The Frank and Angela Donio Family of Hammonton and Wildwood, New Jersey, was presented with the prestigious 2019 Sons of Italy Foundation Humanitarian Award at the 31st Annual National Education and Leadership Awards Gala in National Harbor, Maryland.
At the event, leaders in business, Italian American causes and the military received awards from the Sons of Italy Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Order Sons and Daughters of Italy in America, the nation’s largest and oldest organization for people of Italian heritage. Past Sons of Italy Foundation Humanitarian Award honorees include Frank Sinatra, Tommy Lasorda and Tony Bennett.
“The Donio Family was selected for the honor for the family’s deep involvement in charitable and civic organizations. The Donio’s have demonstrated a relentless commitment to serving others and to bettering their community,” said Joseph J. DiTrapani, Chief Operating Officer of the Sons of Italy Foundation.
Angela, Father Frank, John and Jim accepted the award at the gala. Father Frank Donio gave the closing Benediction. In accepting the award, Jim and John, along with their mother, Angela, spoke about their family history and the sacrifices that were made to pave the way for future generations.
“We are sincerely grateful and humbled by this award,” said Angela Donio. “Each member of our family always believed that serving our community is one of the most important things we can do with our lives. We were blessed to have my husband, Frank set the stage for us; he instilled a commitment to always give back,” she said.
The late Frank G. Donio was a trailblazer in the produce industry, who found time to quietly help countless individuals and organizations, asking nothing in return. Frank’s wife, Angela, has been a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 1978 and has led the transformational growth of Downtown Hammonton. Their sons are also community leaders in their own right.
Father Frank Donio is a Catholic priest in the Pallottine community, founded in Rome, whose first ministry in the United States was to serve Italian immigrants. He is also Director of the Catholic Apostolate Center in Washington, D.C.
For the last 25 years, Jim Donio has focused on the renaissance of Hammonton, including his founding and leadership of the Eagle Theatre, an iconic 1914 former silent-movie house, featuring community theater in modest, cozy quarters.
John Donio, owner of Daytona Inn and Suites in Wildwood, New Jersey and president of the Wildwood Business Improvement District, is leading the resurgence of Downtown Wildwood. Since its founding in 2006, John has been a part of the organization, improving the economic development and growth of Downtown Wildwood, which ultimately contributes to the tourism in the town.