Piast Institute is the only independent think tank and research center in North America devoted to Polish and Polish American affairs. It is also one of fifty-six United States Census Bureau Census Information Centers, the only such center with a special focus on a major European ethnic group. With its staff, boards and international network of fellows, Piast develops conferences, seminars, publications, public programs, lectures, and exhibits that provide accurate, timely and current information about Poland, Poles, and Polish Americans. It also has a special interest in the role of Ethnicity in American Life. With its resources and its position as a Census Information Center, Piast Institute also acts as a data resource center helping Polish, Polish American and other community groups develop policy papers and historical, cultural, political, economic, social, and demographic studies on a wide variety of topics. Piast Institute is also officially certified by the Department of Citizenship and Immigration as a designated assistance site with trained staff to help immigrants with visa, documentation and status issues. The Institute's mission and programming also aim to celebrate Polish contributions to American as well as general world culture, and to address and counter inaccurate or defamatory information about Poland, Poles or Polish Americans. Institute was founded in 2002 by Dr. Thaddeus Radzilowski, a celebrated historian, writer and academic, and Mrs. Virginia Skrzyniarz, an accomplished executive serving non-profit organizations in various capacities for over twenty years.