The American International League of Florence Onlus (AILO) held its annual Donation Day ceremony and reception on Monday, April 23 in the Sala D'Arme of Palazzo Vecchio. Each year, the event offers a moment of recognition for the Florence- and Tuscany-based charities and volunteer associations chosen to benefit from the funds raised at the previous year's Christmas Bazaar, a festive marketplace organized by AILO volunteers.

Donation Day program 2018

AILO Vice President Maria Teresa Medri stood in for President Judi Roselli-Cecconi as Master of Ceremonies, while Benjamin Wohlauer, U.S. Consul General in Florence and AILO's Honorary President, made opening remarks. Sara Funaro, Councillor for Health and Welfare for the City of Florence, gave closing comments, praising the associations represented for their work, and particularly thanking AILO for the group's "uncommon practice" of using their own fundraising efforts to support other associations.

Each of the dozen groups selected for project grants gave a brief presentation of their association's work and the specific initiatives to which the funds will go. This year's recipients are the Amici di Saint James, the group responsible for the Thursday morning Food Bank for the needy held at Saint James Episcopal  Church; cancer care group Associazione Nazionale Tumori (ANT), for the purchase a new van to take supplies to patients around Florence; hospital volunteers of the Associazione Volontari Ospedalieri (AVO), for materials to be used in nine elderly residences around Florence; Centro Medico Toscano (CMT), for the cost of purchasing or renting a next-generation sequencing machine for early detection of genetic diseases; Dog Village, for veterinary expenses, repairs to fences and kennels, and generator fuel; family-focused Gruppo Volontariato Vincenziano, for two computers, writing materials and insurance for its after school tutoring program; La Finestra, for six months of expressive activities for Radiotherapy and Chemotherapy patients and caregivers at Careggi; autism assistance group Pamapi, for equine therapy sessions for six people living with autism; prisoner advocacy group Pantagruel, for the cost of eyeglasses for inmates with deteriorating vision due to poor lighting; food assistance organization Pane Quotidiano for shopping coupons for families with children; Ronda della Carità e della Solidarietà for the purchase of a vehicle that will be used to carry leftover university cafeteria food to the homeless; and Ragazzi di Sipario, for its work continuing the musical education of young adults with intellectual disabilities.

Donation Day 2018 signaled the start of a particularly busy week for AILO: a plaque dedicated to the organization will be unveiled on April 25 at the reopening of Florence's Iris Garden, where several members carry out weekly service work.