We’ve all attended a lot of charity functions through the years. This month Good News Wants to Know… What’s the most memorable charity event you’ve attended in the last number of years?
In past years we have been used to hosting about ten events per year in our showroom, and attended many others charity events as a guest. Unfortunately during this COVID Pandemic, events have all but come to a halt, other than a few that I have done on Zoom.
However, just as things were starting to seem like the pandemic was going away and things were getting better towards the end of 2020, we hosted our first, combination live and virtual event in our flagship showroom here on Oakland Park Blvd. It was our first in person event since the pandemic started earlier in the year. We partnered with Memorial Healthcare Cancer Institute and did a live cooking competition called Chop Challenge, where all the doctors from the Oncology Dept. teamed up and competed against each other. The event was filmed live on Facebook, and surprisingly they raised over thirty thousand dollars for this incredible hospital and the great work they do to save lives right here in our community.
Bill Feinberg, President, Allied Kitchen & Bath
One of my favorite events was the “SpaLaLa” fundraiser for Elev8Life where ladies enjoyed a night of being blessed with spa type stations! Multiple treatment areas were set up by an amazing team of women both
inside and outside my friend’s beautiful waterfront home. Highlights were getting a therapeutic foot scrub, experiencing a paraffin hand treatment and lingering at the “pampered in prayer” station. Reminiscing about that favorite event sounds so relaxing, I think it’s time to plan another one!
Dr. Andrea Hazim, President and Founder, Elev8Life Educational Foundation
The most amazing and memorable event I have been to was the Operation Lift Hope event at the Broward County convention center held on September 25, 2015. This event focused on raising both money and awareness concerning homeless Veterans and families in Broward County. Every table had a veteran, the room was filled to capacity (approximately 1600), a military orchestra played for the evening, Admiral Vernon Clark, Joint Chief, was the headliner with the Seal Team 6 Gold Leaders – Rick Kaiser, Ken Carona and their dog Raven.
The fund raiser used two floors of the convention center (500’x500’ ea.). The bottom floor had every kind of military and first responder hardware available. All of it on display including seal team dogs climbing ladders and demonstrations of all kinds. The second floor held the evening event presentations and dinner. The setting was very patriotic and festive. Outside this room were booths representing a great majority all of the service providers focused on the homeless issue in Broward County. You could pick up their brochure and learn about what they provided and make a donation.
Admiral Vernon Clarke spoke of being in the Pentagon and being part of the Joint Chiefs. He also announced that evening that he was going to tell us something that he had never spoken about and emotionally indicated that his brother was homeless in Detroit and that he had not done enough to help him. The audience was moved with his frankness and the importance of this issue. Next, Master Chief Rick Kaiser spoke about the importance of being a Navy Seal and the toll it took on his family. You could just feel the sizzle in the air as he spoke about missions and his resolve to do whatever it took.
At the end of the evening, Jack Seiler – Fort Lauderdale Mayor, Chip LaMarca – Broward County Commissioner and I made my our closing remarks. The orchestra played the final song and when they had finished. A pause… And then… A lightning bolt cracked and a big boom of thunder filled the entire auditorium. It was not raining outside, no clouds in the sky and we had not seen any weather warning.
We all looked at each other and thought – Mathew 25:23- His lord said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant.
Andy Mitchell, CEO, The Fairwinds Group, and President, Operation Lift Hope
The most memorable charity event that we have attended in the last few years was the 4Kids evening with Jimmy Wayne. Jimmy wrote the book: Walk to Beautiful—The Power of Love and a Homeless Kid who Found the Way, which is the story of his life. He became a successful country western singer and song writer but not until after a horrific series of years being homeless and in foster care. The evening left us all with a feeling of hope and renewed encouragement to pursue the goal of: A Home for Every Child.
William “Bill” C. Davell, Director, Tripp Scott Attorneys at Law
The American Heart Walk Association pulled off a virtual kick-off call to their Annual Heart Walk happening this March. It doesn’t get more “Do-I-Really-Have-To-Do-This” than a Zoom call to raise money for a gigantic organization… but they pulled it off. Andrew Koenig led it, and made the whole thing fun and inspiring. It’s a great event and the AHA is doing more than anyone to help those affected by all kinds of heart disease. They’re trying to pull off a Virtual Walk in a few months, and while that might sound boring, they just might be the ones to make something like this worth waking up early for.
