What does the Foundation do?
The Foundation is the independent charitable arm of the American Delegation of the Royal Orders of the House of Savoy that supports charitable activities. For tax purposes, the Foundation is separate from the American Delegation of Savoy Orders and is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization. This enables the Foundation to function as a tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization and means that contributions to the Foundation and its charitable projects are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.
What are the Savoy Orders?
The Dynastic Orders of the Royal House of Savoy are Orders of Chivalry that date back as far as the 11th Century. They are conferred by the head of House of Savoy, formerly the Royal House of Italy, and are recognized by the Roman Catholic Church and by other notable Orders of Chivalry. At one time, some of the Savoy Orders had a military function. Today, however, they are dedicated chiefly to charitable work, and in that way continue the knightly values of protecting the weak and helping the poor and the sick.
What is an Order of Chivalry?
During the Middle Ages, a group of knights united by a common purpose could be constituted as an Order. Generally, they required a sponsor, who served as the Fons Honorum (Latin for “source of honor”). The highest Orders of Chivalry were sponsored by a Sovereign–that is, someone who was an independent ruler. Sovereigns included the Pope, Kings and certain high-ranking, independent nobles.
What is the House of Savoy?
The House of Savoy was the ruling family of a territory that at various points included areas of Eastern France, Western Switzerland and Northern Italy. They became the Royal Family ruling the Kingdom of Italy in 1861. After Italy became a Republic in 1946, the heads of the House of Savoy continued their centuries-old role as Grand Masters of their dynastic Orders of Chivalry.
What is the relationship between the Savoy Orders and the Roman Catholic Church?
Historically, the Savoy Orders are closely connected with the Roman Catholic Church. It was Pope Gregory XIII, in fact, who united the 15th Century Order of St. Maurice with the ancient Crusader Order of St. Lazarus. The same Pope also conferred the Grandmastership of Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus on the heads of the House of Savoy in perpetuity. Today, however, there are some members of the Savoy Orders who are not Roman Catholic, but support the ideals and charitable objectives of the Roman Church.
What do members of the Savoy Orders do to further the aims of the Foundation?
Members of the American Delegation of Savoy Orders and their friends regularly contribute to the Foundation in support of its charitable activities. They also participate in a number of events each year that are fundraisers for the Foundation. Some members also participate more directly in charities and programs supported by the Foundation.
What are some of the specific projects that the Foundation supports?
The Foundation contributed to help pay for and operate a specially equipped ambulance for the Rudolph W. Giuliani Trauma Center at Saint Vincent’s Hospital Medical Center. The Foundation has also contributed to Boys' Towns of Italy, Cabrini Hospital Hospice Center, Catholic Charities USA–World Trade Center Fund and Hurricane Relief Fund for New Orleans, to Doctors Without Borders for Tsunami Relief and Haiti Earthquake Relief, to the Archdiocese of New York, to New York University Casa Italiana Zerilli0-Marimo, and to the Catholic Near East Welfare Association for the aid of needy children in that region.
What events are there that raise money for the Foundation?
Chief among the fundraising events for the Foundation are an annual Spring Dinner, the Festa della Primavera, and a ball or dinner before Christmas, the Ballo di Savoia or the Festa di Natale. The Foundation also sponsors the Savoy History Lecture Series, an annual lecture on a topic on the House of Savoy or Italian history and culture. Past programs have included lectures on the role of the Italian Monarchy in the First World War or the architectural heritage fostered by the House of Savoy.