Miami Heat legend and basketball Hall-of-Famer Alonzo Mourning was honored at the Florida Blue Foundation’s 2019 Sapphire Awards dinner, May 9, which recognize excellence and innovation in community health.
Mourning was awarded $60,000, and three other Miami-Dade organizations and individuals also received honors as finalists for the statewide award.
Mourning was honored for his outstanding contributions to improving the health and condition of children and their families in South Florida. The Mourning Family Foundation has raised more than $20 million for various programs that aid in their empowerment and development.
In addition to supporting numerous health initiatives, Mourning opened the Overtown Youth Center in 2003, in Miami’s historic Overtown, with the help of community donors to provide enrichment services to inner-city youth and their families. That same year, Mourning underwent a successful kidney transplant and spearheaded the Zo’s Fund for Life campaign, which raised $2 million to support kidney disease research and treatment.
He also was a leading advocate for the passage of a new state law offering qualified individuals guaranteed enrollment in Medicare and he has served as the spokesperson for the American Kidney Foundation. Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho was awarded a $40,000 grant to administer to the non-profit of his choice, as a finalist for his role in creating a healthier environment for the district’s students and staff.
The Miami Beach Community Health Center, which works with a predominantly Hispanic, female, low-income population, received a $40,000 grant as a finalist in the organization category.
The Sundari Foundation-Lotus House, which serves women, youth and children who are experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County, received a $15,000 grant as a finalist in the organization category. The other Sapphire Award honorees from across Florida include Angie Romagosa of Seminole County, The Sulzbacher Center for the Homeless in Duval County and IMPOWER’s telehealth mental health program in Seminole County.
Overall, the Florida Blue Foundation awarded a total of $410,000 to the four Sapphire Award honorees and six finalists at the 2019 awards dinner in Orlando. Since 2005, the Florida Blue Foundation has invested more than $5 million with its Sapphire Awards, with 107 awards given to 27 individuals and 80 programs and organizations that effectively address health issues in their Florida communities.