BGTI Raises $1.1 Million at Annual Spring Ball honoring Joe Plumeri and Natalia Quintavalle

May 08, 2014 3007

Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy (BGTI), a nonprofit that empowers war refugee, migrant and at-risk youth living on the streets, raised a recording breaking $1,095,150 at its 69th Annual Spring Ball on Monday, May 5 at The Pierre, New York.

BGTI honored Joseph J. Plumeri, former CEO of Willis Group Holdings, as Man of the Year and presented the Honorable Natalia Quintavalle, Consul General of Italy in New York, with the Global Citizen Award.

First Data CEO Frank Bisignano chaired the sold-out event with 600 guests from the United States and Italy, including renowned restaurateur Tony May, former New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato, American Express President of Global Merchant Services Andre Williams, KKR's Head of Global Capital and Asset Management Group Scott Nuttell, Italian Trade Commissioner Pier Paolo Celeste and the President of the Columbus Citizen Foundation, Frank Fusaro. The widow of famed baseball player Jackie Robinson Rachel Robinson was also in attendance.

Man of the Year Joe Plumeri pulled out all the stops to help BGTI reach this fundraising milestone, personally matching over $100,000 of in-room donations. In his heartfelt speech, Joe dedicated his award to his late father Samuel J. Plumeri, former city commissioner of Trenton, NJ and chairman of the BGTI Trenton Committee Chapter.

"I am honored to be Man of the Year. My father knew and was inspired by BGTI founder Monsignor Carroll-Abbing's vision of what community could be. I grew up hearing about the innovative self-government approach and have witnessed these young people take responsibility for their Town and their fellow citizens. My father and Monsignor have in turn inspired me to give back to a world that, now more than ever, needs community-oriented people. I believe our kids develop this sense thanks to BGTI and they are the future of community," said Joe.

BGTI's success lies in its innovative self-government approach. Young people arriving from 18 different countries 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 communities. 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 is a unique collaboration of Italians and Americans working together to help this unaccompanied minors whose numbers are growing worldwide. It is a global partnership of people who care and want to make a difference in the world," said Natalia, who was presented with the Global Citizen Award by former citizens of Boys' and Girls' Towns Mohammed Abdurasak and Sonila Sema.

Since its founding in 1945 by Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing, BGTI has been funded by a generous community of donors moved by the immigrant experience and a desire to give back.

"The world is desperately seeking new approaches for human development for building community. Our donors see BGTI's self-government model as a solution to ensure that young people who have fled tragic situations have the possibility of building better lives and stronger communities in an increasingly turbulent time," said Executive Director Carrie Sackett.

Boys' & Girls' Towns of Italy would like to thank its patrons for their generous and continued support over the past six 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

You may be interested