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This year, the Coral Gables Community Foundation will celebrate their 20th Anniversary with a “Homecoming Gala” to be held on Friday, October 14th, (7PM-1AM) at the Coral Gables Country Club. Fittingly, the Foundation’s annual LEGACY AWARD honoree will be our first Chair, Willy A. Bermello. In his honor, the Legacy Award will hereafter be called the “WILLY BERMELLO AWARD. That evening the first WILLY BERMELLO AWARD will be presented to Vice-Mayor William H. Kerdyk, Jr. New this year, we have added awards in the categories of Community, Culture, and Education. The COMMUNITY AWARD recognizes The Hon. Don Slesnick II, Esq., the CULTURE AWARD recognizes our longest-serving Board Member and the heart of the Foundation, Patricia H. Clarke, and the EDUCATION AWARD honors the much-loved, long-serving Gables High Teacher, Coach, and Counselor Daniel Finora.
To get everyone excited about this event, the Foundation is hosting a Gala Kickoff Party on September 15th, 6-8PM at (and underwritten by) MORTON’S the Steakhouse. Come enjoy drinks, great food, and feel the excitement as we prepare to celebrate our 20th year in our community! For sponsorship opportunities, tickets or to RSVP, go to www.gablesfoundation.org or call 305-446-9670.
The Coral Gables Community Foundation has been serving this community for 20 years and has awarded over $3million to a variety of charitable causes to continue to enhance the quality of life for all people in Coral Gables.
Willy Bermello is President and CEO of BAP Development and of Bermello, Ajamil & Partners, Inc. A Florida-registered architect with more than 25 years of experience in international practice, Mr. Bermello was the co-founder of the Grand Prix of Americas and the Calle Ocho Festival. Mr. Bermello has received the “Excellence in Architecture” award from the Florida Association of AIA, the “Architect of the Year” award from the Latin Builders Association, and the “Gold Medal in Architecture” from the Association of Cuban Architects. He was also honored in 2001 as the Jewish American Foundation’s “Man of the Year”. Appointed by three Governors and other elected officials to numerous state commissions, local advisory boards, and leadership positions in civic organizations, Mr. Bermello serves on the Boards of Colonial Bank of South Florida, South Florida Gang Outreach, and the University of Florida Foundation. A member of the Orange Bowl Committee, he also served over nine years as Chairman of the City of Miami’s Urban Development Review Board; and is a Past President of the Latin Builders’ Association, the Kiwanis Club of Little Havana, and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce.
Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk currently serves on the Commission for the City of Coral Gables. First elected in 1995, Vice Mayor Kerdyk has also served as City Commissioner, a position once held by his father. Founder of the City’s PARKnership Program, (a public/private partnership with the mission of underwriting the purchase or enhancement of parks, fountains, bridges, and other open spaces throughout the Gables), Vice Mayor Kerdyk heads the Save The Alhambra Water Tower Campaign, implemented the Coral Gables Trolley system, and initiated the Ponce de Leon Median Project. He recently served as the Governor’s appointee to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), the board responsible for the development and planning process of transportation throughout Miami-Dade County.
President/CEO of Kerdyk Real Estate, Inc. (a multi-million-dollar company specializing in commercial brokerage and property management), and Chairman of the Board, Bank of Coral Gables, Vice Mayor Kerdyk’s civic affiliations include: Florida’s Public Service Commission Nominating Council, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Super Bowl Host Committee, Orange Bowl Committee, Junior Orange Bowl, Rotary Club of Coral Gables, The Beacon Council, Dade County Association of Realtors, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Coral Gables War Memorial Youth Center, Coral Gables Jaycees, Miami-Dade League of Cities, Leadership Florida, and Leadership Miami.
Recognitions include: Outstanding Young Men of America, Small Business Impact Award from the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Twelve Good Men of South Florida, Ronald McDonald House, and a listing in Who’s Who in America.
Serving as Mayor of Coral Gables from 2001-2011, and as President of the Florida League of Mayors (2009-2010), in June of 2010, Don Slesnick was presented with the “Friend of Foreign Service Medal” “in recognition of his remarkable contributions to the friendship between the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the United States of America”.
