The ‘wearing of the green’ raised some green for charity

St. Patrick’s Day Festival at John Martin’s offered volunteers an opportunity to raise funds for charity. As celebrants packed the streets of Coral Gables for this annual event, more than 70 volunteers from the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, Coral Gables Rotaract Club and the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club (CGWC) served beer and food, collecting tips for the May Van Sickle Children’s Dental Clinic throughout the evening. Revelers enjoyed a great band and became more and more generous throughout the evening. In fact, the volunteers collected more than $1,100 in tips for the Clinic owned and operated by CGWC. The two Clubs will also split a $5,000 donation for their services that will go to their respective charitable programs.

Orchestrating the volunteers once again this year was Yolanda Woodbridge, past president of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, a woman who is a constant inspiration for her charitable efforts. Among the many volunteers helping out that evening were Jo Burke, Fred Baddour, John Wallace, Pam Schaefer, Barbara Lapsley, Linda and John Hartwell, Susie Tilson, Ana Lam, Greg Martini, Skip Pita, Deena Bell, Judy Pantoja, Charlie Llewellyn, Afredo Iglesias, and Bill Quesenberry, to mention a few.

Speaking of Rotary, Coral Gables Rotarians recently welcomed CEO of the Women’s Fund, Debi Harris, who spoke to the lunch crowd about the many outreach efforts of this Fund. The Women’s Fund Annual “Power of the Purse” Luncheon is fast approaching and will be held at the Hilton downtown, 1601 Biscayne Blvd., on April 30. The silent auction starts at 11 a.m. with lunch being served at noon. This is always a terrific event with the most amazing designer purses up for bid and purchase by the highest bidders. Tickets are $125 per person. For more information on that event, go online to

In other news, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans’ Joan Reitsma, of The Giving Tree, organized the Annual Elementary School Achievement Breakfast at the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables on March 16. Among the students attending were top achievers from Coral Gables Elementary, Gulliver Academy, Miami Christian School and St. Thomas. Prior to awards medals and certificates to the honorees, the crowd enjoyed an entertaining speech given by Coral Gables Chamber President Mark Trowbridge followed by the cast from Actors Playhouse for Young Audiences. The group performed several numbers from Jack and the Beanstalk, a very funny show that Director Earl Mauldin encouraged the crowd to see at Actors’ Playhouse in order to find out how the musical ends.

Reitsma expressed her thanks to those who made the day possible including the Bear-A-Bear Foundation, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation, the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, Clair Francis Whitehurst, GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club and the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.

Congratulations to the University of Miami Director of Athletics Kirby Hocutt who has been selected one of Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal Forty Under 40 Award recipients.

He received his award in Los Angeles during a black-tie ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles. Hocutt is the only director of athletics among this year’s award recipients.

Finally, hats off to the Lady Gators swim team that captured the NCAA National Championship in the closest margin in the history of the competition beating Stanford by only 2 1/12 points. That was the second National Championship in a week for the University of Florida that also took that NCAA title for Track and Field.

Until next week, keep making each day count.

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, send your news via email to < >.

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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

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