Joanne Spata has been a familiar face in the Italian-American community for the past 30 years, having donated thousands of hours to community service. She has assisted with the planning and execution of dozens of special events benefiting her community. Sharing her insight of the Italian American Community, Joanne wrote a column in the Fra Noi Newspaper for many years, focusing on its highlights and upcoming events. Beginning in April 2013 she will write a monthly on-line column for Fra Noi focusing on Casa Italia.
As the first woman elected President of the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans, after 50 years of an all-male leadership, Joanne made history. During her presidency, she received numerous awards and honors for her accomplishments. She has been recognized through proclamations issued in both the Illinois House and the Senate for her achievements and dedication. She has also been listed in the Congressional Records, for her involvement and community support.
To name just a few of the other honors Joanne is most proud of having received, she is a past recipient of the prestigious Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Humanitarian of the Year Award, presented by the JCCIA; the David Award, “with great expectations in the field of fraternalism,” which was presented to her by the Italo American National Union; The Silent Benefactor Award, presented by the Board of Directors of the Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii and the Impresa Award, given to outstanding role-models, by the Women’s Division of the JCCIA.
Joanne was the Executive Director of The Shrine of Our Lady of Pompeii, the oldest continuing Italian Catholic Church in the City of Chicago, from 1994-1999, when it was first declared a Shrine. She is a two time past Chairperson of the Italian Heritage Ball and Cotillion, past Chairperson of the JCCIA Scholarship Luncheon and Fashion Show, and more than a dozen other events benefiting the Italian-American Community.
Having been involved with Casa Italia, since it was a mere suggestion by the Scalabrini Fathers; Joanne feels a very strong bond with the Casa. She says, “I am as excited by the Casa’s potential as I was fifteen years ago. The Casa’s future was bright then, filled with infinite possibilities; just as it is now. It has come far under the leadership of all the chairmen who came before me and I am looking forward to continuing in their footsteps; except for in high heels. With the past lessons learned and with the Past-Presidents and Board Members continuing support, I am looking forward to Casa Italia’s very bright future.”
Some of the other Italian American organizations which Joanne is currently involved with are the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and their Women’s Division, the Italian American Executives of Transportation, the Niles/Pisa Sister Cities Committee and the Italian American Parishioners of St. John Brebeuf.
Employed as the Business Manager for St. John Brebeuf, a very large and active parish, located in Niles, Illinois; Joanne manages not only their finances, but their special events, fund raising, staffing, contracts, and numerous other issues. She is the parish liaison to the Archdiocese of Chicago, State of Illinois, Cook County and Village of Niles.
Joanne truly believes in lending a hand in whatever capacity necessary to help her community be the best that it can. She looks forward to serving as Chairperson of Casa Italia and building upon the foundation which was set by its founding fathers who have given Casa Italia its roots with which to grow, and its past presidents who have given it wings with which to fly!