Patricia Wallace: A Real Angel

Who better to profile on Mother’s Day than Pat Wallace, chairlady and founder of the Golden Angels of Jackson Memorial Foundation? Yes, she is a mother of two sons, Mark and Hardy, who have achieved amazing heights in their careers, but she is uncomfortable talking about their success. Not talking about family is something she learned from her mother. “Very good advice,” she says. “The older I get, the more I realize how smart my mother was.”

Milton and Pat Wallace

Golden Angels are like the surrogate mothers of Jackson Memorial Foundation. They are generous, supportive, caring, nurturing, loving, and always there in time of need; no questions asked. Since the inception of this group, they have raised funds to help heal countless numbers of people and created numerous cutting-edge projects – all with one goal: creating a facility that can give the best health care to residents of Miami-Dade County.

Pat Wallace founded the Golden Angels in her living room almost 10 years ago. Since then more than 300 people have joined at a minimum donation of $50,000 to donations of $5 million and more – an incredible amount of money.

Many people know about Jackson, but don’t know that the Foundation is the powerhouse behind the hospital and responsible for keeping Jackson a world-class facility. Last year alone, they raised $10 million in donations and $8 million in grants and the goal is to double that amount this year.

If you are fortunate in this life, you should give back to the community – a lesson that was instilled in Pat by her philanthropic family. “You have to elect where you put your money,” says Pat, who gives to numerous charities and art groups. Her heart, however, lies with Jackson. In addition to being a Golden Angel and sitting on the Jackson Board for 12 years, Pat created the prestigious Rainmaker Award, which is presented yearly to people who have made an enormous impact at UM/Jackson Memorial Medical Center.

Part of the reason for her commitment to the Jackson Foundation is her allegiance to the University of Miami. Her father, a well known physician, was a graduate of the University. She was a graduate as well, as was her sister and husband Milton, a leading attorney, and her two children. She understands the importance of having a world class hospital right in her backyard, not only to serve the indigent but to be there for her family and friends. “We can’t be a world-class city without a world-class hospital,” she says.

Pat is not interested in personal publicity – although she says this is the time of personal promotion and self aggrandizement in the charity world. She also calls this current period The Golden Age of Philanthropy. “Way back, when we started asking for money, a $50,000 donation was unheard of,” she says. “Now is a time of great prosperity and people are into giving, as they should be.”

Pat is a visionary, a risk taker and has always been ahead of her time. She has sat on the board of directors in major companies and had successful careers in banking and real estate development. “In the past, I was criticized for many of the things I accomplished,” Pat says as she remembers doing business during the ‘60s and ‘70s. “Successful women were not the norm. Things are different today.”

Pat and Milton have held numerous fund-raising parties at their 5-acre, Coral Gables home, which is named Halycon Park after the winter solstice. The home also features a regulation size bowling alley in the basement. Their events are over the top, and Golden Angel events have always been the talk of the town.

This year’s event will be no exception. Pat decided, for the first time in the group’s history, to hold the annual Golden Angel Recognition Dinner at Joe’s Stone Crab. The dinner is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15th, and the invitation shows the traditional Golden Angel wearing a bright yellow bib. Also for the first time, the dinner will be open to friends and families of Golden Angels, and they will take over the entire restaurant! Pat has worked hand-in-hand with Vice Chairman Bunny Bastian to make this happen.

“I want this to be a fun event, where men don’t have to wear ties – just bibs – and everyone can let their hair down and feel free to relax while cracking the famous Joe’s stone crabs. And I want to open the party up to new people so they can become better acquainted with the Golden Angels,” says Pat.

Next year’s Golden Angel event will feature Chanel, one of the world’s most recognizable brands. They have committed to doing a major fashion show of their latest Resort and Cruise collections. Pat could be the poster child for Chanel – her fave designer – and is very excited.

She is also working on a special Christmas event – but it’s too early to discuss. But knowing Pat, it’s sure to be edgy, creative, fun – and bottom line – raise a ton of money for the Golden Angels and Jackson Memorial Foundation, which is always her ultimate goal.

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