Ser & Associates partners with United Way, Gables Rotarians celebrate

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This past holiday season, Ser & Associates, a boutique small business law firm located in Coral Gables, partnered with the United Way to raise funds for the Miami-Dade Small Business Owners Grant Program.

This program was created to help small business owners make ends meet while struggling to keep their businesses open and their employees on the payroll. To date, this program has provided help to almost 400 small businesses in our community and they currently are processing another 600 applications.

Ser & Associates set a goal to raise $10,000 for this very valuable program. Thanks to the generosity of the firm’s clients, colleagues and friends, it blew past that goal and raised nearly $15,000.

In other good news, the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, founded in March of 1946, is celebrating its 75th Diamond Jubilee year with an online auction hosted by Carroll’s Jewelers. This upscale auction will feature lots of diamonds, vacation stays, art, fine wines and more.

The brainchild of this auction is Sally Baumgartner, RCCG’s past president and Merrick Festival executive director, who is donating more than $10,000 worth of diamond jewelry to the auction with jewelry stores such as Snow’s, Jay’s and others as well as individuals following suit and donating great items.

The auction, which opened on Valentine’s Day, will run through Mar. 4. Proceeds will benefit the many charitable programs that the Rotary Club of Coral Gables Foundation supports including such notables as Chapman Partnership, Shake-A-Leg, Coral Gables Children’s Dental Clinic, Shelter Box and more.

A shout out to the Rotary Club of Coral Gables Foundation for a recent $2,000 grant to the Coral Gables Children’s Dental Clinic, one they doubled this year understanding its critical need. Of course, that was just one of many grants disbursed by the RCCG Foundation during the past year to numerous charitable groups and programs that desperately need support during this pandemic.

Thanks to grants such as these and the Gringo Bingo fundraisers held at Clutch Burger with proceeds from the past several months directed to the Coral Gables Children’s Dental Clinic, owned and operated by the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club to help serve disadvantaged children in our community.

In other news, the annual Rotary International District 6990 Chris Morrison Golf Ball Drop fundraiser culminated on Thursday, Feb. 4, at The Biltmore Golf Course with the big helicopter golf ball drop. It was perfect time of year with many Rotarians gathering for lunch before the event at the outdoor terrace of the 19th Hole Restaurant.

Yolanda Woodbridge, who accepted the task of coordinating this event, collected the money from all the district clubs involved in South Florida and the Bahamas, calculated this year’s proceeds to exceed $73,000 to be directed to Annual Fund of The Rotary International.

They hold it for three years and then return that amount for the district to distribute, so, it all comes back. Most everyone stayed around to watch as a helicopter dropped numbered golf balls onto the golf course with the balls landing closest to the hole earning some great prizes.

Coming up this Spring, United Homecare, a 501(c)(3) non profit dedicated to serving older and disabled adults at home, is in the midst of planning for its annual Claude Pepper Awards Dinner to be held on May 20 at Jungle Island’s Treetop Ballroom, assuming COVID protocols can be followed safely. Last month honorees were announced and include Carlos R. Fernandez Guzman; Dr. Ranjan Duara, MD; Lilliam M. Lopez; Leadership Miami ALL IN MIAMI # 41; Pascal J. Goldschmidt-Clermont, MD; Jesus Quintero; Gary Press; Irina Vilarino; Barbara E. Sanchez; Remedios Diaz-Oliver, and Michael Finney. To help support United Homecare in its mission and celebrate these amazing individuals, become an event sponsor or purchase tickets by calling 305-716-0764.

Finally, Coral Gables Farmer’s Market is back every Saturday in front of City Hall with fresh products, yummy eats, plants and more. This is always a great way to start the day.

Over in the Grove, the new “Coconut Grove Artisanal Market” at St. Stevens Episcopal is held every Friday, 5-10 p.m., offering great shopping for unique handmade items and art, with music and outdoor fun and with social distancing and masks. That market was so successful that a weekly Sunday Farmers Market now is in place with the first one held on Feb. 14.

Until next time, keep making each day count, be kind and stay safe.

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A graduate of the University of Florida with a major in Spanish, Burns has an extensive background in advertising, marketing and reciprocal trade, travel , non profit consulting and management. Before joining Miami's Community Newspapers as a columnist and marketing specialist, Gloria was the Executive Director of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee (6 yrs.) and first Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (14 yrs.) and the Pinecrest Community Foundation (1 ½ yrs) . Burns' volunteer activities led her to become a columnist for Community Newspapers writing Gloria’s Gab, that focuses on the non-profit activity, and a host of an online show, Gloria's Gab LIVE. Gloria serves the board of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables as Civic and Charity Chair, and is involved in the club's International Committee. She is an active Life Member of the Jr. Orange Bowl Committee and is Secretary of the Merrick Festival. She serves on the board of directors of the Coral Gables Woman' Club as Publicity Chair and also coordinates the club's monthly fundraiser for various charities with Gringo Bingo at Clutch Burger. In addition, Gloria participates in numerous other charitable events and is a member of the Business Forum Group, Profit Inc., the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. In other volunteer activity, Gloria helps Miami Christian School with fund-raising and PR; is an Ambassador and volunteers for events for A Safe Haven for Newborns. She is an active member of the Music Ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church where she enjoys singing in the choir every weekend.