Branches’ 14th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner and Auction
Benefit Dinner Co-Chairs Dustin Symes and Laurie Zapletal

Branches, a local non-profit dedicated to providing essential services and life-changing opportunities to low-income children, youth and families, celebrated its 14th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner and Auction at the JW Marriott Marquis. Over 450 guests attended and helped raise over $370,000 for Branches’ programs focused on long-term personal success.

Branches’ benefit dinner was Co-Chaired by Dustin Symes of City National Bank and Laurie Zapletal 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. Calvin Hughes of WPLG Local 10 and Auctioneer and board member Mr. Scott Howard.

The event also honored David Lawrence Jr. with the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award for his long-time and dedicated support of our South Florida community. All proceeds from the appeal of that evening will support Branches’ Summer Shade Camp which will serve over 400 children and youth, 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.

Premiere Sponsors of the event included Sandy and Rodney Bell, BB&T, City National Bank, Betty Chapman and Dale Chapman Webb, Grossman Roth P.A., JP Morgan Chase, Crowe Horwath, LLP, The Medina Family Foundation, Missy & James Morgan, Wells Fargo and many others.

For event videos and more details, please visit or contact Isabelle Pike at 305-442-8306 x1002 or

Anna and Nadine Rogers

Delroy, Branches Student Danielle and Judith Neil

Hecter Concepcion-Stowes and Ta'Ronce Stowes

Board Member Kris Aungst & Emily Aungst

Executive Director Brent McLaughlin & Karen McLaughlin, Roberta Lawrence & Award Honoree David Lawrence, Jr.

Bill & Barbara Reese, Philanthropic Chairs Dan & Trish Bell, Maggie & Jorge Villacampa

Executive Director Brent McLaughlin, Shelley & Larry Rutherford

Keith Harrell and Emelda Wallace

Audrey & Peter Pinney

Board Chair Rodney Bell, Riley Bell, Reese Bell, Nicole Ballesteros, Sandy Bell

Leslie & Geoff Travis, Carlos Sanchez-Llorens & Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens

Rey Hernandez & Board Member Bill Jones

Alex & Karina Gonzalez

Amauri Silva, Cynthia Weems and Board Member Ed Deppman

Board Member Laurie Zapletal & Tim Pope

Riley and Rod Bell

Paolo Casabone, Macarena Cruz, Sergio Balsinde and Danielle Bourgi

Shelley Rutherford, Judge Bronwyn Miller, Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens, Carrie Bodin

Master of Ceremonies Calvin Hughes, Trish & Dan Bell

Rick & Patti Morgan

Liz & Jonathan Fitzpatrick

Branches Florida City’s Children’s Choir

All smiles!

Board Member and Auctioneer Scott Howard in full live auction mode!

Philanthropic Chairs Dan & Trish Bell, Roberta Lawrence & Award Honoree David Lawrence Jr., Nancy & John Batchelor and Executive Director Brent McLaughlin

Pam Garrison, Philanthropic Chairs Dan & Trish Bell

Dustin & Olivia Symes

Margarita & Rick Tonkinson

Christina & TJ Villamil