We continue to honor our founders, their traditions and ideals by making positive contributions to our community, wielding effective influence in civic and municipal affairs, and recognizing those individuals who have made significant contributions to our country, city, and society. We pay special tribute to our founders each year at our annual Past Presidents Night gala.
The Lido Civic Club was organized in the Fall of 1929, when it became evident to concerned businessmen and government officials of Italian descent that they had to organize on a civic club basis to win proper recognition, to wield effective influence in civic and municipal circles and to make positive contributions to community improvement and progress, particularly for members of the Italian American community. The three men who pioneered the Lido Civic Club idea were all Italian born businessmen. They were Massimiliano Ferrari, V.P., Columbia Fruit & Candy Co, Fedele (Fred) Colaprico, a barber, and Raffaele Cipriano, an agent for New York Life Insurance.
They were joined by six others who felt the pressing need for such a civic organization. These were: Captain Gregory Cipriani, U.S. Army, Judge Advocate General Office; Ugo J. A. Carusi, Executive Assistant, U.S. Attorney General; Donato Bianchi, Director, Bianchi Travel Bureau; Commander Ferdinande Cuniberti, President, International Exchange Bank; Michael A. Carlino, tailor, Woodward & Lothrop, and Victor Bastiani, jeweler, R. Harris Co.
On November 19, 1929, the group met at Antonio De Gregorio's Nobile Restaurant on E Street, N.W. (who also joined the group) to draft a constitution and by-laws. Captain Cipriani, a lawyer with many years of experience, accepted the assignment, and after several informal meetings at homes of various members, the proponents met at the International Exchange Bank on December 10, 1929, adopted the Constitution and elected Captain Cipriani as the first President.
Others who were present at the time and became charter members, in addition to those already mentioned, were: Anthony D. Zeni, D.C. Post Office Department; Dr. Raphael N. Manganaro, a general practitioner widely popular with the Italian community; Antonio Andreano, sheet metal worker, Mathy Co.; Alfred Cerceo, attorney; William A. Maio, operator, dry goods store and civic leader in S.E. Washington; Vincenzo Lapariello, Medical Corps, U.S. Army; Vincent Sesso, merchant tailor; Dr. Camillo A. Leonardo, Pharmacist; Vincent Meola, head waiter; Angelo DeRosa, tailor; Ciro Gallotti, owner, Ciro's Italian Village; Dr. Charles Feole, Pharmacist; Pasquale Altimonti, U.S. Tile & Marble; John Galotta, tailor; Dr. Victor Cercell, Dentist; Alfred D'Ambrosio, engraver; and Anton T. Contella, real estate broker. Others included: Dr. George E. Leone, Medical Corps, U.S. Army; Giovanni Montella, tailor, and Francesco Sampogna, tailor. These 30 men were recognized leaders in their fields and in the Italian community.
The name of the Club was suggested by Dr. Manganaro as an Italian name with an international significance. The Lido of Venice has been attracting business and professional people from all over the world for centuries. In keeping with the Venetian theme, the Lion of St. Mark the Evangelist was adopted as the Club's symbol along with the Latin inscription: "PAX TIBI MARCE EVANGILISTA MEUS" ("Peace to you, O Mark, My Evangelist"). St. Mark is the patron saint of Venice, and St. Mark's Square is one of the most famous landmarks in the world. The word "Evangelist" means "Bearer of Good News" which is in keeping with the Lido Club's purpose of bringing good news and a helping hand to Italian immigrants residing in the Washington community, and also to local civic and national leaders as well as to diplomatic representatives of the Italian people.
Lido's second President was a young attorney, destined to become Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and preside over the Watergate trials, John J. Sirica.