Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program Celebrates 20 Years of Giving Back

$1,000,000 raised for more than 4,000 at-risk high school girls in South Florida and beyond

Maria Browne, Don Browne, Jennifer Valoppi and Marisa Toccin Lucas

Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program celebrated a marquee moment on 20 years of giving back at their annual black-tie Gala chaired by Marisa Toccin Lucas. Held at the Mandarin Oriental, Miami on Brickell Key, the noted non-profit is dedicated to inspiring, motivating and empowering at-risk young women that was founded by Jennifer Valoppi, Don Browne along with the Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle.

Notable guests at Women of Tomorrow’s annual Gala included: Tommy and Dee Hilfiger, Maria Cristina Buccellati, Food Network TV personality, Ingrid Hoffman, Telemundo’s María Celeste Arrarás and Candela Ferro, who was with her husband and acclaimed actor Khotan Fernández, NBC 6’s John Morales, Ari Odzer and Kelly Blanco, to name a few. Also at the Gala, Armando Pérez aka Pitbull, a longtime supporter of the foundation, recorded a special segment for the audience that was aired during the Gala. He offered a very special experience that was auctioned off: an exclusive VIP meet and greet package to hang out with Mr. 305 himself backstage next month at his Las Vegas residency with a signed pair of shoes.

Shelley Tauber and Eileen Youtie

The esteemed gala was not only attended by 430 of the city’s community leaders in philanthropy, business and more; but more importantly, it also raised close to $1,000,000 dollars that impacts more than 15,000 at-risk high school girls in South Florida, Detroit and Philadelphia by providing a unique group mentoring program, college campus visits, career-focused fieldtrips and scholarship opportunities. All aimed at positively transforming the lives of at-risk high school girls and helping them reach their full potential.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since a small, core group of professional women got together to help uplift the lives of at-risk girls in our community,” said Founder Jennifer Valoppi. “Today, thanks to their support, Women of Tomorrow mentors 4,300 girls a year in close to 200 high schools. It is our pleasure to honor those founders this year, many of whom are still actively involved in the program all these years later, as we look to the next 20 years.”

Elaine Feldman, Michele Criden and Ferne Toccin

The dazzling event began with a cocktail reception featuring curated hors d’oeuvres conceptualized by the Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s Executive Chef and the highly coveted silent auction, sponsored by Bal Harbour Shops and chaired by Gigi Whitman. Guests bid high on amazing items donated by GUCCI BAL HARBOUR, Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour, Van Cleef & Arpels, Valentino, VHERNIER, Goyard, Roger Vivier, BUCCELLATI, Tourneau, Lafayette 148 New York, Yara Bashoor and many more.

Guests were then escorted into the ballroom where they enjoyed dinner and dancing to the sounds of Soul Survivors and had the opportunity to bid on live auction items generously donated by THE COLLECTION and JEFFREY RACKOVER and Armando Perez aka Pitbull.

The evening’s honorees included Empowerment Award Honoree, Eileen Youtie and Mentors of the Year Michele Criden, Elaine Feldman & Ferne Toccin. Also recognized were the organization’s 33 Founding Mentors & Board Members: Betty Amos, Adrienne Arsht, Lea Black, Don Browne, Gale Butler, Donna Feldman, Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Meri Framer-Zidel, Sonia Gibson, Meg Green, Kathleen Hoague, Karen Kammer, Judge Judith Kreeger, Irene Marie, Tracy Mourning, Debbie Ohanian, Robyn Perlman, Sandi Powers, Debra Price MD, Dora Puig, Mycki Ratzan, Chris Riley, Stephanie Sayfie-Aagaard, Dr. Randy Schenkman, Millinda Sinnreich, Audrey Solomon, Mariita Srebnick, Jennifer Valoppi, Dr. Diane Walder, Carole Weiss, Sherry Williams as well as Connie Banko & Marti Huizenga (In Memoriam). Special recognitions were also given to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

In honor of the organization’s 20-year anniversary, they set up the “20 for 20” program, a monthly giving initiative of giving $20 per month, for 20 months. For more information on signing up, please follow the link here: www.womenoftomorrow.org/20for20southflorida.

Women of Tomorrow’s Annual Gala was made possible via generous sponsors: NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits, Publix Super Markets Charities, Greenberg Traurig and Ultimate Software, among others. The event was designed and produced by BE-Social Events and all PR services are generously donated by TARA, Ink.

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