The Foundation for New Educaiton Initiatives’ LOVE OF LEARNING Gala
For the organizaiton's 5th annual event, Miami’s leadership continues to demonstrate the power of giving
Over 500 of Miami’s most influential business and philanthropic leaders stepped up to the plate once again to help Miami’s underprivileged students transcend homelessness, attend college, bridge the technology gap, and attend cultural events, at the fifth annual For the Love of Learning Gala, benefitting Miami-Dade County Public Schools through the Foundation for New Education Initiatives.
The Gala’s generous donors and sponsors were greeted by Co-Chairs Maria & Alberto M. Carvalho, Superintendent of Schools, and Trish & Dan Bell. Their successful venture raises money annually to provide the “extras” that round out the educational experience for the school district’s 350,000 students, many of whom live at or below the poverty line. Gala funds help support the Cultural Passport program, students’ ticket to the opera, the theater, art museums, concerts and other cultural experiences they may not otherwise be able to access. Some of Miami-Dade’s most deserving public school students receive laptop computers and other technological devices that help them get a leg up on their schoolwork and shine in the eyes of college recruiters, who just might be offering them a scholarship for their higher learning. Or, those lucky students might qualify for one of the Foundation’s scholarships that the Gala also funds.
The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception where guests were entertained by the CAP All-Star Jazz Ensemble, a group consisting of Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) high school students. Later, WPLG Local 10 News Anchor, Louis Aguirre, welcomed guests and introduced the Miami Arts Studio 6-12 @ Zelda Glazer Vocal Group, who sang the Star-Spangled Banner, and who then asked M-DCPS Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2020 Honoree, Sam Moore, to join them in singing America the Beautiful. Sam and the Students serenaded a delighted audience.
Louis invited guests to join in paying tribute to the entire Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2020: Barry Jenkins, film director, producer and screenwriter; Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books, founder of the Miami Book Fair, publisher, and movie producer; Tarell Alvin McCraney, playwright and actor; Sam Moore, singer, songwriter, and musician; Stephen M. Ross, entrepreneur and principal owner of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. These five great Miamians were also honored in an induction ceremony earlier in the week.
The Rev. Dr. Laurinda Hafner, Senior Pastor at Coral Gables United Church of Christ, then led the blessing before the meal. Afterwards, guests were treated to an outstanding dance performance by the Coral Gables Senior High School Dance Team.
As guests enjoyed dinner, gala co-hosts and Silver Sponsors Trish and Dan Bell were welcomed to the stage with a warm round of applause. Trish introduced co-host and Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, who thanked the elegant crowd for attending. He touched on the needs within the District, the ways in which the Foundation (FNEI) is helping to fill them, and how M-DCPS and FNEI cannot do it alone. Rather, he said, it requires the caring and support of the likes of the community and business leaders in attendance.
Louis returned to the stage, and invited Ann de las Pozas, the Foundation’s Executive Director to join him. Ann called the crowd to action to donate funding for the benefit of the public schools students and schools. The call was greeted with enthusiasm, generous individuals texted and donated. Champagne toasts were made, Louis thanked everyone and invited them to dance and enjoy themselves, and they did, as the Miami Arts Studio @ Zelda Glazer Vocal Group sang Sam Moore’s “Hold on, I’m Comin.”