American Nicaraguan Foundation
Amanda Rodriguez and Paco Bendana Co-Chair ANF Gala
The American Nicaraguan Foundation (ANF) is the largest contributor to Nicaragua. Founded by Miami's Alfredo & Theresa Pellas, ANF has remained steadfast in their mission to provide aid to their homeland for the past 16 years.
Amanda Rodriguez and Paco Bendana
Photo by Johnny Louis
ANF's annual gala is scheduled for October 4 at the InterContinental Miami with co-chairs Theresa Pellas, Amanda Rodriguez and Paco Bendana, director of community relations for Anheuser-Busch, working diligently to create an affair that lives up to the organization's high standards.
The three chairs have been friends since their school days in Managua and were kind enough to sit down with SocialMiami at Rodriguez's opulent Cocoplum estate to discuss many of ANF's initiatives, as well as Anheuser-Busch's commitment to ANF and the Hispanic community as a whole.
"Anheuser-Busch has been a sponsor of ANF for the past six years," said Bendana, who recently moved to Miami from Los Angeles. This elegant man who oversees Anheuser-Busch's relations with 141 organizations from Boston to Miami was sharply dressed in a Zara suit, Ungaro shirt, Hermes necktie, and Donald Pliner shoes. Rodriguez is a mother of three who once designed fine children's clothing. She was wearing Oscar de la Renta, Christian Louboutin shoes and two lovely sapphire broaches that were once earrings that she repurposed.
"Anheuser-Busch prides itself in being a leader in the communities where they have a presence," he continued. "The Hispanic community is important to Anheuser-Busch and ANF's leadership in this regard makes them the perfect partner. Anheuser-Busch is very proud to announce that they are providing the seed money for an educational scholarship fund to assist native Nicaraguans living in South Florida."
The majority of funds raised by ANF go directly to help Nicaraguans living in Nicaragua with food, water, medicine, housing and more. "In 2007, ANF built 1,842 homes across Nicaragua, and in 2008 we've built roughly 800," said Rodriguez. "Following Hurricane Felix, ANF rebuilt 288 homes. We also supplied food, water, medicine, and acted as a liaison to the media, which assisted in the call to the masses for hurricane relief. Once those contributions came in, we worked with our established local infrastructure to ensure that the relief reached those in need, rather than falling prey to the corruption in the region."
The upcoming ANF gala raises funds that cover the foundation's yearly operating expenses, which represent only 0.5 percent of their annual budget. The gala is also the foundation's opportunity to bring their supporters from all over the world together to celebrate their hard work and accomplishments.
Special guests will include Taliana Vargas, Miss Colombia 2008 and 1st runner-up at the Miss Universe pageant, and Samatha Tajik, Miss Canada 2008. Honorary Gala Chairs are Ricardo and Marlene Montaner. Among the many sponsors are Flor de Cana, Stanford Judiciary, SELECT Vodka, Credomatic Network, Citi, US Trust, BAC Florida Bank and American Express.
While much of the entertainment is designed for those from the older generations, steps have been taken to ensure that the young professionals of ANF have fun as well. "The young people are the future of ANF," said Bendana. "We want them to fully enjoy the party. A special area will be set up for them where they can mingle amongst themselves and build the bonds to ensure ANF's future success."
For more information about ANF, go to aidnicaragua.org.