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Mission Statement

Recognizing the incredible impact that our Italian heritage has had on our lives and its contribution to our individual successes, we the Members of the Columbus Citizens Foundation dedicate ourselves to preserving and enhancing the culture, traditions and values we were so blessed to receive. Furthermore, we will commit to honor those that came before us by ensuring that their love of country, family and tireless work ethic are passed to our children and all future generations. We firmly commit to raise and distribute financial aid to educate children in need and pledge to extend ourselves in perpetuating the philanthropic work that has been synonymous with our Foundation.

About Us

The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Day Parade, which has celebrated Italian-American heritage on New York's Fifth Avenue since 1929.

The Foundation is made up of over 600 Members who are of Italian ancestry and are grateful for the opportunities their parents, grandparents and great-grandparents found as immigrants to the United States. The Foundation’s Members are prominent and successful Italian-Americans in their communities and beyond, who are proud of their heritage and their American citizenship. They are committed to improving the lives of Italian-American students, and their families, by providing scholarship funding that will help the students develop the skills and tools needed to succeed in life.

The Foundation’s most public activity each year is organizing New York City’s Columbus Celebration, including the Columbus Day Parade, which is the largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and achievement in the world. The celebration is organized by the Foundation’s Members on a strictly volunteer basis, donating their time and expertise to help create the Foundation’s Annual Gala Dinner, the wreath laying at Columbus Circle, the Columbus Day Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Columbus Day Parade on Fifth Avenue.

The Columbus Day Celebration is a series of events that celebrate the culture and traditions of Italy, both in the United States and abroad, and is a fundraising initiative that benefits the Foundation’s philanthropic endeavors, one of which is its scholarship programs and their funding.


Marian U. Pardo

Michael F. Pedone
Vice President

Anthony F. Giordano

Claudio A. DeVellis

Board of Governors

Angelo Vivolo

Michael Arena
Lawrence E. Auriana
Maria S. Bartiromo
Janice Galli Becker
Matthew Classi
John M. Desiderio
Geri Di Costanzo
Joseph Gurrera

Thomas N. Iovino
Phyllis Perillo
Salvatore M. Salibello
Michael D. Sapraicone
Dr. Thomas P. Sculco
Aldo Verrelli 
Richard T. Warus

Ladies Auxiliary

Antonia Calabro

Gina Liotti
Vice President

Eileen Tarantino

Mayy Scotto

Young Adults Auxiliary

Anthony Zampolin

Michael Ippolito
Vice President

Joseph Cavera

Stephen Dardis

Foundation Staff

Lisa Ackerman
Executive Director

John L. Boden
General Manager & Executive Chef

Antonella Recchia
Scholarships/Opportunities Director

Dominique Barreno
Scholarship Coordinator 

Ivi Chatzikyriakou
Scholarship Assistant

Michelle Santoro
Director, of Program Advancement

Romeo Nesi
Dining Room Manager

Gene Raicovich
Beverage Manager

Jo Riordan
Membership Coordinator

Deanna Stinziano

Alexis Sumpter

Jefferson Wilson
Senior Director Marketing & Communications

Joseph O'Fallon
Marketing & Communications Associate

Maria Wilson
Special Events / Banquet Manager

Marguerite Zappa
Assistant to the Executive Director

For additional information, or to become a Member, contact our The Columbus Citizens Foundation at

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