John M. Viola

John M. Viola


John M. Viola was appointed to the Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board in 2020.

John M. Viola has built his career in community leadership and development, with a focus on work in the Italian American community and with the Catholic Church.

A graduate of Fordham University, with a dual degree in Sociology and Anthropology, Mr. Viola was the co-founder of ELITE Learning of Brooklyn, a non-profit organization dedicated to the fundamental reform and improvement of inner-city education, including numerous programs to foster the integration of cultural institutions into the curriculums of Brooklyn schools, support the teaching of the Italian language, and programs dedicated to service travel.

In 2009, after serving as a Marketing and Acquisitions Consultant with, Viola returned to non-profit work when he joined in the creation of the Pope John Paul II Family Academy in Brooklyn, N.Y., serving as the Academy’s General Director, and the Director of the Madonna della Neve Foundation, created to oversee fund development initiatives around Catholic education.

From 2012-2018, Mr. Viola served as President and Chief Operating Officer of the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF)-the first President in NIAF’s history who was not elected from the Board of Directors. During his tenure at NIAF he created the Italian American Leadership Council, the NIAF Region of Honor program, and redefined many of the Foundation’s long-standing programs and partnerships with a focus on engaging the next generation of Italian American leaders.

Viola continues to participate in Italian American Community leadership, serving on the Executive Board of the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame in Chicago, La Scuola d’Italia Guglielmo Marconi in New York City, and serving as Regional Vice President for New York City of the Order Italian Sons and Daughters of America (ISDA).

In 2018 he co-created The Italian American Power Hour podcast, which later merged with the popular Italian American Podcast. The combined entity, of which Viola serves as President, Executive Producer, and Co-Host, is the most listened-to podcast on Italian American life and culture. He also produces various podcasts and video-series about history, culture, and identity.

He is a Knight of the Order of Merit of Savoy, the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and a Knight of Merit with Star of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, serving as the United States Delegate for the Constantinian Order and the other Royal Orders of the House of Borbone of the Two Sicilies, the pre-unitary Kingdom occupying the south of Italy and Sicily.

Outside of the Italian American sphere, Mr. Viola also serves as President of the Florida Panthers Foundation and sits on the board of numerous Private and Catholic Schools, and serves as a member of the NY State Mother Cabrini Statue Commission.

A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., he lives there with his wife Nicole.