|First Lady of New York|
January 1, 1983 – December 31, 1994
|Preceded by||Evangeline Gouletas|
|Succeeded by||Libby Pataki|
|Second Lady of New York|
January 1, 1979 – December 31, 1982
|Lieutenant Governor||Mario Cuomo|
|Preceded by||Edwin Margolis|
|Succeeded by||Dee DelBello|
September 16, 1931
(m. 1954; died 2015)
|Children||5 (including Andrew, Margaret, Chris)|
|Education||St. John's University|
Matilda Cuomo (born September 16, 1931) is an American advocate for women and children, former First Lady of New York from 1983 to 1994, and matriarch of the Cuomo family. She is the widow of Governor of New York Mario Cuomo. The founder of the Child Advocacy Group Mentoring USA, Cuomo was inducted to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017.
Cuomo was born Mattia Raffa. Her parents, Mary (Gitto) and Charles Raffa, had immigrated to the United States from Sicily. Cuomo's mother attempted to register her daughter for kindergarten at a Brooklyn elementary school. However, the principal and school registrar threw both out of the registration because her mother could only speak Italian at the time. Years later, Cuomo recalled the registrar yelling, "Get Mrs. Raffa out of here and tell her she can come back when she can speak English," at her mother. During elementary school, Raffa's teachers called her Matilda, rather than her birth name, which was Mattia, which she accepted initially out of fear. The name stuck and she has used Matilda ever since.
Matilda Raffa Cuomo met her husband Mario Cuomo in 1951 in the cafeteria at St. John's in Queens and was with him for 64 years until his death in 2015. The couple had five children together, one of whom is Andrew Cuomo, New York’s 56th governor.
Cuomo founded Mentoring USA, which works to create mentor relationships for youth ages 7-21. Between 1983 and 1995 she was First Lady of New York State. She chaired the New York State Decade of the Child initiative.
Awards and recognition
Cuomo was the recipient of the first Liberty Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award for her work.
- Cohen, Paula (1997-07-13). "A Lady First". Chicago Tribune. Archived from the original on 2019-01-14. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
- https://www.womenofthehall.org/inductee/matilda-raffa-cuomo/ National Women's Hall of Fame
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- "Our Founder: Matilda Raffa Cuomo". Mentoring USA. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
- Burman, Jonathan. "Matilda Raffa Cuomo To Receive First Liberty Partnerships Program Lifetime Achievement Award". NYSED. Retrieved 22 November 2017.
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