Branches Celebrates Annual Benefit Dinner to Fight Poverty in Miami
Executive Director Brent McLaughlin, Nancy & Jon Batchelor representing the Honoree The Batchelor Foundation, with Philanthropic Chairs Trish & Dan Bell

Branches, Inc., a local non-profit, celebrated its 13th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans benefit dinner and auction at the JW Marriott Marquis. Over 400 guests attended and helped raise over $275,000 for Branches’ programs which focus on long-term success and life-changing opportunities for low-income children, youth and families in our local community.

Branches’ benefit dinner was co-chaired by Gala Chairs Nicole Krauss, Southeast Region Communications and Media Manager of Publix and Laurie Zapletal, Vice President/Business Deposits Officer of BB&T, along with support from Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell. The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and a silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing, as well as an appeal and an exciting live auction, led by Master of Ceremonies Mr. Carlos Suarez of WPLG Local 10 and Auctioneer and board member Mr. Scott Howard.

The event also honored The Batchelor Foundation and Founder George E. Batchelor with the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award for their long-time and generous support of Branches. All proceeds from the appeal of that evening will support Branches’ Summer Shade Camp and all donations will be doubled since they are matched dollar for dollar by a generous Challenge Grant provided by Trish and Dan Bell.

“With the success of this event, Branches is able to create more life-changing opportunities for children and families. We are so grateful to our donors for their enthusiasm and commitment to our mission to serve, educate and inspire low-income, working families!” said Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director.

A special thank you to the 2016 Premiere Sponsors of this event: Platinum Sponsor Sandy & Rodney Bell, Gold Sponsors BB&T and Carnival Cruise Line, as well as our Patron Sponsors: Aetna, Alan Goldfarb P.A., Bank United, Bilzin Sumberg, City National Bank, Gerson Preston Robinson Klein Lips Eisenberg & Gelber P.A., Goya Foods, JP Morgan Chase, Lauren’s Kids & Ronald L. Book P.A., Missy & Jim Morgan, Publix, Tripp Scott P.A., Washington Economics Group, Wells Fargo and WHA Design.

For more information, please contact us at 305-442-8306 x1002 / or visit their website at

Board Chair Rodney Bell, Executive Director Brent McLaughlin and emcee Carlos Suarez, WPLG Local 10

Jon Batchelor Jr. & Ana Batchelor, Jon Batchelor, Carolyn Batchelor

Chadrick Head, Tessie Barrinat, Tres Wilson, Alan Goldfarb, Helene Goldfarb

Mitch Krauss & Gala Co-Chair Nicole Krauss

Gala Co-Chair Laurie Zapletal and Board Chair Rod Bell

Maury Odell and Judge Bronwyn Miller, Bill Jones and Rey Hernandez

Katrina Wright, Frank Fernandez, Vanessa Inchausti, Fabiola & Roger Obeso

Nancy Batchelor and Judge Bronwyn Miller

Chris & Colleen Suarez, Board Member & Auctioneer Scott Howard & Kathy Howard

Rob & Susan Shelley, Margarita & Rick Tonkinson

Philanthropic Chairs Dan & Trish Bell

Tony Villamil & Board Member Marielena Villamil

Rob & Sarah Bowlby

Victoria Villalba and Richard Vega

Jean-Pierre & Caroline Bado, Emily & Kris Aungst

Susan & Dan Odess, Board Chair Rodney Bell

Dance Floor Fun!

Branches Florida City students singing, led by Alexandra Flecha Viera

Board Member Tina Furniss-Roe & Robert Furniss-Roe

Ron Sckalor, Leslie Maxwell, Miki Moran, Board Member Ed Deppman, Barbara Deppman, Diana Salinas

Willie & Linda Ho

Hector & Millie Sanchez, Frank & Stephane Benitez, Carlos & Adriana Leon, Dean Houlzet and Isabel Olivas

Bill & Barbara Burdette

Bruce & Melissa Ford