Italian-American Dignitaries and Scholars Honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation at 35th Annual Gala

May 25, 2024 507

Leaders in public service, business, arts, and humanitarianism were honored at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington D.C. on Thursday by the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) at its 35th Annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala, celebrating the region of Sicily.

The SIF awarded 16 scholarships of at least $10,000 each, amounting to a record-breaking total of $175,000 to undergraduate and graduate students of proud Italian descent for exemplary academic performance, school leadership, and community service. Eleven of the scholarship recipients attended the 2024 NELA Gala and were presented with their awards on stage. 

The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America® (OSDIA), the nation’s oldest and largest organization for people of Italian heritage.

The 2024 NELA Honorees included: Joseph DiTrapani & Family (esteemed family, led by cornerstone OSDIA and SIF figure), Joe Mantegna (award-winning actor, producer, writer and director), the Honorable Mark E. Amodei (Member of Congress, NV), J. Eustace Wolfington (Executive Producer, Cabrini), and Deana Martin (singer and actress).

Each of the Honorees credited their families and their Italian heritage as sources of success in their personal and professional lives.

The 35th Annual NELA Gala included the presentation of a $100,000 donation from the DiTrapani family to the SIF.  The DiTrapani family was additionally recognized for many years of involvement and support of OSDIA and SIF. 

"Since 1959, the Sons of Italy Foundation has focused on funding worthy causes both here at home and around the world. In addition to awarding hundreds of students with scholarships, the Galas recognize highly accomplished Honorees who represent the best of what Italians and Italian Americans have contributed to our great nation,” said SIF President, Joseph Sciame. “A highlight of our 35th annual celebration was having 11 of our 16 scholarship recipients with us to receive our applause. We awarded an all-time high of scholarship funds this year, some $175,000, and in doing so our Scholarship Committee made a special effort to seek out students who love their culture, language and heritage. Our 35th anniversary was a proud night for us all.”

SOURCE: Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America

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