Thanks to the support of 1,000 Women’s Fund friends, partners, donors, volunteers and staff members, the annual Power of the Purse luncheon raised more than $325,000 for the women and girls of Miami-Dade. The event, a celebration of 20 years of service to the community, took place on Apr. 19 at Jungle Island.
One of the many highlights of the day was the introduction of the 24 members of the inaugural Honor Roll — extraordinary women whose unique contributions have made the mission real through their very tangible actions. Each woman was presented with a special commemorative bracelet as they were introduced by luncheon cochairs Judy Chorlog, Aletha Player and Kristin Francisco.
Chair Marj Adler and new executive director Marilyn March were onstage for this memorable presentation. Board treasurer Faye Wright delivered passionate and heartfelt remarks, reminding all that the Women’s Fund work was not yet done.
CBS4 News anchor Shannon Hori was emcee for the event and provided both lively and thoughtful insights throughout the afternoon. Guests were inspired by a special tribute video and moved by presentations by two of the many thousands of women whose lives have been changed by the Women’s Fund. Their remarks were followed by a standing ovation as many were moved to tears by the stories of personal triumph. Speakers included Rebecca Francisque, a high school student and part of the Thelma Gibson Health Initiative’s Coconut Grove Girls’ Group, and Eve Hansen, a graduate of the LEAP program.
The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade Honor Roll 2013 members are: Sophie Brion, Women’s Fund’s advocacy director 2004-09; Ann Bussel, community activist, philanthropist and long-time Women’s Fund supporter; Deborah Bussel, philanthropist, consultant, and advocate. Women’s Fund supporter and donor; Kate Callahan, nurse, consultant and long time supporter of women’s programs at Camillus House; Alexandra “Ali” Codina, documentary filmmaker, activist, past board member and supporter; Margarita “Maggie” Codina, Women’s Fund supporter and philanthropist; Evelyn Cohan, Women’s Fund co-founder and first and long-time board chair and visionary, social worker involved with many women’s organizations; Sue Gallagher, former Women’s Fund Board member and advocate for the homeless; Marilynn Gladstone, Women’s Fund founder; Tiffany Zientz Heckler, Women’s Fund development director for seven years; Sally Heyman, county commissioner serving Miami-Dade County since 2004 and a longtime Women’s Fund supporter and advocate for women’s issues; Deborah Hoffman, community activist, philanthropist, attorney and consultant; Fran Katz, Women’s Fund’s senior programs officer and staff member since 1988; Kathleen Kennedy-Olsen, executive director of the Kennedy Family Foundation and longtime Women’s Fund supporter, advocate, and philanthropist; Claudia Kitchen, Women’s Fund executive director for 10 years, and longtime advocate for women and girls; Kathie Klarreich, former Women’s Fund board member, author, journalist and longtime donor; Ann Machado, past Women’s Fund board member and chair of the Alumnae Council; Ellen Shishko, alumnae council and board member Emerita, member of Women’s Fund board since 1994; Katy Sorenson, Miami- Dade commissioner 1994-2010, longtime advocate for equality and civil rights; Leslie Sternlieb, philanthropist and advocate for women’s issues; Eileen Nexer, first executive director of Women’s Fund, and Honored in Memoriam — Evelyn Gilbert, Joanne Hayes and Margaret “Peggy” Wilson.