10|03|13 The Italic Institute of America, through its chairman John Mancini, has filed a formal complaint with the N.Y. State Attorney General against the Columbus Citizens Foundation. The Institute contends that the Foundation has not complied with its own mission statement. Mancini told Ciao America that's it's "really a tragedy" how national Italian American organizations are spending their money.
According to its web site, the Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, which has celebrated Italian-American heritage on New York's Fifth Avenue since 1929.
The Italic Institute sponsors educational initiatives such as the Aurora Program for children, which teaches the Italic language, history and culture. It also publishes an annual magazine, The Italic Way, a lively and provocative journal addressing both historical and present-day topics.
According to the Italic Institute, although the Columbus Foundation's own charter requires it to preserve and promote the Italian heritage and culture, “millions of donated dollars are funneled to parochial schools offering no Italian language classes or to universities that have eliminated the Columbus Day holiday or promote an anti-Columbus agenda.” The Italic Institute points to “one egregious case” in which the Foundation donated $1 million to Millennium High School in lower Manhattan. “But there are few, if any, Italian American students attending the school, and the only languages offered are Spanish and Mandarin,” said the Italic Institute.
The Italic Institute notes that “as the sole sponsor of the Columbus Day Parade the Columbus Citizens Foundation is privileged to earn much of its income from this heritage event by charging for floats and selling television ads. Its annual gala receipts are enhanced by the parade and the delegations from Italy. Yet this parade -- like most others in the city -- is taxpayer subsidized. Our community also helps make it a success. Have the profits been reinvested in the very heritage that it celebrates?”
John Mancini is calling “on all responsible members” of the Italian American community “to reflect on the sorry state of our heritage in America … Are the millions of dollars collected in our community being spent wisely? Are we doing enough to acculturate our children and grandchildren in our millennial heritage?”