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The Miami Foundation awards more than $1 million to nonprofits
Wednesday, June 08, 2016

In a neighborhood where quality education and school choice are limited, CARE Elementary School has a simple mission: to bridge the reading, literacy and technology gap in under-served communities. CARE is a free, private nonprofit elementary school located in one of Miami’s under resourced communities, Overtown. When CARE opened its doors for the first time in August 2015, according to their Lexia Core5 results, five percent of third graders were working at grade level. Today, 94 percent of the class is working on grade level material.

Through its Community Grants program, The Miami Foundation invests in local nonprofit organizations, such as CARE Elementary School, dedicated to addressing well-being of children and youth and other pressing civic issues that shape quality of life in Greater Miami.  The Foundation yesterday announced the 70 nonprofits that will share more than $1 million in grants this year for their innovative programs expanding access to opportunities for thousands of Miami-Dade County residents.

“There is one common denominator to a firm future – education and literacy. When you immerse kids with literacy and give them that strong foundation, that opens so many doors,” said CARE Elementary School Principal Christopher Simmonds to a crowd of more than 200 community leaders during The Miami Foundation’s Community Grants reception. “You help sustain us. When students see you support them, they grab onto it and move forward.”

Over the past 49 years, more than 100 donors have created funds with The Miami Foundation to support causes they care about, forever. “The foresight of philanthropists who have entrusted their charitable dollars to us guides our Community Grants work,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Their generosity enables us to invest in efforts that connect their philanthropic legacies with civic issues shaping Greater Miami now and in the future.”

Other 2016 Community Grants recipients such as Legal Services of Greater Miami help homeless veterans to secure housing. Florida International University Foundation, Inc., and Nova Southeastern University bring residents in low-income areas critical access to primary health and dental care. Miami City Ballet and Miami Music Project offer under-served youth quality arts education. BAN Productions connects communities in need with nutritious foods.

The Miami Foundation celebrated this year’s 70 grant recipients and honored donors at its annual Community Grants reception, held at HistoryMiami, a 2016 Community Grants awardee. Principal Simmonds, of CARE Elementary School, and Marilu Villa, program manager of Mexican-American Council in Homestead, Florida, spoke from their experiences of how funding they received has enabled their organizations to empower youth and families through quality education and mentoring programs. Guitars Over Guns Organization’s student band, another grant recipient, performed.

“These organizations provide access to opportunity for thousands of Miamians,” said Soto. “We are privileged to partner with them in helping to build a greater Miami.”




100 Resilient Cities and The Rockefeller Foundation Welcome Greater Miami and the Beaches into Global Resilience-Building Network
Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Today Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami Mayor Tomás P. Regalado, and Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, joined by The Rockefeller Foundation Chief Operating Officer Peter Madonia and Amy Armstrong, Director of City Relationships at 100 Resilient Cities, celebrated their region’s selection to the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) global network. The mayors announced the joint selection from the Perez Art Museum Miami, noting that by entering the 100RC network, the Miami region will be better equipped to solve local challenges around transportation, economic equality, sea level rise, aging infrastructure, and more.

100RC is a $164 million effort founded by The Rockefeller Foundation in 2013, focused on helping cities around the world build resilience to the social, economic, and physical challenges of the 21st century. As members of the 100RC Network, Miami-Dade County, the City of Miami and the City of Miami Beach will receive funding and support for Chief Resilience Officers (CROs) – innovative new positions within local government. A CRO to be appointed at the City of Miami will partner with Miami-Dade County CRO James Murley and Miami Beach CRO Susanne Torriente and will work directly with county and city leaders to develop a joint Resilience Strategy. The county and cities will receive technical support through 100RC to develop a Resilience Strategy that reflects the region’s collective needs and its capacity to address them, along with the support and services to implement that vision. This strategy will involve outreach to and coordination with the other 32 municipalities in the region.

The cities will also gain access to 100RC Platform Partners in the private, public, academic, and nonprofit sectors. Partners offer tools and services valued at over $200 million – at no direct cost to the region – in areas such as innovative finance, technology, infrastructure, land use, and community and social resilience.