Bob Denison, President, Denison Yachting
There have been many memorable charity events that my wife Eileen and I have attended and supported. However, the one that sticks in my memory as being the most memorable would be The Crockett Foundation “Derby Days” fundraiser supporting their youth empowerment programs. The reason for this is because my wife Eileen was the executive director, and she planned the entire event with her board of directors and volunteers. The honored guest was none other than two-time National Championship Coach Bobby Bowden from Florida State University and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. The event was a tremendous success and I was proud of my wife for her hard work, but the message is what stays with me most. Former FSU and NFL stars Henri and Zack Crockett awarded Coach Bowden with a lifetime achievement award, but his speech had nothing to do with football. Coach spoke about the importance of investing in young people and the development of players as young men, not just athletes. He talked specifically about what he saw in both men and how that later transformed their lives. Thanks Coach!
Chip LaMarca, State Representative, Florida House District 93
Several years ago I had the opportunity to attend the Taste of the NFL/Auction – it was a dinner auction that was held during Super Bowl week. It was super cool to see a lot of NFL legends, eat some really great food and witness some cool memorabilia get auctioned off. Although it was a really neat event, I have been to many more meaningful events for First Priority and other local ministries that raise funds for even greater causes like spreading the Gospel, foster care and sanctity of Life. Events are great but the cause is even more important!
Chris Lane, President First Priority of South Florida
Two come to mind: The Gathering and NCF Impact Events with speakers and presenters who are passionate about giving into the LORD’s work. These folks set the bar for the rest of us to emulate.
H. Collins Forman, Jr., P.A.
One of the most memorable charitable events I attended was for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. I was invited by a friend who lost his young daughter to the disease. What made the event memorable was hearing the stories directly from young children about their incredibly difficult journey. The power and courage with which they delivered the message had a profound impact on me. I think in any charitable venture, the direct stories of those affected are always the most meaningful and memorable and have the greatest impact on supporters.
Craig Huston, Huston Consulting Group, LLC
The Hope Women’s Center event at Signature Grand about two years ago was the most memorable charity event I’ve attended in a few years. The men who spoke at this meeting had an impact on me that I’ll always remember.
Cynthia J Arevalo, Esq., Law Offices of Cynthia J. Arevalo
The most memorable Charity events I’ve been to are First Priority’s. The last in-person one was held at Addison Events in Boca Raton. The atmosphere was enchanting with a fairyland lighted outdoor reception area. The silent auction items were quite tempting and included generous offerings at mountaintop cabins. Speaking of tempting – the exotic hors d’oeuvres and dinner were exceptionally delicious. The best part is the director, Chris Lane. He has such an enthusiastic, personable way as he shares the amazing work our Lord is accomplishing in our schools through First Priority. What a quality charity and experience.
Deborah Cusick, FAU Campus Volunteer, Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
PROMISE fund drive through dinner pickup, complete with pictures while in the car, in the pouring rain.
Debra A. Schwinn, President, Professor of Health Sciences, Palm Beach Atlantic University
The most memorable charity event I’ve attended in the last number of years was a fundraiser we did in Plant City, FL. I served on the Board for local Pregnancy Care Center and was part of administering the event. At the table where my wife and I were seated was a brilliant young lady who confided to us her experience as a client. Her beautiful daughter joined her later during the program, vibrant and cute as little girls can be. The daughter looked me in the eyes and said, “thank you, Mr., for working and helping my mom make the best choice … ME.” Needless to say, tears flowed from my wife and I on the way home. I later had the opportunity to minister to the family and share Christ with the father too.
Dennis DeMarois, CEO/Executive Director, Gathering Palm Beach
I have the privilege of assisting, promoting, or simply attending many fundraising events. What moves me the most about them is looking at faces or names that are there because of a common passion for the work of the Lord. I deeply feel we are all unified during those moments, and sharing in the same Holy Spirit’s conviction to help others in whatever way God has provided to us…in Jesus’ name. While each mission is worthy of support and all I’ve engaged do great things for others, I believe the ministry done in the hearts of the supporters, staff, and volunteers is equally important for the spiritual growth of the kingdom.
Dolores King St. George, President, King Communications, GraceNet Media
During the first 4KIDS Gala that we attended a number of foster and adopted children came to the event with their foster and forever families. The kids took to the stage with a brief message written on old pieces of cardboard. So cool to learn where the kids came from, where they are now and the joyful expressions on their faces as a result of God using the 4KIDS organization.
Don Campion, President, Banyan Air Service, Inc.
