Italian American Organizations
National Italian American Foundation
The NIAF works closely with the national government in Washington DC as a major advocate for Italian Americans for thirty years. The foundation offers grants and scholarships to Italian American students, supports the teaching of the Italian language and the continuation of Italian traditions and culture. Part of this mission is to monitor the portrayal of Italian stereotypes in national media and to support more positive portrayals of Italian Americans. The NIAF also works to helps to keep strong social and economic ties to Italy as well as helping Italian Americans with dual citizenship queries.
Official Website: www.niaf.org
The Sons of Italy
The Order of the Sons of Italy is the largest, most well known and oldest of the national Italian American organizations. The organization has grown since being formed in 1905 as an aid society for immigrants to being the largest advocacy group for Italian Americans, with over 700 chapters nationwide.
Missions of the OSIA include supporting the study of Italian language, traditions and culture as well as supporting Italian American students with scholarships and internships. The OSIA has given millions of dollars in fields ranging from medical research to cultural preservation through its philanthropic arm, the Sons of Italy Foundation. Another part of the Sons of Italy is its anti-defamation group known as the Commission for Social Justice, who fight against racism and stereo-typing of all peoples, not only Italian Americans.
FIERI - Organization of Students and Young Professionals Celebrating the Italian Culture
Founded in 1984, FIERI is a truly international organization aimed at students and young professionals of Italian descent. Its goals focus on preserving Italian and Italian American culture and history as well as supporting higher education. One benefit to members are the career resources and an excellent networking program for those fresh out of school to meet other young professions proud of their ancestry. FIERI is an organization specifically targeted at the 18 to 39 age bracket.
Official Website: www.fieri.org
National Organization of Italian American Women
The NOIAW was founded in 1980 to educate and instill pride in Italian American women. Through educational and cultural programs, including scholarships, the organization strives to showcase the accomplishments of Italian American women and to foster the goals of young women of Italian heritage. Through an international network, NOIAW helps creates relationships with women of Italian ancestry worldwide.
Official Website: www.italian-american.com/noiaw.htm
Unfortunately their web site needs some serious help...
American Italian Historical Association
The AIHA was founded in 1966 to study and preserve the Italian American experience, including our history, culture, folklore and politics since arriving in the United States. AIHA is more of a scholarly/research association of over 400 members that sponsors conferences and publications. The AIHA is open to anyone that shares an interest in the history and culture of Italian Americans and so has members that hail from various ethnicities and disciplines.
Since 1978 the city of San Francisco has been home to the nation's only museum dedicated to Italian and Italian American art and culture. The museum displays and researches works by Italian American artists and includes sculpture, photography and painting in its permanent collection. Besides collections of artwork and special exhibits, the Museo ItaloAmericano offers educational programs, language classes, lectures and film festivals.
Official Website: www.museoitaloamericano.org
Local Clubs and Organizations
Whether a chapterhouse for a larger organization, or a small community social club, nearly every Italian American neighborhood has one. Some of these are well known institutions in their communities, sponsoring sporting events, public service projects and local cultural festivals. Some are simply bars where the old men can congregate or religious organizations where the flame of the catholic faith is kept alive in the community. Regardless of their form or function these local Italian American organizations play a major role in maintaining cultural identity and so it is important to support these local institutions to help keep our unique Italian American heritage alive. The national organizations may tackle the larger issues affecting all Italian Americans, but it is these local groups that are often most responsible for passing down our heritage to the next generation.