The Coral Gables C o m m u n i t y Foundation celebrated its 24th annual gala, a “Night in Old Shanghai” on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Coral Gables Country Club, attracting nearly 400 of Miami’s philanthropic, social, civic and business leaders, many who turned out in Mandarin flair.
The gala, co-chaired by Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young, raised a record $300,000 with proceeds earmarked to worthy Gables High School students pursuing dreams of a college education among other passionate projects the foundation champions. This success was thanks in large part to a generous matching pledge by long-time foundation supporters Matthew Meehan and Rod Hildebrant.
Williamson Automotive roared in the evening with authentic Chinese lion dancers and drummers who gave a spectacular performance while Chef Richard Hutton tempted the notables with a dazzling array of Asianthemed appetizers and dishes.
A violinist from the New World Symphony serenaded guests as they triedtheir hand at luck and bid on priceless vacations and gifts, including stays at a chateau in the Basque country in France, thanks to Ajit and Maria Alicia Asrani, a mountaintop villa in Costa Rica courtesy of NPI, the Al Capone suite at the Biltmore Hotel, as well as vintage wine courtesy of Bob and Jodi Dickinson, along with Miami Heat tickets and other donated items.
Coastal Construction CEO Tom Murphy Jr. and the Murphy family were awarded the prestigious Philanthropy Award, Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz received the Legacy Award, Ed and Carol Williamson were honored with the Jerry Santeiro Community Award, Adam and Chanin Carlin were recipients of the Arts and Culture Award, Hank O. “Hank” Langston for the Education Award and Joe Rose received the Sports Award presented by Doctors Hospital and the Miami Orthopedics and Sports Medicine Institute.
VIPs in attendance included current Coral Gables Mayor Jim Cason and former mayor Don Slesnick, Jack and Natasha Lowell, Brent and Daniella Reynolds, Bob and Jodi Dickinson, Mark Trowbridge, Aura Reinhardt, Coral Gables Community Foundation Board chair Carlos Garcia and executive director Mary Snow.
“The Night in Old Shanghai gala was a work of love for all involved and we are thrilled that this year’s event was the most successful in the foundation’s history,” said Sissy DeMaria, gala co-chair. “The overwhelming success was due to the immense generosity of the people who live and work in the City Beautiful and we are truly grateful for their support and contributions.”
Event sponsors included Bacardi, Baptist Health South Florida and Doctors Hospital, The Collection Residences, Adam and Chanin Carlin, Kreps De Maria, Williamson Automotive, EWM Realty International, South Florida Luxury Guide Magazine and Southern Audio Visual.
Established in 1991 and led by community leaders, the Coral Gables Community Foundation provides a philanthropic conduit to connect individuals and corporations that are looking to positively impact the City Beautiful and its residents.
For almost 25 years, the foundation has helped youth, elderly and disabled residents by providing dental care for needy children, sponsoring cultural activities and awarding an array of annual scholarships.