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Officers

CONFERENCE OF PRESIDENTS OF MAJOR ITALIAN AMERICAN ORGANIZATIONS, INC.

OFFICERS Elected 2020

President: Basil M. Russo
Basil Russo was elected president of The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations (COPOMIAO) in NYC in October 2020. In his capacity as president he serves as national spokesperson for 54 of the largest and most influential cultural, charitable, fraternal, educational, and anti-defamation Italian American organizations in the United States. During his tenure as president he initiated 3 national Italian American summit meetings that created a heretofore absent spirit of national unity among the 400 participating organizations. Those meetings resulted in the creation of 6 national committees to address issues of mutual concern to all Italian Americans.  He next initiated a precedent-setting reception for Italian American leaders with the Italian ambassador in Washington, D.C. to establish meaningful ties between Italian Americans and the Italian government.  And he recently led a delegation of Italian American leaders to Rome to meet with important leaders at the highest levels of the Italian government, and the Vatican, in order to further enhance a strategic relationship that will promote joint efforts to preserve our culture, while enhancing commercial ties between the U.S. and Italy.  The trip concluded with an audience with His Holiness, Pope Francis.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Basil’s career has been as varied as it is impressive. He was the founding and managing partner of the law firm Russo, Rosalina & Co. until his retirement in 2014. He served as judge of the Ohio Court of Appeals, judge of the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court (for which he received an Excellent Judicial Service Award from the Ohio Supreme Court) and majority leader of the Cleveland City Council.  He also served as executive producer of the independent film Pieces, which was written and directed by his sons Anthony and Joseph.

Basil also serves as national president of both the Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA), and its affiliate, ISDA Financial Life.  As ISDA president he developed the largest Italian American social media platform in the country (OrderISDA.org), which currently has over 725,000 followers. And as the Financial Life president he directs the largest Italian American insurance, IRA, and annuity company in the country with over $300 million in assets.  Additionally, from 2016 to 2021, he served on the executive committee of the National Italian American Foundation in Washington, D.C.

Basil 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 pay respect and honor to the memory of my parents and grandparents who are no longer with me.” In addition to the leadership positions specified above, he became the driving force behind the Bishop Anthony Pilla Italian American Studies Program at his alma mater, John Carroll University. He has spent 25 years serving as president of the Justinian Forum, an Italian American bar association that represents 375 attorneys and judges of Italian American descent. He is one of the founding members and current chairman of the Cleveland Italian Film Festival and has served as chairman of the Greater Cleveland Columbus Day Parade since 2004. Basil was also a founding member and officer of the NOIA Foundation, an Italian American organization that has raised more than $4 million 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 & Co.  Their daughter Angela is President of Creative at AGBO Studios in Hollywood, who has taught at Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Institute of Art. And their two sons, Anthony and Joseph, are successful directors, writers and producers of film and television, who hold the distinction of having directed the highest-grossing film in box office history, Avengers: Endgame.

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

Contact: basil@orderISDA.org

Vice President: Nancy DiFiore Quinn
Nancy DiFiore Quinn is currently serving as the National 1st Vice President of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America. Back in June 2007, she was elected by acclamation as the 28th State President of the Grand Lodge of New York, Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America. She is the first woman to be elected to this position … a true trailblazer in this great national organization.  

Contact: nquinn1946@gmail.com

Vice President: Frank N. De Frank
Frank N. De Frank, M.D. served as President of UNICO National, the largest Italian-American service organization in the United States. He retired in March of 2020 after almost 37 years as a Family Physician, and resides in the Poconos in Pennsylvania, about 12 miles from his hometown of Roseto!

Contact: fdefrank@unico.org

Vice President: Joan Prezioso
Joan Prezioso has served on the Board of the Italian Welfare League since 2007. She became Board President in 2015 and has overseen the League’s continued growth as it has donated more than $2 million to nearly 2,000 children of Italian heritage in need since 2001. She is a member of the National Organization of Italian American Women, and, as a member of the Columbus Heritage Coalition, was recently appointed as Recording Secretary. 

Contact: jpprez05@gmail.com

SEC/TREASURER: Prof. Santi Buscemi
Santi Buscemi, current professor of English at Middlesex County College in Edison, N.J. He is a member of the Italian American Legal Defense Fund. He is also a translator of Italian/Sicilian literature. 

Contact: Sbuscemi11@comcast.net

“My primary motivation is to pay respect and honor to the memory of my parents and grandparents who are no longer with me.” -President Basil M. Russo

EMERITUS Chairs:
Hon. Dominic R. Massaro
John F. Calvelli
Aileen Riotto Sirey, Ph.D.
Joseph Sciame

PAST Chairs:
Paul S. Polo

APPOINTED Positions:
Rosemary De Luca – Deputy Secretary
Michael Rodi – Legal Counsel
Roberto Ragone – Public Policy Liaison

For more information contact us at it.am.presidents@gmail.com

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