Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce Celebrated its 96th Annual Dinner Gala by Honoring the Foundations of its Major League Sports Teams With Distinguished Service Awards


Miami Dade College President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón to Received Lifetime Achievement Award


This year the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) celebrated its 96th Annual Dinner Gala and Silent Auction in a big way. Presented by City National Bank, the Chamber honored, not one, but all of South Florida’s sports teams’ Foundations with distinguished service awards. The Florida Panthers Foundation, Miami Dolphins Foundation, Miami Marlins Foundation and The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund were recognized for their contributions to the community as the Chamber welcomed guests to THE BIG LEAGUES. The fun didn’t stop there – the Chamber also awarded Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón, President of Miami Dade College, with the highest honor of the night, the Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by City National Bank. All the action happened on Saturday, June 2, 2018, at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where partygoers enjoyed an entertaining evening that included a silent auction with dozens of items, live entertainment, dancing, interactive activations from all the teams.

“This year, we decided to switch things up and focus on recognizing these amazing foundations that give back to our community,” said Wayne Pathman, Chairman of the Board and founding partner at Pathman Lewis. “Collectively, they support projects focusing on helping at-risk families, victims of domestic violence and health programs, to name a few. We also honored one of the top champions of education in South Florida, Dr. Padrón.”

In addition to celebrating these renowned organizations and another successful year as an organization, the Gala is an annual fundraiser with live and silent auction components to raise funds for the Chamber’s 501(c)3 Education Foundation. The Foundation encourages and supports public education in Miami Beach and creates programming to support the needs of today’s future leaders, which includes educational programming in Miami Beach such as the International Baccalaureate (IB) program, on-site health care in all eight of Miami Beach public schools, and providing teacher grants for innovative educational programs.

About The Honorees

The Leonard A. “Doc” Baker Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to an individual whose exceptional lifetime contributions of community leadership and philanthropic endeavors have improved the quality of the life of Miami Beach citizens. This year, the award was presented to Dr. Eduardo Padrón. Highly-regarded by his peers, he has served as President of Miami Dade College (MDC), the largest institution of higher education in America with more than 165,000 students. He is credited with elevating MDC into a position of national prominence among the best and most recognized U.S. colleges and universities. An economist by training, Dr. Padrón earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida. In 2016, President Barack Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the U.S., for being a prominent national voice for access and inclusion in higher education. In 2009, TIME magazine included him on the list of “The 10 Best College Presidents.” Internationally, President Padrón’s accomplishments have been recognized by numerous nations and organizations including the Republic of France, which named him Commandeur in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques; the Republic of Argentina, which awarded him the Order of San Martin; Spain’s King Juan Carlos II, who bestowed upon him the Order of Queen Isabella; Spain’s Prince and Princess of Asturias, Felipe and Letizia, who presented him with the Juan Ponce de Leon 500th Anniversary award; and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI, who appointed him Honorary Consul in Florida of the Kingdom of Morocco in 2016.


The Distinguished Service Awards is presented annually to an individual or company whose extraordinary community involvement has generated extensive contributions to South Florida. This year we honored the following four foundations:

  • The Marlins Foundation – The Marlins Foundation supports the charity partners of the Miami Marlins through philanthropy and service. The Foundation is committed to improving the lives of our youth through education, the arts, and baseball, with a focus on children with special needs. The funds raised by the Foundation provide unique experiences for kids in our schools, parks and on the water.


  • The Miami Dolphins Foundation – The mission of the Miami Dolphins Foundation is to improve the lives of South Florida residents by developing or supporting programs geared towards Health, Education, and Youth Football. The Miami Dolphins and the Miami Dolphins Foundation have a strong commitment to the community of South Florida and strive to assist as many nonprofit organizations as possible within the geographical region.


  • The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund – The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund supports programs for the betterment of at-risk families in South Florida. Beneficiaries include SafeSpace, a domestic violence shelter for women and children, the Jackson Memorial Foundation’s Guardian Angels and Holtz Children’s Hospital, and the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community. The Miami HEAT Charitable Fund also provides educational scholarships for high school seniors and partners with inner-city elementary schools to fund the HEAT Academy, which provides after-school tutoring and mentoring programs. Through these initiatives, the Miami HEAT Charitable Fund continues to inspire the youth of South Florida to envision their dreams and achieve their goals.


  • The Florida Panthers Foundation – The Florida Panthers Foundation serves to make positive philanthropic impacts throughout the South Florida community and beyond. Through partnerships, grants, and community programs, the Foundation focuses on four priorities, including youth hockey, children and youth, veterans and the endangered Florida panther. Through programs like the Community Champions Grant program, Heroes Among Us, Puck for a buck, Learn to Play, and Players Favorite Things baskets, among others, the Florida Panthers continue year after year to make a positive philanthropic impact all across South Florida.


The gala’s theme was, Welcome To The Big Leagues! and organized by Gala Chair, Jessica Fuentes Victor and Vice Chairs, Kendall Fedele and Rachel Wiesen. The Master of Ceremony of the night was Wayne Pathman and Johanna Gomez, Host of NBC’s 6 In The Mix.

A big thank you to the event hosting sponsors including, Loews Miami Beach Hotel, PSAV, Breakthru Beverage, Jack Daniel’s, Warren Henry Automotive Group, and Douglas Elliman.


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