Community Members, like Miami Heat Player Hassan Whiteside to help fund Mental Health Professional at Miami Beach Senior High
By: Danny Diaz
Saturday, June 1, was a great night for Miami Beach public education as business leaders gathered, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, to celebrate another amazing year at the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce 97th Annual Gala, which was presented by City National Bank. Over 700 of South Florida’s top professionals gathered at the largest networking event in Miami Beach to celebrate the achievements of business leaders.
The event recognized the contributions of five distinguished pillars of the Miami Beach community for their continued commitment to the strength and growth of this thriving city and for their efforts to support education.
“This year, we wanted to shine a spotlight on our Chamber Education Foundation,” said Co-Chairpeople for the Chamber Robin Jacobs and Wayne Pathman. “From teacher grants, to funding a healthcare initiative and now a mental health professional, our Education Foundation enriches our community. Also, we want to thank our five honorees, which we handpicked because of their ties to education and for being true thought leaders in our community.”
During the program, Chamber President Jerry Libbin, City of Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber and his daughter Hannah Gelber, who is an alumni of Miami Beach Senior High School, explained the need for a mental health professional at Miami Beach Senior High School and the crowd responded enthusiastically by contributing thousands of dollars to help fund a full time position at the school. Community members like Miami Heat player Hassan Whiteside, The Boucher Brothers, Mango’s Tropical Cafe Owner, David Wallack and business leader Wayne Roberts were among the many attendees that donated thousands of dollars to help fund the position.
“We were so shaken up [by the Parkland shooting] we wouldn’t even leave the classroom to go to the bathroom,” said Hannah Gelber. “We realized the urgent need for a mental health counselor to talk to.”
“One of the top priorities for our entire commission is the safety of the children in our public schools,” said the Mayor at the event.
This year’s celebrated honorees were:
- Jorge Gonzalez, City National Bank, received the Corporate Citizen Of The Year Award
- The Little Lighthouse Foundation received the Jan Pfeiffer Distinguished Service Award
- Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, Celebrity Cruises, received the Excellence in Tourism Award
- Michael S. Goldberg, IBERIABANK, received the City National Bank Beach High Alumni Outstanding Achievement Award
- Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, received the Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award
The black-tie affair, included performances from the Nautilus Middle School band and from students of Treasure Island Elementary School, who sang with North Bay Village Commissioner, Julianna Strout. The Gala was chaired by Jordan Kramer (COMPASS) and Andrea Tovar (Corcoran & Johnston), and featured Johanna Gomez from NBC 6 In The Mix as a Co-Emcee along with Chamber Chairs, Robin Jacobs and Wayne Pathman. The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce wishes to thank the following Platinum Sponsors of the event for their continued support each year: Loews Miami Beach, Tropic Survival, 84 West Events, Breakthru Beverage Florida, PSAV, Warren Henry Auto Group and Jack Daniels.
The Miami Beach Chamber Education Foundation donates thousands of dollars each year to enrich the quality of education for Miami Beach public school students and invests in their future.