 “Miami is ground zero for some of the most common and pressing challenges facing cities in the 21st Century,” said Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer of The Rockefeller Foundation. “A dynamic, holistic strategy for moving Miami forward should address the city’s aging infrastructure, housing stock, and public transportation system – all in addition to fast-emerging threats as a result of climate change. Cities like Miami demonstrate why building resilience is so important. By looking at all of these factors together, and coordinating the collective energy and resources of local stakeholders and nonprofit actors like The Rockefeller Foundation and 100RC, we can achieve sustainable change. We’re excited to help build a stronger, more resilient Miami.”

“Miami-Dade County has been working toward addressing resilience since the 1980s, and we remain committed to working with our community partners to develop an adaptable plan that will better position our 2.7 million residents to be resilient in the face of current and future challenges,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said. “Collaboration is critical to our success, and as a global community, we also look forward to offering our experience and learning from other global cities that are part of The Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cites program. Taking action is key for us, because the decisions that we make today will have a long-lasting impact on future generations, both locally and globally.”

“The City of Miami is honored to be joining the 100 Resilient Cities network together with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. We are fully committed to embracing and enhancing our readiness for urban resilience," Miami Mayor Tomas P. Regalado said. “Greater Miami is ground zero for sea level rise and we will continue implementing measures to safeguard our City’s infrastructure and financial future. City Manager, Daniel J. Alfonso, will be designating a Chief Resilience Officer (CRO) to work with other parties in developing a Greater Miami area Resilience Strategy that reflects the uniqueness of our municipality.”

“Thank you to The Rockefeller Foundation for their vision to establish 100 Resilient Cities,” Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine said. “Today, the City of Miami Beach along with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, joins this prestigious network of progressive cities around the world that will benefit from each other’s expertise. What an honor! 100 Resilient Cities can count on Miami Beach’s team of innovative and dedicated professionals who will continue to push the envelope when it comes to sea level rise, transportation, infrastructure, and climate change.” 

“We are so proud to welcome Greater Miami and the Beaches to 100 Resilient Cities,” said 100RC President Micahel Berkowitz.“The region’s leadership has demonstrated exceptional commitment to resilience building by hiring Chief Resilience Officers in Miami-Dade County and Miami Beach. We were also impressed by the innovative and proactive way they’ve been thinking about the area’s challenges. We look forward to helping Greater Miami address the full scope of these challenges in 2016 and beyond.”

“This regional effort under 100 Resilient Cities marks a significant milestone for Greater Miami,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Sea-level rise, transportation, public infrastructure and all civic issues give us opportunities to unite and innovate solutions that improve quality of life for all residents. Miami-Dade County and the cities of Miami and Miami Beach have shown how vital it is that we collaborate to realize Greater Miami’s robust future.”

Greater Miami and the Beaches was chosen from more than 325 applicants on the basis of their willingness, ability, and need to become resilient. The application process showed each city’s unique vision for resilience, a long-term commitment to building resilience in a way that connects silos of government and sectors of society, and specific attention to the needs of poor and vulnerable citizens. Applicant cities also demonstrated the willingness to be leaders in urban resilience, sharing learning experiences and becoming a model for other cities across the globe.

The growing momentum for resilience-building worldwide includes the more than 20 cities that have taken 100RC’s 10% Resilience Pledge, agreeing to dedicate 10% of city budgets – representing more than $5 billion (USD) – to resilience initiatives. Additionally, communities like New York City, New Orleans, and Norfolk, VA, have seen hundreds of millions of dollars steered toward their respective efforts to build resilience through the National Disaster Resilience Competition. Finally, communities outside the 100RC network – from North Dakota to Sri Lanka – have created and filled their own CRO positions.

