12th Annual Gala at the Mandarin Oriental
Benefiting Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program
The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program celebrated its 12th-annual gala, with nearly 500 of Miami’s leading philanthropists and celebrities in attendance. Founders Jennifer Valoppi and Don Browne, along with Gala Chair Marisa Toccin and Co-Vice President, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, helped celebrate the organizations 12th Annual Gala and 17th year of mentoring as they raised a record breaking $700,000 for its South Florida headquartered program.
Guests were elated when South Florida businessman Chaim Katzman stood up and offered to match the $70,000 in scholarships that had just been donated, in honor of his wife Dr. Shulamit Katzman – making the scholarship auction the most successful to date. Dr. Katzman had just received an award as Mentor of the Year, along with her co-mentor Eileen Winkler Youtie. Dr. Katzman and Ms. Youtie have mentored close to 100 at-risk girls during their 7 years of mentoring at Michael Krop High School through the Women of Tomorrow Program. During the award presentation, Jennifer Valoppi commented on how several girls had told her of the life-changing effects the two mentors had had on them.
The evening began at 7 p.m. with a lavish cocktail reception featuring hors d’oeuvre stations created by Mandarin Oriental executive chef, as well as the anticipated silent auction of more than 100 premiere items from top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands. Big-ticket items included a donation from Miami HEAT President Pat Riley of a Miami HEAT Experience, a KAUFMAN FRANCO Spring 2013 Collection dress courtesy of KAUFMANFRANCO, a 2 Year Lease on a 2013 Jaguar XK Convertible Touring courtesy of THE COLLECTION, a $5,000 Gift Certificate courtesy of Neiman Marcus, and a $5,000 Gift Certificate courtesy of Oscar de la Renta.
Following the cocktail reception, guests took their seats in the ballroom and were treated to a performance by South Florida’s Soul Survivors while guests enjoyed an inspired four-course dinner, which included a Six-Hour Braised Beef Short Rib Osso Bucco paired with Local Jumbo Prawns, Velvety Tarragon and Lemon Beurre Blanc Emulsion; Ile de France Brie atop Granny Smith Green Apple; and Bourbon-Madagascar Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae Martini.
In attendance were the evening’s distinguished honorees: Honorary Chairman Ken Gorin; Legacy Builder Honorees Roe & Penny Stamps; Empowerment Award Honoree Laurie Silvers; Excellence Honoree Nora Bulnes & Selecta Magazine; Leadership Award Honoree Dr. Barth Green; and Mentors of the Year Eileen Youtie and Dr. Shulamit Katzman.
VIPs in attendance, who helped raise more than $700,000, were Chris and Pat Riley, Telemundo Anchor Jose Diaz-Balart, WPLG anchor Neki Mohan CBS 4 anchor Shannon Hori, NBC6 anchor Trina Robinson, John “Footy” Kross, Michael and Maggie Rodriguez, Telemundo stars Catherine Siachoque, Miguel Varoni, and Mariana Rodriguez, Tara Solomon and Nick D’Annunzio, Elizabeth Beracasa, Lola Jacobson, Swanee and Paul DiMare, Ferne and Daniel Toccin, Frances Sevilla-Sacasa, Alison Zhuk, David Efron, Mariita Srebnick, George Feldenkreis, Dr. Diane Walder, Dr. Krista and Paul Rosenberg, Carol and Marc Iacovelli, Robyn Perlman, Lauren and Charles Fernandez, Leslie Lott and Michael Moore, Cindy Dana and Jason Wells, Kristin & Chapman Ducote, and Dr. Mark & Millinda Sinnreich, Aymee & Peter Zubizarreta, Jamie Byington, Maria Browne and Christian de Berdouare.
Photos by Claude Zick, Manny Hernandez and World Red Eye