Spring weather no obstacle for local charitable efforts

Miami's Community Newspapers

April showers did not dampen the spirits of many volunteers who braved the weather to serve the community the weekend of April 16th. While many were heavily involved in President Bill Clinton’s Global Initiative at the University of Miami and around town, neighbors to the south were raising funds for charities in other ways.

At Pinecrest Gardens, those attending the “Backyard Paradise Home and Garden Festival” encountered folks from the Pinecrest Gardens Charitable Fund selling $65 memberships with the promise of four orchids a year as a bonus for joining. Meanwhile, the Community Foundation of Pinecrest (CFP) volunteers were promoting South Florida’s fist ever charity soccer marathon and selling raffle tickets.

Proceeds from the Pinecrest Soccer Marathon activities will benefit CPF’s programs and initiative including education, parks and senior services. CFP’s top raffle prize was generously donated by Norwegian Cruise Line, a 3 or 4 night cruise to the Bahamas for two while the second top prize, donated by this writer, is a one month Golf Membership at Doral valued at $1,500. Other prizes include gift certificates at such establishments as Starbucks, and more.

Among the many seen donating their time at the Festival, enjoying the live music, a farmer’s market, landscaping seminars and great food while shopping for plants, garden items and accessories were South Miami attorney, a CFP and Garden Fund board member Paul Sasso, and his family; CFP board member, Steven Steele; Gulliver Schools’ Debi Moore; attorney James Suarez and family, wife Becky and children Lilah and Grace; Tania Stern; Ryan and Jenny Baldwin with daughter, Madeleine; Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Lerner; Councilman Bob Ross: and hundreds more. Pinecrest Gardens new Executive Director Alana Perez and Pinecrest Parks Director Loren Matthews were, of course, on hand to oversee the event which also gave many folks a chance to meet Perez for the first time.

In other news, top students from several area public and private school were recently recognized at a breakfast presented by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation and chaired by Joan Reitsma. Build-A-Bear Foundation once again stepped up as the major sponsor for the event while other sponsors included the Hyatt Regency Coral Gables who hosted the event on April 8, the GFWC Coral Gables Woman’s Club, Claire Frances Whitehurst, Mary Scull Brown, Alberto Romeu and the Rotary Club of Coral Gables.

The National Association of Women Lawyers is planning a National Night of Giving to benefit the American Red Cross with a cocktail party on Wednesday, April 28, 6 – 8 p.m., at K & I, Wachovia Financial Center, Ste. 3900. With a spotlight on Haitian Relief efforts, in lieu of a fee, guests are asked to bring an item to be donated to the effort. To RSVP e-mail Vicki DiProva at diprovav@nawl.org .

The 42nd Annual UM Sports Hall of Fame induction banquet, to be held Thursday, April 29, at Jungle Island, will include a great Class. Among those being inducted are football stars Bubba Franks and Jim Cox, baseball’s Jason Michaels and Alex Santos, diver Jenny Keim Johansen, basketball’s Ed Morris, tennis great Sid Schwartz and assistant athletic director Connie Nickel. Tickets are $85 per person or a table of 10 for $850.

Also on the UM agenda of events is the 18th annual UM Sports Hall of Fame Golf Tournament. Join the fun on Friday April 30, at Miami International Golf Course (formally known as Melreese Golf Course). Tee time is at 12 p.m.; registration begins at 11 a.m. Entrance fees are $200 per person or a foursome for $800. For more information on both events, go to UMSportsHallofFame.com or call John Routh at 305-284-2775.

Gloria Burns is Executive Director of the Community Foundation of Pinecrest, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, as well as a columnist for Community Newspapers. Keeping abreast of community activities is a challenge. If you would like to submit information for this column, please send your news via e-mail to < gloriagalburns@aol.com >.

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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.


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