Today, 100RC announced its final cohort of network cities, which includes:

  • Greater Miami and the Beaches
  • Washington, DC
  • Nashville
  • Seattle
  • Atlanta
  • Honolulu
  • Minneapolis
  • Louisville
  • Calgary
  • Toronto
  • Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Colima, Mexico
  • Montevideo, Uruguay
  • Salvador, Brazil
  • Guadalajara (Metro), Mexico
  • Panama City, Panama
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Luxor, Egypt
  • Belfast, Northern Ireland
  • Tbilisi, Georgia
  • Greater Manchester, England
  • The Hague, Netherlands
  • Pune, India
  • Jaipur, India
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Kyoto, Japan
  • Can Tho, Vietnam
  • Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Melaka, Malaysia
  • Haiyan, China
  • Yiwu, China
  • Lagos, Nigeria
  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Cape Town, South Africa
  • Nairobi, Kenya
  • Paynesville, Liberia

“Being designated one of 100 resilient cities around the world is a testament to decades of strong leadership by public and private individuals and organizations in Miami-Dade County,” said Jim Murley, Chief Resilience Officer, Miami-Dade County. “The communities in greater Miami and throughout Southeast Florida are committed to becoming resilient to shocks and stresses that can disrupt the lives of our citizens. We are also mindful of future generations and the need to commit to long-term solutions that ensure their ability to enjoy our extraordinary place.”

“The City of Miami Beach, in partnership with Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami, is proud to be recognized as one of 100 Resilient Cities, powered by The Rockefeller Foundation. Together, we are writing the textbook for addressing sea-level rise, reducing our risks, and creating a vibrant and resilient city of tomorrow,” said Susanne M. Torriente, Miami Beach Chief Resilience Officer and Assistant City Manager. “Our creative and collective efforts today are the foundation for the future of Greater Miami and the Beaches.

Member cities were selected upon the recommendation of distinguished judges from around the world, including: A. Eugene Kohn, Chairman of Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates, Acha Leke, Director at McKinsey & Co Africa, Co-Founder of African Leadership Network, Ann Fudge, Vice-Chair and Senior Independent Director of Unilever, Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, Director-General of Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), Dan Doctoroff, CEO of Sidewalk Labs, Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation, Kai-Uwe Bergmann, Partner at the Bjarke Ingels Group, Michael Kocher, General Manager at Aga Khan Foundation, Nachiket Mor, Former Director and Current Board Member, Reserve Bank of India and Senior Advisor to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President, Global Partnerships at the IFC.

The Miami Foundation and Philanthropy Miami to present Ruth Shack Leadership Award to children’s advocate, Vance A. Aloupis
Monday, April 25, 2016


As many as 17,000 of Florida’s children will get access to healthcare this summer when the state’s KidCare subsidized insurance program lifts its five-year wait period for legal immigrants. The new policy, signed into law by Governor Scott last month, is welcome news for parents in Miami-Dade, which (according to the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute) has the highest county-wide rate of uninsured children in Florida – and the seventh-highest in the nation.

Vance A. Aloupis, Miami Fellows Class VI alumnus and newly appointed CEO of The Children’s Movement of Florida, advocated for the bill’s passing for several legislative sessions. Aloupis, 32, who helped launch the Movement six years ago, has made it his mission to make Florida “the best state in the nation for young children.” Next month, The Miami Foundation, in partnership with Philanthropy Miami, will recognize Aloupis with the 2016 Ruth Shack Leadership Award. Each year, the award honors an individual under 40 who reflects ethical leadership, dedication and service to Greater Miami, qualities embodied by the Foundation’s President Emeritus Ruth Shack.

“Vance is an excellent example of what young leaders can accomplish when we identify their potential, hone their talent, then position them to tackle big issues,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “Like Ruth did for human rights throughout her career, he has turned his passion into a movement, galvanizing thousands in support of investing in our children.  He has truly become the civic change he wants to see.”

David Lawrence, Jr., former Miami Herald publisher who founded The Children’s Movement and serves as its chair, supported Aloupis' promotion last month to continue the work he began in 2010.  Other state leaders and established institutions have recognized Aloupis’ noted talent. Governor Scott appointed Aloupis twice to serve two-year terms as a commissioner for Volunteer Florida.  Also, The Bob Graham Center for Public Service at the University of Florida honored him with the Young Floridian of the Year award in 2014, and the Center for Leadership at Florida International University recognized him this month with its annual Emerging Leader Award. Vance and his wife, Mariella, live in Aventura with their daughters, Isabella and Aria.

