An exceptional evening marked the second annual reception for the Coral Gables Community Foundation’s Merrick Society. Friends and supporters gathered at the Bacardi Americas Headquarters in Coral Gables to enjoy camaraderie and celebrate the Foundation’s community grant recipients.
Dedicated to continuing city founder George E. Merrick’s vision for Coral Gables, the Merrick Society represents the Foundation’s highest levels of giving where donors make a three-year commitment of support at the $1,000 level and higher.
More that 50 guests in attendance included Vice Mayor William H. “Bill” Kerdyk, Jr., former Mayor Don Slesnick, former City Commissioner Chip Withers and Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce CEO Mark Trowbridge. Also in attendance were four of the Foundation’s recent college scholarship recipients, as well as the Foundation’s community grant recipients.
Foundation executive director Mary Snow opened the night’s program by thanking Bacardi Americas for hosting the event and recognized all those associated with the Foundation, including the fund holders, board of directors, and the Merrick Society members.
“The Coral Gables Community Foundation brings together beneficiaries and benefactors to fund programs with the greatest impact in The City Beautiful. I am also proud to say that 100 percent of our board members are also Merrick Society members,” Snow said.
The current chair of the Coral Gables Community Foundation, Carlos F. Garcia, spoke about the Foundation’s 23-year history of directing $4 million through charitable contributions in areas such as the arts and culture, education, health, historical preservation, and green space. Garcia emphasized the local impact that Merrick Society level donors have made.
“Our Merrick Society members have worked with the Foundation in contributing to the beginning phases of the Coral Gables Art Cinema and the Coral Gables Museum, establishing scholarship funds, and supporting projects like the Million Orchid Project and restoring the Alhambra Water Tower through the PARKnership Fund,” Garcia said.
John O’Rourke, chair of the Community Giving Committee, and Garcia announced the following 2014 community grant recipients:
The Battier Take Charge Foundation: Founded by Miami Heat star Shane Battier, the Battier Take Charge Foundation received a $5,000 grant to support its Battier Take Charge Scholarship program, which awards four-year $20,000 college scholarships to deserving young leaders. The $5,000 grant award will go towards funding one year of college studies for a new Battier Take Charge Scholar from Coral Gables Senior High School.
Coral Gables Senior High Cavalier Chorus Booster Club: The Foundation’s $4,500 grant award to the Coral Gables Senior High Cavalier Chorus will assist in funding the Cavalier Chorus’ trip to New York to perform at the legendary Carnegie Hall. The Chorus’ director Mary Morrow and a cappella group, the Divaaz, were on hand at the Merrick Society Reception to not only receive their grant award but also to perform a wonderful rendition of Killing Me Softly.
Coral Gables Art Cinema: This Coral Gables staple received a $5,000 grant to support its second annual Miami International Children’s Film Festival. Coral Gables Art Cinema director Robert Rosenberg and board of directors chair Dr. Robert Jacobson were in attendance to receive the organization’s grant award.
Coral Gables Museum: The Foundation continued its long-standing support of the Coral Gables Museum by awarding the establishment with a $4,800 grant to assist with the funding of Family Day, a free public program that takes place every second Saturday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Coral Gables Museum. Chip Withers, chair of the Coral Gables Museum Board of Directors, accepted their grant award.
“Between another successful Merrick Society Reception and our enthusiasm about the projects that our community grant recipients will be pursuing in the next year, it is a very exciting time for the Coral Gables Community Foundation. We are looking forward to continuing to be a force in the philanthropic endeavors of our community,” Snow said.
For more information, visit www.gablesfoundation.org.