E-mail: littleitalyfoundation@gmail.com    |    Phone: (410) 685-3116   

Foundation’s Mission: To award educational scholarships to eligible Lodge members and their descendants.

The 2023 Scholarship Application is available here online at our https://littleitalyfoundation.org/application/ website (also click on the Application menu button).

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See  Taste of Italy 2023  for details of event.


From The Desk of Christopher Pisano, President of the Scholarship Foundation

Little Italy Lodge Foundation 2023 Scholarship 

The 2023 Scholarship Application is available here online at our https://littleitalyfoundation.org/application/ website (also click on the Application menu button).

The 2023 Essay Question is: “With each generation, elements of our traditional Italian heritage tend to fade due to neglect, heritage blending and other changes. Many families have traditions rooted in that Italian heritage. Based on your experience, which two traditions reflecting our heritage do you believe are most important to preserve and pass onto the next generation, why do you think these two are especially important and how do you plan to ensure that they are preserved?”

Please note the 2023 Scholarship Eligibility Requirements:

  1. The sponsor must have been a member in good standing of the Little Italy Lodge #2286 Order of Sons and Daughters of Italy in America as of May 1, 2022.
  2. The applicant must be a member of the Little Italy Lodge, spouse of a member, child, grandchild, stepchild or stepgrandchild or ward of a member who is designated as legal guardian.
  3. The applicant must be a full-time student (defined as enrolled for at least 12 credits per semester or a lesser course load as prescribed by The Americans with Disabilities Act) in good standing with a grade point average (GPA) of a minimum of 2.5 on a grading scale of 4 (or equivalent). The applicant must have been accepted for enrollment at an accredited two-(Junior or Community College) or four year university or college located in the United States for the 2023-2024 academic year.
  4. The applicant is encouraged to file the FAFSA Form. The EFC, derived from this filing, will be a factor in the Program’s evaluation process. The Scholarship Evaluation Committee will only see the EFC amount derived from the FAFSA Form. The applicant has the option of not filing the FAFSA Form. If the applicant and/or the applicant’s family choose not to file the FAFSA Form, the area of financial need will receive NO CREDIT for financial need, which is one of the three factors considered during the application evaluation process. Those not filing the FAFSA Form must indicate so in writing on the application form.
  5. All awards are contingent on the verified accuracy of the information provided by the applicant and sponsor:
  6. New for 2023: The wordcount has been increased to between 750 and 1,000 total words.

From the Desk of Chris Pisano, President of the Scholarship Foundation

Little Italy Lodge Foundation

Each 2022 LaFamiglia scholarship applicant was required to produce a 500 word essay on a topic of current interest as a major component of the application. We will feature a winning essay each month, and this month’s essay was written by Ethan Zielinski. The essay topic was:

“What parallels can you draw between the challenges faced by early Italian immigrants coming to the USA in the late 1800s/early 1900s and those faced by immigrants coming to the USA today? What lessons might be learned from the experiences of those early immigrants that could help today’s immigrants?”

A great Italian immigration ignited in the late 19th century due to the extreme amount of poverty in Southern Italy. Between 1880 and 1924, more than 4 million Italians fled to the United States in search of a more prosperous life. But even though in theory it made sense to come to the United States in search of well-paying jobs, a hospitable environment to raise a family, and overall enhanced lifestyle, this did not come uncomplicated for the Italians.

Southern Italy during this time was riddled with poverty so the majority of Italians who sought refuge in the United States yearned for better job opportunities. Most Italian immigrants that would resettle here looked for factory jobs because they required low skill. Since this time was also in line with America becoming one of the most prominent industrial nations, Italians were able to find jobs at the same rate of the native people, but were discriminated monetarily. Italian workers were among the lowest paid labor force in America.

Many new immigrants lived in disgustingly overcrowded, tenement houses that were often plagued with contagious diseases such as cholera. This affected the mental health of anyone migrating to the U.S., causing a spike in the suicide rate in American cities during this time. The quality of life was poor to say the least. If you look at the quality of life of incoming immigrants in current times, it is hard to argue that the poor quality of life has changed for the better.

Securing work in the U.S. is strenuous for incoming refugees and immigrants. The typical employer will prefer to have domestic work experience here to avoid issues such as language barriers and discrimination within the workplace. Immigrants with foreign education find it difficult for certifications to transfer over, so obtaining a similar higher education job such as a doctor in the U.S. is a struggle.

Because of difficulty finding jobs, the effect of this is poor housing situations. With recent inflation and extreme rise in lumber prices, housing is more expensive than ever before. The result of this is large immigrant families living in cramped homes, which induces with stress and anxiety. There was a sudden spike in the suicide rate in 2018 with members of Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Baltimore. This draws parallels to immigration that transpired in late 19th century. However, movements have started to promote mental health awareness, such as pro- immigrant rallies in southeast Baltimore to raise awareness to youth suicide, and provision of psychological help to those in need. It is vital for immigrants now to realize that those who worked hard to live in the U.S. back then had little to no help regarding awareness of their shared struggles as compared to now. Everyone has a voice, and all feelings are validated, whereas the same could not be said for 19th century Italian immigrants.




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