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GEI Luncheon in honor of Mr. John Viola, President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)


Remarks by GEI President Lucio Caputo:

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today I am very pleased to welcome to GEI, Mr. John Viola, President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Italian American Foundation.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Mr. Viola graduated from Fordham University in May 2006 with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology.

After working at Elite Learning and NYU Center Law and Security, he served as Executive Director of Pope John Paul II Family Academy in New York from October 2009 to February 2012. Under his direction, the academy was selected as one of two Catholic Schools in the United States to be studied by the Philanthropic Roundtable as models of future success.

He has served as President of the NIAF since March 2013. He is the first president in NIAF’s history who was not originally part of the Board of Directors. He is also the youngest President in the Foundation’s 40 year existence.

As president and chief operating officer, he cut the Foundation’s operational expenses by 40% over 2 years. He created the NIAF Region of Honor Program to provide affordable exposure and advertising to one Italian region per year. He oversees business operations, development and programmatic initiatives, and executed the first 3 Year Plan and Annual Report in the Foundation’s history. Mr. Viola also designs and manages $12 million in scholarship programs and assets to serve the Italian and Italian American communities.

In addition to NIAF, he is affiliated with a number of organizations: he is a member of the Board of Directors of the American Initiative for Italian Culture and the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame.

He has helped a large number of charities, including Global Outreach, Jesuit Volunteer Corps, Futures in Education (Diocese of Brooklyn), Italian Welfare League, Columbus Citizens Foundation and the American University of Rome, to name a few.

Mr. Viola funded several important initiatives, including the creation of the Two Sicilies in America Foundation, and the creation of the first American-style college in Sicily at the University of Palermo.

Therefore, I am pleased to welcome Mr. Viola and present him, on behalf of GEI, with the “GEI FRIENDSHIP AWARD” in honor of  his many achievements.

The luncheon was held on May 19, 2015 in the Stella Private Room

of Le Cirque restaurant in New York City.