12th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Dinner and Auction

Benefiting Branches

Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director; Trish and Dan Bell, Philanthropic Chairs and Honorees; Laurie Zapletal and Marielena Villamil, Benefit Dinner Co-Chairs

Branches celebrated its 12th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans benefit dinner and auction at the Trump National Doral in the beautiful Donald J. Trump Ballroom. Over 400 guests attended and helped to raise over $350,000 for Branches’ programs which provide services and life-changing opportunities to low-income children, youth and families focused on long-term success.

The event was co-chaired by Gala Chairs Mrs. Marielena Villamil and Ms. Laurie Zapletal and kicked off with a cocktail reception and a silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing, as well as an appeal and an exciting live auction, led by MC and Auctioneer Mr. Mark Trowbridge. The event also honored Trish and Dan Bell for their long-time and generous support of Branches, featuring the 1st Annual Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award. All proceeds from the appeal of that evening will support Branches’ Summer Shade Camp and all donations will be doubled since they are matched dollar-for-dollar by a generous Challenge Grant provided by Trish and Dan Bell. The event was capped off with an incredible surprise from The Batchelor Foundation which presented Branches with a $50,000 check at the end of the evening.

Tony Villamil and Dinner Co-Chair Marielena Villamil; Christina Bonarrigo; TJ Villamil; and Mark Trowbridge, Emcee and Auctioneer

Branches’ Executive Director, Brent McLaughlin, was extremely pleased with this year’s benefit dinner and states, “This event has become an important way for Branches to engage our community and build momentum to fulfill our mission. I am grateful to our co-chairs and sponsors for their commitment to Branches. This year in particular we were excited to recognize the Bells for their philanthropic leadership and the many ways they are compassionately making a difference.”

Premiere Sponsors included: Trish & Dan Bell, The Batchelor Foundation, BB&T, Norwegian Cruise Line, Sandy & Rodney Bell, Wells Fargo, Aetna, BBVA Compass Bank, Bilzin Sumberg, City National Bank, Homestead Hospital, JP Morgan Chase, Pacific National Bank, Ron Book P.A. & Lauren’s Kids, SunTrust and the Washington Economics Group.

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