The Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn, Ltd. (F.I.A.O.), is a not for-profit charitable community service organization established in 1975. F.I.A.O. was created from the efforts of dozens of organizations to unite, to galvanize resources, and provide services to the Italian American community and the community at large.
In its formative stages, F.I.A.O. was envisioned by a group of community leaders that volunteered to work with youth in a recreational environment as an alternative for keeping them “off the streets.” In 1977, two years after its inception, F.I.A.O. received its first grant for after-school program funding from the New York State Department of Youth and Family Services to provide academic and recreational services to youth ages six – eighteen. A year later the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development awarded F.I.A.O. its first city grant for a gamut of after-school services followed by funding for social service assistance. This same funding continues today with the expansion of evening and weekend programs to youth under 21 through Beacon programs, youth outreach programs, substance abuse prevention, etc.
Preserving the Italian cultural heritage is a primary motivation for the work initiated by F.I.A.O. in it s beginning. It remains an integral part of the organization’s overall mission to serve the community and the greater New York metropolitan area. F.I.A.O. works to build cultural ties between generations of Italians as well as with other cultures and ethnicities that live and work together throughout the metropolitan area.
F.I.A.O.’s multi-cultural approach to community building is based on the tremendous ethnic diversity of New York City and on its long respected history of fostering racial and ethnic harmony. In the aftermath of the 1989 tragic murder of Yusuf Hawkins in Southern Brooklyn, F.I.A.O. maintained the calm and the respect which brought about peace and harmony. In 1991, F.I.A.O. received from the City’s Mayor & the Citizen’s Committee the prestigious John V. Lindsay Prize for Peace and Ethnic Relations.