Boys’ & Girls’ Towns of Italy Raises $422,000 At San Francisco Ball of the Year

May 16, 2013 2270

Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy (BGTI), a nonprofit that empowers war refugee, migrant, and at-risk youth living on the streets, is excited to announce that it raised $422,000 at its Ball of the Year on Saturday, May 4 at The Westin Hotel St. Francis in San Francisco. BGTI honored Rick J. Martellaro, President of Lathrop Construction Associates Inc., as the Man of the Year and inducted Leonard Brusseau as an Honorary Citizen into Boys' Towns.

"With sincere humility, it is my honor to be recognized as Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy's 2013 Man of the Year. I have seen how this innovative organization helps its citizens grow into caring adults who build stable lives and families, and contribute to society as responsible adults. Monsignor Carroll-Abbing's Towns are proof that growth through self-governance works. With his blessing, we are here to continue Monsignor's service to humanity through our support of BGTI, " said honoree Rick J. Martellaro.

Committee Chairman and National Board Member Larry Nibbi hosted a jovial crowd of 500 people to celebrate this year's theme: The Power of Giving; and there was plenty of giving to be had! Over $100,000 was raised in the room during Fund-A-Need and the Live Auction as bidding wars began for honoree Rick Martellaro's Bocce and Brunch item.

"Tonight's theme, The Power of Giving, struck a chord with our guests at this year's Ball of the Year. We raised $422,000, which shows our supporters in San Francisco understand and believe in this message. They support BGTI because they know this concept is cultivated at the Towns and teaches our young people the importance of giving back to a world that hasn't necessarily given them anything in return. That's what helps them grow and that's why we support them," said host Larry Nibbi.

Also in attendance were San Francisco's Consul General Mauro Battocchi and President of L'Opera Nazionale delle Città dei Ragazzi, Dr. Profirio Grazioli, who traveled from Rome specially for the event.

"BGTI is a testament to Italy's real impact in the sphere of philanthropy. This remarkable nonprofit takes in refugee youth who have fled their homeland due to violence and extreme poverty and finds them secure, nurturing environments that empower them to become self-reliant adults. To do this, BGTI creates community bases for these young refugees which are self-governed by the youth themselves, giving them not only formal education and vocational training, but also real responsibility and ownership in creating positive community," said San Francisco Consul General Mauro Battocchi.

BGTI's success lies in its innovative self-government approach. Arriving from 18 different countries, young people who have fled war, violence, extreme poverty, human and sex trafficking live at the two campuses outside of Rome where they become citizens responsible for running their Town. They elect one another to positions such as mayor, judge, and commissioner and hold frequent assembly meetings to discuss the affairs of their Town. Through this activity, along with schooling and vocational training, they develop vital skills needed to integrate into and contribute to society as active, self-reliant adults.

"Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy has a strong presence in San Francisco thanks to our committed volunteer committee. Across the United States, our regional committees have been the foundation upon which BGTI was built and continues to thrive. Generations of Italian Americans and globally-minded donors recognize the need to help the growing number of unaccompanied minors fleeing their homelands due to war and extreme poverty. They see BGTI's self-government model as a solution to this global humanitarian crisis and a way to give young people a second chance at life," said Executive Director Carrie Sackett.

Since its inception in 1945 by Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, BGTI has been funded by a charitable community of American donors moved by the immigrant experience and a desire to give back. Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy would like to thank its patrons for their generous and continued support over the past seven decades. For more information or to make a donation, please email the Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy New York office at or visit our website at

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