Women of Tomorrow Gala 2022
The mentor and scholarship program celebrated a quarter-century of working to improve the lives of at-risk students.
The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program celebrated a quarter-century of working to improve the lives of at-risk students by honoring program co-Founder Don Browne. Browne, the former president of Telemundo Network, VP & General Manager of NBC 6 and Vice President of NBC Network, was recognized for his long-standing role in promoting women and minorities at the networks.
Friends and television colleagues, both in attendance and on video, including Katie Couric, Deborah Roberts, Jose Diaz Balart, Trina Robinson, Jackie Nespral, Willard Shepard and Ari Odzer all praised Browne for his support of women and minorities long before it was fashionable.
Program Founder and former NBC 6 anchor Jennifer Valoppi, who knew Browne when they were both working in television in New York, spoke of Don’s vision and pioneering ways. “I went to him with an idea for a program about women helping women and he threw the weight of the television station behind it, and Women of Tomorrow was born,” said Valoppi.
WOT Philanthropic Chair Marisa Toccin Lucas, who was introduced to the program by Don’s wife, Maria, who sadly passed away last year, said, “Maria always brought a special sparkle to our events. Her dedication and commitment to our mentees was always apparent and we wanted to recognize her important role.”
Valoppi, Toccin Lucas and State Attorney and Women of Tomorrow co-Founder Katherine Fernandez Rundle, presented Browne with the “Spirit of Tomorrow” award, in both he and Maria’s name.
The sold-out black-tie Gala at the Ancient Spanish Monastery was co-chaired by Suzy Buckley Woodward, Carol Iacovelli, Dr. Krista Rosenberg and Women of Tomorrow Board Member Daniela Swaebe.
The non-profit is dedicated to inspiring, motivating and empowering at-risk young women, a program that was founded by Jennifer Valoppi, Don Browne along with the Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
The evening’s live auction was filled with dazzling items, including a trio of diamond bracelets, and diamond hoop earrings contributed by Jeweler to the Stars Jeffrey Rackover, and a $10,000 shopping spree at Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour. Shoppes of Bal Harbour, chaired by Gigi Whitman, were exclusive vendors of the highly successful silent auction.
This annual gala provides critical support for Women of Tomorrow, which mentors high school-aged girls in South Florida and metro Detroit. The unique program pairs highly accomplished professional women with public high school students. The mentees meet in group sessions monthly to learn the skills necessary for personal and professional success. Not only does Women of Tomorrow boast a 95% high school graduation rate amongst an at-risk population, but the organization has also awarded over $8 million in college scholarships.
About Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program
Founded in 1997 by television journalist and author Jennifer Valoppi and Don Browne, former Telemundo and NBC President, the Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program is designed to inspire, motivate and empower at-risk young women to live up to their full potential while being mentored by highly accomplished professional women in their community. Our partner public schools select at-risk girls facing a variety of challenges, such as behavioral, economic, medical, abuse and/or academic to name a few, to join our program. Each mentoring group at each school is diverse in its composition with girls in 9th-12th grade who have varying strengths and weaknesses so they learn not only from their mentors, but from each other as well. This happens through mentoring sessions, college campus visits, career-focused field trips and college scholarship opportunities.
Women of Tomorrow positively transforms the lives of the at-risk girls we serve. By the end of this year, Women of Tomorrow will have touched the lives of more than 25,000 high school girls in South Florida, Detroit and Philadelphia. Women of Tomorrow’s network of over 550 professional women currently mentor approximately 4,500 girls in close to 200 public high schools, with a 95% graduation rate among an at-risk population. Over $8 million in college scholarships have been awarded.