Sonja Zuckerman has devoted more than 40 years to the University of Miami’s Diabetes Research Institute (DRI). She serves as Life Chair of the annual Love & Hope Gala and is a national board member. During this time, Sonja has helped raise more than $50 million in support of diabetes research.
Sonja’s reputation as a philanthropic leader in New York, Chicago and Detroit preceded her arrival in Miami over 45 years ago. In the early years, Sonja and Harry Zuckerman funded the majority of the costs for the Love & Hope Gala. Through her efforts, the Bee Gees first became involved; Linda and Barry Gibb continue their involvement as international chairs of the organization. Their children are part of the next generation of leaders and volunteers.
Today, the Love & Hope Gala committee is 60-plus strong. Each year, for two weeks prior to the gala, Sonja opens her home and kitchen to the committee so that they can finalize details for the event, prepare the decorations, fold the napkins, tie the bows, etc., for more than 650 guests who attend the event. The next Love & Hope Gala is Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015.
Sonja, a Distinguished Humanitarian of the DRI, also has served on the boards of the UM Lowe Art Museum; Children’s Resource Fund, where she is a founder, and as an Ambassador for Project Newborn. She is a strong supporter of the National Parkinson’s Foundation, the Limb Bank, Miami City Ballet, Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, Alzheimer’s Foundation, Florida Grand Opera, Miami Salon Group and Hebrew Homes Plaza Health Network.
Her many honors include WIZO’s “Woman of the Year,” “Leading Lady” of the March of Dimes, an American Red Cross “Spectrum Award” and one of “Ten Best Dressed” for the American Cancer Society.
Sonja was the first recipient of the “Helping Hands Award” from the University of Miami.
In the ninth decade of her life, Sonja Zuckerman personifies a Lifetime of Achievement as a philanthropist and volunteer leader.
Additional 2014 AFP Miami National Philanthropy Day Honorees: Jorge Perez, Outstanding Philanthropist; David Lawrence Jr., James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer Award; Macy’s, Julia Tuttle Award – Community Involvement & Corporate Citizenship, and The Miami Foundation, Outstanding Grant Maker Award. AFP Miami was founded in 1975 to advance the field of fundraising by promoting the highest ethical standards and professional practices throughout the local nonprofit sector. In 1985, AFP Miami initiated the first National Philanthropy Day awards event. Today, National Philanthropy Day is celebrated across North America and around the world.
AFP Miami has a membership of more than 100 talented and well-respected fundraising professionals from the private nonprofit, public, and consulting arenas who maintain the highest ethical standards possible in fundraising.
AFP Miami members are experts in advancing charitable giving, increasing their fundraising expertise, and maximizing donor relations for the greater good of the organizations and constituencies they serve.
For more information on National Philanthropy Day or to purchase tickets visit www.afpmiami.org.