For the Love of Learning Gala
Benefiting the Foundation for New Education Initiatives
Maria & Alberto M. Carvalho

Dan & Trish Bell

Nearly 400 of Miami’s most influential business and philanthropic leaders stepped up to the plate once again to help Miami’s underprivileged students transcend homelessness, attend college, bridge the technology gap, and attend cultural events at the second annual For the Love of Learning Gala, benefitting the Foundation for New Education Initiatives.

The Gala’s generous donors and sponsors were greeted by Co-Chairs Maria & Alberto M. Carvalho, and Trish & Dan Bell. Their successful venture raises money annually to provide the “extras” that round out the educational experience for the school district’s 350,000 students, many of whom live at or below the poverty line. Gala funds help support the Cultural Passport, students’ ticket to the opera, the theater, art museums, concerts and other cultural experiences they may not otherwise be able to access. Some of Miami-Dade’s most deserving public school students receive laptop computers and other technological devices that help them get a leg up on their school work and shine in the eyes of college recruiters, who just might be offering them a scholarship for their higher learning. Or, those lucky students might qualify for one of the Foundation’s scholarships that the Gala also funds.

The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception where guests were serenaded by the Hialeah Gardens Senior High School Jazz Combo. Later, WSVN’s Belkys Nerey welcomed guests and introduced Joanna Martinez, a student at Miami Arts Studio, who sang the Star-Spangled Banner. Afterwards guests were treated to a beautiful ballet performed by the Coral Reef Senior High School Dance Ensemble. The Rev. Dr. Laurinda Hafner, Senior Pastor at Coral Gables United Church of Christ then led the blessing before the meal.

Belkys invited guests to join in paying tribute to the Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alumni Hall of Fame Class of 2016:

Arts & Entertainment: Nilo Cruz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Playwright
Business: Alina Falcon, Executive Vice President, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises, Former President of News, Univision Communications
Public Service: Michael Spring, Director, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs
Science, Technology, Engineering & Math: Ivan Yaeger, Inventor/Entrepreneur/Philanthropist, CEO, The Yaeger Companies
Singular Achievement: Arva Moore Parks, Miami Historian & Garth Reeves, Sr., Newspaper Publisher (The Miami Times)
Sports: Larry Little, Pro Football Hall of Fame Member, Miami Dolphins, 1969-80, San Diego Chargers, 1967-68

As guests enjoyed dinner, gala co-hosts and Silver Sponsors Trish and Dan Bell were welcomed to the stage with a warm round of applause. Trish introduced co-host and Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho, who thanked the elegant crowd for attending. He touched on the needs within the District, the ways in which the Foundation (FNEI) is helping to fill them, and how M-DCPS and FNEI cannot do it alone. Rather, he said, it requires the caring and support of the likes of the community and business leaders in attendance.

Belkys returned to the stage and called the crowd to action to match the generous donation made by Dan Lewis. His request was greeted with enthusiasm, generous individuals texted and donated, and the thermometers on the video screens rose. Champagne toasts were made, Belkys thanked everyone and beckoned them to dance and enjoy themselves, and they did, whirling merrily into the night to “Uptown Funk” and other popular band tunes.

Dan Bell, Trish Bell, Swanee DiMare, Maria Carvalho and Alberto M. Carvalho

Belkys Nerey

Nilo Cruz & Lisa Koger

Angel Arroyo III, Alberto M. Carvalho and Brandon Alfred

Adriel Enriquez, Emily Hernandez, David Faulkenberry, Silvia Costa, Fabiana Leon, Naila Ramos and Luis Gonzalez

Mindy Grimes-Festge & Ivan Yaeger

Marile & Jorge Luis Lopez

Larry Feldman, Perla Hantman, Maritere Rojas and Viviana Jordan

Jeff Ronci & Alina Falcon

Bob Lowman, Manya Lowman, Susan Shelley, Robin Shelley, Lissette and Oliver Ruiz

Lorena Estrada & Jason Buttler

Jon & Nancy Batchelor

Susan Camp & Marialaura Leslie

Helen & Robert Marshall

Peter Salomon, Wendy Salomon, Bobbie Fetherston and Bryan Fetherston

Julia & Bill Beckham

Michelle Abbs Kadisha Phelps

Felipe Laserna & Carolina Acosta

Sulema & Alejandro Soto

Lissette Molina-Powell & Dunia Edgerson

Loraine & Dennis Morales

George Puyana, Marika De Nie, Alessandra Avazian, Tommy Avazian, Renata Antunes, Mark Edwards

Carlos A. Gimenez, Portela Gimenez, Maria Carvalho and Alberto M. Carvalho

Tomas & Dona Vignale

Carolina Norgaard & Jose Morales

Scott & Karla Richey

Zuly & Charles Borr

Tom Avzian, Alessandra Avzian, Marika Puyana, George Puyana, Renata Antunes and Mark Edwards

Henry Fleches, Richard Sardinas and Yeny Sardinas

Marya & Tom Gill

Marialaura Leslie, Regina Bailey, Michael Spring and Arva Moore Parks

Michelle Abbs, Jennifer Dubey
and Tiffany Brutus

Mr. Reeves

Bruno Barreiro, Zoraida Barreiro, Marile Lopez and Jorge Luis Lopez

Rick Tonkinson, Ann de las Pozas and Margarita Tonkinson

Harold and Linda Bunton

Regina Bailey & Michael Spring

Alex de Armas & Miguel Calderon

Peter and Wendy Salamon

Vince Muia, Joanne Messing, Matt Anderson, Ali Soule, Cameron Sisser, Leslie Lorenzi, Austin Hollo and Nicole Cohen

Ben Gerber, Kim Gerber, Minca Brantley and Kareem Brantley

Clarice Abrantes, Maria Carvalo

Christina and Kyle Dailey

Maritere Rojas, Larry Feldman and Aubrina Mumford

Trish Bell & Swanee DiMare

Lisa Koger, Sabrina Gallo and Miranda Soto