The Ruth Shack Leadership Award will be presented at the 18th Annual Donor Next Door Luncheon, May 12th at Jungle Island. The event will celebrate the philanthropy of more than 35 individuals, families, foundations and corporations that donate time and money to support the work of nonprofits in the arts, education and social services.

The Miami Foundation welcomes new members to Board of Trustees
Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Four new members, ranging in industry specialization from financial services to business incubation and the nonprofit sector, have been appointed to The Miami Foundation’s Board of Trustees: Richard A. Berkowitz, J.D., CPA, CEO of Berkowitz Pollack Brant Advisors and Accountants; Annette Franqui, MBA, CFA, co-founding partner of Forrestal Capital; Pandwe Gibson, Ph.D.; founder and CEO of EcoTech Visions; and Victoria Rogers, VP/Arts at the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“The Foundation is privileged to have access to the kind of insight and talent displayed in this new class of trustees,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Their entrepreneurial backgrounds and proven analytical thinking are a perfect complement to the current board’s visionary guidance of our rapidly expanding work.”

Richard A. Berkowitz, J.D., CPA
Richard Berkowitz is an expert in income, estate, financial and investment planning who specializes in fiduciary services, strategic planning, mergers and acquisitions and international tax planning. A leader in his field, he is chairman of Provenance Wealth Advisors and a member of the American Arbitration Association, Florida Academy of Certified Mediators, and the American Association of Attorney – Certified Public Accountants. Berkowitz received a J.D. from the University of Miami.

Annette Franqui, MBA, CFA
Annette Franqui is a seasoned business executive with close to 30 years of experience in the financial industry. She is one of the founding partners of Forrestal Capital, a business and financial advisory firm formed in 2003 to counsel a number of Latin American families. Annette is a member of the board of directors of NYSE listed Arcos Dorados and of various privately held entities. As a volunteer, she is a member of the national board of directors of AARP, one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the United States. Annette received a BSE from the Wharton School and an MBA from Stanford University.

Pandwe Gibson, Ph.D.
Pandwe Gibson developed a network of schools before founding three successful companies. Today, through the EcoTech Visions incubator, she leads entrepreneurs in green manufacturing in Miami. She has lived, studied and taught at notable universities, including the University of Logon in Accra, Ghana, and Oxford University in Oxford, England.

Victoria Rogers
Victoria Rogers joined Knight Foundation in May 2015 after serving as executive vice president of New World Symphony, where she helped set the strategic plan and oversaw all revenue generation, as well as marketing and communications for the orchestral academy. Before joining New World Symphony, Rogers served as assistant vice president for central development at University of Miami, where she was the architect of its billion-dollar capital campaign, Momentum.

As Miami-Dade residents clamor for more public spaces, annual challenge launches to fund their ideas
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

After nine months of closure due to construction, hundreds of local bikers, joggers and walkers celebrated the reopening of the Venetian Causeway this month with a sunset ride/jog to Miami Beach.  The staggering turnout for the event proved that the bridge was more than a transport for cars across Biscayne Bay, but an important public space for residents to connect and enjoy the outdoors.  Even as Downtown Miami’s skyline undergoes exponential growth – including scores of new condo towers under construction – the clamor for open public spaces continues to get louder. Growing support for major linear parks like The Underline and Ludlam Trail, and for the proposed Plan Z overhaul of Rickenbacker Causeway, prove local residents value public gathering spaces and want easy access to them throughout Miami-Dade County.

In effort to respond to that call, for the fourth year in a row, The Miami Foundation is launching the Public Space Challenge, a contest for ideas that create, improve or activate local gathering places like parks, playgrounds, sidewalks, basketball courts and plazas in Greater Miami.  The Foundation invests $305,000 to make the top ideas a reality. Health Foundation of South Florida will support winning ideas increasing access to fresh food and healthy lifestyles; the Office of Miami-Dade County Commissioner Juan C. Zapata will support ideas in West End.  Anyone can submit and idea – individuals, groups, public agencies, nonprofits, private companies – at from March 15th through April 21st.

