This January, in what has become a highly anticipated annual tradition, the Deering Estate Foundation honored its 2017 Champion Partners of the Year at its annual board meeting in the historic Stone House ballroom at the Deering Estate. A collective energy recognizing all that had been accomplished and an optimism for what can still be achieved was felt by a room full of dedicated community leaders, collaborating partners, and Estate volunteers and staff.
In presenting the 2017 Champion Partner Awards, Foundation President David McDonald, Executive Director Mary Pettit and Deering Estate Director Jennifer Tisthammer emphasized the importance of cooperative efforts and community engagement in preserving and enhancing the Deering Estate and fulfilling its mission.
Celebrated and receiving their awards were:
Daniella Levine Cava – William N. Irvine Stewardship Award
Awarded annually to an individual or organization that has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the areas of historic preservation and/or environmental conservation, the Deering Estate Foundation proudly honored Daniella Levine Cava for her work as our community’s self-proclaimed “Water Warrior.” A born-again environmentalist, Cava is fighting hard from her position on the County Commission to address sea level rise, saltwater intrusion, protection of our drinking water, Everglades Restoration, and recharging of the Estate’s aquifer. Cava accepted the award and pledged to keep working hard to bring government and community leaders together to address South Florida’s critical environmental issues, providing for effective and sustainable solutions.
Sandy McCarthy – Champion Partner of the Year
Sandy McCarthy accepted the Foundation’s highest honor as Champion of the Year. “Every once in a while, someone very special comes along whose friendship, engagement and leadership organically and unwittingly provide a huge lift that is transformative to an organization,” said Mary Pettit, Deering Estate Foundation Executive Director. “Sandy McCarthy is one of these special people, a true champion for our cause that we are excited to honor and celebrate.” McCarthy joined the Foundation’s 100 Ladies of Deering in 2015 as a Founding Member, compelled by their mission and eager to work alongside a dedicated group of like-minded and ambitious women. She has encouraged the 100 Ladies of Deering and the Foundation to reach higher and dig deeper, leading by example and generously supporting related advancements and projects. The Foundation acknowledged that it has grown stronger, both in stature and in its work, though her leadership and support.
Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust – Educational Partner of the Year
Senior Vice Presidents Emilio Vazquez, Terrance L. Brown and Carole Wright accepted the Educational Partner of the Year Award for helping Deering bring environmental awareness and experiential learning in STEM education to under-resourced students with the creation of a 3-year scholarship program. The Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust Field Study Scholarship Program provides financial assistance to students in Title I schools within Miami-Dade County to participate in the Deering Estate’s award-winning hands-on learning
experiences in environmental education. In addition to financial support, employees from Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust participate in the program along with scholarship recipients.
Antique Automotive Club of America – Marketing & Engagement Partner of the Year
The Antique Automotive Club of America was honored for their leadership and assistance in establishing Deering’s annual Vintage Auto Show, driving new audiences to the Estate. First held in 2013, this annual event has continued to grow, drawing over 1,850 guests in 2017. Club President Manny Garcia, 1st Vice President Ira Shapiro, 2nd Vice President Millie Garcia, and Directors Jean Hawa and Bob Squier joined together in accepting the award.
John William Bailly – Cultural Arts Program Partner of the Year
John William Bailly was first introduced to the Deering Estate as an artist-in-residence. Through his work as a visual artist, he has engaged over 600 student visitors who participate in activities, volunteer for cultural arts events, and perform countless hours of coastal cleanups. His 2017 solo artist exhibition 10,000 Years of Miami, that premiered at Deering, has gone on to four additional venues to date. As a Fellow in the FIU Honors College, Bailly led his students to the Deering Estate’s sister site in Sitges, Spain and began spearheading the future development of the Deering Estate’s first international exchange exhibition. Most recently, he and his students used the Estate as a platform to recreate Gordon Matta-Clark’s Garbage Wall, presented at the Untitled Art Fair during Art Week in Miami. Bailly graciously accepted this award for representing and championing the Deering Estate Artist-in Residence Program within the community, nationally, and internationally.
Rustin Levenson, ArtCare and Associates – Conservation Partner of the Year
Rustin Levenson, an internationally recognized author and expert on painting conservation with over 30 years of experience working for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, has partnered with the Deering Estate for over a decade to evaluate and conserve its most treasured works. Levenson was honored for her guidance and generosity, as well as her supportive partnership with the 100 Ladies of Deering, who have worked to expand and conserve the Estate’s historic furnishings and art collections. Levenson was additionally honored for presenting the ArtCare Conservation lecture series to the community, creating excitement around the growing Deering Estate Collection.
Mullins-Flores Family, Golden Rule Seafood – Community Partner of the Year
Golden Rule Seafood Market and Restaurant, owned by Pamela Mullins and Walter Flores, has been a local family-owned and operated business in Palmetto Bay since 1969. In 2006, Golden Rule Seafood became the lead sponsor of the annual Deering Seafood Festival and went to work to help the Foundation develop this annual signature fundraising event. In 2017, the event was named Best Event of the Year by the Greater Miami Festival & Events Association and sold out in advance for the very first time. Flores joined the Foundation’s Board of Directors in 2007 and served as President of the Foundation in 2009. He brings with him the support of his whole family, including sons Taylor and Jordan Flores, and daughter Courtney Reeder. Flores’ wife, Pamela Mullins, is a very active member of the 100 Ladies of Deering, presently serving as their treasurer. To continue this long legacy of service and support to the Deering Estate, this year Flores gave up his seat on the board to make way for the election of his daughter Courtney Reeder, who was unanimously elected in
December to continue the family’s legacy of leadership and outstanding support fulfilling the Foundation’s mission.
Daniel Golik, Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream – Corporate Partner of the Year
Daniel Golik, founder of Chill-N Nitrogen Ice Cream, accepted the Foundation’s Corporate Partner of the Year award. Chill-N opened their first store in Pinecrest in 2012. Shortly thereafter, they debuted their uniquely made ice cream at the 2013 Deering Seafood Festival to the delight of over 9,000 festival goers. Originally developed by making ice cream using liquid nitrogen in the garage of their home, Chill-N now has seven locations serving
South Florida. The company has since grown into one of the Deering Estate Foundation’s most generous (and tasty) sponsors.
Sherry & Bruce Ousley – Deering Estate Foundation Volunteers of the Year
Always quick to jump in to help whenever and wherever they can, this dynamic duo of passionate Deering Estate Foundation members has collectively dedicated countless volunteer hours over many years. Sherry, who always brings her contagious smile, creative spirit, and organizational prowess to any event, answers the call for just about any task. And when the call includes manning the grill or the need for some additional muscle power, Bruce stands at the ready and dutifully joins her. The Ousleys are a model couple who greatly enjoy giving back together.
Kerry Wohlstein – Deering Estate Volunteer of the Year
Kerry Wohlstein has served as volunteer at the Deering Estate since 2015, supporting the Estate’s landscaping team. Loyal and always hard working, Wohlstein approaches her many assignments with great pride, enthusiasm, creativity and responsible stewardship. She can often be found refreshing the beds of the gardens or in the depths of Estate’s natural areas.
The Deering Estate Foundation proudly thanks its 2017 Champion Partners of the Year!