NIAF Sports & Entertainment Council
|About the Program|
The NIAF Sports & Entertainment Council is a niche membership council of the National Italian American Foundation. It is designed to bring together prominent Italian Americans working in these industries who share a passion for their heritage. It provides professional networking opportunities with other leaders in the field, as well as mentoring of young, aspiring professionals. It also offers all the benefits of the NIAF Council Network including exclusive invitations to VIP events and other special programs around the nation.
On the sports side, this Council is organized in close collaboration with our strategic partner, the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame. It includes prominent Italian American coaches, owners, players, and executives in the industry. NIAF has always had a special relationship with sports figures – recognizing players including Dan Marino and Joe Montana, coaches including Dick Vermeil and Joe Paterno, executives such as Paul Tagliabue and A. Bartlett Giamatti, and media personalities such as Sal Paolantonio and Tony Reali. That relationship was taken to a new level when Jerry Colangelo was elected NIAF Chairman in 2009. An icon in the industry, he has owned and worked with professional franchises in the NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA, and is currently national director of USA Basketball, where he led the “Redeem Team” that recaptured the gold medal during the 2008 Beijing Games.
On the entertainment side, NIAF will continue is tradition of working with leading Italian Americans in film, television, and music including actors, directors, producers, musicians, agents and other industry-related professionals. The NIAF connection with Hollywood is very deep, and dates back to Jack Valenti, who was both a NIAF founder and President of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). Special celebrity appearances have been regular fixtures of the annual NIAF Anniversary Gala, as well as regional events around the nation. NIAF has honored actors and directors including Martin Scorsese, Sophia Loren, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Nicolas Cage, John Travolta, and Carla Gugino; musicians Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Tim McGraw, Andrea Bocelli, Luciano Pavarotti, and Antonello Venditti.
The close relationship of entertainers and sports figures has been historically a key component of the NIAF brand. NIAF looks to increase our presence in these industries through the NIAF Sports & Entertainment Council, which will host several events throughout the year in various cities in the United States.
Beyond the obvious networking benefits of being a part of this special group, the Council members are also supporting the NIAF youth, educational and cultural programs including scholarships and mentoring. By joining those who share Italian heritage and success in sports and entertainment, members are helping our young people and tomorrow’s leaders while promoting the best that Italians and Italian Americans have given the world.
The National Italian American Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your support is tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor for advice.