“The success of Greater Miami’s exponential growth depends on our ability to develop and enhance the spaces that keep us connected as a community,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Residents strongly supported our advocacy push to help increase the county and city parks budgets last year.  That energy, plus excitement around catalytic parks like Underline and Ludlam Trail, prove that this community is fervently demanding activated, safe and beautiful open gathering places.  The Challenge puts the power in residents’ hands to create these important spaces themselves.”

The Challenge has funded projects big and small from Homestead to Hialeah, Wynwood to Miami Gardens. Most of them are submitted by local residents committed to improving Greater Miami, like David Hazim, whose passion for disc golf led him to submit a winning idea to create a course in his neighborhood at Homestead Air Reserve Park. Dejha Carrington, a 2015 Challenge winner, sought to activate the Miami skyline as a place to unite the local community. She created a public art project on the side of the InterContinental Miami.  The hotel’s 19-story digital wall lit up with original art moving in sync with contemporary, instrumental music streamed online for a community-wide experience.  More than 1,000 ideas have been submitted and over $500,000 invested in winning ideas since the Challenge’s inception.

“This is a movement toward creating a county bursting with great public spaces – a county where every Miamian is a 10-minute walk from an urban retreat to share with their friends and neighbors,” said Stuart Kennedy, director of program strategy and innovation. “This year, we want to cast an even wider net, so we’re encouraging creativity to reimagine what local public spaces can be.”

To help Challenge participants with the planning, writing, and execution of their projects, The Miami Foundation will host a series of public workshops with Urban Impact Lab and Design Thinking Miami. A training schedule, which includes webinars and workshops held throughout March and April, is available at

For more information and to submit an idea, visit To schedule interviews or discuss the Challenge with The Miami Foundation, please contact Meieli Sawyer at 305-668-0070 or

More than 150 gather at inaugural State of Black Philanthropy, discuss how charitable giving can improve Miami-Dade’s black communities
Tuesday, March 01, 2016

From tragic youth gun violence to a need for increased economic opportunities, many of Miami-Dade County’s black communities are facing significant challenges.  The Miami Foundation, in partnership with the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, explored how philanthropy can address these and other pressing issues and amplify solutions at the 2016 State of Black Philanthropy.  The February 25th event convened 150 donors and civic leaders at the Complex for an interactive panel discussion around defining philanthropy, being more strategic with charitable investments and pooling philanthropic resources to increase impact.  The panel, led by moderator Marlon A. Hill, Esq., partner at Hamilton, Miller & Birthisel, LLP, included Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder at Greenberg Traurig, P.A.; Bill Diggs, president, Mourning Family Foundation; Ghislain Gouraige, Jr., senior vice president, wealth management, UBS Financial Services; Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs, The Miami Foundation; and Teri Williams, president and chief operating officer, OneUnited Bank.

“The spirit of charity has been engrained in the black community for generations,” said Hill, also a former trustee of the Foundation. “We tithe at church; we send money to family back home and abroad; we have a long tradition giving money to those in need. The key now is to formalize and strategically steer those dollars to work on behalf of black communities across Greater Miami.”

Additional comments from the audience addressed nonprofit capacity building, specifically how organizations need to establish endowments to ensure the sustainability of their work.  Discussion also noted the severely limited amount of national data or metrics on giving in black communities.

“Despite not having the generational wealth that drives traditional philanthropy, black people give a higher percentage of their income to charitable causes,” added Grant. “This pattern of giving demonstrates that effective philanthropy is less about the dollar amount and more about using generosity to improve lives and neighborhoods in these communities.”

The Foundation also provided 10 ways attendees could “advance the state of black philanthropy,” including working with a financial advisor to designate a portion of their life insurance proceeds to benefit a nonprofit organization, talking to friends about their charitable investments to find opportunities for united giving, and telling elected officials to support nonprofits working on causes they want to see addressed.

The panelists and other local stakeholders are now working with the Foundation to develop follow-up strategies for attendees and the broader community to engage and advance philanthropic solutions for the issues discussed.  Please email Rebecca Mandelman at for more information.

