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

From the Desk of Foundation President, Paul R. Rao PhD



     Taste of Italy (ToI) 2021 is now epic history. This major fun fundraising event is our primary source for funding the 2022 scholarships. Mille Mille Grazie to each of of our 33 Volunteers, 200 Guests , 7 Sponsors and Donors for gathering on just such a wonderful Fall afternoon @ The Little Italy Lodge. The weather was spectacular, the “feel” and music inside was palpably Bella Italia from Sinatra to Rock and Roll. Special Thanks to Maureen Chandler and Nancy Barbieri Wolfe, co-chairs of ToI, who put in incalculable hours and effort to make this a most memorable event!  Chef Thomas Pons and his cucina team put together a 5 course meal that was arguably a Yelp 5 star culinary success. Finally Kudos to Chris Pisano, Chair of our Foundation’s Scholarship Evaluation Committee, for putting together the best ToI Program EVER!  What a great resumption of the Taste of Italy Brand. And yes, ToI was maybe on a par with Sunday’s  Ravens unbelievable win. To vary the Jersey Boy’s song, “Oh What A Day!”


Team Cucina:


ToI Volunteer Team:

Call for A WebMaster:

The Little Italy Foundation’s At Large Committee’s (ALC) Swiss Army Knife, aka Chris Pisano, who in 2019 designed and implemented our popular Foundation’s web site, littleitalyfoundation.org, is stepping down as our webmaster and will be focusing on leading the scholarship evaluation committee.  If you would like to be a part of the highly productive and passionate ALC Team and are tech savvy and willing to spend an hour or two per week to maintain our web site, please email me your expression of interest and any supporting documentation to paul.r.rao@gmail.com or give me a call at 410-591-3021.  Check out the web site and determine if this is something you would like to maintain and manage.  Aiuto! Help!


2021 Scholarship Evaluation Committee:

Our Scholarship Foundation was thrilled in June 2021 to field eleven applications and award a record six scholarships totaling a record $32K.  Let me recognize the Scholarship Eval Team:

Chair: Chris Pisano

Committee Members: Armand Esposito, Laura Felter, Adrienne Marra, Dr. Andy Ross, Dr. Carmella Walsh, and Cyd Wolf.

This incredible team had a very tight timeline in May to review the eleven 500 word essays and reach consensus on each applicant and rank order the top six Scholars!  Mille Grazie.


Named Scholarship:

Finally I want to close this Presidential Message with the announcement of our Foundation’s First Board Approved Named Scholarship. This wonderful Little Italy Lodge scholarship program began in 1999 with the vision and support of Mr. Guy Matricciani and each year thereafter, the top rated scholar receives the Matricciani/Vondersmith Scholarship. The program was sustained and continued by the Bella Famiglia, Angie and Jerome Elliott. Thereafter, the second highest scholar receives the Angela and Jerome Elliott Scholarship. It is now my honor to announce that the Foundation Board has approved our next named scholarship. Effective in 2022, the Little Italy Lodge Foundation will award the 3rd highest rated scholar The Carl T. Julio Scholarship! Carl, a giant in Little Italy Philanthropy, has been a major contributor to our scholarship fund since 2019. We are indebted to Carl for his breakthrough giving that has permitted your Foundation to increase the number and amount of scholarships.

Mille Grazie Carl.  Congratulazioni on having a scholarship named for Carl T. Julio.  CenDeci.


Enjoy October, Italian Heritage month. We appreciate the Little Italy Lodge’s support!


Paul R. Rao PhD
Foundation President