It was February, 2000 when the idea of a Niagara chapter of the Canadian Italian Business & Professional Association first came to Lillo Puma, Italian Vice Consul in Niagara Falls.
Puma then hand selected a small group of local Italian businessmen and they began meeting every second week in his office in Niagara Falls. They held their first public meeting in June with more than seventy five Italian businessmen enthusiastic about the new CIBPA chapter. They formed a steering committee with Dan Finora as chapter President. November saw the first dinner meeting at Club Italia with Royal Bank as the speaker and the first financial sponsor. By year end, CIBPA Niagara was incorporated and it began the new year as an official association with monthly dinner meetings.
CIBPA Niagara is now in it’s thirteenth year of operation with over 170 members across the peninsula. This organization prides itself on providing a business forum for all Italian businesses.
CIPBA Niagara recognizes and celebrates outstanding and successful Canadian-Italian individuals at the Annual CIBPA Awards of Excellence Gala and honours top achievers in their fields. It has also established a CIPBA Niagara Education Awards program which has awarded $92,000 since 2002 to 80 students of Italian descent or to those furthering Italian studies who went on to attend post-secondary education. CIBPA Niagara has also supported local charities in the Niagara Region such as Wellspring Niagara, Breast Screening Program at the three local hospitals and the Bethlehem Projects of Niagara.
Front Row (left to right): Domenic Chiarella, Gino Giallonardo, Peter DiPaola, Paul Sottile, Frank Memme (on behalf of the late Nick Basciano)
Back Row (left to right): Rocky Vacca, John Palumbo, Frank DiPalma, Frank Pirillo, Dan Finora