Plaza Health Network Foundation, the fundraising arm of Plaza Health Network — South Florida’s largest award-winning network of skilled nursing and rehabilitation centers — honored nine women community leaders during the ninth annual Women of Distinction & Caring Luncheon on Nov. 15 at the Hilton Miami Downtown.
The Women of Distinction & Caring Luncheon celebrates women in our community who have made significant differences in the lives of others locally and globally through their leadership, volunteerism, professional work and philanthropy.
With over 420 attendees, the event was one of the most successful to date for the Plaza Health Network Foundation. Guests were treated to a champagne reception upon arrival where they were able to shop at various on-site boutiques for items such as handbags, candles, jewelry, clothing, hats, art, and more. Mystery Sunburst Society boxes from Kendra Scott Jewelry were available for $50 where guests were delightfully surprised to uncover a unique piece of jewelry. A silent auction allowed attendees to bid on items such as artwork, clothing, wines, luxury hotel stays, cruises, private tours, special dining and other unique experiences.
The reception was followed by a luncheon and program, which was emceed by WPLG Local 10 anchor Louis Aguirre. Luncheon chair Norma Jean Abraham, along with Ilene Zweig, Plaza Health Foundation executive director, welcomed guests. The event was co-chaired by Josefina Carbonell, Thelma Gibson, RN, and Linda Levy Goldberg.
Elaine Bloom, Plaza Heath Network CEO, and Ronald S. Lowy Esq., chairman of the Board of Directors, discussed the innovative care being delivered at Plaza Health Network centers and the vital role the Foundation plays in creating innovative programs for patients.
A moving video served as tribute to all honorees where their life’s work and personal stories were recapped.
The 2018 Women of Distinction and Caring honorees are:
• Maria Alonso, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade;
• Gabriela Rachadell de Delgado — attorney, philanthropist supporting Boys & Girls Club/Miami;
• Swanee DiMare – Philanthropist and community leader;
• Barbara Black Goldfarb – Past chair of Greater Miami Jewish Federation; chair of the 2018 Federation Mission to Israel; 2018 BESSIE Award Recipient;
• Cindy Hutson – Chef/owner of Ortanique on the Mile and Zest restaurants; Culinary Ambassador of Miami Cancer Institute at Baptist Health;
• Virginia Jacko – President and CEO, Lighthouse for the Blind;
• Laurie Jennings – WPLG Local 10 anchor and community volunteer
• Annie Neasman, RN, MS – President and CEO, Jessie Trice Community Health Centers; Former Deputy Secretary, Florida Department of Health, and
• Darlene Boytell-Perez, ARNP – Healthcare advocate and philanthropist.
In addition to this year’s honorees, several other Plaza Health Network supporters were recognized. Plaza Health Network Board member Joan Brent has selflessly provided over 18 years of service the board of which her aunt, Bessie Galbut, was an original founder. Retired pharmacist, Captain Marvin Greenwald served in the United States Navy and on the Hebrew Homes Board where he was the appointed director of Professional Services. He was recognized for his expertise and excellent negotiating skills which has resulted in reduced pharmaceutical costs for Plaza Health Network patients. As well, Dorothy Jenkins Fields and Pamela Garrison, RN, 2017 and 2016 Women of Distinction honorees, respectively, were inducted into the Sunburst Society support group and presented with Sunburst brooches.
All proceeds from the luncheon go towards funding Plaza Health Network Foundation’s patient-focused innovative programs and services for patients of Plaza Health Network that go above and beyond the basics covered by Medicare, Medicaid and other insurances. Past luncheons have helped to fund the Music & Memory program for patients with Alzheimer’s and other cognitive disorders and the Virtual Family Reunion System which allows patients to globally connect with up to 40 friends and family members at once using real-time, virtual systems.
As well, the Jorge M. Perez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation has generously supported the Cultural Arts Program to help enrich the quality of life for patients which, in turn, helps to promote well-being and healing. As part of this initiative, Graham Fandrei and Rebekah Diaz-Fandrei of Magic City Opera treated attendees to a moving vocal performance.
For more information about the Plaza Health Network Foundation, visit www.phnfoundation.org.