“Be A Voice, Take A Stand” Gala

Benefiting Voices for Children

Nelson Hincapie, Commissioner Carlos Gimenez and Stephen Owens

Voices For Children Foundation, the fundraising arm of the 11th Judicial Circuit Guardian ad Litem Program, celebrated its 2011 “Be A Voice, Take A Stand” Gala, at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami. More than 400 of the community’s most influential members paid tribute to longtime supporters Mandarin Oriental, Miami and Swire Properties as they were honored for their 10-year commitment and outstanding fundraising efforts, which have generated approximately $2.7 million in revenue and in-kind support for the foundation. South Florida’s own Channel 4 News Anchors, Shannon Hori and Elliot Rodriguez, served as the evening’s Mistress of Ceremony and Live Auctioneer, respectively.

Nelson F. Hincapie, President & CEO of Voices For Children Foundation, announced to the guests, “Steve Owens, President of Swire Properties, and Jorge Gonzalez, Area Vice President and General Manager of Mandarin Oriental, Miami, committed to continuing supporting Voices For Children, and challenged the corporate leaders in the room to follow their lead and commit to support Voices For Children. We couldn’t have asked for a better confirmation of their unwavering support to Voices For Children.” Staying true to its commitment, Jorge Gonzalez spontaneously announced the hotel would cover the cost for the evening’s dinner, drinks and valet for the more than 400 guests in attendance.

Yolanda Berkowitz, Nicole McGillis-Morejon and Shannon Hori

Guests browsed an array of exciting silent auction items as they enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and cigars presented by Padron Cigars. Represented were luxury brands like Prada, Oscar de la Renta, and Valentino, as well as goods and experiences donated by Neiman Marcus, South Beach Wine & Food Festival and the Miami HEAT, to name a few. Guests also had the opportunity to join the Angel Society, one of Voices’ annual giving programs, which included a drawing for a stunning Harry Winston Men’s Rose Gold Excenter Wristwatch. valued at $19,000, or two tickets to the Marc Jacobs New York runway show, complete with airfare and accommodations. During the live auction, a Cathay Pacific Airways package, including accommodations at Mandarin Oriental properties in Hong Kong, Macau and Bangkok, got everyone’s attention.

Dinner was enhanced by a special performance of one of the Miami City Ballet’s biggest hits and audience favorites, “Nine Sinatra Songs,” choreographed by Twyla Tharp, set to popular Fank Sinatra music and featuring costumes by famed fashion designer Oscar de la Renta.

A number of notable community leaders were in attendance, including Her Royal Highness Princess Thi-Nga of Vietnam; Consul General of the Federal Republic of Germany to Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands Eva Alexandra Countess Kendeffy; State Senator Rene Garcia; County Commissioners Carlos Gimenez and Sally Heyman; City of Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado; Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina; Honorable Judge Cindy Lederman; world-renowned artist Romero Britto; luxury footwear designer Donald J. Pliner and wife Lisa; Big 105.9’s “Paul and Young Ron Show” host Paul Castronovo; Telemotions Production owner, producer and host Maria Elvira Salazar, and others.

Stephen Owens, Eva Alexandra Countess Kendeffy, S.A.R Princess Thi-Nga and Jorge Gonzalez

Chandra Iglesias-Balsera and Vince Castro served as Gala co-chairs, along with committee members Yolanda Berkowitz, Michael Block, Mily de Molina, Sarah Harrelson, Hans C. Mueller, Angela Maria Rizzi, Michael N. Rosenberg, D.D.S., Diane Rosenberg, Lolo Sudarsky, Beth Tasca, Leslie Wolfson, Province (Boo) Zamek and Judy Zeder.

Sponsors included Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida; Cathay Pacific Airways; Jeff and Yolanda Berkowitz; Dior; Florida Power & Light; Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Miami Dolphins Foundation; Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.; and Waste Services of Florida, Inc.