Established in September 1991 by community leaders, the Coral Gables Community Foundation, through its discretionary, donor-advised and scholarship funds has helped youth, the elderly and persons with disabilities. The Foundation has provided dental care for needy children, sponsored cultural activities in the community, awarded academic, dance and music scholarships, as well as offered seminars to educate the public on important health, finance and estate-planning issues, awarding over $4 million to worthy causes.
The Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce played a key role in establishing the Foundation. The Foundation would like to recognize the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, as well as the following community leaders involved in the creation of the organization, for their leadership and support throughout the years: Kent Abney, Donna Abood, Jim Barker, Bob Bauchman, Jeanne Becker, Willy Bermello, Tom Bovee, Tom Bradley, Gabe Bustamante, David Case, Tom Chegin, Terry Claus, Leona Cooper, Denny Fast, Michael Fong, Gail Goggin, Willie Gonzalez, Seth Gordon, Mort Guilford, Allan Heard, Roberta Hulce, Joel Karp, Bill Kerdyk, Jr., Michael Lewis, David Lieberman, Kay Little, Elliott Lowenstein, Derek Lyth, Steve Magenheimer, Lolita Manchero, Lee Mandell, Victoria Mendero, Ralph Moore, Mel Morganstern, Janelle Patty, Georgian Prats, Ron Robinson, Neil Rollnick, David Rowe, Laura Russo, Jerry Santeiro, Ron Shuffield, Walt Stanton, Karl Steene, Ron Stone, Cathy Swanson, Bud Thompson, Bon Trescott, Eileen Vargas, Guillermo Villar, Ellen Wacher, Dorothy Weaver and David Wind.
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, the mission of the Coral Gables Community Foundation is to foster programs and initiatives that enhance the quality of life for people living and working in Coral Gables, “The City Beautiful.”
Your support and donations represent a sound investment in giving back to your community. We hope that you will contribute and experience the power and impact of creative philanthropy through the Coral Gables Community Foundation.
Council of Past Chairs
William A. “Bill” Bonn, Esq. (2011, 2012)
Jerry Santeiro* (2009, 2010)
Jeannett Black Slesnick (2008)
Howard Glicken (2007)
J. Thomas “Tom” Cookson (2006)
Yolanda “Yoli” Woodbridge (2005)
William P. “Bill” Murphy (2004)
Henry O. “Hank” Langston (2003)
Mary M. Young (2002)
The Hon. George M. Corrigan (2001)
José A. Calvo* (1999, 2000)
The Hon. Donald D. “Don” Slesnick II (1997, 1998)
Ronald A. “Ron” Shuffield (1996)
John P. Fullerton (1995)
Willy A. Bermello (1992, 1993, 1994)
Coral Gables Community Foundation Highlights Through the Years
August 1991 – Established as the Greater South Florida Charitable and Educational Foundation.
September 1991 – The name of the organization was changed to the Coral Gables Foundation.
1992 – Willy A. Bermello began his three-year term as the organization’s first Chairman. First grants were awarded to the Coral Gables Symphony Orchestra & Opera, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and the Coral Gables Garden Club. The Foundation’s first scholarship – the Ralph V. Moore Scholarship for Cavalier Excellence – was created by the former Coral Gables Senior High School Principal, and awarded to graduating seniors who demonstrated a commitment to serving their community. This scholarship is still awarded annually by the Foundation.
1993 – First annual fundraiser was held, the Potpourri Auction Extravaganza, at the Biltmore Hotel.
1994 – The Foundation hired its first Executive Director, Gloria Burns.
1995 – On June 15, 1995, the Foundation’s Board voted to change the name of the Foundation to the Coral Gables Community Foundation in order to better describe its purpose, and to distinguish it from private foundations. John P. Fullerton served as Foundation Chair.
1996 – Ronald A. “Ron” Shuffield served as Foundation Chair.
