NIAF Gala lands big names in Martin Scorsese, Rudy Giulani and Grey's Anatomy Ellen Pompeo
BY FRANCO NUSCHESE
he National Italian American Foundation's (NIAF) gala has been one of Washington, hottest annual events for more than 30 years. I hope you're a regular guest, but if not, this is the year to start!
An incredible line-up of honorees will attend the 32nd annual gala on October 13. Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese will be recognized for launching a new NIAF program in memory of Jack Valenti (who will also be recognized). The gala includes a tribute to actress Ellen Pompeo of the hot television series "Grey's Anatomy."
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former New York City mayor Rudolf W. Giuliani will form a bipartisan duo when they accept their Special Achievement Awards in Public Service. Joining them are the much-loved actress, singer and entrepreneur Connie Stevens and William D. Novelli, CEO of the American Association of Retired Persons.
While I have supported NIAF and its black-tie dinner for a long time, this year I am honored to co-chair this national event at the Washington Hilton & Towers for more than 3,000 guests from across the United States and Italy.
Celebrities and high-profile Italian Americans will head to Washington to cheer on their friends. Rock 'n' roll legend Neil Sedaka will arrive on Friday evening to get the weekend party started at the annual "Salute to the Martini" with a special performance.
Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Jr. and Antonin Scalia, Mayor Adrian Fenty, Actress Susan Lucci, baseball great Yogi Berra, Super Bowl-winning coach Dick Vermeil, as well as Italy's Ambassador to the U.S., the Hon. Giovanni Castellaneta and U.S. Ambassador to Italy Ronald P. Spogli will attend.
The NIAF gala weekend has been graced by the presence of every U.S. president since 1975, including President George W. Bush last year. Past honorees and invited guests for this year include Sophia Loren, Tim McGraw, Robert De Niro, Lee Iacocca, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Benigni, Al Pacino, Andrea Bocelli, Nicolas Cage,Tony Bennett, Joe Montana, John Travolta and Paul Tagliabue.
Attendees will toast both the honorees, who have excelled through hard work and Italian passion, and the Foundation itself. NIAF is dedicated to preserving Italian heritage and culture, and celebrating the positive influence Italian Americans have had on this great nation.
As an Italian by birth who worked hard to build my new life in America, I, too, celebrate the best of our heritage and culture at this important event. Please join me. This year promises to be the best in the Foundation's 32-year history. The cause is great—programs benefiting all Americans.
Purchase your tickets at www.niaf.org or call 202-387-0600 to attend una meravigliosa serata (a marvelous evening)!