The Federation of Italian-American Organizations (FIAO) celebrated its 41st anniversary on Sunday, April 8 with its annual gala at the El Caribe Country Club.
The gala — which was attended by some 560 people — triples as a fundraiser for the organization, a way to honor members of the community and an opportunity to present college scholarships to young men and women preparing for high school graduation.
Honorees this year included the Honorable Joseph Tacopina, Eileen Peralta, Dr. Mark Sherman and Dr. Gary Sherman.
“The honorees this year, in one way or another, were beneficial to the federation, and role models in the community, and deserved the recognition,” said Frank Naccarato, FIAO vice president.”
Among the guests were former New York First Lady Matilda Cuomo and actor Tony LoBianco. Cuomo, said Naccarato, “Has quite an interest in the community, the federation and the center and has been a strong supporter from way back.”
In addition to honoring local leaders, FIAO presented scholarships to 12 college-bound students, said Naccarato, and “celebrated the recent completion of the cultural center [Il Centro], the first Italian-American cultural center in New York City,” which has a target opening date to the general public of later this spring.”
The El Caribe is located at 5945 Strickland Avenue.