June 13, 2024

(Washington, D.C. – October 14, 2020) More than 30 celebrities will join the National Italian American
Foundation (NIAF) in celebrating NIAF’s 45th Anniversary Gala virtually and honoring Dr. Anthony S.
Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, on Saturday, October 31,
2020. Dr. Fauci will be presented NIAF’s 2020 Leonardo da Vinci Award for Leadership in Health and
Science live during the Gala.

Throughout this NIAF Gala evening, special appearances from “friends of Dr. Fauci” will include:
Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Andrea Bocelli, Francis Ford Coppola, Tony
Bennett, Al Pacino, Alan Alda, Michael Douglas, Patti LuPone, Joe Mantegna, Isabella Rossellini, John
Turturro, Mario Andretti, Marisa Tomei, Mike Piazza, Franco Harris, Connie Francis, Leon Panetta,
Frankie Valli, Lidia Bastianich, Dick Vermeil, Dion DiMucci, Giuliana Rancic, Joe Russo, Anthony Russo, Dionne Warwick, and Neil Sedaka, along with other surprise guests who will provide their personal tributes to Dr. Fauci and appreciation for his service to the nation. “Not only is [Dr. Fauci] a special Italian American—and we’re very proud of him… but he is also representing the best of America,” said Isabella Rossellini, award-winning filmmaker and actress. “In this challenging time, we do need the medical community to guide us and I am confident and grateful to Dr. Fauci for leading the effort… Tantissimi auguri e molti molti complimenti. Grazie.”

Dedicating her own special culinary talents, Mary Ann Esposito, celebrity chef and host of Ciao Italia with Mary Ann Esposito, America’s longest running television cooking series, created a recipe in Dr. Fauci’s honor for NIAF’s 45th Anniversary Gala. Guests are encouraged to make Esposito’s Fauci Fettucine with Fresh Mushrooms, to enjoy while watching the Gala virtually, in the comfort of their own home.

“It is truly inspirational to see all the Italian and Italian American celebrities who are participating in NIAF’s 45th Anniversary Gala as we honor Dr. Fauci,” said NIAF Chairman Patricia de Stacy Harrison. “We aim for our Gala to convey our deep gratitude to Dr. Fauci for his leadership and work to keep us safe and to provide hope, as well as to remind our Italian American community of our time-honored resilience and strength as we forge through the COVID-19 pandemic together. The public figures and leaders who will be participating in this special evening will reinforce our uplifting virtual Gala’s message.”

NIAF is the nation’s premier Italian American organization serving as a bridge between the United States and Italy, strengthening mutual understanding through governmental, economic and cultural ties. Education is the core of our mission as we provide scholarships and grants to institutions and high achieving students to further their education in all fields and connect to their heritage.
As a membership benefit, NIAF Sustaining Members and higher will receive a free invitation upon registration.

Those who would like to register for our virtual Gala as a non-NIAF Member can purchase a ticket today and receive a one-year Sustaining Membership for supporting NIAF’s Virtual Gala. For those who would prefer to remain a non-NIAF Member and still attend, the ticket price costs $100. Deadline to register for the Gala is October 30 at midnight.

Please consider joining the Foundation and Dr. Fauci by registering for a virtual gala ticket. Only one
registration link is needed per household and cannot be shared with anyone else. For membership and
registration details, visit: www.niaf.org/gala.