NIAF News Releases



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

(WASHINGTON, DC— March 14, 2005) Charles A. Gargano, chairman of Empire State Development Corp. and vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, has been elected to the board of directors of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF). The elections were held March 11 during the Foundation’s board meeting at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.

Charles Gargano has been a longtime supporter and friend to the Foundation. His career in public service will enhance and strengthen the NIAF mission,” NIAF Chairman Dr. A. Kenneth Ciongoli said.

Appointed by Governor George E. Pataki, Ambassador Gargano has served as the head of New York State’s economic development agency since 1995. The Governor also appointed him vice chairman of the Board of Commissioners of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1995. In addition, he serves as chairman of a number of Empire State Development’s subsidiaries, including USA Niagara Development Corp and Moynihan Development Corp, and as chairman of the Olympic Regional Development Authority.

As chairman and commissioner of Empire State Development, Ambassador Gargano has helped the Governor implement policies to attract new business investments and job growth for New Yorkers.

Ambassador Gargano's public service began in 1981, when he was named deputy administrator of the Federal Urban Mass Transportation Administration by President Ronald Reagan. In 1988 he was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago by President Reagan. He was re-appointed in 1989 by President Bush and served until 1991.

Ambassador Gargano is currently chairman of the Board of the Columbus Citizens Foundation, a New York City-based philanthropic organization dedicated to the history and culture of Italian Americans, and sponsor of the Columbus Day Parade.

Others elected to the NIAF board of directors are: Lucio Caputo, president of the International Trade Center of New York; Joseph Moglia, CEO of Ameritrade Holding Corporation; Joseph J. Plumeri, chairman and CEO of The Willis Group; and Ronald L. Zarrella, chairman and CEO of Bausch & Lomb.

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. The Foundation has a wide-range of programs that provide scholarships and grants, conferences and cultural seminars. Visit our website at

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