January 2014

Dear Friends -

Happy New Year to All!

2014 is already shaping up to very exciting as a member of UNICO Kansas City. I have so much to share with you that I sincerely hope you remain patient throughout my lengthy letter. The members of this organization continue to amaze and surprise me with their continuous support and generosity, so I want to insure I perform my diligence and re-view everything on our slate for the near future.

2013 ended our year with a heartwarming Christmas Dinner. Thank you to all who were able to attend and enjoy the evening. Mr. Michael Mange and Mr. Michael Balano did an amazing job organizing a wonderful event. In addition to the entertainment and dinner, it was an inspiring opportunity to witness to the warmth and generosity of the members of this organization.

During the evening, I brought up an opportunity to the members in attendance. In short, UNICO had budgeted to support 4 families at Christmas in the amount of $1,000 each. However, we received requests for support from 7 families. During the dinner, my fel-low members opened their hearts (and more importantly their wallets) and contributed an additional $2,300 to our Christmas fund. Our budget chairman, Joe Nastasi, was able to commit the additional funds from UNICO, and as a result we were able to generate enough donations to support ALL 7 FAMILIES at $1,000 each for Christmas. It’s mo-ments like those that make me very proud to be a member of this organization.

“UNICAN’s who eat together, stay together.” - Frank Cherrito
Our next membership meeting will be held at Johnny C’s on Wednesday January 22nd. We invite all who can attend to join us for dinner and drinks. I received the Italian American Heritage Calendars from UNICO National, and I will be sure to bring them to pass out to anyone who wants to take a few home to share.

On Saturday March 1st, the Kansas City Ethnic Enrichment Commission is holding their Annual Diplomatic Ball. Cost will be $70 per person, and UNICO’s goal is to fill at least one table. Should you wish to attend and bring a guest, UNICO will cover the cost of your spouse/significant other. However, guest or not, the cost for the UNICAN in attendance will be $70. All UNICAN’s are invited to join us as we celebrate our heritage with the Kansas City Commission. Please respond directly to Mr. Frank Cherrito at frankc07000@gmail.com and he will submit for our entire group. RSVP’s need to be submitted by close of business Wednesday February 12th. Check’s should be submitted to our treasurer, Mike Cucchiara Sr., and made out to UNICO KC.

To be a good UNICAN, you have to be a giver, not a taker.” - Phil Balano, Sr.
I hope everyone had a relaxing holiday season with family and friends, because we will soon be asking for volunteers to help with all of our events. The Annual St. Andrews Fish Fry is scheduled for Friday March 7th, so please mark your calendars. We can always use support with volunteers and ticket sales, so thank you in advance for your participation.

Festa Italiana 2014 is scheduled for May 30th, 31st, and June 1st at Zona Rosa. Please highlight these days on your calendars at home and put them in your business calendars. With this event we are always in need of volunteers starting on Thursday all the way thru Sunday night. There will be more details to come, but this is our biggest fund raising event of the year, and most critical to the continued growth and success of the organization. In addition to volunteer support, we are always looking for sponsor sup-port, so if you know of a company or organization for referral, please let us know.

“We all joined UNICO for a reason, what’s yours?!” - Michael Mange
Membership participation and retention is vital for the success of our organization. If you are able to make our next meeting, please reach out to at least one other member and ask them to join you. Membership growth is also important, as the more people we have invested in our organization, the more influence and support we can gain from our community. If you have a friend or family member you believe would be a good addition to the organization, we encourage you to make a phone call and invite them to attend a meeting. Remember, we buy dinner for all of our first time guests, so bring someone new to the next meeting!

And in closing, I want to remind everyone that it is once again “scholarship season.” New Applications will be online at UNICOKC.ORG by January 18th for download and completion. The deadline for UNICO KC Chapter Scholarships to be submitted will be Feb 28th, 2014. All candidates must be graduating high school seniors of Italian American Heritage to participate for KC Chapter Scholarships. Our scholarship committee will meet in March to make final selection of the winners from all applicants.


In addition to the KC Chapter scholarships, there are a number of national scholarships that are available. UNICO National offers a variety of scholarships for high school seniors, undergraduates and post graduate studies, including specialized scholarships based on specific fields of study. There are also various eligibility requirements based on the scholarship applied for, so you would need to review each scholarship individually. The UNICO National Scholarship deadline for submissions is April 15th, 2014. We highly encourage any applicants that submit for our KC Chapter Scholarships to also submit for National consideration as well.


Thank you for your continued support of the Kansas City Chapter of UNICO, and I look forward to seeing you next week.

Distinti Saluti,

Michael Cucchiara

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