Currently, Don Slesnick is the managing partner for the law firm of Slesnick & Casey, LLP. He has been in private practice since 1975. Prior to this, he held management positions with the Dade County Public Schools and the Dade County Police Department. During his 10 years of service as Coral Gables Mayor, he received numerous awards, including: the 2008 Miami-Dade International Citizen of the Year Award (Miami-Dade County Sister Cities Program) and the “Government Leadership Award” Miami Chapter American Institute of Architects (AIA); the 2007 “Protector of the Climate” from Broward County Audubon Society and “Distinguished Civic Achievement Award” American Jewish Congress; the 2006 “Outstanding Citizen Award” Council of Garden Club Presidents of Miami-Dade County; and the 2005 “International Vision Award” Latin Business Club of America. A Vietnam veteran, former U.S. Army advisor to NATO forces in Germany, and recent appointee as an Army Reserve Ambassador for Florida, Don retired from the Army as a Lt. Colonel after 27 years of service. He received various combat ribbons and awards culminating in the Meritorious Service Medal.
Don is active in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Board of Governors (founding Chairman of the award winning program for Ethics in Business & Government), and a member of the Orange Bowl Committee. He has also served on the Miami-Dade Mayor’s Aviation Blue Ribbon Panel; and as Chairman of: the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Miami-Dade County Cultural Affairs Council, and the Dade Cultural Alliance. He served as President of: the Dade Heritage Trust, Junior Orange Bowl Committee, Rotary Club of Coral Gables, the Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami, and the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation.
Included among his COMMUNITY SERVICE awards, Don was selected the 1994 #1 Unsung Hero in “Best of Miami” Miami Today; received the Bill Colson Community Leadership Award from Leadership Miami; the MAXIE Award Miami Arts Exchange; the Distinguished Service Award American Bar Association; the 1998 Miami-Dade County Medal of Merit for Leadership; the 2001 “Man of the Year” Award by the Renaissance Historical Society of Florida; the 2004 Ronald McDonald House “Twelve Good Men”; and was chosen by South Florida CEO magazine as one of the “Top 101 Global Leaders of South Florida-2004.” He was most recently honored by the Sons of the American Revolution with the “Good Citizenship Silver Medal” for “outstanding public service and contributions to the advancement of the principles of Americanism.
Long-time Gables resident Pat Clarke asked herself “If we don’t take care of Coral Gables, who will?” reflecting back to 1991 when she helped form the Coral Gables Community Foundation. “Since its inception, it has grown to come to exactly what it was supposed to do,” Mrs. Clarke said. “This is a perfect example of what a community should be.”
Her efforts have not gone unnoticed. She was named Outstanding Volunteer by Miami-Dade County Public Schools, received the Spectrum Award for Volunteerism from the American Red Cross, named one of six 2010 Women of Impact, received the prestigious Julia Award from the Women’s History Coalition of Miami-Dade County, and the “Valiant Lady” Award from the Miami Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women. A dedicated Coral Gables Garden Club member, Mrs. Clarke has worked diligently to help to preserve and restore historic sites in the community. She has also been actively involved in the Coral Gables Music Club, The Dranoff Foundation, The Villagers, Gilded Lilies, and the Coral Gables Woman’s Club. She is a past president of the UM Friends of Theater and the Coral Gables Woman’s Club, as well as a supporter of the University of Miami’s Ring Theatre, the Patrons of the Museum of Science, the PTA at Riviera Day School (which she helped form), and the Pinecrest Garden Club, where she was a founding member.
Dan Finora has worked as an Academic Advisor and friend to all students at Coral Gables Senior High School for 52 years. Currently he works as a part-time Guidance Counselor with some administrative tasks, but he has been at Gables High since 1959 in a variety of roles. He began as a Business Teacher, Coached J.V. Football, was a Tennis Coach, Business Manager of the Athletic Department, and then became the Administrator for all Business Activities at school. Although he stopped teaching officially in 1972, he ran the Athletic Department from 1963 until 2000. Officially he ‘retired’ in 2003, but began part-time work the following year.
Although he comes from Youngstown, Ohio, where he went to high school, Mr. Finora says feels like has always lived in the Gables. He served in the military for two years, attended the University of Miami from 1955-59, and then began his teaching career with three 3-month stints in 1959-60 at Coral Gables Senior High, Norland, and North Miami. When his car is not parked in front of the High School, you can probably find him at Burger Bob’s. All all-around great guy and a dedicated and integral part of our hometown high school. The Foundation is pleased to recognize his tireless enthusiasm and dedication.
