Founded in 1980, The Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of the Bronx and Westchester
honors the achievements, talents and expertise of outstanding Italian Americans at our annual Champagne Luncheon.

OUR FOUNDERS - We Celebrate Their Lives


Co-founder of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of the Bronx and Westchester, was president of the committee which has honored hundreds of Italian-Americans. She was the former president of the Providence Rest Auxiliary, served on the Bronx Borough President's Advisory Committee for the Enrico Fermi Library and Cultural Center, was a former member of the Italian Big Sisters and was active in several organizations including the Royal Arcanum and the Sisters, Servants of Mary. For many years, Dolores worked in Community Relations at Bronx Community College. She helped dozens of charities in outreach programs and was a supporter of St. Theresa's Church. Dolores was an active and a central member of the Board of Directors of University Heights Senior Housing, where a plaza was named after her in 2006. Dolores was presented posthumously with the Il Leone di San Marco Lifetime Achievement Award.

Former Bronx Borough President, Attorney General Robert Abrams, now a partner at Strook Strook & Lavan said: "Dolores Magnotta was a proud Bronxite who provided extraordinary leadership in so many community activities including the reestablishment of the Bronx Day Parade. She provided dedicated leadership on the Bronx Borough President's Advisory Committee for the creation of the Enrico Fermi Library and Cultural Center."

Dolores was the sister of comedian Jackie Vernon whose voice as Frosty the Snowman in the Christmas television show has been broadcast regularly since 1969. She was the beloved wife of Frank Magnotta, a New York restaurant chef, and the mother of two children and three grandchildren.


Co-founder of the Italian Heritage and Culture Committee and vice president until her passing in 1998, served as an officer or board member of many charities including the Enrico Fermi Library and Cultural Center, The Providence Rest Nursing Home, and the Italian Big Sisters. She was also a member of SIAMO, FIAME and the National Italian American Foundation of which her husband, the late Congressman Alfred E. Santangelo was a founding member. She received the Il Leone De San Marco Award for Humanitarian Work in 1984 and the Lifetime Achievement Award, posthumously, in 1998. She was a Eucharistic Minister at her parish, St. Lucy's, for many years.

At the time of her passing, former Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro, a long-time family friend said, "Betty is remembered for her dedication to education, her love of her family, and her devotion to her beloved husband, Freddy, who handled legal matters for a young widow from the Bronx, my mother. Her pride in all things Italian was a delight to see." Robert Abrams said: "Betty and Congressman Alfred Santangelo cared deeply about the community. They worked as a team providing leadership and action on a wide range of issues. I had the pleasure of appointing Betty to the committee that established the Enrico Fermi Library and Culture Center." A graduate of Columbia University Teachers College, Betty taught at Benjamin Franklin High School and later worked at the College of New Rochelle. She wrote Lucky Corner: The Biography of Congressman Alfred E. Santangelo and the Rise of Italian Americans in Politics, published in 1999, which received the CMS Book Award. The Il Leone di San Marco awards continue the work of Congressman Santangelo who was a stalwart champion of Italian-Americans. Betty and Fred had five children, eight grandchildren and now nine great-grandchildren.

Upcoming Events

The Italian Heritage and Culture Committee of the Bronx and Westchester

cordially invites you to attend the
40th Champagne Luncheon
Presentation of

Il Leone di San Marco Awards

Sunday, September 25, 2022
12:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

Davenport Mansion
400 Davenport Avenue, New Rochelle, NY

Registration 11:30 a.m.
Luncheon 12:00 p.m.
Awards Program 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Patricia Santangelo, President
Aurora Caponegro, Vice President
Gary W. DeLeo, Treasurer
Lisa Salvati, Secretary

Tickets limited and sold in advance