My most memorable charity event took place unexpectedly. We surprised a single mom with several of life’s necessities without her asking for them or expecting them. Her joy and gratitude was beyond words. Charity events can be private, to one person, as well as public and reach many.
Fidel Gomez, Pastor, Calvary Chapel Hollywood
Several years back Hope South Florida had their annual fundraiser in a warehouse. The food was brought in by catering trucks and everyone dressed casual. There was music and slide shows but no formal presentations. Everyone really enjoyed it!
Dr. Fred Scarbrough, Founder, Scarbrough Animal Hospital and Hope South Florida
The food was piled high in the parking lot of Riverside Church in North Lauderdale as the cars lined up for the distribution. This joint effort between the City of North Lauderdale, Riverside, and other churches focused on feeding those in need during this dreadful pandemic. I had a vision of the way Jesus responded in compassion to the crowds and then said to the disciples, “You give them something to eat”(Mark 6:34-44). All ate and were filled, and there were leftovers. Brought us to tears.
Gene L. Green, PhD, Dean, Trinity International University – Florida
We attended the Hope Women’s Center annual dinner a few years ago and it was amazing to see how God is using this ministry to help so many women, families and the unborn.
George R. Moraitis, Jr., Moraitis, Cofar, Karney, Moraitis & Quailey
One of the most memorable charity events I attended was the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Tailgate Party that was held at Banyan Air in 2018. I had the opportunity to meet legendary college football Coach Bobby Bowden. It was fascinating to spend time with him and listen to his heartfelt message about how he coached players in college through soul of prayer and made them men of God. It was truly an inspirational experience. And, FSU has never been the same since. Go CANES!!
Gregg Wallick, President, Best Roofing, Inc.
The most memorable charity fundraiser I attended was a Realtor event a few years ago. All the donations were disbursed to hundreds of local families in need. The event was not black tie or pomp and circumstance. It was a simple dinner gathering of people filling a need and helping others! That’s life!!!
Helen Wayner P.A., Century 21 Hansen Realty
What’s the most memorable charity event you’ve attended in the last number of years? Of course, The Gridiron Grill-Off Food & Wine Festival! Thanks South Florida for 10 amazing years of football, food, fun and fundraising! Always Fired Up!
John Offerdahl, Offerdahl’s Off-The-Grill
There are a few, but I particularly enjoy golf outings that benefit God’s work in our community. The last event I enjoyed I was in a foursome with Publisher Les, Gregg from Best Roofing, and Dr. Rozenblum everyone’s favorite chiropractor. We laughed so much I ran out of tears and all were sacrificial donors to the cause. I left praising God for the fellowship of Christian brothers.
James “JT” Taylor, Managing Director, Head of Automotive, Truist Securities
Although 2020 has been significantly different, I think one of the most memorable charity events I have attended would have to be here at South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary, when we opened and dedicated the Steven R. Sylvester Memorial Library. It was a wonderful day of celebration and reflection as we were able to open a state of the art library and memorialize one of our students. Steven wanted to become a counselor to help others discover the will of God for their lives. While not fully realized during his life, his desire to help others now reaches to future generations as his namesake, The Steven R. Sylvester Memorial Library, stands as the cornerstone of the Institution and as a foundation for student success and excellence in South Florida.
Dr. Mary Drabik, President, South Florida Bible College & Theological Seminary
Being involved in ministry life, we all attend a tremendous amount of charity events. Although I love the elderly, the forsaken, the widow and the orphan, I would have to say that my absolute favorite are the 4KIDS events. The older I get, the more I feel like a child of God. The idea of reception and adoption will never ever get old. Looking into the eyes of a child being accepted and loved has to be the absolute best!
Dr. Michael Rozenblum, Genesis Physical Medicine and Chiropractic
I’ve been blessed to participate in several great charity events in our area. The most memorable event for me was the Live The Life South Florida Reclaim Event in February of 2020. It was a weekend retreat for couples to restore, enhance, and in some cases, save their relationships. This event was a blessing for all who attended and definitely one for me to witness and participate.
Milan Stefanovic, Chief Operations Officer, Bass Underwriters
Apart from our Habitat Build events, the YMCA MLK breakfast is always so meaningful. The speakers are always a living lesson in history – an honor to MLK with a focus on racial equity. It always creates reflection as to where we were, where we are and the work we have yet to do. The event is always sold out and I find it remarkable the beautiful sense of community with the Y as always unifying everyone and bringing us all together to celebrate such a historically significant day.
