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SIF to Honor Sinatra & Guarascio

Sons of Italy Foundation® to Honor Frank Sinatra and GM's Phil Guarascio at the 10th Anniversary NELA Gala

President Bill Clinton Expected to Attend, Tony Bennett to Perform in Honor of 'Ol' Blue Eyes'

Contact for Frank Sinatra:
Susan Reynolds, 310-360-6060
Contact for Sons of Italy Foundation®:
Anthony Mark Dalessandro, 202-547-8115

(Photographs Available Upon Request)

Washington, D.C., May 19, 1998 - The Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) is completing plans on what promises to be the organization's most spectacular event since its founding in 1959. For the 10th anniversary of the SIF's National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala, May 21, 1998, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., some of the best-known and most beloved names in the Italian-American community will be recognized. The event is expected to raise in excess of $1 million for scholarships and other worthy causes.

The SIF will posthumously honor Frank Sinatra for the extraordinary philanthropic generosity he displayed during his remarkable life. Sinatra's widow, Barbara, has asked his dear friend Tony Bennett to accept the SIF's second annual Humanitarian Award on the family's behalf, and Bennett and The Ralph Sharon Quartet will perform in honor of "Ol' Blue Eyes."

The SIF will present its 10th annual National Education & Leadership Award to Phil Guarascio, vice present and general manager, marketing and advertising, General Motors Corporation. As GM's chief marketing executive, Guarascio controls the largest advertising budgets -- estimated at $2 billion annually -- in the nation. He is credited with turning around GM's sagging market share and staid corporate image.

President Clinton is expected to attend and speak at the event, and Steve Forbes, president and C.E.O. of Forbes, Inc., editor-in-chief of Forbes magazine, and 1996 candidate for the Republican presidential nomination also will speak.

In addition, the SIF will award 12 scholarships ranging in value from $4,000 to $10,000 to the winners of the 1998 National Leadership Grant Competition, one of the nation's most competitive scholarship programs.

"We are truly ecstatic to be honoring Frank Sinatra for his humanitarian efforts,"said SIF President Paul S. Polo Sr. "I am also proud that the Sons of Italy Foundation® is the first national Italian-American organization to honor Phil Guarascio, a rising star at GM and in our community."

Frank Sinatra has raised more than $1 billion for charitable causes throughout his unparalleled career. He and his wife, Barbara, founded the Barbara Sinatra Children's Center in 1986 to treat and counsel sexually abused children. The center, on the grounds of the Eisenhower Medical Center, in Rancho Mirage, Calif., recently expanded its mission and now works with physically and emotionally abused children. The SIF will donate a portion of the proceeds from this year's NELA Gala - a $500-a-plate formal affair - to the center.

Baseball legend Tommy Lasorda received the SIF's first annual Humanitarian Award last year. Past recipients of the NELA include California gubernatorial candidate Alfred A. Checchi, FBI Director Louis J. Freeh, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, former U.S. ambassador to Italy Peter F. Secchia, entertainer Annette Funicello, corporate giant Joe Antonini, the late Congressman Silvio Conte, basketball coach Lou Carnesecca, football coach Joe Paterno, and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Guests expected at this remarkable event that celebrates achievement in the Italian-American community include U. S. senators and congressmen, executives from the major television networks, editors and publishers from popular consumer magazines, and a several Hollywood celebrities, including Angie Dickinson, Tony Lo Bianco (the foundation's spokesman) and Connie Stevens. Television personality Regis Philbin will serve as emcee, as he did at last year's gala.

The Sons of Italy Foundation® was established by the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the oldest and largest organization of Italian-American men and women, to support and develop educational, cultural, and other philanthropic programs for the benefit of all Americans, especially those of Italian descent. During their combined histories, the SIF and OSIA have contributed more than $27 million to scholarships, more than $20 million to medical research, and more than $5 million to disaster relief efforts. OSIA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., was founded in 1905 and currently has 20 state chapters and 750 community-based chapters nationwide. Charities supported by the foundation include the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, and The Children's Inn at the National Institutes of Health.