Branches' 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner
Benefiting Branches’ Summer Shade Camp
Award Honorees Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. and Marile Lopez; Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell

Lee Lennon and Luis Amarillo De Freitas, Benefit Dinner Chairs Victoria
and Jason Randolph

Branches, a local non-profit dedicated to providing life-changing opportunities to working families and their children, celebrated its 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans Benefit Dinner and Auction at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami. More than 500 guests attended the event and helped raise over $400,000 for Branches’ programs focused on long-term personal success.

“Almost 60% of families in our community are struggling to make ends meet. Branches serves to create opportunities for these children and families to break the cycle of generational poverty and succeed in school, become more financially stable, and attain a high quality of life. With generous support from individuals, church and corporate partners, we are making an impact for thousands of our neighbors in need”, says Brent McLaughlin, Executive Director of Branches.

The event kicked off with a cocktail reception and an extensive silent auction, followed by dinner and dancing, as well as an appeal and an exciting live auction. A few of the notable auction items include a private Bahama Island home stay, a Seaplane Flight & Lunch in the Keys, a VIP Shopping Experience, a Blimp Ride, and more. Master of Ceremonies and Zoo Miami Ambassador Ron Magill, and auctioneer and Branches’ board member Scott Howard led the evening’s program and auction.

The benefit dinner also included the presentation of the Trish and Dan Bell Community Empowerment Award to distinguished and generous community power couple, Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq. The video honoring them may be viewed here:

One hundred percent of the proceeds from the benefit dinner’s appeal will support Branches’ Summer Shade Camp. The seven-week long Summer Shade day camp serves more than 400 Branches children and provides employment for more than 30 of Branches youth to serve as Summer Guides or camp counselors. A Challenge Grant provided by generous Miami philanthropists Trish and Dan Bell also matched the evening appeal contributions dollar-for-dollar.

The 16th Annual Black Tie & Blue Jeans is made possible thanks to countless volunteers, many of whom have taken a leadership role in planning this annual event. Victoria and Jason Randolph chaired the Gala along with Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell.

Premiere and corporate sponsors of the event included the Himan Brown Charitable Trust, Sandy and Rodney Bell, FIU Foundation, Inc., BB&T, Victoria & Jason Randolph as well as Aetna, Amicon, Center State Bank, City National Bank, Crowe LLP, JP Morgan Chase, Missy and Jim Morgan, Property Markets Group, Publix, The Tonkinson Foundation and more.

Linda Fortson, Elise Braddy, Angela Fairchild, Yvonne Washington, Katrina Wright

Board Member Kris Aungst and Emily Aungst

Carlos Lopez, AR Lopez, Luis Jorge Lopez, Marile Lopez, Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq.,
Saramelia Lopez and Annia Lopez

Board Member Greg Ault, Kipp Nelson, Franklin Morgan, Board Member Jim Morgan, Board Member Scott Howard

Leslie Maxwell and Rob Sckalor

Executive Director Brent McLaughlin and Karen McLaughlin, Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell, Award Honorees Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq.

City Manager Col. Emilio T. & Gloria Gonzalez, Chief Judge Bertila Soto, Marile Lopez, Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq.

Desiree Fernandez, Board Member Eileen Ball Mehta, Samantha Owen

Bob and Kathy Kowalski, Amory and Carrie Bodin, Kathy Howard and Board Member Scott Howard,
Pearl Meyer

Board Member Dr. Tina Furniss-Roe Ph.D. and Robert Furniss-Roe

Jorge and Mary Moros, Johann Bernal and Board Member Maria Molina

Rene and Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens, Marile Lopez, Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq., Chief Judge Bertila Soto and Gabriel Rodriguez

Rick Tonkinson, Amanda Jorgensen, Margarita Tonkinson, Executive Director Brent McLaughlin,
Susan and Robin Shelley

Board Member Ed Deppman and Barbara Perez, Mark Burstein

Board Member Audrey Warren, Executive Director Brent McLaughlin, Chris and David Lane

Branches Board Members - Back row: Greg Ault, Treasurer Ed Deppman, Chair Rod Bell, Rick Alfonso, Kris Aungst, Rick Morgan, Executive Director Brent McLaughlin. Front row: Dr. Tina Furniss-Roe Ph.D, Secretary Laurie Zapletal, Vice Chair Jim Morgan, Nidia Ruiz, Eileen Ball Mehta. Not pictured: Bill Jones, Dustin Symes, Jack Edwards, Maria Molina, Rick Morgan, Robert Onsgard, Scott Howard, Timothy Iszler.

Branches youth Danielle Neil speaks, announces she is attending Yale this Fall.

Board Chair Rod Bell, Philanthropic Chairs Trish and Dan Bell, Executive Director Brent McLaughlin

The Branches Florida City Children’s Choir

Elizabeth and Frank Lago, Lark Bennett, David Skipp, Award Honorees
Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq., JC Del Valle

Board Chair Rod Bell with some of the Branches Florida City Choir girls

Philanthropic Chairs Dan and Trish Bell, Award Honorees Marile and Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq., Executive Director Brent McLaughlin

Joel Sargent, Benefit Dinner Co-Chair Victoria Randolph, Sam Turpin

MC Ron Magill and Rita Magill, Maria Carvalho and Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho

Branches youth are all smiles, as Board Chair Rod Bell, Dan Bell, Superintendent Carvalho and Student Services Director Kim Torres look on.

Dolores Sukhdeo, Ruth Robinson, Richard Snow, Trish Bell, Jon and Nancy Batchelor

David Efron, Esq., State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle,
Maria Carvalho and Superintendent Alberto M. Carvalho

Commissioner Esteban "Steve" Bovo, Jr. and Viviana Bovo,
Marile Lopez, Jorge Luis Lopez, Esq.