History of OSIA

The Order Sons of Italy in America (OSIA): is the largest and longest-established national organization for men and women of Italian heritage in the United States.

 VincenzoOriginally calledL’Ordine Figli d’Italia,” the Order Sons of Italy in America was established in the Little Italy neighborhood of New York City on June 22, 1905 by Vincenzo Sellaro, M.D., and five other Italian immigrants who came to the United States during the great Italian immigration (1880-1923). Their aim was to create a support system for all Italian immigrants that would assist them with becoming U.S. citizens, provide health/death benefits and educational opportunities and offer assistance with assimilation in America. Early 20th century ODIS members were interested in enhancing their education, learning skills, finding jobs, preserving their heritage, fighting for their equality in the New World and  establishing a community of friendship.

These ideals are still relevant today. Together with its philanthropic arm, the Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF), and its anti-defamation arm, the Commission for Social Justice (CSJ), OSIA remains an oasis of opportunity, culture, camaraderie and philanthropy. OSIA has more than 600,000 members and supporters in more than 700 community-based chapters in 36 states as well as at-large members in all 50 states and two US territories, who continue to enrich the Italian heritage and tradition nationwide through programs in education, cultural preservation, grass-roots initiatives and charitable fund raising, and by strengthening ties between the United States and Italy. This network of chapters from coast to coast, make it the leading service and advocacy organization for the nation’s estimated 26 million of Italian descent.

OSIA’s missions include encouraging the study of Italian language and culture in American schools and universities; preserving Italian-American traditions, culture, history and heritage and promoting closer cultural relations between the United States and Italy.

The Sons of Italy Foundation (SIF) is a private philanthropic institution, established by OSIA in 1959. To date, the SIF has given more than $83 million to scholarships, medical research, cultural preservation, disaster relief and other projects.

The Commission for Social Justice (CSJ) is the anti-defamation arm of OSIA. The CSJ is committed to fighting racism, prejudice and the stereotyping of all races, religions and cultures.