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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Elena Isella, NIAF Director of Public Relations
(WASHINGTON, D.C.- May 12, 2023) – The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) in partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program hosted a reception at the Heinz History Center on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about how NIAF and the Heinz History Center Italian American Program work to celebrate and preserve the history and culture of the Italian American community in the Ohio River Valley.
“NIAF has historically had strong ties to Pittsburgh and the greater Ohio Valley area,” said Robert Allegrini, NIAF President. “As the premiere organization for the protection, preservation, and promotion of the Italian heritage in the United States, NIAF is pleased to enhance its presence in Pittsburgh by collaborating with the Heinz History Center,” added Allegrini.
More than 100 guests were welcomed to the History Center’s Mueller Center, where they networked with NIAF representatives Joseph Gulino, Esq., NIAF Board Member and Co-Chair of the Scholarships, Grants and Youth Engagement Committee; Anthony O’Boyle, NIAF Director of Public Affairs & Development; Claire DeMarco, NIAF Regional Coordinator and the Heinz History Center representative Melissa Marinaro, Director of the Italian American Program.
Once the program commenced, Marinaro opened with welcome remarks and noted the importance of collaborating with NIAF, due to their shared mission of preserving the Italian American history and culture. “The History Center’s Italian American collection is one of the largest repositories of Italian American artifacts, photographs, oral histories, and archival materials in the United States, here in Western Pennsylvania,” said Marinaro. “For over three decades, we have documented the pivotal role that Italian Americans play in shaping our region’s political, economic, religious, and cultural landscape,” added Marinaro.
Following Marinaro’s remarks, NIAF Board Member, Joseph Gulino emphasized NIAF’s mission and the significance of NIAF memberships, which supports programming including scholarships and grants. Gulino also highlighted the Foundation’s work to promote Italian American culture and heritage. “So much of Pittsburgh’s history is in fact the history of its immigrants – like our Italian ancestors and the Italians who are still coming to this region today,” said Gulino. “The same is true of my own family, who forged their way from southern Italy to southwestern Pennsylvania and whose descendants today continue to contribute to the region and to the connection between the United States and Italy,” added Gulino.
Two special guests were in attendance, representing the generational diversity of NIAF’s membership. A tenured NIAF member since 1975, Joseph D’Andrea, who was born in Italy in 1929, moved to Pennsylvania in 1948 and was the former Chairman of the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program from 1999 to 2003. Joining as a new NIAF student member from Pittsburgh is Maria Geyer, who recently graduated college and was selected to participate in NIAF’s summer 2023 Voyage of Discovery program, which is an all-expense paid journey exploring Italy’s history and culture with Italian American peers.
Joseph Gulino, Esq., NIAF Board Member and Co-Chair of the Scholarships, Grants and Youth Engagement Committee. addressing the audience from the podium.
Anthony O’Boyle, NIAF Director of Public Affairs & Development; Melissa Marinaro, the Director of the Italian American Program at the Heinz History Center; Joseph D’Andrea, a member of NIAF since 1975 and former chairman of the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program; Joseph Gulino, NIAF Board Member; and Steve Mancini, NIAF member and Co-Host of the radio show Italian Impact Weekly.
Mary Geyer, NIAF member with her daughter NIAF student member, Maria Geyer, 2023 Voyage of Discovery participant and Viviana Altieri, Founder of Istituto Mondo Italiano and the host of the radio show, The Italian Radio Hour.
Melissa Marinaro, Director of the Italian American Program welcomed attendees to the reception.
Guests enjoying the event at the Mueller Center at the Heinz History Center.
The event proved to be an excellent opportunity for NIAF and the Heinz History Center’s Italian American Program to engage with and serve as a resource for the Italian American community in the Ohio River Valley. To learn more about becoming a NIAF member, contact Anthony O’Boyle, Director of Public Affairs and Development, at email@example.com or 202.939.3109.
The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving, promoting, and protecting the Italian American heritage and culture. To learn more about the Foundation and become a member, please visit www.niaf.org.
The Senator John Heinz History Center, an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and the largest history museum in Pennsylvania, presents American history with a Western Pennsylvania connection. The History Center and Sports Museum are located at 1212 Smallman Street in the city’s Strip District. The History Center’s family of museums includes the Sports Museum; the Fort Pitt Museum in historic Point State Park; and Meadowcroft Rockshelter and Historic Village, a National Historic Landmark located in Avella, Pa., in Washington County. More information is available at heinzhistorycenter.org.
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