Reaching for the stars

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The readers of Fra Noi never cease to amaze me. Any time I’ve asked you to lend a hand in times of need, you’ve come through in spades.

When you learned a couple of months ago that inflation had taken its toll on our bottom line, you didn’t miss a beat. Hundreds upon hundreds of you — more than 10% of our total readership — opened up your hearts and your pocketbooks, filling our coffers with funds sufficient to cover a mind-boggling 80% of our projected deficit for the year.

Week after week, white envelopes have flooded into the Fra Noi office: envelopes filled with donations ranging from a single dollar bill to checks of $500-$1,000. Along with them have arrived little notes of encouragement and praise that have been as precious to me as your financial support. Here’s just one example:

I’m a longtime fan of your outstanding editorial work with Fra Noi magazine. Wonderful storytelling, community building and an enduring curation of the Italian-American experience. Bravo!
— Teresa Brinati

The next two pages of this issue burst at the seams with the names of those readers whose contributions were received by July 21. Additional donations will be acknowledged in the November issue.

To view the list of donors, click here.

To contribute to our crowdfunding campaign, click here.

I can’t begin to tell you how much your generosity means to everybody here at Fra Noi as we gear up for one of the most dramatic transformations in the publication’s 63-year history.

Our lofty goal is to capture the fullest possible expression of our heritage and community each month, and to share that great wealth with a much broader audience.

The first round of changes will be editorial. Features on fashion, design, art, folk traditions and other cultural treasures will grace the pages of Fra Noi beginning in October, as will expanded local coverage, activities for children, language lessons for adults, extra pages in Italian and paired features written in both languages. Dramatic enhancements to our website and social media will soon follow.

We’ll be reaching for the stars each month while remaining firmly rooted in our community. That’s our promise to you. Some sense of the remarkable changes to come can be found in the special section that accompanies this issue.

When Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans President Ron Onesti asked us to put together a supplement showcasing who we are and what we hold dear, we didn’t miss a beat, either.

In it, you’ll find wide-ranging explorations of Italian genius through the centuries, modern Italy’s gifts to the world, the travails of our immigrant forebears and the truth about Columbus, all in one colorful, portable package.

Everyone from national leaders to Fra Noi correspondents and staff rallied to the cause, assembling a finished product of singular scope and significance.

The cost of printing and mailing the section has been underwritten by the JCCIA, with thousands of extra copies printed for distribution to elected officials, classrooms, and Italian-American organizations across Illinois and around the country.

To view the special section on line, click here.

Longtime subscribers to Fra Noi will have read many of these stories before in one form or another, but never so many of them in just one place. The cumulative effect is overwhelming. The towering accomplishments of countless generations of da Vincis and Galileos and the unflagging courage of millions of Italian immigrants will fill your hearts with pride.

Assembling a section of that magnitude has made me acutely aware of just what we’re capable of as individuals and as a community when we put our minds to it. In my wildest dreams, I couldn’t have imagined a better way to set the stage for the bigger and better Fra Noi that will arrive in your mailboxes starting next month.

I deeply appreciate the investment you’ve made in Fra Noi’s future, and I promise to repay the faith you’ve placed in us with monthly dividends for years to come.

The above appears in the September 2023 issue of the print version of Fra Noi. Our gorgeous, monthly magazine contains a veritable feast of news and views, profiles and features, entertainment and culture. To subscribe, click here.


About Paul Basile

Paul Basile has been the editor of Fra Noi for a quarter of a century. Over that period, he and his dedicated family of staff members and correspondents have transformed a quaint little community newspaper into a gorgeous glossy magazine that is read and admired across the nation. They also maintain a cluster of national and local websites and are helping other major metropolitan areas launch their own versions of Fra Noi.

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