NIAF News Releases



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

EVENT: NIAF 31st Anniversary Awards Gala and Annual Convention

SPONSOR: The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)

WHEN: Friday, October 20, 2006—9 a.m. to midnight
Saturday, October 21, 2006—6 p.m. reception, 7 p.m. dinner

WHERE: Hilton Washington & Towers
1919 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Washington, DC (202/483-3000)

CONTACT: Elissa Ruffino - 202/939-3106,

Actors Alan Alda and Anne Hathaway , baseball greats Yogi Berra and Tommy Lasorda , director Mel Brooks , Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia , Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley , singers Vic Damone , Neil Sedaka , Jerry Vale and Frankie Valli will join more than 3,000 people from across the U.S. and Italy at the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) 31st Anniversary Awards Gala on October 21 at the Hilton Washington & Towers in the nation’s capital.

2006 Gala Honorees:

Samuel Alito Jr. , Supreme Court justice, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Public Service.
Anne Bancroft , Academy Award-winning actress, will be posthumously inducted into the NIAF Italian American Hall of Fame. Her husband, director Mel Brooks , will represent Bancroft.
Raffaello Follieri , chairman and CEO of Follieri Yucaipa Investments, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award for Humanitarian Service.
Tom W. LaSorda , CEO and president of Chrysler Group, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Business.
Catherine B. Reynolds, businesswoman, founder and chairman of the Catherine B. Reynolds Foundation, will receive the NIAF Special Achievement Award in Education and Cultural Affairs.
Frankie Valli, entertainer, will receive the NIAF Lifetime Achievement Award in Entertainment.

Highlights of the Foundation’s annual convention weekend include an awards luncheon for and keynote address by President George H.W. Bush, and a performance by Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons at NIAF’s annual Salute to the Martini on Friday, October 20 at 7 p.m. Patrizio Buanne, one of Italy’s hottest new singers, will be opening for Valli.

NIAF will also host Piazza d’Italia, a two-day showcase of Italian products, its signature celebrity luncheon/auction, and the new Renaissance Kids’ Club -- an educational program for youngsters ages 7 to 17. A travel conference, “Italy’s Thermal Waters, Wines, and Food,” will be held Friday. On Saturday, NIAF will host a legal conference featuring U.S. Supreme Court Justices Scalia and Alito. The Region of Campania is this year’s sponsoring region from Italy.

For more information, contact: Carolyn Laurenzano at 202/939-3114 or

The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is a non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to promoting the contributions of Italian Americans. Visit our Web site at

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