Benefit Cruise Most Successful In Camillus House and United Way’s History

Dr. Paul Ahr, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez, Bob Dickinson, Harve Mogul

Carnival Cruise Lines’ newest Fun Ship, Carnival Freedom, played host to two of Miami’s most distinguished charities – Camillus House and United Way of Miami-Dade – for an overnight cruise themed “Guayaberas and Good Times.” The sold-out event was the most successful fundraiser in the history of both organizations, raising $2,376,503 for the community.

“This year’s Mayor’s Ball surpassed our expectations because of the generosity of our residents and donors. I want to thank all of the staff and volunteers who worked tirelessly to make this Mayor’s Ball the most successful in our history,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez said. “A special thanks to the Carnival family for making our voyage aboard the Carnival Freedom an unforgettable experience.”

The Carnival Freedom set sail from the Port of Miami on Friday, November 16, 2007 with more than 2,800 community supporters, who participated in two events held that same night: Camillus House’s 8th Annual Hope for All Ball and United Way’s 10th Annual Mayor’s Ball, co-hosted by Mayor Alvarez. Underwritten by Carnival Cruise Lines, all funds raised through these events, including all casino proceeds, will improve people’s lives and strengthening the community through United Way and Camillus House.

Event co-chair Bunny Bastian and honorary co-chair Brenda Nestor Castellano

“Two great and well respected charitable organizations have come together under the hospitality of Bob Dickinson and Carnival Cruise Lines to celebrate and promote their positive works in the Miami community. It is fitting that we gather on this beautiful ship, the Carnival Freedom, which is a reminder that what Camillus House and the United Way do every day is to advance the freedom – that is the positive enjoyment of social, political, or economic rights and privileges; the power of choice – of our neighbors in everything that we do,” Dr. Paul R. Ahr, President & CEO, Camillus House, said.

Courtney Parmeter, Kate Callahan and Jodi Dickinson

“We cannot thank Carnival enough for its incredible generosity and kindness, year after year,” Harve A. Mogul, President and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said. “This extraordinary contribution allows us to touch many more lives and create substantial changes all around us. Together we can ensure all children start school ready and eager to learn, and that low-income families get the skills they need to become self-sufficient.”

Once onboard the Carnival Freedom, guests enjoyed a silent auction, unlimited cocktails, fine dining, Las Vegas-style entertainment, live music, dancing and plenty of casino action. The ship returned to port the following morning.

The Carnival Freedom debuted in Europe on March 5, 2007. The ship features an interior design theme that takes guests on a journey through the centuries by decade. From ancient Babylonia to the heyday of disco, from the 19th-century Victorian era to the contemporary style of the 1990s, guests will be transported through time. Carnival Freedom can accommodate up to 3,700 guests, and boasts no fewer than 22 bars and lounges.

Paul and Swanee DiMare

Camillus House’s 8th Annual Hope for All Ball and United Way’s 10th Annual Mayor’s Ball was hosted by Carnival’s Bob Dickinson and his wife Jodi, along with Mayor Alvarez. Bunny Bastian and Tere Blanca of Cushman & Wakefield were the event co-chairs. This year’s honorary chairs were Swanee and Paul DiMare, DiMare Homestead, Inc., and Brenda Nestor and Robert Castellano. Committee members include Pablo Acosta; Tom Armstrong, SeaMiles; Alberto Cosio, Bernstein Global Wealth Management; Bill Johnson, Port of Miami; Ed Joyce, Northern Trust; Jorge Luis Lopez; Alfredo Mesa, Dutko Worldwide; Denis Morales, Miami-Dade County; Natacha Munilla, Thunder Electric; Loretta and Raul Nunez; Livia Casele and Aristides Pallin, Miami Children’s Hospital; Kim Palmer, Merrill Lynch; Luis Perez, Hogan & Hartson, LLP; Norma and Luis Quintero, Genesis International/Social Affairs Magazine; and Hydi Webb, Port of Miami.

Miguel and Nelly Farra and Conchi and Tony Argiz

Top sponsors of the event were OceanBank and SeaMiles. They were joined by Morrison Brown Argiz & Farra at the $75,000 level and Miccosukee Resort and Gaming, the event’s casino sponsor, at the $65,000 level. Barclay Card US, Jodi and Bob Dickinson, Fairholme, Lennar, Williamson Cadillac/Hummer, Brenda Nestor Castellano – Weston Windmill Reserve were $50,000 sponsors.

Serving the South Florida community since 1960, Camillus House is a nonprofit organization that provides humanitarian services to men, women and children who are poor and homeless. Camillus House offers a full continuum of services that includes food, shelter, housing, rehabilitative treatment, and health care, in an effort to end poverty in Miami-Dade. Each service is carried out with the deeply held belief that every human being deserves love, respect and an opportunity to live a dignified life. For more information, go to

Mercedes and David Carlson

United Way of Miami-Dade is focused on bringing the community together to focus on four key goals: helping kids and families lead successful lives, improving health and independence, responding to emergency and basic needs and encouraging neighborhood and civic involvement. By strategically investing in quality programs, building partnerships, advocating for better policies, engaging people in the community and leveraging resources, United Way is dedicated to improving lives and creating lasting change in the community. For more information log onto

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