Cleveland’s Basil M. Russo to Lead Conference of Italian American Presidents

The Conference of Presidents of the 50 largest and most influential Italian American organizations in the United States has unanimously elected Basil M. Russo to serve as the organization’s new president. The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations, as the organization is officially known, is headquartered in New York City and serves as the national spokesperson concerning issues which uniquely impact the 17 million Americans of Italian descent.

Basil Russo currently serves as national president of the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), one of the two largest Italian American fraternal associations in the country. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Mr. Russo’s career has been as varied as it is impressive.

He was the founding and managing partner of the law firm Russo, Rosalina & Co. He served as judge of the Ohio Court of Appeals, and judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court (for which he received an Excellent Judicial Service Award from the Ohio Supreme Court). He was also the executive producer of the independent film, Pieces, which was written and directed by his sons Anthony and Joseph.

Since 2016 Mr. Russo has served as an executive committee member of the National Italian American Foundation which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and he also serves as vice president of the National Columbus Education Foundation in New York.

Mr. Russo has chosen to devote much of his life to preserving and promoting his heritage through various Italian American organizations and causes, stating, “my primary motivation is to honor the memory of my parents and grandparents who are no longer with me.”

As a result, he became the driving force behind the creation of the Bishop Anthony Pilla Italian American Studies Program at his alma mater, John Carroll University. He has spent 20 years serving as president of the Justinian Forum, a legal bar association that represents attorneys and judges of Italian American descent. He is one of the founding members and current chairman of the Cleveland Italian Film Festival and serves as chairman of the Columbus Day Parade. Mr. Russo was also a founding member and has served as an officer of the NOIA Foundation, an Italian American organization that has raised over four million dollars for charitable purposes.

Together with his wife Patricia (Gallupoli), Basil has immersed himself in his family and faith. Among other important undertakings, he and Patricia have served as chairpersons of the advisory committee to the Department of Marriage and Family Ministry of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese.

They are the proud parents of four children: Their daughter Gabriella is an attorney and the managing partner of Russo, Rosalina Law Firm. Their daughter Angela is an accomplished television and film writer/producer who has also taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. And their two sons Anthony and Joseph are successful Emmy award winning directors, writers and producers of film and television, who currently hold the distinction of having directed the highest grossing film in history, Avengers: Endgame.

Basil and Patricia happily spend all their free time with their 13 beautiful grandchildren.

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