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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. - February 25, 2005 The Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF), a premier Italian American philanthropic organization, will honor four Italian Americans who have excelled in their respective fields at the SIF's 17th annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala, May 26, 2005, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C.

The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the nation's oldest and largest national organization for people of Italian heritage. Over the years, the SIF has contributed nearly $89 million to medical research, disaster relief, and scholarships. The NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs. This year's honorees are:

Also honored at the SIF gala will be the 2005 NELA Scholarship winners. Every year the SIF scholarship program helps outstanding young Italian American men and women attend Harvard, Princeton and other top colleges and universities.

Past NELA honorees include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, entertainer Tony Bennett, AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci, breast cancer activist Fran Visco, numerous corporate CEOs, labor leaders and sports figures.

For the second time, actor Joe Mantegna returns as the evening's master of ceremonies. Mantegna can currently be seen in the weekly television series Joan of Arcadia and in the sleeper hit movie, Uncle Nino, which opened nationally earlier this month.

About 1,000 guests attend the annual NELA black tie gala, including Cabinet officers, Members of Congress, business leaders and celebrities. The 2004 NELA Gala saw the attendance of President George W. Bush and Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. It marked the first time a sitting U.S. president and a prime minister of Italy attended a major non-profit event in America together.

For more information on the SIF 2005 NELA Gala, call 202/547-2900 or email: Web site:

Established in 1905, OSIA has a network of more than 700 chapters coast to coast. OSIA works at the community, national and international levels to promote the heritage and culture of an estimated 26 million Italian Americans, the nation's fifth largest ethnic group, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. To learn more, visit OSIA on the Web at