Gala raises $1.7M in support of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami Mentoring Program

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami

Pictured (l-r) are Arnold Donald, Carnival; Linda Coll, Carnival Foundation; Lydia Muniz, Big Brothers Big Sisters Miami, and Robert Sanchez, Ryder.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami, along with presenting partners Carnival Foundation and Carnival Corporation plc, celebrated the recent acquisition of the nonprofit organization’s new home in the heart of Miami and the generosity of donors that made it possible during the 2015 Big Event “Dream” Gala on Saturday, Feb. 28, at JW Marriott Marquis, 255 Biscayne Boulevard Way in Miami.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Miami is a donor- and volunteer-supported organization that helps at-risk youths through adult mentor relationships. The gala raised $1.7 million, exceeding the organization’s goal of $1 million to find thousands of new volunteers (“Bigs”) needed to match with children (“Littles”).

Attended by Miami’s corporate and philanthropic elite, participants at the 12th annual gala welcomed Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera, and key corporate partners including Arnold Donald, president and CEO of Carnival Corporation plc; Carlos Migoya, CEO of Jackson Health System, and Robert Sanchez, CEO of Ryder System Inc.

The gala also included an auction of items such as a Seabourn luxury cruise vacation, live entertainment by The Clique, dancing, and gourmet cuisine.

Several other major gifts were announced. The Gorson Family donated $500,000 to name the executive boardroom at the organization’s new headquarters. Trish and Dan Bell and The Batchelor Foundation each provided a $75,000 gift to sponsor 50 matches.

The program also recognized the fulfillment of a fundraising mission launched more than 20 years ago to establish a new home to support the ongoing expansion of the acclaimed mentoring program and enable it to better serve the almost 1,000 local children on a waiting list for adult mentors. Through the work of BIG Foundation and generosity of Carnival Foundation, a $5 million gift recently made possible the purchase of the new headquarters at 550 Le Jeune Road in Miami. The organization plans to move into the new home in the first quarter of 2016.

Victoria Cummock served as this year’s gala chair, Matt Gorson the honorary chair, Stella M. Holmes the auction chair, and Jeanie Hernandez the board gala chair.

The Gala’s Host Committee included Nancy and Jon Batchelor, Betty Brandt, Michelle Chereque, Julie Edwards, Isabel Fine, Maria Gary, Monica Heftler, Barbara Hevia, Vanessa Kayes, Jennifer Kennedy, Irene Korge, Gisela Lowenstein, Lynn Martenstein, Bronwyn Miller, Al Mitrani, Mari Mitrani, Madeleine Munilla, Joy Spillis Lundeen, Lydia Touzet, Tina Van Der Ven and Ana Veigamilton.

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