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Andretti to Receive Humanitarian Award

Mario Andretti to Receive Humanitarian Award from Sons of Italy Foundation®
World-Famous Racer to Accept Award at SIF's 12th Annual NELA Gala in Washington, D.C.

Contact: Diane E. Crespy, (202) 547-2900

Washington, D.C., Dec. 20, 1999 - Racing legend Mario Andretti will be honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) when he accepts the organization's prestigious Humanitarian Award on May 25, 2000, at the SIF's National Education and Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Andretti, who has been named "Driver of the Century" by Racer magazine, has 109 career victories to his credit, including 52 Indy, 12 Formula One, nine Sprint car, seven Formula 5000 and World Sports Car, five dirt track, and three IROC wins. He was the first driver to win both the Indy car and Formula One championships, the only to win Indy car victories in four decades, and the only to win races in five decades.

His philanthropic endeavors are just as impressive as his racing career. Andretti donates his time, energy, and money to various charity organizations that range in work from health and medicine to environmental concerns to education and other children's charities. Included are Paul Newman's "Hole in the Wall Gang Camp" and "Missionary Vehicle Association," Detroit Medical Center, and Children's Hospital of Michigan. In March 1999, Andretti inaugurated the Mario Andretti Golf Classic, in Phoenix, which benefitted Child Watch Of North America. He is on the board of the Concours d'Elegance of the Eastern United States, whose proceeds from its vintage car show benefit the Burn Prevention Foundation. Andretti is currently appearing in a public service campaign of the state of California, urging proper disposal of used motor oil, was Molson Breweries' spokesperson from 1989 to 1996 for the "Take Care" program which encouraged responsible alcohol use, and in 1995 was honorary chairman of Erector Company's National Education Program.

Andretti has also made a name for himself in consumer products. His name brands wine, petroleum, an auto dealership, video games, go-cart tracks, car washes and car care products, books, apparel, and an IMAX movie.

The National Education and Leadership Awards Gala is the Sons of Italy Foundation®'s principal public affairs and fund-raising event. The gala regularly attracts corporate and nonprofit CEOs; members of congress; cabinet members; leading entertainment personalities such as Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra Jr., Connie Stevens, Tony Lo Bianco, Fred Travelena, and emcees Regis Philbin and Larry King; members of the Italian-American community; and President Clinton has addressed gala attendees the past two years. Proceeds from the gala benefit various educational, health and medical charities, cultural preservation, disaster relief, and other special projects. This year's gala is on May 25, 2000, at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C.

Foremost in the SIF's charitable efforts is its National Leadership Grant Competition (NLGC). Each year hundreds of Italian-American students compete for scholarship awards ranging from $4,000 to $10,000, with a special $15,000 scholarship being offered this year. Recipients attend the NELA Gala to receive their awards. The SIF and its state and local affiliates have awarded more than $30 million in scholarships since 1968. The SIF has contributed an additional $35 million to other philanthropic causes, including the Alzheimer's Association, the Cooley's Anemia Foundation, the S.L.E. (Lupus) Foundation, Inc., the Children's Inn at NIH, the March of Dimes, the Garibaldi Meucci Museum, earthquake relief in Assisi and Mexico, the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.

For more information on the Sons of Italy Foundation® or attending the 12th Annual NELA Gala, please contact Alison M. Torrillo, special projects manager, at (202) 547-3833.