Local organizations launch new programs, expand after Give Miami Day 2015's record fundraising
Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Guitars Over Guns has mentored at-risk youth through music education and performance since its launch in 2008. Chad Bernstein, founder, CEO and recently named CNN Hero, has seen the program grow to serving more than 450 students with a 90 percent increase in their GPAs and school attendance rates. Now, with $23,090 raised on Give Miami Day 2015 from 71 donations, he is able to expand the research-based model into South Dade.

“There is tremendous need for programs like ours in areas like Cutler Bay, where much of Miami-Dade’s programming doesn’t reach,” said Bernstein. “Funds raised during Give Miami Day 2015 will provide 1,000 hours of community outreach – that’s mentorship and music education for anywhere between 25 to 40 students annually. For us, it’s not about growth for the sake of growth … it’s about investing in something that will make a lasting impact in the community.”

Guitars Over Guns is one of more than 600 nonprofits that participated in the fourth annual Give Miami Day. With almost 25,000 donations pouring more than $7.1 million into Greater Miami-based organizations, November 19th made history as the most active 24 hours of philanthropy in the Southeast United States. Participating nonprofits represented every sector from arts and culture to housing & affordability, the environment and crime prevention.

 “Give Miami Day gives every Miamian the power to grow and expand the community work they care about,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “The event has become a glowing moment highlighting Greater Miami’s unrivaled generosity each year, but the impact extends well-beyond those 24 hours as nonprofits invest the funds to improve more lives in our community.”


DIBIA Dream, a first-time participant in Give Miami Day, was one of the top earners among small nonprofits (annual budget under $250,000). They led the category with 235 donations, bringing in $17,340. As the charitable arm of DIBIA Athletic Development, an international for-profit sports training and life skills enrichment company, Dream provides elementary after-school programs that takes skills for athletic success and helps students apply them to their personal lives. With proceeds from Give Miami Day, DIBIA will expand programming in fine arts, STEM, financial literacy, civic engagement and mentorship.

“With the funds raised during Give Miami Day, we will be able to purchase more supplies to enrich each of our programs and forge new partnerships to enhance children’s lives,” said Brandon A. Okpalobi, founder of DIBIA Dream. “From purchasing basketballs for our team to investing in quality coding programs, the funds from Give Miami Day will make DIBIA Dream stronger. We now have an opportunity to offer more comprehensive programs to a growing number of students.”

The Greater Miami Jewish Federation was Give Miami Day’s top earner, receiving nearly 350 gifts and $537,571. The Children’s Movement of Florida had the highest number of gifts, raising $158,453 from 616 donations. Gene Spotlight, Inc., a foundation funding medical research for rare cancers and diseases, raised the most among small organizations, earning $121,125 from 74 gifts. Other organizations with a high volume of donations on the day included the Arsht Center (285 gifts; $45,443), The Learning Experience School (368 gifts: $35,510) and Sant La Haitian Neighborhood Center (232 gifts; $27,653).

The Miami Foundation and its partners, including Knight Foundation, Stearns Weaver Miller, Health Foundation of South Florida, The William R. Watts Foundation, Mitchell Wolfson, Sr. Foundation and more than 130 donors on Give Miami Day, contributed to a bonus pool of almost $550,000. The pool allowed every donation between $25 and $10,000 received on Give Miami Day to be maximized with an 8 percent bonus gift. Participating nonprofits could also win $25,000 worth of prizes ranging from $500 to $1,500, sponsored by the Miami Marlins. They included Ichiro’s Prize – $1,000 which went to Exchange for Change to for receiving the 4,213th gift, celebrating Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki's 4,213 all-time professional career hits.

Give Miami Day is an initiative of The Miami Foundation that furthers their mission of increasing local philanthropy and providing community engagement opportunities for every Miamian. Last year, 520 participating nonprofits raised $5.2 million from donors across Miami-Dade County, the U.S. and more than 30 countries. More than $16.5 million have been raised on Give Miami Days since 2012, annually setting a record for the most active 24 hours of charitable giving in Southeast U.S. history.


