The Gulf Coast Italian Culture Society, Inc. (GCICS) is a not-for-profit, tax exempt, IRS recognized Sec.501.(c).(3) organization, whose membership consists of individuals from all walks of life, irrespective of ethnic origin or socio-economic standing, who enjoy the experience of Italian culture, and are interested in its preservation and dissemination.
Its objectives are to promote awareness and appreciation of Italian culture and of the many outstanding contributions that Italians and Italian Americans have made to every field of endeavor. It affords members the opportunity to become more intimately involved in Italian culture, particularly its local manifestations of visual art, music, dance, architecture, films, cuisine, and the beautiful Italian language.
Founded in 1990 and incorporated in 1992, GCICS was the inspiration of Prof. Joseph Antonio Raffaele, PhD. His vision was that while Americans of Italian ancestry, participate in all aspects of American life, many also wish to preserve aspects of their Italian heritage and traditions for themselves and their children.
Since 1994, GCICS has provided merit scholarships of $1,000 each to more than 80 local college bound high school seniors, of full or partial Italian ancestry, and made awards to community groups, primarily the youth programs of the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Ballet totaling nearly $40,000.
Members are encouraged to reach out and build on the friendships they form while participating in the fun and enjoyment of the varied social and cultural activities that are sponsored throughout the year.