Billy Joel: The ‘Pay It Forward’ Aventura City Commissioner

page5.7.billyjoelAventura City Commissioner Billy Joel and his wife Sandra were recently honored to receive the inaugural Aventura Marketing Council “Pay It Forward” award for their lifetime of dedication to helping others when talented young performers sang at the AT&T Young Stars Showcase presented by Northwestern Mutual/Laser Financial Group. “Singing the praises” of the Joels, community leaders can attest to their tireless efforts to support a worthy repertoire of charities and organizations supporting future leaders, helping those less fortunate, and heightening awareness about issues of global importance.

Destined to fulfill the prophecy “most likely to succeed,” Billy Joel was one of seven distinguished graduates from Mepham High School in Bellmore, New York inducted into the Mepham “Who’s Who Hall of Fame” recognizing and honoring alumni who have made significant accomplishments in their fields of work and community volunteer service. Complementing his successful career in the fields of transportation, distribution and banking, Joel’s ongoing commitment to giving back has always been especially noteworthy.

Over the years, the Joels have been honored with numerous awards while working in concert with community leaders sharing their philanthropic philosophies. Billy Joel is a Mount Sinai Medical Center founder; Miami Jewish Health Systems at Douglas Gardens founder. He serves on the Board of Governors of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev; the Florida International University Vice Provost Executive Council; the Royal Notables for Alzheimer’s at Douglas Gardens; and supports the Jack Joel School for Special Children; Florida Friends of the Israel Sport Center for the Disabled; Aventura Turnberry Jewish Center; Aventura Chabad; American ORT; Anti-Defamation League; and Greater Miami Jewish Federation. The Joels also recently received the Israel65 Award bestowed by Israel Bonds.

Since beginning his term as an Aventura City Commissioner in 2005, Joel has continued to top charitable charts with pay it forward initiatives. He serves as a member of the Aventura Hospital and Medical Center’s Board of Trustees; and president of the “AnchorsAway Foundation,” which supplies dinghies for disabled children, giving them the opportunity to sail on their own. To date, the Foundation has raised over $150,000 to purchase 35 sail boats for challenged children.

“Thousands of children from Miami-Dade Public Schools now participate in the Marine Academy and Anchors Away sailings from the home base of Oleta River State Park, Coconut Grove Sailing Club and Miami Yacht Club,” Joel said. “We’re proud to say that 100 percent of every dollar donated to the Anchors Away Foundation is spent on purchasing the boats, specialized motorized equipment for children who cannot use their arms, beach access wheelchairs and other necessary equipment for the continuation of this program. We thank all of our sponsors and donors who have helped give students the freedom on the water that they may not have on land.”

New opportunities to participate in philanthropic endeavors are always “music to Billy Joel’s ears.” He’s now looking forward to sharing in the Aventura Marketing Council’s 25th anniversary celebration during the 4th annual Young Stars Showcase at the Aventura Arts and Cultural Center in December. Billy and Sandra Joel are proud to be among “Friends of the Young Stars” – benefactors “paying it forward” to the AMC Education Foundation, which supports many educational programs sponsored by the AMC, including the award-winning Student Connection program for at-risk students from ten Dade Partner schools.

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