Skip to main content

About Us

Our Mission

Centro Culturale Italiano di Buffalo (CCI) serves as a resource for all members of our diverse community to preserve, promote and celebrate our Italian heritage, culture, traditions, values, and legacy of our immigrant ancestors.
Board members gather at entrance to CCI

About Us

CCI Buffalo was formed as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to serve as a resource for all members of our diverse community to preserve, promote and celebrate our Italian heritage, culture, traditions, values, and legacy of our immigrant ancestors. Founded in 2010 by Dr. Giacobbe and his late wife, Renata Scognamiglio Giacobbe, this dynamic couple envisioned a welcoming and inclusive environment with access for all.

Today, CCI Buffalo provides a space where Italians, Italian-Americans, and all other individuals with an interest in Italian heritage and/or education meet, interact, learn from one another and celebrate the richness of the Italian culture. CCI Buffalo has grown from humble beginnings to a strong organization of over 1200 members, comprised of persons of all ages.

Notable cultural and educational accomplishments over the past year include: being awarded Best Cultural Programming 2022 by Buffalo Spree Magazine, vibrant educational programs; culinary programs; children story hours and events; Italian language instruction at various levels; movie nights;  lectures on Italian culture; concerts; wine tastings; events for Italian Holidays: and an inspiring ten-day excursion to Italy attended by 40+ members of CCI Buffalo and the greater community. Additionally, CCI Buffalo is a resource for exchange students to and from Italy and for individuals who travel to Italy for business or pleasure. Buffalo’s Italian Renaissance… Be a part of it!

Recognizing that countless organizations and individuals are dependent on CCI Buffalo to provide programs and services that no one else can or will, the CCI committed to converting the former North Park Library branch at 2351 Delaware Ave into a permanent Italian Cultural Center. The new facility has allowed us to significantly increase the programs and services we can offer and serve a greater portion of the community.

Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion

The diverse fabric of our community is made by the nuances of our ethnic and cultural heritage. As a cultural heritage organization, we serve to preserve, promote, and celebrate that which makes us unique, but also the characteristics, qualities, and values that unite us as people. Here at the Italian Cultural Center, we are committed to embracing diversity, practicing equity, and ensuring accessibility, and inclusion for all members of our vibrant community.

In addition to preserving the language, culture, and traditions of our Italian heritage, we also wish to celebrate and instill the values of our immigrant ancestors. So many of us grew up with the memories and the legacy of the horrors of this world, but rather than inheriting a bitterness or resentment- we were taught compassion, empathy, resolve, and determination to never let anyone stand alone in their hour of need. Those values compel us to ensure that we as an organization value all voices and perspectives. It leads us to build a more inclusive and welcoming community where all people are appreciated for their unique perspectives and backgrounds.

Often, as new arrivals in this country faced discrimination, hardship, and adversity, it was other immigrants, who despite their own disadvantages, reached out a helping hand. That immigrant legacy guides our path as an organization to a future of unity, empathy, and kindness. Today we are striving to alleviate any obstacles that prevent all people, immaterial of their race or ethnicity, from participating, prospering, and reaching their full potential.

Board Members

Maria Renzi Foss


Maria Garozzo-Payne

Vice President

Luciana Galante


John Philip Tarantino


Brad Arnone

Herb Bellamy, Jr.

Robert Castiglione

Marguerite Collesano

Salvatore Dentico

Randy Fahs Esq.

Hon. Joseph Fiorella

Michael Giallombardo

Francesco Lagutaine

Peter Lojacono

Hon. Anthony Masiello

Pietro Mendola

Joanna Pasceri

Danielle Salasavage

Leonard Sciolino

Neil Walker Neveras

Mary Grace Welch

Dr. Francesco Giacobbe

President Emeritus

Our Team

Lindsey Lauren Visser

Executive Director

Dan Vecchio

Deputy Director

Toni Marie Di Leo

Director of Education & Membership

John Vecchio

Executive Director Emeritus & Fundraising Counsel

Rob deGuehery

Head of Guest Services

Italian Cultural Center

Julia Hamilton

Programs & Education Coordinator