“To infinity and beyond!” The famous catch phrase from ‘Toy Story’ can be safely borrowed to summarize the mission of the ICF of RI — Italian Cultural Foundation of Rhode Island.
Springing from the State with the highest percentage of residents of Italian descent in the Union, the newly born organization aims at reuniting all Italians and Italian Americans under the same roof and inspiring them to push together for a “re-generation of the Italian Spirit and culture” while relying on tradition, as stated in the association’s mission.
According to a famous Italian proverb: “Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino” (The early morning will tell you how good the day is going to be). In the case of ICF, the dawn was as glorious as it gets.
Born in 2011 on the wings of enthusiasm for the 150th anniversary of Italy’s national Unity, the ICF of RI held its first dinner dance/fundraiser on Satruday, April 28, 2012.
Over 170 guests — among whom were many already active and well known members of Rhode Island’s Italian American community — enjoyed an evening of elegance, fancy food, uplifting music (with arias and songs performed by Italian opera singer Chiara Therisod) and an address by deputy Consul General Luigi Munno.
ICF founder and President Maria Gina Aiello – also well known to Rhode Islanders as the host of ‘Voice of Italy,’ a radio program airing every Sunday since 1999 – delivered a heartfelt goodbye to the Scalabrini fathers “responsible” for founding the very first Italian church in Providence, who are now leaving the area after more than a century of community service to focus their effort on places where more recent immigration has created a greater need for their services.
The evening’s keynote address was given by Boston-based Italian journalist Stefano Salimbeni, who has spent over a decade as correspondent in the United States for RAI International. (Salimbeni is also a contributor at Bostoniano.info.)
After listing a few (among the many) examples of past and present Italian contributions to American culture and way of life, Salimbeni pointed out the communication and collaboration problems within Italian communities as a well as between different generations of Italians living in the United States. He then concluded on a positive and hopeful note, with a few suggestions on how to solve the community’s problems.