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About us

Board of Trustees:

Elisa Coccia, President

Cav. Joseph Agresti

Francis Bimonte

Joseph Coccia, III

Marisa Coccia Kettelhut

Harold E. Laufeld, III

Genevieve Coccia Nicastro

Rudy J. Valli

Diana M. Zoino

OUR MISSION AND VISION – “Passing the Torch” to future generations

Coccia Foundation, a 501 (c) 3, founded in 1994 by Cavaliere Joseph Coccia, Jr., and his wife Elda, establishes and supports various educational, cultural, and social events for the youth of the Italian and Italian American community, particularly those organized within institutions of higher education. The essential goal of the Foundation is not only to promote awareness of Italian and Italian American culture, history, and societal contributions, but to celebrate and preserve these areas for younger generations of Italian Americans in the United States, as well as those of other backgrounds and ethnicities who are interested in discovering all things Italian.  Through the creation of scholarships, study abroad programs and cultural events, as well as through the establishment of associations and alliances among students, Coccia Foundation strives to develop and foster long-term relationships between young people and society as a whole. The Foundation’s programs aid these emerging adults as they enter society with a sense of pride in their heritage and with goals to live by, as they embark on their adult lives. Rewarding K-12 students taking Italian is one of our newest initiatives.  Monetary awards will be given to participating schools based on teachers’ criteria.  We hope to encourage student appreciation for Italian culture as well as entice them to learn more about the language.


ENRICHMENT EVENTS – The Coccia Foundation offers support to various cultural programs designed to enrich the community’s knowledge and appreciation of Italy and its legacy. We sponsor Italian arts presentations, cultural demonstrations, and academic programs through our participating universities. 

SPONSORED SCHOLARSHIPS – In addition to individual scholarships offered through Coccia Foundation in various capacities, our new Sponsored Scholarship program directs annual gifts up to $2,000 to a deserving Italian Studies scholar through the sponsorship of a specific donor. The scholarships bear the names of our sponsors, who may be in memory of a loved one, individuals, families, or businesses, and are presented to a student in a university of the donor’s choice. These students will move on to become distinguished members of the Italian academic arena. Our sponsors also become members of the exclusive benefactor group “Circolo degli Amici.” If you would like to establish a scholarship, please contact Elisa Coccia at

STUDY ABROAD SCHOLARSHIPS – What better way to discover the heritage and history of Italy than by exploring the nation’s cities, villages, mountains, and beaches? Coccia Foundation offers university students the opportunity to visit Italia, where they will study, network with Italian students and families, and become fully immersed in the nation’s culture.

SPONSOR CULTURAL TRIPS – Coccia Foundation sponsors cultural trips such as the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia exhibit, “One Day in Pompeii” where over 90 students/faculty attended.

ANNUAL ITALIAN STUDIES GOLF CLASSIC – As the Coccia Foundation’s primary fundraising event, this special event helps our organization to garner funds that will be used to support our mission and our work throughout the year. After a wonderful day of golf at White Beeches Golf and Country Club in Haworth, New Jersey, a lavish Awards Dinner is held at The Estate at Florentine Gardens in River Vale, New Jersey. Raffle items, Silent Auction items and a Super 50-50 always proves to be a great time for a great cause – as well as a celebration of Coccia Foundation’s loyal and dedicated supporters.

Joseph and Elda COCCIA INSTITUTE for the Italian Experience in America, our academic arm –   Founded in 2003 by Cavaliere Joseph Coccia, Jr. and his wife Elda, Coccia Institute is the academic arm of Coccia Foundation.  Under the leadership of Mark Rotella, the Institute is an innovative component of Montclair State University’s College of Humanities and Social Sciences.  The institute benefits from the support of the CHSS Dean and the Advisory Board, composed of members of both the academic and business communities. Coccia Institute strives to develop and implement academically challenging, as well as engaging, programs in alignment with its vision. Among its many functions, the Institute hosts lectures, conferences, seminars and symposia for groups ranging from school age children to teachers of Italian Studies, the general public, researchers and other scholarly audiences. More information on the Coccia Institute at Montclair State University is available here: