Sons of Italy Foundation to Honor Distinguished Italian Americans and Award $100,000+ in Scholarships at 33rd National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala

May 02, 2022 1004

Leaders in public service, culinary arts, Italian American leadership, and humanitarianism will be honored on Wednesday May 25, 2022, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C. by the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) at its 33rd Annual National Education & Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala. The SIF is the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America (OSDIA), the nation’s largest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage.

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro will be honored with the 2022 SIF NELA Lifetime Achievement Award for Public Service for her commitment to the United States of America and its citizens. Representative DeLauro is the Congresswoman from Connecticut’s Third Congressional District and presently serves as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee as well as Chair of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee.

Lidia Matticchio Bastianich will receive the 2022 SIF Lifetime Achievement Award in the International Culinary Arts for her wide-ranging contributions to the culinary world and Italian cuisine. She is an Emmy award-winning public television host, best‐selling cookbook author, successful restaurateur, and owner of a flourishing food and entertainment business.

Angelo Vivolo will receive the 2022 SIF Lifetime Achievement Award in Italian American Leadership for his lifelong advocacy of educational opportunity and for promoting and supporting his Italian Heritage and Culture. Angelo presently serves as President of the Columbus Heritage Coalition, dedicated to preserving the legacy of Christopher Columbus.

Laurie Serricchio Hollander will receive the 2022 SIF Award for Courage and Patriotism for her dedication to U.S. military veterans. She is President and Co-Founder of Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH), a 501(c)(3) whose mission is to provide fully equipped, adapted minivans and SUVs to our country’s most severely wounded, injured, and ill service members who sustained their injuries while on active duty.

Award-winning Actor Joe Mantegna will be the Master of Ceremonies with a special performance by The Sicilian Tenors.

In addition to honoring these outstanding leaders, approximately 15 of the most promising Italian-American students will be presented a total of more than $100,000 in scholarships to accredited colleges and universities. The SIF will also recognize its $20,000 donation to Help Our Military Heroes (HOMH), the eight donation the SIF has made to HOMH in the past nine years.

In a joint statement from Robert Bianchi, Esq., National President of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America and Comm. Joseph Sciame, President of the Sons of Italy Foundation, they commented: “For some 33 years, the National Education Leadership Awards (NELA) Gala has been the landmark event of the year for a distinguished group of awardees. Once again, the 2022 awards to be presented and the recognition of the best students in our annual national scholarship competition causes great pride in what the OSDIA and SIF attains in recognizing such worthy recipients both in lifetime achievements and scholarship. May 25, 2022 will be another proud moment in our history.”

The SIF’s annual NELA Gala has raised millions of dollars and has hosted many distinguished individuals. Past attendees have included U.S. presidents, members of Congress and the Cabinet, and foreign diplomats. Previous SIF honorees include President Bill Clinton; President George W. Bush; Italy’s President Giorgio Napolitano; U.S. Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito; former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro; former Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne; science & medicine luminaries Dr. Anthony Fauci, Dr. Robert Gallo, and Dr. Michael Sofia; entertainers Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Annette Funicello, and Gary Sinise; and sports legends Mario Andretti, Geno Auriemma, and Tommy Lasorda.

Founded in 1959, the SIF has contributed tens of millions of dollars to scholarships, medical research, disaster relief efforts, cultural projects, veterans’ causes, and other special projects. The proceeds from the NELA Gala help fund its philanthropy.

For information about NELA Gala tickets and sponsorships, visit or contact the SIF National Office at 202-547-2900 


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