Coral Gables Community Foundation Awards SCHOLARSHIPS
Coral Gables, May 16, 2011
At a ceremony at Coral Gables Senior High on Monday night, May 16th, the Coral Gables Community Foundation awarded college scholarships to four outstanding seniors:
Manuel Alexander Hartman | $3,000 Kerdyk Family Trust Scholarship
The first student from Gables High to be accepted to the Florida All-State Band in 10 years, Manuel (“Manny”) Hartman graduates with an impressive 4.4 GPA. A member of the Gables High Marching Band of Distinction all four years, Manny was 1st Clarinet, Upper Woodwind Section Leader, and Drum Major. He believes music gives people hope, brings them together, and can describe moments for which we have no words. Of Manny, Christopher Graham of New World School of the Arts writes “He has an outstanding fluid and even tone, impeccable intonation and ears, light and speedy articulation, and a musical maturity of a player 10 years his senior.” The Kerdyk Family Trust Scholarship will help Manny realize his dreams of becoming a recognized musician and sharing his joy of music with others as he studies at Carnegie Mellon University. (pictured above with members of the Kerdyk Family)
Federico Maximilian Zegers | $1,500 Lady Suzanna P. Tweed Scholarship
Gables High Class of 2011 Valedictorian Federico was awarded the Lady Suzanna P. Tweed Scholarship to help with his dream of pursuing Ph.D.s in Mathematics and Physics. A Cum Laude, Gables Scholarship, National Forensics League National Competition Qualifier, Senior of Distinction, and Silver Knight Nominee, Fernando’s years at Gables leave a legacy of honors in Mu Alpha Theta, Speech and Debate Club, and the International Baccalaureate Society. Active in the community and a volunteer (fittingly) at the Miami Science Museum and Planetarium, Federico wishes “to someday be at the forefront of mathematical and physics development.” (The Junior Orange Bowl added $500 to the $1,000 Tweed Scholarship because of the generosity and devotion to Lady Tweed and all she has done to help others.)
Steven Albert De Niccola | $1,000 Ralph V. Moore Scholarship for Cavalier Excellence
Established by Ralph V. Moore, former Gables High principal (1977 to 1993), this Scholarship is awarded annually to an outstanding senior who embodies the values of academic excellence, involvement in extracurricular activities, and service to the school and community. Steven would have made Principal Moore proud. A Senior of Distinction (National Honor Society), Silver Knight Nominee, AP Scholar, winner of the Duke Book Award, FBLA Public Speaking District winner, Pole Vaulting District & Regionals, All-Dade Nominee, and Wendy’s Heisman School Representative, Steven was also captain of the Track and Cross-Country teams, served as business manager of the self-funded School Newspaper Quill & Scroll, was involved in many different clubs including Interact and Key, active in student government, and was honored for his 10 years of participation in Boy Scouts of America. Steven hopes to participate in athletics at the college level while studying Engineering. The Ralph V. Moore Scholarship will help with his dream to “one day start my own engineering firm and work on some of the largest projects in the world, while making sure to give back to my community, which has done so much for me.” (Steven is on the far left in the photo)
Kevenique Desire Allen | $500 Grant and Bridget Daugherty Nursing Scholarship
Created by Fred and Elaine Swanson in the name of their children, this scholarship is awarded annually to a Coral Gables Senior High graduating senior who will be studying Nursing in college. Pursuing this dream, Kevenique hopes to become a Nurse Practitioner, and pursue her passion of helping others at a college close to home. Graduating with a 4.32 GPA, Kevenique’s academic record and impressive SAT scores make her a promising candidate for either of her choices: Florida Atlantic or Nova Southeastern University.
