79th Annual Columbus Day Parade
Monday, October 9, 2023
11:30 am – 3:30 pm
The Nation’s Largest Celebration of Columbus and Italian Heritage
Grand Marshal this year: Beth Paretta
Parade marches from 44th Street to 72nd Street along Fifth Avenue and will be televised on ABC from Noon to 3:00 pm
Following is a press release we’ve stumbled across:
NEW YORK, Oct. 4, 2023 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Columbus Citizens Foundation is proud to announce Beth Paretta as Grand Marshal of the largest parade celebrating Italian American heritage in the United States. Ms. Paretta, the founder of Paretta Autosport, has broken barriers in the field of auto racing and has made a special commitment to STEM Education for Girls. She is the first female director of a performance brand and motorsport for an automotive company. She started her career in auto dealerships and moved into the business side working for Volkswagen, addressing wholesale and retail financing. She later worked for Aston Martin, and then joined Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in 2011 as the director of marketing and operations for their performance division, SRT. Beth launched Paretta Autosport in 2021 to lead diversity initiatives across professional racing disciplines, starting with the NTT Data INDYCAR series and the Indianapolis 500. Her dynamic spirit, deep interest in her Italian heritage, and her accomplishment make her an ideal Grand Marshal.
She is joined by four honorees, who are all leaders in their fields, who have made education and philanthropy cornerstones of their professional and personal lives. Don DeCarlo, an attorney and long-standing CCF member, grew up in the Bronx with a keen sense of the better life his immigrant family hoped would be his fate. His ascendency in the legal and insurance industries was coupled with a great desire to support education and the church. He has been recognized for his commitment to education, and CCF is pleased to reinforce even further the reasons to acknowledge Don’s awareness of his Italian heritage and his desire to help the rising generation of talented and deserving students.
Janet DiFiore, a native New Yorker, has devoted her career to public service. Upon graduating from St. John’s University School of Law in 1981, she began her distinguished career as an
Assistant District Attorney in Westchester County. After serving as a Westchester County Court Judge and a NYS Supreme Court Justice, Janet was then elected Westchester County District Attorney serving for 10 years. In 2016, Janet was appointed Chief Judge of the New York State Court of Appeals and the State of New York where she led our third branch of government with great distinction until she retired from public service last year.
In 1972, Thomas DiNapoli won his first election and served as a trustee on the Mineola Board of Education, becoming the first 18-year-old in New York State to hold public office. In 1986, he ran for the New York State Assembly and was elected to represent the 16th District in northwestern Nassau County for the next 20 years. Tom was elected State Comptroller in 2007, by a bipartisan majority of the State Legislature. He was elected Comptroller by New York’s voters in 2010, 2014,2018 and 2022.
Zachariah F. Presutti, SJ, is the Founder of Thrive For Life Prison Project, Inc. He graduated from Canisius College with a Bachelor of Arts in political science and theology, then entered the Jesuits in August 2012. At Saint Louis University, he earned a Master’s degree in social work, with a focus on individuals in the criminal justice system. Presutti is also a psychotherapist for formerly incarcerated individuals.
Lisa Ackerman, Executive Director, noted that the 2023 Grand Marshal and Honorees are a powerful roster of Italian American achievement and inspire everyone to dream big, pursue their dreams, and serve their communities. They all have a demonstrated interest in education, which is an important characteristic that the Foundation seeks in its honorees. The Foundation’s Scholarship program has awarded more than $36 million since inception and continues to offer important financial support to high school and college students pursuing their academic dreams. CCF President Chris Loiacono said, “It’s an honor to have Beth Paretta as Grand Marshal. She is an inspiration to everyone and reminds us that professional goals are attainable, even in a sport that is not seen as a women’s world.” Mr. Loiacono offered encouraging words about Janet DiFiore, Zach Presutti, Tom DiNapoli, and Don DeCarlo, “Our 2023 Honorees exhibit strength, grace, and achievement through their work and community engagement.”