Bollywood, India’s version of Hollywood, came alive in South Florida with the most extravagant and wild fundraiser of the year, “A Night in Bollywood.”
The 1,000-plus guests attending the affair will attest that this was possibly the party of the decade for the Gables. Best of all, proceeds from the event will enable Sunil’s Home in India to construct a second story, buy furniture and provide medical treatment for dozens more orphans, rescuing them from the dangerous streets.
Rod Hildebrandt, president of Hospice Advantage Inc., and Matthew Meehan, president of Consulting Solutions, are both on the board of Sunil’s Home and once again opened their home with its amazing backyard for an unbelievable evening.
The site was magically transformed into party central with outdoor rooms erected fully furnished with curtains, sofas and pillows all carrying the theme throughout the vast patio/pool area. Several large screen televisions added to the excitement with dance scenes “a la Slumdog Millionaire” and videos about the Sunil’s orphanage running on and off all night.
While last year’s first fundraiser featured an elephant, this year’s went way beyond that with dancers, contortionists, fire eaters, a live caged tiger and other small bands. A petting zoo with other animals from India, and even several Hookah Lounges set under some of the tents added to the spectacular atmosphere that left guests in sensory overload and awe. Sunil’s Home board members were, of course, on hand helping Meehan and Hildebrandt with the affair including Carlos Osorio, president of Miami Photo Inc.; Lynn Bauer, president, Bauer Financial Group Inc.; Sandra Osorio, teacher, and Sunny Mullick, partner, Ruden McClosky Smith Schuster & Russell PA.
Among the many event sponsors were Montague Rumley Group Morgan Stanley; All Care Medical Services, Berber Events, Southern Audio Visual, Catering the Event by Susan Bleemer and Mint Leaf Indian Brasserie.
Meehan was credited with the orchestration of this extravaganza that took several months to plan. While no admission was charged, guests were encouraged to select a child to support or purchase items for the home from gift trees. While enjoying authentic Indian food, the crowd also had an opportunity to bid on more than 100 items in the silent auction. In fact, Rod auctioned off a week in his castle in Europe that got a $10,000 high bid from Connie Russell to the delight of the crowd and Sunil’s board.
From India to the Philippines, this has been a busy week for many in South Florida. This past month Rotary District 6990 has been hosting five women and one man visiting as part of Rotary International’s Group Study Exchange while a group from South Florida was on a similar mission to Quezon City in the Philippines.
Gables Rotarian Yoli Woodbridge has done a stellar job in coordinating the program for the district, scheduling job and club visits, homes for the GSE team and social activities as they traveled from place to place in a district that includes Miami- Dade, Broward, Monroe counties and the Bahamas. One of the many social events held during their stay was a reception by the pool at the Biltmore Hotel hosted by Woodbridge to thank the local hosts and introduce them to their houseguests.
In other non-profit news, several years ago David Evensky, in cooperation with Coral Gables Community Foundation, founded a program named “Youth4Tomorrow,” later renamed the “Motivated Youth Program.” With a goal of instilling in young people a sense of community responsibility, philanthropy and altruistic awareness, the program has done that and more as the University of Miami became actively involved. In order to further expand the scope of this program, Evensky used his 40th birthday celebration as the program’s first fundraiser.
On Saturday, Feb. 21, hundreds gathered at Casa del Leone for a party that combined music, art, and fashion. Guests were treated to a live concert by Pancara, an “Afro-Bolivian Rock” singer; an auction by Areca Whatmore; a fashion show by Timoteo Corelli Designs, and a raffle of fine Jewelry by Buchwald Jewelers. Student volunteers from the University of Miami-Butler Center for Volunteer Service & Leadership Development, assisted with the various activities. Event sponsors included Evensky & Katz, Buchwald Jewelers, Pancara, Timoteo Corelli Designs, Areca Whatmore, Kiran’s Creations, and Glam Events Inc.
Proceeds from the event will be dispersed on Saturday, Mar. 28, through the Fourth Annual Motivated Youth Program, hosted by the University of Miami’s Butler School of Volunteerism and Leadership. Student participants from the University of Miami, Coral Gables High School, South Miami High School and Gulliver Preparatory will decide how much should be disbursed to this year’s community partners: Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, Make-a- Wish Foundation, Margaux’s Miracle Foundation, Shake-a-Leg, Kristi House, Neat Stuff, Friendship Circle, Kids Hope United Bowl, Lighthouse for the Blind, City Year and the Thomas Armour Youth Ballet.
For sponsorship and donation inquiries, please contact David Evensky or Frances Villagomez at 305-448-8882, ext. 211, or by email at < firstname.lastname@example.org > or < email@example.com >.
Finally, Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre is producing the first regional production of the most celebrated musical of all time and the longest running musical worldwide, Les Miserables. Coral Gables Rotarians got a taste of the talent assembled by artistic director David Arisco for this production and you can be sure it will be one of the season’s best shows and one you cannot miss. No matter how many times you’ve seen Les Miserables, it always touches the heart and provides a memorable experience for the entire family. It will run through Apr. 5. For tickets, call 305-444-9293.
Until next time, keep making each day count.