The Foundation looks forward to recognizing and helping deserving local students at the end of each academic year. Community Foundations are not subject to most of the IRS requirements placed on scholarships established by private foundations, and are, therefore, a more attractive alternative for individuals, businesses, or private foundations who want to establish a scholarship fund to help local students. Community Foundations also provide students with a central source for multiple scholarships. For more information on applying for a scholarship, call 305-446-9670, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donation of Trees To City Through PARKnership Fund
Coral Gables, April 30, 2011
The Coral Gables Community Foundation (working with Vice Mayor Bill Kerdyk and Mr. Glenn Kephart, City of Coral Gables Public Works Director) is pleased and grateful to announce a generous donation by Mr. Manuel C. Diaz of Manuel Diaz Farms of $95,000 worth of mature Bismarck Palms (pictured at right), Spindle Palms, Yellow Tabebuias, Gumbo Limbo trees, and Chinese Palms to the Foundation’s PARKnership Fund. The trees will be used by the City of Coral Gables to use to enhance the landscaping along Ponce de Leon Boulevard.
The PARKnership Fund was created to ensure that green and open public spaces in Coral Gables remain a defining characteristic of the “City Beautiful” to be enjoyed by current and future generations. An alliance between private citizens, corporate citizens, and City government, donations to PARKnership help to underwrite improvements, enhancements, and acquisitions to parks and green spaces throughout the Gables, as well as help with restoration and replacement.
Donations to PARKnership may be made through the Coral Gables Community Foundation. For more information, please call 305-446-9670, or email us at email@example.com.
Foundation Welcomes New Board Members
Coral Gables, FL | January 24, 2011
The Coral Gables Community Foundation is pleased to welcome five new members to its 2011 Board of Directors. Morton’s The Steakhouse was the site of the Foundation’s Annual Installation and Appreciation Reception where board members whose terms were ending were thanked and new members welcomed. The new board was sworn in by Mayor Don Slesnick, as well as the executive committee: Chair William A. Bonn, Treasurer Tony L. Rogers JD (Planning Consultants Group), Secretary David Evensky (Evensky & Katz Wealth Management), and Immediate Past Chair (2009 & 2010) Jerry Santeiro (Guardianship Program of Dade County, Inc.).
Our new board members are:
John R. Allen, Jr. A third-generation Miamian and a graduate of the University of Miami, John is currently Director of Business Development for Home Financing Center. John also serves as a trustee member and Ambassador of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce and the West Kendall Business Association, as a member of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Miami, and as a sustaining member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity Alumni Association.
Catherine Grieve, Esq. Catherine is of counsel to the Coral Gables law firm Rivero Mestre LLP. Her primary practice area is business litigation, focusing on shareholder and corporate governance conflicts; real estate, contract and employment disputes; and business torts. Born and raised in New York, Catherine moved to Miami in 1996 to attend the UM Law. Catherine has been a member of the Junior League of Miami, Inc. since 2003, and currently serves as legal coordinator and as a member of the Board of Directors.
Michael Harris Mike is a District Business Manager at Merck & Co., Inc., a global health care company that develops, manufactures, and markets medicines, vaccines, biologic therapies, and consumer and animal products. In his 17 years with Merck, Mike has worked in various capacities focusing primarily in sales and marketing. Mike grew up in Miami and graduated from Christopher Columbus High School and has a degree in History from the University of Florida.
Matthew Meehan Originally from Atlanta, Georgia, Matt is the owner and President at Consulting Solutions, Matt has served on the board of Sunhil’s Home, an orphanage nearRajahmundry, India, built through the vision an orphan Sunil Kumar, and with the help of the South Florida community.
Jason Neal Jason is the Government Affairs Director for the South Florida market area for Waste Management Inc. of Florida. In this position, he has been active in the Coral Gables community, participating in various organizations such as Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Actor’s Playhouse, and Coral Gables Community Foundation, and has also volunteered/contributed to multiple environmentally oriented “Think Green” projects throughout South Florida.
Board Members continuing to serve include: Sarah Nesbitt Artecona, Simon Cruz, Carlos F. Garcia CPA, City Commissioner Frank C. Quesada Esq., Aurelia A. Reinhardt, Carolina Rendeiro, Michel Rittenberg, Mary Lou Rodón-Dolara Esq., Chamber President & CEO Mark A. Trowbridge, and Marielena Villamil.
