Italian Americans Celebrate ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro, UNICO National, the largest Italian American Service Organization in America, held its 99th Annual Convention at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jimmy Pitaro, Chairman of ESPN & Sports Content, received the Special Achievement Award, which was presented by Sal Paolantonio, ESPN national correspondent at the Gala.
UNICO National Gala Awards Dinner celebrates the achievements and contributions of Italian Americans in the United States. James Pitaro was named Chairman, ESPN and Sports Content in 2020. In 2018, he was named ESPN president and co-chair, Disney Media Networks after serving eight years as a top Disney executive. In making the announcement, Bob Iger, then Walt Disney Company chairman and chief executive officer, said, “Jimmy’s appointment was the result of more than 20 years spent at the intersection of technology, sports and media.” Sal Paolantonio is veteran of 27 Super Bowls including covering all ten of Tom Brady’s Super Bowl appearances for ESPN.
Past recipients of UNICO awards include General Anthony Zinni, sports greats Mario Andretti, Joe Montana, Joe Torre, Geno Auriemma, and John Calipari, business leader Joe Moglia, the former TD Ameritrade CEO and board chairman, Temple University’s Dr. Domenico Praticò, an international expert on Alzheimer’s Disease, and others who have excelled in their fields. Those supporting the UNICO National Gala Awards Dinner include the NFL, NBA, NHL, UFC, MLS, MLB, SEC, Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, New York Giants, Holland America Cruise Line, and D’Addario Wines of Puglia, Italy.
ESPN Boss Jimmy Pitaro receives Italian American Award
Over 300 Members attended the UNICO National’s 99th Annual Convention, which included meetings, reports, and social events. Some of the highlights include:
- Dr. Peter Pettinato of the Carbondale Chapter, Pennsylvania was elected as National President. Peter is a resident of Greenfield Township, Pennsylvania and is married to Maggie Pettinato. He has been a member of UNICO for almost 20 years and has served in many capacities before becoming National President.
- Over $100,000 was raised by local Chapters and Member for various UNICO Charities including cancer research and prevention, scholarships, mental health, armed services, Cooley’s anemia, food banks, and Italian heritage.
- A $10,000 check was presented to the Italian American Museum in New York City as the third installment of a $50,000 pledge.
- UNICO Foundation, chaired by Christopher DiMattio of the Scranton, PA, approved several grants totaling over $90,000.
Founded in 1922 on the principle of Service Above Self, UNICO National, is the nation’s largest Italian American service organization with chapters across the nation preserving the heritage of the more than 16 million Italian Americans. Every year UNICO provides scholarships and charitable assistance totaling approximately one million dollars directed at mental health wellness, cancer research and prevention, food banks, shelters, and other local needs.
The UNICO National 100th Annual Convention is July 26-30, 2023, at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa in Fort Myers, Florida.
Italian Americans Celebrate ESPN’s Jimmy Pitaro