Nancy Robin, CEO/Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Broward County, Inc
In my twenties, I had the opportunity to play the part of “Strawberry Shortcake” in a children’s hospital fundraiser in New York. The nurses would bring some of the children to the main floor where I could visit with them and give them toys. For the children restricted to their rooms, I would visit them individually. It was amazing and inspiring to see a sick child light up when they saw “Strawberry Shortcake” – it blessed me more than it did them! Moreover, the donors enjoyed the interactions which resulted in a blessing for the children and a solid fundraiser for the hospital.
Oksana Horton, Artistic Director, Torch & Trumpet Theatre Company
The most memorable charity event that I have attended in the last number of years was the Hope Women’s Pregnancy Centers annual fundraising event. Our church faithfully supports this great antiabortion organization every month because they do such an extraordinary job in helping the young women to keep their babies.
O’Neal Dozier, Pastor, The Worldwide Christian Center
The most memorable charity event that I attended in the past few years was The Goliath Gauntlet (even though I have gone many times and always think they are great). Not only is it a fun event, but when everyone sees the facilities for the first time, they are impressed with all that is happening on the site. There are many of our Christian brothers and sisters there, and it becomes a great time to catch up with each other. There is a little part that some may miss, when co-workers and friends help one another through the difficult obstacles – just like we are called to do daily!
Patricia Colangelo, EdS, Lecturer, Professor, Trinity International University – Florida
One of the most memorable charity events I had the privilege to attend was in 2019 when Carson Wentz Quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles and his “Audience of One Foundation” hosted a Charity Celebrity Softball Game with the Philadelphia Eagles entire Football Team, the Offense vs. Defense in a fundraiser softball Game! The game was played at Philadelphia Phillies Baseball Stadium and throughout the game, on the Jumbotron, the name of Jesus was being lifted up!! Carson Wentz as a dedicated Christian Athlete uses his platform in the NFL to share the love of Jesus Christ and to raise millions of dollars to serve children and families in need! An extra bonus was I had the privilege to stay in the same hotel as the entire Philadelphia Eagles Football Team and got to see that so many of those players and Staff are committed Christians… Pretty cool stuff!!!
Coach Rick Andreassen, Founder/President, SAINTS International Sports Ministry and SAINTS Homeschool P.E.
The most memorable charity event for me was in 2018 when our family had the privilege of giving the keys to a new home and a Bible to another family at a Habitat of Broward ribbon cutting ceremony. To earn the right to buy a Habitat residence you have to put in 300 hours of sweat equity in helping to build your own and other Habitat homes, taking classes on home ownership and qualifying for a mortgage. Knowing what it took to achieve that goal of homeownership and seeing the joy in the eyes of the parents and excitement of their kids in moving into their first home that they could truly call their own, was an over the top experience.
Romney C. Rogers, Managing Partner, Rogers, Morris & Ziegler LLP
The most memorable charity event I ever attended was the FCA fundraiser at the airport hangar with Bobby Bowden as the main speaker.
Ron Bramos, Senior Pastor, Victory Life Church
That would be the birth of my daughter. Her name is Charity.
Samuel Lamerson, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies, Knox Theological Seminary
One of the most memorable charity events my hubby and I attended was the Night of Broadway Stars, put on by Covenant House SFL and held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Neil Berg, famous lyricist and performer was the host. There were countless Broadway stars on hand. We were able to schmooze with them before the show and got some amazing pics. It was a memorable, black tie affair. At the time, I was a volunteer for Covenant House. What a blessing to see all these famous performers come out to raise money for the CH ministry. And to see so many young people’s lives transformed through CH’s outreach.
Tewannah Aman, Executive Director, Broward County Right to Life
I may be a little biased, but my favorite events have all been 4KIDS events. We have had so many outstanding events over the years it’s difficult to narrow it down to one. I loved our 20 year anniversary at the Sunset Cove Amphitheater. But, at the very top of that list was our “Advocate 4KIDS” event that we did in April of 2019 where we had over 2,000 people come out to hear Jimmy Needham (adoptive father) sing and speak and Nick Vujicic speak on behalf of the work being done through the power of the Holy Spirit by the 4KIDS team. It was an amazing night for sure!!!!
Tom Lukasik, Vice President Community Engagement, 4KIDS of South Florida
Years ago l went to a charity event for the Broward Outreach Center. That was the most memorable event I have ever attended. Totally selfless and awesome.
Trevor Wallace, Pastor, Jesus Team Ministries