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Sons of Italy Foundation® to Honor Italian American Leaders at May Gala in D.C.

Press Contact: Kylie Cafiero, (202) 547-2900

WASHINGTON, D.C. - April 28, 2006 - The Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF), a leading Italian American philanthropic organization, will honor three Italian Americans who have excelled in their respective fields at its 18th annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala, May 25, 2006, at the Omni Shoreham in Washington, D.C.

Michael Rienzi will receive the SIF 2006 NELA award for his leadership in the business world, his philanthropy and promotion of Italian culture. Founder of Rienzi & Sons, food importers, he has established a foundation that raises awareness and funding for people suffering from hearing loss with the New York University's Cochlear Implant Center. He also will produce a cable television program featuring the wines and cuisines from various regions of Italy.

Robert E. Juliano will receive the SIF 2006 Humanitarian Award for his continuous support of charitable causes and work that represents individuals and organizations on a national level. Juliano, a political consultant and labor representative, has worked with the National Coalition for Breast Cancer; the Lions Club; Crusade of Mercy and other charities.

Franco Nuschese will receive a The SIF 2006 Award for Excellence in Business. As president of Georgetown Entertainment Group, Nuschese manages Café Milano in Georgetown, Sette Osteria in Dupont Circle and Sette Bello in Arlington, Virginia. He has also created two Italian restaurants at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. Born in Minori, on Italy's fabled Amalfi Coast, he came to Washington, DC in 1991.

The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's oldest and largest organization for people of Italian heritage. Over the years, the SIF has contributed more than $93 million to medical research, disaster relief, and scholarships. The NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs.

About 1,000 guests attend the annual NELA black tie gala. Also honored are the 2006 NELA Scholarship winners. Past guests include the president of the United States, Cabinet officers, and members of Congress. Past honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, AIDS researchers Anthony Fauci and Robert Gallo, football coach Joe Paterno, and entertainers Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Regis Philbin and Joe Mantegna.

For guest ticket purchases, advertisements and sponsorship levels please contact the Sons of Italy Foundation® at 202/547-2900 or email

For press passes, contact Kylie Cafiero, Director of Communications at 202/547-2900 or