The National Italian Invitational Golf Tournament for Charities began in 1958. A group of Italian-American friends gathered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to celebrate their culture with food, good company and the game of golf. And so, a tradition was born.
Over the years, the National Italian Invitational (NII) evolved into its current format – a three-day event that includes one day of golf on one of two championship courses, an Italian Street Festival with a bocce tournament under the moonlight, a formal banquet with both voice and silent auctions and live entertainment throughout the entire weekend!
The focus of the NII is fundraising for the purpose of supporting local, national and international charitable causes.
Many of the NII’s founding members were World War II veterans. They had witnessed first-hand the devastation, heartbreak and poverty caused by the war. That experience and their relationship with Monsignor John P. C. Abbing, the founder of Boy’s Town of Italy, led to Boy’s Town of Italy being chosen as the NII’s first beneficiary.
Since then, the list of beneficiaries has grown over the years including, but not limited to, The Milwaukee Italian Community Center, Villa Scalabrini, St. Francis Children’s Center, St. Jude Children’s Hospital, Wine to Water, the National Italian American Foundation for Earthquake Relief, a Women’s Shelter in Rome, Italy and a variety a food banks in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Orlando and Chicago.
In addition, the tournament awards two scholarships each year to promising high school students of Italian-American heritage.
Over sixty years later, the NII continues to evolve and grow. We annually recognize an Italian-American who has distinguished him or herself in their field. The activities and events have expanded, and the food can’t be beat!
In 2001, we created The National Italian Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) entity, to receive contributions from the NII and other charities. The Trust provides financial support to various charitable causes.
The Directors and Consulting Directors serve on a voluntary basis without compensation.
The NII Tournament is held annually on the first full weekend in August at the Grand Geneva Resort and Spa in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.