Guests from Miami and all over the United States attended the Virtual Charity Event of the Fall Season benefitting the I Have a Dream Foundation Miami Chapter. The Virtual Gala held on November 12, 2020 was hosted by Roxanne Vargas, the charming television anchor from NBC-6, and was filled with tremendous excitement, heartfelt moments and social interaction of previous galas. The 25th annual I Have a Dream Foundation fundraiser celebrated the 96 Miami Dreamers who graduated from high school in 2020, and also the Dreamers who will graduate in 2021.
The event sponsor was the Feil Family Foundation, title sponsor was Willis Towers Watson and dinner sponsor was Suffolk Construction. Pete Tuffo, president of the southeast division for Suffolk, and his wife Kristi Tuffo were the Dinner Chairs.
Even though this year was a new virtual experience, guests dressed their best for the special occasion with many wearing black tie. The evening began with a “Cocktail Hour” where sponsors and attendees participated in exclusive live video chat rooms. With webcams turned on, guests toasted together sipping champagne and wine at the virtual tables, connected and enjoyed lively conversations.
One of the exciting ways guests supported the Miami Dreamers was by giving through the silent auction which featured over 40 exceptional prizes from luxe getaways to staycations at Miami’s top hotels. Many people also generously bid during the exclusive live auction which featured a five-night stay to Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic, a three-night stay to Silversands Resort in Grenada and four courtside seats to the Boston Celtics basketball game with accommodations at Mandarin Oriental, Boston.
During the main show there were so many surprises which led with founder Stephanie Trump’s inspiring welcome address and special acknowledgments from the Dreamers who were live from college and shared what the I Have a Dream program meant to them. The audience was captivated by heartwarming performances from two Miami Dreamers, Abigail Sewell and Rendith Sanon, who sang the beautiful and expressive song, Rise Up. The evening also featured a video montage with each Dreamer sharing their college selections, career goals, desires and ambitions.
There were encouraging messages from NFL stars Dominique Dafney of the Green Bay Packers, Josh Watson of the Denver Broncos and Tae Davis of the Cleveland Browns. Plus, congratulatory remarks from Alberto Carvalho, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools and Dr. Pablo Ortiz, vice provost for the Biscayne Bay campus at Florida International University who announced that six Miami Dreamers were currently enrolled at the university.
The principal owners of the award-winning Acqualina Resort, Stephanie, Jules and Eddie Trump, founded the Miami-Dade chapter of the I Have a Dream Foundation in 1995. The Foundation empowers children from low-income areas to reach their educational and career goals by providing a long-term program of mentoring, tutoring and tuition assistance for higher education. The Foundation guarantees the children’s academic tuition at a Florida state university for a four-year degree or at an accredited trade school. 86 of the 94 Dreamers who graduated from high school are now attending their first year of college.
The foundation adopted the entire second grade class (97 Dreamers) at the Charles R. Drew School in Liberty City. 95 Dreamers reached the twelfth grade, 83 of them graduated in 2005 on time and, 54 graduated from colleges. In August of 2007, the I Have a Dream Foundation adopted a new class of Dreamers at Hibiscus Elementary School in Miami; the class of 2020. The I Have a Dream Foundation will support a new class of Miami Dreamers who will become the graduating class of 2033.