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Gala salutes three influential Italian Americans, plus another three whose legacy still lives on


The Delaware Italian American Foundation will host its gala and fundraiser from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 29 at the Newark Executive Banquet & Conference Center, 205 Executive Drive, off South College Avenue near Glasgow.

Honoree: The Nick Caggiano family. The Caggianos have run Nicola Pizza in Lewes and Rehoboth Beach, Del., since 1971. The business was featured on the front page of Nation’s Business magazine in June 1979, and also in the documentary film “Small Business Keeps America Working.” The family is community-oriented and generously philanthropic.

Delaware’s top statewide and local elected officials, business, education and health-sector leaders will be in attendance, as well as  nonprofit and corporate executives.

Honoree: Dr. Mark Holodick. He is the Delaware Secretary of Education. Early in his career, he was a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in the Brandywine School District before being named Brandywine School District’s superintendent. Before his appointment to Delaware Secretary of Education in 2022, he served as senior leadership specialist at the University of Delaware.

The highlight of the night will be honoring three of Delaware’s most influential Italian-Americans: Mark Holodick, Gina Altieri and the Nick Caggiano family.

Honoree: Gina Altieri.
She serves as executive vice president for corporate affairs and enterprise chief communications officer for Nemours Children’s Health. She plays an important leadership role in guiding the company’s communications and brand strategy.

Additionally, the gala will feature memorial tributes to Steve Silicato, who entertained generations with his “Smooth Sounds” musical performances; Dante Marini, farmer and proprietor of Marini Produce and Christmas in Brandywine Hundred; and Phil Vavala,  who was a teacher at Salesianum School for more than 40 years, helping to educate thousands of young men (sometimes multiple generations
of families) in the tradition of St. Francis De Sales.

Event tickets and sponsorships can be purchased at www.Delaware-Italians.Eventbrite.com at the following levels: $100/Individual; $250/Bronze Sponsorship (two tickets);  $500/Silver Sponsorship (four tickets); $1,000/Gold Sponsorship (eight tickets); $2,500/Platinum Sponsorship
(10 tickets).

The Delaware Italian American Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) organization dedicated to cultural roots: working families, union labor, women leaders, and the arts community. Learn more at www.DelawareItalians.org.

For more information about the Feb. 29 gala, contact the Poppiti family at
(302) 521-5461.

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