1997 – Then Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick served as Chair for a two-year term. The PARKnership Fund was established by Bill Kerdyk, Jr. as a public/private partnership to renovate parks and support green space in the City. The Foundation held its fifth annual fundraiser and its first Gala – Merrick’s Dream Ball – at the Biltmore Hotel.
1998 – The Foundation received a generous donation to its unrestricted fund from The Calvin and Flavia Oak Foundation. Robert and Marian Fewell donated a .75 acre plot on the SE corner of Coral Way and Granada Boulevard. From this unprecedented gift, Fewell Park was created in their honor.
1999 –Jose Calvo served as Foundation Chair from 1999-2000 while also serving as the first Chair of the Coral Gables Museum Board. Lady Suzanna Tweed passed away on May 25, 1999, with her legacy living on through her scholarship fund, administered by the Foundation, for Coral Gables Senior High School students.
2000 –Albert H. Friedman, “Mr. Miracle Mile” and founding Board member passed away in February at the age of 99. The Albert H. Friedman “Miracle Mile Merchant Award” Fund was created in his honor for outstanding Coral Gables merchants.
2001 – The Hon. George M. Corrigan began serving as Chair. The PARKnership Fund donated funds for new walkways and landscaping for Coral Gables Senior High’s 50th Anniversary. A 1920s-themed Picnic in the Park was held to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the City of Coral Gables.
2002 – Mary Young served as Foundation Chair for this year. The Foundation continued to receive support from The Calvin and Flavia Oak Foundation ($60,000 over the past six years).
2003 –Henry O. “Hank” Langston served as Foundation Chair. The PARKnership Fund began the “Adopt A Fountain” campaign, through which it was able to complete the restoration of four fountains at Granada Blvd. and Coral Way.
2004 –William P. “Bill” Murphy served as Foundation Chair. John Martin’s Irish Pub & Restaurant donated $5,000 from its St. Patrick’s Day Festival to The PARKnership Fund. The Foundation made a donation toward renovations for the grand re-opening of George Merrick’s historic home, “The Merrick House.”
2006 -J. Thomas “Tom” Cookson served as Foundation Chair. In the summer, an anonymous donor bequeathed two gifts in excess of $250,000 to the Foundation and to Camillus House. The Coral Gables Museum’s official groundbreaking was held on September 20th of this year.
2007 – The Foundation, under the leadership of Howard Glicken of The Americas Group as Chair, developed the “Greening of the Gables” initiative to restore the Gables’ tree canopy ravaged by hurricanes.
2008 – Jeannett Slesnick began her term as Chair in the Foundation’s new office space at 3001 Ponce de Leon Blvd (the Foundation’s current home).
2009 – The Foundation swore in a new Chair, Jerry Santeiro for a two-year term, and a new Executive Director, Andria Hanley. The PARKnership Fund provided seed funding for the Waterway Renaissance Project to refurbish bridges in Coral Gables.
2010 – The first annual Tour of Kitchens and Mad Hatter events both took place in this year. The Coral Gables Museum opened its doors to the community on October 10th at 10:10 AM to celebrate the completion of the building and renovations to its home at 285 Aragon.
2011 – William A. “Bill” Bonn, Esq. began his two-year term as Foundation Chair. Manuel C. Diaz of Manuel Diaz Farms donated more than $95K worth of trees to The PARKnership Fund. The City Commission accepted the donation on April 26th, 2011.
2012 – The Ponce Society of Young Professionals was founded.
2013 – Carlos F. Garcia began his two-year term as Foundation Chair. Past Chair Jerry Santeiro sadly passed away in September of 2013. The Board of Directors established the Jerry Santeiro Community Fund in his honor. The first annual Merrick Society Reception was held in 2013. The Merrick Society was established to preserve key philanthropic activities in Coral Gables. Robert and Marian Fewell became lifetime members of the Merrick Society for their $100,000 contribution to the Foundation.
2014 – Mary Snow began her tenure as Executive Director.