Tri-State Italian American Congress donates $50K to fund scholarships for Catholic schools

Leaders of the Tri-State Italian American Congress presented a $50,000 check to Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, C.Ss.R., Archbishop of Newark; Father Stephen J. Fichter, the Archdiocese of Newark’s vicar of education; and Barbara Dolan, superintendent of archdiocesan schools, to fund needs-based scholarships for Catholic school students of Italian heritage during a special June 5 gathering at the Archdiocese’s Newark headquarters.

The funds — which were presented by Louis Vele, the Congress’ president; Ralph A. Contini, the Congress’ executive director and treasurer; and Lawrence R. Inserra, Jr., a Congress board member — will be distributed to 50 Italian-American students who meet the scholarship’s financial requirements. Each child will receive $1,000 for their tuition payments. Recipients were nominated by individual schools.

“The Italian community has left its mark across the state of New Jersey, starting with our beautiful Cathedral Basilica, which would have been impossible without the Italian artisans who designed and built it,” Cardinal Tobin said. “This contribution from the Tri-State Italian-American Congress is another lasting mark. Because of it, young people of Italian descent attending Catholic schools will receive an education that will prepare them not only for life, but for eternity. The Archdiocese of Newark is very grateful.”

The students receiving the Tri-State Italian-American Congress Scholarship Award attend Catholic elementary schools in Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union counties.

“We are deeply grateful for the generosity of the Tri-State Italian-American Congress and its support of families who seek to provide their children with a Catholic school education,” Superintendent Dolan said.  “The scholarship awards promote the importance of family, faith, and education — values that are shared by our Catholic schools and the Tri-State Italian-American Congress.” 

This donation marks the first time the Tri-State Italian-American Congress has funded scholarships within the Archdiocese of Newark since the COVID-19 pandemic’s onset. Prior to the coronavirus, the Congress provided over $200,000 worth of annual scholarships for the Archdiocese’s Italian-American children starting in 2014. Hundreds of boys and girls were afforded the opportunity to attend archdiocesan Catholic schools, as a result.

“It’s been a longstanding commitment of the Tri-State Italian-American Congress to support Catholic education because we believe a Catholic education should be the foundation of a child’s academic and moral development,” said Executive Director Contini, pointing out that the Congress has financed approximately $5.5 million worth of Catholic school scholarships in the tri-state area since 2003. “We recognize that many Italian-American parents have to make sacrifices to afford Catholic school. By providing these scholarships, we hope to make it easier for their children to receive the well-rounded educational experience that will shape them into hardworking, faith-filled adults.”

To learn more about the Tri-State Italian American Congress, visit And for more information on Catholic schools within the Archdiocese of Newark, go to