Coral Gables Community Foundation 25th Anniversary Gala
A Passage To India delights guests and raises funds for Coral Gables students

The Coral Gables Community Foundation celebrated its 25th anniversary at the annual gala, A Passage to India, on Friday, October 14th at the Coral Gables Country Club. Nearly 400 of Miami’s philanthropic, social, civic and business influencers turned out in saris and sherwanis to celebrate the evening’s distinguished honorees and the Foundation’s accomplishments over the past 25 years.

The gala, co-chaired by Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young, was the most successful in organization history, raising funds earmarked for worthy Gables High School students pursuing dreams of a college education among other passionate projects the Foundation champions.

“It was a pleasure to co-chair this year’s 25th Anniversary gala. As a Foundation Board member I see firsthand the good work we do in the community throughout the year. The Indian theme set the tone for a fun and vibrant evening enjoyed by so many of the Gables’ top civic, business and community leaders,” said Sissy DeMaria, Foundation Board Member and Gala Co-Chair.

The evening kicked off as guests received henna tattoos and were treated to a dazzling performance by dancers in authentic Indian costumes presented by FECi. Chef Richard Hutton tempted the notables with a dazzling array of Indian-themed appetizers and dishes. Guests bid on priceless vacations and gifts, including stays at a mountaintop villa in Costa Rica courtesy of NPI, the Rosemary Cottage on exclusive Fisher Island, a sprawling home in Asheville, North Carolina, the Al Capone suite at the Biltmore Hotel, as well as a stunning diamond necklace and earring set donated by Montica Jewelry.

Armando Codina received the prestigious Legacy Award, Rick and Margarita Tonkinson were awarded the Philanthropy Award presented by Trish and Dan Bell, Mayor Dorothy Thomson was honored with the Jerry Santeiro Community Award, Trish and Dan Bell were recipients of the Arts & Culture Award, Robert “Bobby” Martinez received the Education Award, and longtime Miami Dolphins player and executive Nat Moore received the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and the Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute.

“We are so proud of the success of this year’s 25th Anniversary gala! Funds raised will support bright local students attend college through our 4-year Scholarship Program as well as deserving non-profit organizations through our Community Giving initiative,” said Mary Snow, Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation.

Event sponsors included Platinum Sponsors Southern Audio Visual, Baptist Health South Florida and Doctors Hospital and Trish and Dan Bell; Gold Sponsors Kreps DeMaria, Bacardi and Rick and Margarita Tonkinson; Live Entertainment Sponsor: FECi, Valet provided by Mercedes-Benz of Coral Gables; Media Partners South Florida Luxury Guide and the Miami Herald; and In-Kind sponsors The India-U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Pantry Liquors and iZOOM Productions.

Gala Co-Chairs Sissy DeMaria and Mary Young

Chairman of the Foundation Board of Directors John O’ Rourke III

Gala Co-Chair Mary Young, Foundation Board Member Jack Lowell, Gala Co-Chair and Foundation Board Member Sissy DeMaria, Chairman of the Foundation Board John O’Rourke III and the 2016 Gala Honorees: Dan and Trish Bell, Dorothy Thomson, Armando Codina, Margarita and Rick Tonkinson, Nat Moore, Foundation Board Member, Nelson Lazo and Roberto “Bobby” Martinez.

Matthew Meehan

Steven, Margarita and Rick Tonkinson

Coral Gables Community Foundation Board of Directors

Foundation Board Chairman John O’ Rourke III and Mary Snow, Executive Director of the Coral Gables Community Foundation

Tony and Paola Newell, Ruben Ceballos, Bill Bonn

Dr. Lawrence Stein, Barbara Stein, Don and Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick, Elinette Ruiz, Miguel Diaz de la Portilla

Performer from Belly Motions

Jack Lowell and Legacy Honoree Armando Codina

Renee Madrigal, John Allen, Valerie Quemada, Matthew Meehan and Marichi O’Rourke

Debbie La Rocca, Carlos F. Garcia, Andria Hanley, Kanen Moffett

Honoree Mayor Dorothy Thomson, Troy & Janeth Easley, Jann Thomson

Mayor Jim Cason, Nelson Lazo and City Commissioner Pat Keon

Sports & Wellness honoree Nat Moore, Olga Lazo, Pat Moore, Nelson Lazo

Jerry Santeiro Community Award Honoree Mayor Dorothy Thomson and Jack Thomson

Arts & Culture Award Honorees Trish and Dan Bell

Natasha and Jack Lowell

Gala Co-Chair Sissy DeMaria, Lauren Harrison and Erin Knight

Mona Adams, Marlene Berg, Phillis Oeters

Michele Reese, Chris Granger and Barbara Reese

Dr. Suzel Vazquez and Education Award Honoree Robert “Bobby” Martinez

Daniella Carazo-Reynolds and Brent Reynolds

Gala Co-Chair Mary Young and Ramona Busot

Legacy Honoree Armando Codina and Allen Morris

Commissioner Vince Lago and Olga Lago

Scott and Karla Richey

Gala guests pledging their support