that you’ve given to the foundation.”

NIAF’s New York Gala was chaired by Gerard S. LaRocca, a member of NIAF’s Board of Directors and chief administrative  officer, Americas, Barclays Capital.

Proceeds from NIAF’s New York Gala will benefit the Foundation’s philanthropic and educational programs.





The Details

The National Italian American Foundation

2017 NIAF New York Gala

Cipriani 42nd  Street, 110 East 42nd  Street, New York, NY

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
6:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception, 7:30 p.m. Dinner

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