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2014 Columbus Celebration


Columbus Citizens Foundation Celebrates 70 Years with
World’s Largest Celebration of Italian-American Culture and Achievement:
The Columbus Day Parade

Financial Legend Frank Bisignano Will Serve as Grand Marshal to Lead
Acts New and Old that Draw Over One Million Spectators

New York, NY, September 29, 2014 – On Monday, October 13, 2014, Fifth Avenue will come alive with more than 40,000 participants and over one million spectators for New York City’s 70th Annual Columbus Day Celebration and Parade, which runs north on Fifth Avenue, from 47th to 72nd Street from 11:30 AM to 3:00 PM and led by Grand Marshal Frank Bisignano. It is also broadcast live on WABC-TV beginning at noon.

The annual Columbus Day Parade, organized by the Columbus Citizens Foundation and presented this year by the Conair Corporation, is the world’s largest celebration of Italian-American heritage and culture and the strongest representation of Italian pride, harkening back to the year 1929 when the Parade was first started. As Grand Marshal, Mr. Bisignano will lead over 120 groups consisting of nearly 30 marching bands, over 25 enormous floats and hundreds of performance groups up Fifth Avenue in a non-stop parade of family entertainment and Italian-American dignity. Maria Bartiromo, renowned broadcast journalist and Actor, Joe Piscopo will serve as Masters of Ceremonies welcoming the Parade participants as they march up Fifth Avenue. Performances will include new, never-before-seen acts, virtuoso performances of traditional Italian and Italian-American music and dance, street performers, historical and contemporary floats, and national and international dignitaries. Highlights include:

  • Jena Irene, former American Idol performer
  • The Harlem Globetrotters performing their hilarious antics and amazing basketball skills as they dribble down Fifth Ave.
  • The West Point Marching Band playing the Star Spangled Banner in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the song.
  • Italian Fairy performer Simona Rodona
  • America’s Got Talent former star, Deanna DellaCioppa
  • Renown musical performers, The Nunziata Brothers
  • Legendary vocalist, Giglio Jimmy Alleva
  • Italian singer and songwriter, Giada Valenti

Additionally, in the spirit of recognizing exceptional achievement in finance and philanthropic support for the Italian American community, the 2014 Columbus Day Parade will include Honorees Frank D’Amelio, Executive Vice President, Business Operations & Chief Financial Officer of Pfizer, Barbara and Richard Naclerio, philanthropic members of the Foundation since 1996 and a Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award for Former Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly. All honorees will ride up Fifth Avenue in Maserati cars, noted for their Italian craftsmanship and joining the Columbus Celebration this year as part of the company’s 100th year anniversary.

“The Columbus Day Parade is our annual event that helps us remember the important legacy of the Italian American people, said Angelo Vivolo, President of the Columbus Citizens Foundation. “As an organization, we are dedicated to further strengthening the Italian American culture through our education scholarships and we believe Mr. Bisignano’s drive and leadership both help support our efforts and make him a perfect choice to lead the Columbus Day Parade.”

The Columbus Day Parade is made possible by the work of the Columbus Citizens Foundation who amass hundreds of volunteers every year to help organize it and enlist the assistance of more than 20 city agencies to support its efforts both in preparations and the many logistics involved. It was first started in 1929 when New York City businessman and Italian immigrant Generoso Pope led a parade from East Harlem down to Columbus Circle. The parade celebrated Christopher Columbus’s explorations and the achievements and contributions of Italian-Americans to the landscape of New York and the United States.

“On Columbus Day, we will celebrate Italian-American heritage and culture, recognizing the significant achievements and contributions Italian-Americans have made to the United States since they entered this land of freedom and opportunity so many hundreds of years ago,” said Mr. Bisignano. “Being named Grand Marshal of the esteemed Columbus Day Parade event is an honor I will not soon forget.”

As the chairman and chief executive officer of First Data Corporation, the largest transaction payment processing company in the world, Mr. Bisignano has been a leading force in the financial services industry for nearly 30 years where he has been instrumental in transforming companies with new processes and products and helping to grow revenues exponentially.

The Columbus Day Parade will be broadcast on six continents and is viewed by millions of people around the world.

“The Columbus Day Parade is an event that truly speaks to the culture and heritage of New York and we felt it is the type of historical event we should be involved in, said Leandro Rizzuto, CEO, Conair Corporation, one of the Columbus Parade’s major sponsors this year.. “At Conair, we strongly believe in education. We admire the work the Columbus Citizens Foundation is doing by helping young people succeed with their scholarship program and we wanted to help support this effort.”

About Frank Bisignano
Financial services veteran Frank Bisignano joined First Data Corporation as chief executive officer in April, 2013. He was also named chairman of the board in March, 2014. Upon his arrival at First Data, Bisignano began to rapidly transform the 43-year-old company from traditional payment processor into a technology innovator and business solutions provider.

Within months of taking office, Bisignano launched an equity ownership plan that turned First Data's 23,000+ employees into shareholders. He then unveiled Clover Station, a new system designed for small- and midsized businesses to track inventory, manage employees, build lasting customer relationships and accept payments with ease. Prior to joining First Data, Bisignano was the Co-Chief Operating Officer and the CEO of Mortgage Banking at JP Morgan Chase.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Bisignano serves on the board of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, on the Board of Trustees of the Mount Sinai Health System, and is also a trustee for the Battery Conservancy and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He is a founding member of the 100,000 Jobs Mission, a coalition of major corporations that have jointly committed to hiring 100,000 transitioning service members and military veterans by 2020. He established the Military & Veterans Affairs department at First Data to further hone the focus on recruiting and retaining both military veterans and spouses as valued employees.

Bisignano was awarded Syracuse University’s Chancellor's Medal for Outstanding Achievement in 2010 for his innovation in technology & education.The New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) honored Bisignano in May 2014 with a Doctor of Commercial Science degree in recognition of both his achievements in the business world and his philanthropic endeavors.

About the Columbus Citizens Foundation
The Columbus Citizens Foundation is a non-profit organization in New York City committed to fostering an appreciation of Italian-American heritage and achievement. The Foundation, through a broad range of philanthropic and cultural activities, provides opportunities for advancement to deserving Italian-American students through various scholarship and grant programs. In the coming school year, the Foundation is providing over $2 million in scholarship assistance to over 500 students. In 2013, the Foundation donated $256,000 to the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which supports American military personnel and their families, bringing its donations in support of our troops to over $750,000, and it was a lead partner in the reinstatement of the Advanced Placement Program in Italian Language and Culture with a donation of $500,000. The Foundation organizes New York City's annual Columbus Celebration and Columbus Day Parade, which has been held under the auspices of the Foundation since
Event: Columbus Day Parade
Location: Fifth Ave. from 44th – 72nd Streets
Date: Monday, October 13, 2014
Hours: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Broadcast: WABC-TV, Noon – 3:00 PM
Press Contact: Faith Paris, 917-710-2677,