Branches 18th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans REIMAGINED Gala

Hundreds of guests helped raise over $400,000 for programs focused on long-term success.

On Thursday, April 29th at 7pm, Branches, a local nonprofit dedicated to providing life-changing opportunities to working families and their children, celebrated its 18th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans REIMAGINED Virtual Gala and Online Auction. Hundreds of guests tuned in to watch the show and helped raise over $400,000 for Branches’ programs focused on long-term success. 

Ron Magill of Zoo Miami, MC of the Branches Virtual Gala
Victoria & Jason Randolph, Gala Chairs, pictured with their children
Trish & Dan Bell, Philanthropic Chairs

This year’s Gala was virtual and was made possible thanks to Gala Chairs Victoria and Jason Randolph, MC Ron Magill and Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell who committed to a Matching Grant of sponsorships and donations towards the Gala. The event featured an interactive chocolate tasting led by Chef Nicole Patel of Delysia Chocolatier, a presentation by one of Branches’ college students Samantha Romain, as well as two beautiful arrangements sang by 3 sisters of the Branches Florida City Choir. In addition, Branches’ Online Auction went live the evening of the Gala and was open for bidding until Friday, May 14th.  If you missed the deadline, you may still click on Shop Branches and buy some fun items handmade by Branches students.

Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director of Branches
Yaneslet, Yarennis & Jessica: three sisters who are members of the Branches Choir
Kim Torres, Director of Student Services
Samantha Romain, Branches college student
Ron Magill showing off his Delysia chocolates
Chef Nicole Patel of Delysia Chocolatier

Premiere sponsors of the event included Shining Star Sponsor, The Himan Brown Charitable Trust, as well as Platinum Sponsor, Truist. Gold Sponsors included Rodney H. Bell, Kathy & Scott Howard, Missy & Jim Morgan, Victoria & Jason Randolph, The Huizenga Family Foundation and The Tonkinson Foundation. Bronze Sponsors included Tomy & Jack Edwards, Kathy & Bob Kowalski, Ray Rosario Jr. & Rodney Little Jr., Darrell Windle & Dave Samber, Aetna, Bilzin Sumberg, Florida Power & Light, City National Bank, Publix, Crowe LLP, JP Morgan Chase and IBERIABANK / First Horizon. A special thank you goes out to all our sponsors, including our Patron Sponsors and many individual donors as well for making the Branches Virtual Gala a huge success.

Branches kids sharing their smiles
Homework time at Branches
Recreational time at Branches
Providing VITA tax preparation at Branches

In April 2020, Branches was forced to cancel its 17th Annual Gala just weeks before it was supposed to take place due to COVID-19. Fortunately, Branches’ many supporters helped make the non-event a success to raise resources during a very difficult time for this community. Since the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the Miami community, Branches has been working tirelessly to serve our children & families. They ramped up their meal service and to date have provided over 29,000 grab-and-go meals for our children and families. Within 24 hours of the schools closing last March, Branches’ Grow & Climb student services team began connecting with children, youth and families via phone calls, text messages and Zoom meetings. Socially distanced on-site services resumed in August. The Achieve team is providing virtual financial wellness services through financial coaching, small business and emergency assistance. The Achieve staff has provided over 4,800 virtual financial wellness sessions and has provided over 1,280 small businesses with business coaching services.

Kim Torres welcoming students to Branches Florida City
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