Doing God’s Work
Bunny Bastian: Jubilee Gala Chairwoman
This week, SocialMiami sat down with renowned philanthropist, Bunny Bastian, at her extraordinary Coral Gables home to learn more about the character and depth of this fascinating woman.
Bunny showed us a DVD of last year’s Catholic Charities gala, where she was honored with the Monsignor Bryan O. Walsh Award. In a touching scene, her eight grandchildren say in unison, “Grandma, we love you.” Moved by the memory, her eyes watered.
First and foremost, Bunny is a family person whose life revolves around her four children and eight grandchildren. In fact, eight statues depicting her grandchildren at play are displayed on her property, which includes a private beach. Bunny also built a stage in her media room for her grandchildren to perform. Indeed, she is passionate about her family.
Bunny is also passionate about religion. Raised in a Catholic home, she follows the canons of the religion and attends Mass at Church of the Epiphany every morning. Her four children were adopted through Catholic Charities.
This year she is serving as chairwoman of the Jubilee Gala, a very exciting event since it celebrates 50 years of the Archdiocese of Miami. It will also be the first gala held in the newly renovated Fontainebleau. Before Bunny agreed on the venue, she went on a hardhat tour of the facility and was thrilled with what she saw. The gala will raise funds for Catholic Charities and Catholic Health Services to help people of all ages and all walks of life.
Bunny was born in Washington, D.C., and lived there until 1984. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree and a law degree from George Washington University and was admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and Virginia. She married a fellow law student, the late James Bastian. The couple owned Southern Air Transport and traveled extensively. From Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa, to Papua New Guinea and even Alaska, their business took them throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, and the Americas.
Bunny has been involved in many Miami organizations. People who know her well will tell you that Bunny is an example of someone who does God’s work here on earth; and her generosity to the needy is legendary. She has been active in her parish as an officer in the Epiphany Catholic Women’s Club, and serves as a member of the Tiffany Circle Steering Committee and as a trustee for the American Red Cross of Greater Miami and the Keys and on the Board of Directors of the Jackson Memorial Foundation, where she is vice chairman of the Golden Angels and recipient of their Rainmaker Award.
Bunny also serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, a member of the Brickell Avenue Literary Society, the University of Miami Dade County Women’s Guild, the Director’s Circle of the Lowe Art Museum, an Honorary Member of Beaux Arts, and a member of the Fellows Program of Fairchild Tropical Gardens, where she was the co-chair of the 2008 Fairchild gala. She was the Chairman of the 2007 Children’s Home Society Pink & Blue Ball and co-chair of the 2007 Hope for All Ball to benefit Camillus House and the Tenth Annual Mayor’s Ball to benefit United Way of Miami-Dade.
She has been honored as a March of Dimes Leading Lady; an Excalibur Lady Godiva of Project: New Born; a 2007 Woman of Substance & Style by the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis; the Blue Cross Blue Shield Philanthropy Award at the 2008 Red Cross Sara Hopkins Woodruff Spectrum Awards for Women; and, most recently, Bunny was named a Trustee of the United Way.
“Bunny is a class act,” says longtime friend Pat Wallace. “She is understated, charming, delightful, compassionate and a wonderful friend. The world would be a much better place if we had more Bunny Bastians.”