Showing posts with label New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission. Show all posts

Thursday, April 25, 2024

New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission Leads the Way: 2024 Annual Meeting Excels in Enhancing Awareness of Italian Heritage Through Film

 The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission hosted its annual conference on April 20th, 2024, at Rutgers University. The event, titled "Increasing Awareness of Italian Heritage through Film," was a resounding success, drawing notable educators and other guests from across the state of New Jersey and fostering engaging conversations among attendees.

Commissioner Vice Chair Vito Maione, Commissioner Vice Chair Barbara T. Lazzarro, Chairwoman Emerita Cav. Gilda Rorro Baldassari, Ed.D,  Professor Andrea Baldi, PhD., Commissioner Eileen Poiani, Ph.D., Commissioner Dame Josephine Marchetta, Chairman Bob DiBiase

The highlight of the conference was the panel discussion on the integration of 'An Italian’s Dream,' which explored the origin of Hispanic peoples and beyond. This insightful discussion sparked thought-provoking conversations among attendees, contributing to a deeper understanding of Italian heritage and its intersections with other cultures.

 The conference featured a series of presentations that delved into various aspects of Italian heritage, including the significance of statues, the Roman legacy in the creation of America, and a captivating documentary presentation of Gianni Berengo Gardin's 'Tale of Two Cities' about Venice. Additionally, the conference shed light on the immigration experiences of Italian Americans, with a special focus on St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.

 Attendees were treated to a day filled with enriching discussions, accompanied by delicious refreshments and a musical interlude by Dame Dr. Mary Rorro. The event provided a platform for individuals passionate about Italian heritage to come together, exchange ideas, and celebrate their shared cultural identity.

"We are thrilled with the success of this year's conference," said Robert DiBiase, Chairman of the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission. "It was inspiring to see attendees actively engage in meaningful conversations and explore the rich tapestry of Italian heritage through film. We are grateful to all who contributed to making this event a memorable one."

Chairman Bob DiBiase & Executive Director Margaret Fontana

The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission extends its gratitude to all attendees, Commissioners and sponsors for their support in making the conference a success. For those interested in volunteering or interning with the Commission, opportunities are available to support future events. Please contact Executive Director Margaret Fontana at for more information. 

About the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission:

The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission is dedicated to building and strengthening the cultural identity of Italians and Italian Americans through public educational programs. By promoting an accurate, bias-free, and non-stereotyped understanding of Italian heritage, the Commission seeks to preserve and celebrate the contributions and accomplishments of people of Italian descent.


Sunday, March 24, 2024

Margaret Fontana Assumes Role of Executive Director for New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission

 I'm incredibly proud to announce I've accepted the role of Executive Director for the New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission. I'm looking forward to this exciting chapter with an outstanding organization. Please read the full press release below. 

Trenton – March 18, 2024 - The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission proudly announces the appointment of Margaret Fontana as its new Executive Director. With an extensive career spanning diverse sectors in media, nonprofit, healthcare, education and entertainment, Fontana brings a wealth of experience and a passion for cultural preservation to her new role.

A seasoned media executive with extensive expertise in various industries, Margaret Fontana has garnered a sterling reputation for her significant achievements. Her background includes notable roles as a writer and producer for esteemed networks such as NBC, Fox, and Discovery Channel, along with a decade-long tenure in corporate Fortune 500, nonprofit organizations, where she spearheaded award-winning media, leadership, and interactive marketing strategies.

In addition to her professional accomplishments, Fontana founded the popular online community and blog, Italian American Girl, which boasts over 45,000 members and serves as a vibrant networking hub for Italian Americans worldwide.

Margaret Fontana's commitment to education and cultural enrichment is evidenced by her active involvement as a guest speaker at her alma mater Rider University. Fontana recently completed her Mini-MBA in Marketing & Communications from Rutgers University.

The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission, established in 2002, is dedicated to promoting and preserving the rich culture, history, and heritage of Italians and Americans of Italian descent. As the newly appointed Executive Director, Margaret Fontana will support the Commission in its mission to coordinate cultural and educational programs that celebrate the contributions of Italian heritage to the fabric of New Jersey's diverse society. Fontana aims to expand its reach and impact through innovative initiatives and strategic partnerships.

"As an Italian American, it is an honor to join The New Jersey Italian Heritage Commission and contribute to the preservation of our rich cultural legacy," said Margaret Fontana. "I am excited to collaborate with stakeholders across the state to promote awareness and appreciation of Italian heritage among students, educators, and the broader community." 

Kicking off the Commission’s first major event since Covid, Fontana will lead the NJ Italian Heritage Commission in its Annual Conference on April 20th at Rutgers University, where “Increasing Awareness of Italian Heritage Through Film,’ will be the featured theme. A panel discussion led by notable educators and Italian American voices, will highlight the discussion on the ‘Integration of an Italian’s Dream Leads to the Origin of the Hispanic People and Beyond.’ Included in the presentations will be: 

·       What Is Happening with Our Statues?

·       The Roman Legacy in the Creation of America

·       Video: Gianni Bernego Gardin's Tale of Two Cities about Venice

·       St. Frances Xavier Cabrini - Immigration

To register for this event email  

Please add RSVP in the subject line.

Sign in and Refreshments from 8:30am to 9:00am

Lunch & Musical Interlude Dame Dr. Mary Rorro