NIAF Networks in San Francisco


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

NIAF highlighted politics and sports high in San Francisco’s skyline during its sixth annual media networking forum, held February 28 at host Tony Di Napoli’s exclusive 31st floor Four Seasons Hotel residence. Di Napoli, a NIAF council member and Silicon Valley CEO, welcomed keynote speaker Mark Fabiani, a political strategist and crisis management expert who presented “Decision 2008,” an analysis of the 2008 election, to more than 30 journalists of Italian ancestry. Jeff Capaccio, the Foundation’s regional vice president for the Far West, provided introductory remarks.

Guests enjoyed Italian specialties prepared by Donato Scotti, executive chef of La Strada Ristorante Italiano, wines provided by Lorenzo Scarpone of Villa Italia, and desserts created by Gary Rulli of Emporio Rulli. Golden State Warrior’s guard Marco Belinelli arrived to greet guests after a team practice. Belinelli, a rookie and first round draft selection of the Golden State Warriors, is one of only two Italian players in the NBA (National Basketball Association) and is considered Italy’s top professional player. He brought signed basketballs, photos and team jerseys which were presented to our youngest sports enthusiasts.

The media forum, co-hosted by Ron Longinotti, president and general manager of CBS 5, and Jeanette Pavini, consumer reporter for CBS 5, showcased NIAF’s educational programs and recognized NIAF’s award recipients who attended the event. They included two NIAF grant winners: Rosella Pusateri, director and founder of Girotondo Italian School, and Lou Dematteis, filmmaker of the documentary “Crimebusters.” Also in attendance were NIAF Graduate to Leaders Law participant, Chistina Renner, and college student Julia Smith, who traveled to Italy through the Foundation’s Ambassador Peter F. Secchia Voyage of Discovery program.

Other special guests enjoying the camaraderie of the evening included Gerard V. Centioli, a NIAF board member, Roberto Falaschi, Italy’s consul general in San Francisco, Tony Bruno, national sports talk host, Tony Salvadore, general manager of KNBR and last year’s media co-host, Fabio Ficano, president, Best of Italy Consumer Association, and Golden State Warriors Executive Pete D’Alessandro.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to preserving the heritage of Italian Americans. Visit our Web site at