Spring weather no obstacle for local charitable efforts

April showers did not dampen the spirits of many volunteers who braved the weather to serve the community the weekend of April 16th. While many were heavily involved in President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative at the University of Miami and around town, neighbors to the south were raising funds for charities in other ways.

At Pinecrest Gardens, those attending the “Backyard Paradise Home and Garden Festival” encountered folks from the Pinecrest Gardens Charitable Fund selling $65 memberships with the promise of four orchids a year as a bonus for joining. Meanwhile, the Community Foundation of Pinecrest (CFP) volunteers were promoting South Florida’s fist ever charity soccer marathon and selling raffle tickets.

Proceeds from the Pinecrest Soccer Marathon activities will benefit CPF’s programs and initiative including education, parks and senior services. CFP’s top raffle prize was generously donated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a 3 or 4 night cruise to the Bahamas for two while the second top prize, donated by this writer, is a one month Golf Membership at Doral valued at $1,500. Other prizes include gift certificates at such establishments as Starbucks, and more.

Among the many seen donating their time at the Festival, enjoying the live music, a farmer’s market, landscaping seminars and great food while shopping for plants, garden items and accessories were South Miami attorney, a CFP and Garden Fund board member Paul Sasso, and his family; CFP board member, Steven Steele; Gulliver Schools’ Debi Moore; attorney James Suarez and family, wife Becky and children Lilah and Grace; Tania Stern; Ryan and Jenny Baldwin with daughter, Madeleine; Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner; Councilman Bob Ross: and hundreds more. Pinecrest Gardens new Executive Director Alana Perez and Pinecrest Parks Director Loren Matthews were, of course, on hand to oversee the event which also gave many folks a chance to meet Perez for the first time.

In other news, top students from several area public and private school were recently recognized at a breakfast presented by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation and chaired by Joan Reitsma. Build-A-Bear Foundation once again stepped up as the major sponsor for the event while other sponsors included the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables who hosted the event on April 8, the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Mary Scull Brown, Alberto Romeu and the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.

The National Association of Women Lawyers is planning a National Night of Giving to benefit the American Red Cross with a cocktail party on Wednesday, April 28, 6 – 8 p.m., at K & I, Wachovia Financial Center, Ste. 3900. With a spotlight on Haitian Relief efforts, in lieu of a fee, guests are asked to bring an item to be donated to the effort. To RSVP e-mail Vicki DiProva at diprovav@nawl.org .

The 42nd Annual UM Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet, to be held Thursday, April 29, at Jungle Island, will include a great Class. Among those being inducted are football stars Bubba Franks and Jim Cox, baseball’s Jason Michaels and Alex Santos, diver Jenny Keim Johansen, basketball’s Ed Morris, tennis great Sid Schwartz and assistant athletic director Connie Nickel. Tickets are $85 per person or a table of 10 for $850.

Also on the UM agenda of events is the 18th annual UM Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament. Join the fun on Friday April 30, at Miami International Golf Course (formally known as Melreese Golf Course). Tee time is at 12 p.m.; registration begins at 11 a.m. Entrance fees are $200 per person or a foursome for $800. For more information on both events, go to UMSportsHallofFame.com or call John Routh at 305-284-2775.

Gloria Burns is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Pinecrest, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, as well as a columnist for Community Newspapers. Keeping abreast of community activities is a challenge. If you would like to submit information for this column, please send your news via e-mail to < gloriagalburns@aol.com >.

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About the Author

Gloria Burns
A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel as well as non profit consulting and management. Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist writing Gloria’s Gab, a column that focuses on the non-profit activity. Burns was Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee for 6 years and then served as the first Executive Director of Coral Gables Community Foundation for 14 years after which she helped the emerging Community Foundation of Pinecrest. Active in many non profits, she received the 2015-16 President's Best Member Award from the GFWC Coral Gables Woman's Club, 2012-13 CGWC Leadership Award, 2012-2013 Rotarian of the Year Award as RCCG Public Relations Chair and Fund raising Co-Chair, 2011 Florida Federation of Women’s Club Volunteer of the Year for the District 11 and honored by the City of Doral as one of their first recipients for the Doralian Women's Award. Among her list of current responsibilities, Burns co-chairs two annual student recognition breakfasts for the Coral Gables Friends of Education; helps coordinate charity partners for the Westin Colonnade's Annual Give Kids the World Breakfast; serves on the board of directors of Doral Business Council; is Parliamentarian and serves on the board of the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club; serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables and is Publicity Chair; and is a member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee. Gloria is also an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where sings sings in the choir. She can be reached at gloria@communitynewspapers.com

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