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National Education and Leadership Awards Gala



Sons of Italy Foundation’s 34th National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala

Washington D.C., April 12, 2023 –Leaders in public service, arts, Italian American leadership, and humanitarianism will be honored on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. by the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) at its 34th Annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala. The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America® (OSDIA), the nation’s largest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage.


This year’s distinguished honorees include Rep. William “Bill” Pascrell, Jr., F. Anthony Naccarato, Jill M. AlbertelliTony Lo Bianco and Augustin Tellez, who in addition to their individual achievements, all embody the mission of SIF.  In addition to these outstanding honorees, the SIF showcases the most promising Italian-American students as national scholarship recipients — chosen through a highly rigorous and competitive process The SIF will also recognize its $20,000 donation to Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH), the ninth donation the SIF has made to HOMH in the past ten years.

Special guests will include award-winning actor Joe Mantegna, who will serve as master of ceremonies, and the Hon. Mariangela Zappia, the Italian Ambassador to the United States, who will serve as honorary chair of NELA, with a special performance by The Sicilian Tenors


In a joint statement from Robert Bianchi, Esq., National President of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America and Comm. Joseph Sciame, President of the Sons of Italy Foundation, they commented: “For some 34 years, the National Education Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala has been the landmark event of the year for a distinguished group of awardees. Once again, the 2023 awards to be presented and the recognition of the best students in our annual national scholarship competition causes great pride in what the OSDIA and SIF attains in recognizing such worthy recipients both in lifetime achievements and scholarship. May 25, 2023 will be another proud moment in our history.”

The SIF’s annual NELA Gala has raised millions of dollars and has hosted many distinguished individuals. Past attendees have included U.S. presidents, members of Congress and the Cabinet, and foreign diplomats. Previous SIF honorees include President Bill Clinton; President George W. Bush; Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito; former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro; former Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne; science & medicine luminaries Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Gallo, and Dr. Michael Sofia; entertainers Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Annette Funicello, and Gary Sinise; and sports legends Mario Andretti, Geno Auriemma, and Tommy Lasorda.


Founded in 1959, the SIF has contributed tens of millions of dollars to scholarships, medical research, disaster relief efforts, cultural projects, veterans’ causes, and other special projects. The proceeds from the NELA Gala help fund its philanthropy.


For information about NELA Gala tickets and sponsorships, visit or contact the SIF National Office at 202-547-2900


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