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Sons of Italy® Elects 2007-09 Leaders

Alfred A. Affinito is New OSIA National President

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

WASHINGTON, D.C. - August 22, 2007 ­ The Order Sons of Italy in America® (OSIA), the oldest and largest national organization for men and women of Italian heritage, elected a new slate of national officers, headed by Alfred A. Affinito of California, during its 50th Biennial National Convention in Florida August 5-12.

Mr. Affinito, a retired trial lawyer who lives in California, became OSIA's 32nd national president on August 10, succeeding Vincent Sarno. "We are facing special challenges as we enter the second century of our existence," he said during his acceptance speech. "At the top of my agenda is bringing more women and young people to OSIA and developing a sound business plan." To help meet these goals, Mr. Affinito called for "reasonableness, cooperation and cordiality" from all members.

The 2007 convention was held at The Breakers in Palm Beach. About 300 OSIA national delegates, national trustees, state presidents and OSIA Board officers and their spouses were present to review OSIA's last two years' activities, elect a new slate of national leaders and set OSIA's cultural, philanthropic and administrative agendas for 2007-2009.

The Hon. Robert A. Messa of Philadelphia and a former OSIA national president, was re-elected president of the Sons of Italy Foundation® (SIF), the philanthropic arm of OSIA. The SIF supports scholarships, medical research, cultural preservation, disaster relief and other special projects.

"Through the SIF, OSIA has donated more than $97.5 million to these causes," says Mr. Messa. "Our goal is to reach the $100 million milestone by our 2008 NELA next May to mark the 50th anniversary of the founding of the SIF in 2009."

During the convention, OSIA lodges donated $575,000 to the Order's main charities: the Alzheimer's Association; the Cooley's Anemia Foundation and Coaches vs. Cancer. The money was raised by members and their lodges over the past two years and will be donated through the SIF.

Among the new leaders is Anthony Baratta of Chicago, the former president of OSIA's Illinois state chapter, who was elected national president of the Sons of Italy® Commission for Social Justice® (CSJ), OSIA's anti-defamation arm. He replaces Albert DeNapoli, Esq.

The CSJ fights the stereotyping of Italian Americans by the U.S. entertainment, advertising, and media industries. It also promotes the achievements and contributions of Italian Americans to the U.S. through research and public education programs.

For a complete listing of OSIA's new Supreme Council, see at About OSIA. "National Officers."

The OSIA convention honored Mike Eruzione, who captained the 1980 U.S. Olympic "Miracle on Ice" Hockey Team to a gold medal victory against Finland. He received the 2007 OSIA Sports Award.

Janet Capello of California was honored with the OSIA 2007 Sellaro Award in recognition of her 58 years of service to the Order in positions of leadership at the local, state and national levels. The award is named after Vincenzo Sellaro, a physician who founded the Order in 1905.

The 2007 Marconi Award went to Paul S. Polo, a businessman and philanthropist who is the single largest fund-raiser in the history of OSIA, having raised more than $2 million for OSIA's educational, charitable and cultural programs. A 46-year member of the Sons of Italy®, Mr. Polo has served as OSIA national president; SIF president and CSJ chairman. Currently he is president emeritus of the SIF. The Marconi is OSIA's highest honor.

The next OSIA convention in 2009 will be held in San Diego, California.

Established in 1905, OSIA has more than 600,000 members and supporters and 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