The Palazzo Strozzi Foundation USA is a 501-c-3 non profit organization based in New York, representing the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi in Florence as a member of the Circle of the Committee of the Partners of Palazzo Strozzi. The President of the Foundation is Mario Calvo-Platero while the Board of Trustees includes Salvo Arena, Maria Manetti Shrem, Arturo Galansino, Cristina Acidini and Laudomia Pucci.
Since 2011, the Foundation has established the Renaissance Person of the Year Award to identify a man or a woman who, over the course of his or her life, has been recognized for an extraordinary performance both in business and in philanthropy, mirroring the Renaissance values that connect the Greek and Roman classical periods, the Enlightenment and our own time.
Every year the Board seeks to identify individuals who, in a contemporary Medicean spirit, have had a lifelong impact on many different fields. Whether by displaying extraordinary entrepreneurship and establishing new frontiers or by supporting philanthropy, the arts, social causes and global understanding, the honorees will embody the highest qualities of the Renaissance character.
The award ceremony is yearly held in a prestigious venue in Florence, celebrating the Renaissance values and their contemporary actuality, such as the Palazzo Vecchio or the Galleria dell’Accademia, or Palazzo Strozzi itself.
List of awarded personalities include: HRH Charles Prince of Wales, Ted Turner, Nkosazana Clarice Dlamini-Zuma, Leonard A. Lauder, Victor Pinchuk, Paolo Fresco, Wanda Ferragamo, Jeff Koons.
Each year this award is also connected to the Palazzo Strozzi High School Renaissance Award – an essay competition on the Renaissance held in partnership with the Departments of Education of New York, Detroit and Los Angeles. A total of 18 winning high school students from those schools will travel to Italy for a full month of Renaissance study. While based in Florence, they will attend daily classes at the NYU campus Villa La Pietra. They will visit important Renaissance sites in and outside Florence and make weekend trips to Rome, Venice and Milan. During their stay, the students will prepare their common application essay and return home with it finalized and ready for submission to the colleges of their choice. The program is designed to strengthen their college admission opportunities.
The annual Award was launched in New York City in 2010, in Los Angeles in 2013, and in Detroit in 2014. A total of nine high schools now participate in the Award every year, with a total of eighteen student winners traveling to Italy every summer. Each program is sponsored by generous corporate and individual donors.