Sep 14, 2023

SFIAC Foundation: elevating the Italian community and culture

The role of a non-profit organization
with a clear mission and purpose

The San Francisco Italian Athletic Club, known as SFIAC, created the SFIAC Foundation, a non-profit organization focused on community events that enhances the Italian culture and history of North Beach, the neighborhood where the Foundation belongs. The mission is to strengthen the local community and its businesses, by sponsoring events that bring together family and friends through the Italian culture, language, and history in which it was rooted, and by investing in issues and endeavors that elevate local commerce and create opportunities for North Beach to thrive.  

The relationship between Istituto Italiano Scuola and the Foundation is very strong, we believe in the same values, leading to having not only Italian classes in their spaces, but also the classic “Aperitivo Sociale” where students can get the opportunity to know our teachers, our Board of Directors, and meet in person other students.  

To learn more about the SFIAC Foundation, we interviewed Keely Batmale, the Operations Manager of the Foundation. She joined the team in 2021 and she immediately found a family. 

Keely is a very enthusiastic person who shared important thoughts and topics for realities like the Foundation and our School. 


  • When and why did you decide to take part in this Foundation? 

I met the Executive Director in 2021 and heard about the SFIAC Foundation and all its efforts to elevate the community, culture, and history of North Beach and the Italian community in the Bay Area. Its mission stood out to me, also because their events and community have been so welcoming and fun for people of all ages. 


  • What makes the Foundation unique? 

We serve as a central networking station for all things Italian in San Francisco. We pride ourselves in not only knowing the history of North Beach, but also our community’s members and organizations and connecting them with the greater Bay Area community. 


  • Can you tell us a little bit more about the Foundation? Has it changed during these years? 

Our Foundation has been around for a while, but has really taken off in the last two years. This year alone, we are introducing five inaugural events, including the San Francisco Pizza Festival with 13x World Pizza Champion, Tony Gemignani! We have put together a top-notch board of Italian Americans on our Board of Directors, set-up strategic plans, and are about to launch our second Annual Appeal this Fall. 


  • Since we offer some Italian classes at your location, can you tell us about the relationship between the Foundation and our School? Are there other reasons why we are connected? 

Our Executive Director, Nick Figone, joined the board at Istituto Italiano Scuola because we share similarities in our strategic goals. The IIS hosts their Italian language classes in our building two time per week, year-round. We are so fortunate to be able to work together and reach the greater Bay Area community and educate them not only on Italian language, but the culture as well. 


  • In your opinion, which is the best art of representation the Italian culture and values? 

Architecture and design! It is always lovely to see buildings and structures here in San Francisco that remind us of the streets of Italy. Our Foundation works hard to encapsulate the Italian pride throughout the North Beach neighborhood and build off of the designs already here. Next time you are here, take a peek for the Italian flags painted on the street poles. And feel free to come help us repaint at the end of the year! 


  • Which are the most important Italian events in the Bay Area that everyone must attend? 

Our two-day street festival, Festa Italiana and Statuto Race, will be held on June 1st and 2nd, 2024. It’s free for everyone, please come out and enjoy! We are also hosting a Cornhole Tournament with the Olympic Club Foundation on October 20th, and a Christmas Concert on December 1st, 2023, with Pasquale Esposito. 


  • Tell us one thing our students absolutely need to know about you… 

We love visitors! Come by and say hello and meet our Foundation team next time you are in North Beach. We know the best food spots, too! 

“Alone, we can do so little, together, we can do so much”
Helen Keller