Branches’ 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner

Benefiting Branches’ Summer Shade Camp

Award Honorees Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. and Marile Lopez; Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell

Branches, a local non-profit dedicated to providing life-changing opportunities to working families and their children, celebrated its 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner and Auction at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. More than 500 guests attended the event and helped raise over $400,000 for Branches’ programs focused on long-term personal success.

“Almost 60% of families in our community are struggling to make ends meet. Branches serves to create opportunities for these children and families to break the cycle of generational poverty and succeed in school, become more financially stable, and attain a high quality of life. With generous support from individuals, church and corporate partners, we are making an impact for thousands of our neighbors in need”, says Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director of Branches.

The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and an extensive silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing, as well as an appeal and an exciting live auction. A few of the notable auction items include a private Bahama Island home stay, a Seaplane Flight & Lunch in the Keys, a VIP Shopping Experience, a Blimp Ride, and more. Master of Ceremonies and Zoo Miami Ambassador Ron Magill, and auctioneer and Branches’ board member Scott Howard led the evening’s program and auction.

The benefit dinner also included the presentation of the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award to distinguished and generous community power couple, Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. The video honoring them may be viewed here:

Lee Lennon and Luis Amarillo De Freitas, Benefit Dinner Chairs Victoria
and Jason Randolph

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the benefit dinner’s appeal will support Branches’ Summer Shade Camp. The seven-week long Summer Shade day camp serves more than 400 Branches children and provides employment for more than 30 of Branches youth to serve as Summer Guides or camp counselors. A Challenge Grant provided by generous Miami philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell also matched the evening appeal contributions dollar-for-dollar.

The 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans is made possible thanks to countless volunteers, many of whom have taken a leadership role in planning this annual event. Victoria and Jason Randolph chaired the Gala along with Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell.

Premiere and corporate sponsors of the event included the Himan Brown Charitable Trust, Sandy and Rodney Bell, FIU Foundation, Inc., BB&T, Victoria & Jason Randolph as well as Aetna, Amicon, Center State Bank, City National Bank, Crowe LLP, JP Morgan Chase, Missy and Jim Morgan, Property Markets Group, Publix, The Tonkinson Foundation and more.