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Geraldine Ferraro Among Those Honored At 2007 Sons of Italy Foundation® Gala

Women Leaders, Including Hillary Rodham Clinton and Madeline Albright, Among Distinguished Guests

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - May 25, 2007 ­ Geraldine Ferraro was honored by the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF) during its annual black-tie gala in Washington, D.C. on May 24 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel (1000 H St. NW).

HISTORIC PHOTO OP: The event marked an historic gathering of five women trailblazers, left to right: Madeleine Albright, the first woman secretary of state; Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first "first lady" to serve in the Senate and run for president; Geraldine Ferraro, the first woman to run for national office on a major party ticket; Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, the first woman Speaker of the House; and Sen. Mary Landrieu the first woman from Louisiana elected to the Senate. (photo by Max Taylor)

HONOREES: Sen. Clinton introduced Ms. Ferraro, who received the SIF's Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service.

Also honored that evening were Nicholas Donofrio, Executive Vice President of Innovation & Technology International Business Machines (IBM) Corp. who received the 2007 SIF National Education & Leadership Award and Frank Giordano, President, Union League of Philadelphia, who received the 2007 SIF Humanitarian Award.

For the first time in its history, the SIF honored another institution, the Rienzi Foundation, which helps the deaf regain hearing. It received the SIF's "Making A Difference" award.

The event also introduced 12 young men and women who won NELA scholarships this year, most of whom will attend Ivy League schools. In addition to high academic achievements, students needed to demonstrate leadership abilities and be active in volunteering in their communities.

GUEST LIST: Among the guests were other women leaders, including Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro; Frances Visco, president of the National Breast Cancer Coalition and a past SIF honoree; and former congresswoman Barbara Kennelly of Connecticut.

Also present were Ambassador Giovanni Castellaneta (Italy); AIDS researcher Anthony Fauci; Patricia deStacy Harrison (Corp. Public Broadcasting); Sen. Frank Lautenberg; Congressman Bill Pascrell; Michael Petruzzello (Qorvis); Bill Kelley (US News & World Report); football's Cecil Martin; Aileen Sirey (Nat'l Org. Italian American Women); Bruno Sammartino (champion wrestler); and John Sweeney (AFL-CIO), among others.

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. Past guests include Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush; Cabinet officers, and members of Congress.

PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS: Actor Joe Mantegna was the evening's Master of Ceremonies. Miss Virginia, Adrianna Sgarlata sang the Italian and American anthems and three professional singers from the OSIA Centennial Lodge of New York performed during the evening.

MENU: About 1,000 guests attended the 2007 NELA black tie gala. They dined on appetizers of shrimp, eggplant caviar and basil pesto tomatoes followed by filet mignon and scallops with a roasted garlic risotto and braised kale. Dessert was valhona chocolate silk mousse. The wines, Pinot Grigio and Aglianico Del Vulture, were from southern Italy, courtesy of Rienzi Wines.

Sons of Italy Foundation®

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 $96 million to medical research, disaster relief, and scholarships. The NELA Gala proceeds help fund these philanthropic programs. This year's NELA Gala raised about $1 million with proceeds benefiting these and other SIF programs.

Dona De Sanctis
phone: 202/547-2900