Gala Kick-Off Party set for June 16th
Coral Gables, FL | June 7, 2010
The Coral Gables Community Foundation will hold a Gala-Kick-Off Party at Gaetano’s Restaurant at the Hotel St. Michel (164 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables) on Wednesday June 16th, 6-8 PM, to announce this year’s Legacy Award Honoree, and as a “Save The Date” reminder for the annual black-tie fundraising Gala.
The theme of this year’s Gala is “J’adore Paris”, and it will be held on Friday, October 29th at the historic old Spanish gem Comber Hall (next door to the Church of the Little Flower).
The Legacy Award Honoree is Coral Gables’ own First Lady Jeannett Slesnick. The Immediate Past Chair of the Foundation, Mrs. Slesnick continues to serve on the Foundation Board, and was instrumental in the creation and funding of both the Foundation’s largest initiatives: CoralGables@HOME (a non-profit membership benefits program helping residents 50 and over remain in their homes), and GablesHomePage.com (a cooperative venture with UM’s School of Communication funded jointly by the Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation).
The Legacy Award will officially be presented to Mrs. Slesnick at the Gala in October.The Gala features a Bacardi® open bar reception, dinner and dancing, a silent auction, and for the first time this year, a Cabaret After Party.
The Foundation is seeking sponsors for the gala and the after party, donations of Items for the silent auction, ads for the gala program, and volunteers for the event. A sponsorship opportunities packet is available on the homepage at gablesfoundation.org. All proceeds of the Gala benefit initiatives of the Foundation.
RSVP for the June 16th Kick-Off Party to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 305.446.9670.
Foundation Hires New Executive Director
Coral Gables, FL | June 1, 2009
The Coral Gables Community Foundation is pleased to announce the hiring of Andria Hanley as the Foundation’s new Executive Director. Originally from Albany, New York and a graduate of Russell Sage College, Andria earned her graduate degree from the University of Miami. A resident of Coral Gables and a Past President (2005-06) of the Junior League of Miami, Inc., Andria has experience in marketing and recruitment from her 10 years with the University of Miami.
Currently serving on the Beaux Arts Board of Directors, Andria joins the Foundation at the start of a new era of growth. We look forward to Andria’s help in raising the visibility of the Foundation and increasing our membership. The Foundation will soon unveil a new website, is participating in Facebook (click here to join our Group), and holding more member events than ever before under her leadership. Plans are already underway for the Foundation’s major annual fundraising event, to be held in October. The Foundation welcomes Andria Hanley, and welcomes anyone who is interested in participating with us this year.
About Coral Gables Community Foundation
The mission of the Coral Gables Community Foundation (a non-profit 501(c)3 charitable organization) is to foster programs and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for people living and working in Coral Gables.
For more information contact Andria Hanley, Executive Director, Coral Gables Community Foundation, at 305-446-9670.
Announcing the Addition of Two New Board Members
Coral Gables, FL | November 24, 2008
The Coral Gables Community Foundation is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors:
Aurelia A. “Aura” Reinhardt and W. Allen Morris.
Aura Reinhardt is the Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations at Bacardi U.S.A., Inc. She is also a member of COPE-Council of Protocol Executives, as well as a member of the Board of Governors at Aiglon College in Switzerland.
Reinhardt came to Miami from New York City where she was the Vice President of Communications at Moet Hennessy USA. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts, and studied at Aiglon College in Villars, Switzerland.
Reinhardt is fluent in three languages: English, Spanish, and Italian.
Allen Morris is the Chairman, President and CEO of The Allen Morris Company, one of the largest diversified real estate firms in the Southeast. He is an officer and director of more than 30 real estate corporations.
Morris is a Certified Property Manager, a member of the Society of Industrial and Office Realtors, the American Society of Real Estate Counselors, and Past President of the Florida Certified Commercial Investment Member Chapter. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Greater Miami Board of Realtors and the International Real Estate Federation.
Included on the list of his many civic affiliations, Morris is a lifetime member of the Orange Bowl Committee, a Trustee of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, a member of the Two Hundred Club of Greater Miami, a Trustee of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Senior Active Member of the Miami Rotary Club, and a Past Director of the National Board for the Boy’s Clubs of America.
He has also published many articles on commercial real estate, as well as the book, A Critical Look at Christianity.
Morris received a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology, and is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program.
Barbara Corcoran tells The TODAY Show . . .
Coral Gables is one the best cities to retire in!