The Miami Foundation registers a record 600+ nonprofits for Give Miami Day 2015, November 19th
Thursday, November 12, 2015

The most active day of philanthropic giving in South Florida history is back with a record 600+ nonprofit organizations set to raise millions in 24 hours on November 19th.   The Miami Foundation’s historic Give Miami Day 2014 raised $5.2 million from more than 13,000 donors for 520 nonprofits.  This year, with nearly 100 more organizations registered, the foundation hopes to eclipse last year’s total for the 24 hours between midnight November 19th and midnight November 20th.  Hundreds of Miamians will celebrate the annual giving day at the Community Block Party, a free, family concert event at Marlins Park from 5 to 8 p.m, featuring kids’ games, food trucks, nonprofit exhibits and the award-winning local Afro-Latin band, Suénalo.

“Give Miami Day allows every Miamian to hold the power of philanthropy in their hands,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “With just a $25 gift, anyone who cares about this community can invest in the organizations working every day to improve our lives. Give Miami Day takes that small investment and turns it into a multi-million dollar movement, building a greater Miami for all.”

Throughout the day, anyone can go to, browse through hundreds of nonprofit profiles or search for a specific one they want to support, and make a charitable gift to the organization right on the site.  Knight Foundation, Stearns Weaver Miller, Health Foundation of South Florida, The William R. Watts Foundation and Mitchell Wolfson, Sr. Foundation and other supporters have contributed to a pool that will maximize the community’s generosity and make a bonus gift to nonprofits for every dollar raised on Give Miami Day.  Nonprofits are also eligible to receive fundraising prizes sponsored by the Marlins Foundation, such as the $1,000 Ichiro’s Prize for the organization that receives the 4,213th gift, in celebration of Miami Marlins outfielder Ichiro Suzuki’s 4,213 all-time professional career hits. Prizes range from $500 to $1,500. 

Among the organizations that participated last year, Touching Miami with Love, a program that inspires, educates and empowers children and adults in Overtown and West Homestead, raised more than $79,000 on Give Miami Day from 194 donations; Miami Rescue Mission, which helps homeless men and women get meals, shelter and residential programs, raised over $67,000 from 194 donations.

The Give Miami Day Community Block Party, hosted in the Marlins Park West Plaza, is now in its second year. From 5 to 8 p.m. on the 19th, hundreds of residents from across Greater Miami will celebrate together, enjoying a free concert featuring Suénalo, whose Latin-funk fusion music has been dubbed “the sound of Miami.” Guests can also explore Give Miami Day nonprofit exhibits, play interactive games and much more.

Give Miami Day is an initiative of The Miami Foundation that furthers their mission of increasing local philanthropy and providing community engagement opportunities for every Miamian.  Last year, the 520 participating nonprofits raised $5.2 million from donors across Miami-Dade County, the U.S., and more than 30 countries. Almost $10 million dollars has been raised during Give Miami Days since 2012, annually setting a record for the most active 24 hours of charitable giving in Florida history.

“I’m ready to see Greater Miami rally together and create another historic Miami moment for our community,” Soto continued.

Interested donors can learn more at  Community Block Party attendees may RSVP at For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Meieli Sawyer at or 305-668-0070.


More than 150 residents push for increased investment in Miami parks at Public Space Challenge winners event
Thursday, August 27, 2015

The city’s crane-dotted skyline is a daily reminder of Miami’s explosive growth.  Large-scale developments like Brickell City Centre and Miami Worldcenter are and will soon command blocks of space in the urban landscape.  As Miami grows, advocates are pushing to protect and expand valuable green and public gathering space, vital for residents to connect with each other and their community.  That was the rallying call at the August 26th Make Parks a Priority event.  Hosted at C1 Bank in Wynwood, The Miami Foundation gathered more than 150 engaged residents, including Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez, to encourage all county commissioners to approve Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s proposed $13.5 million 2016 parks budget increase.  The event also promoted broader investment in signature parks like the Underline, Ludlam Trail and Museum Park.  The 18 winners of the 2015 Public Space Challenge were also recognized; they’ll share $305,000 in grants to create, activate and improve local parks and public places.

“County funding shortfalls have topped $18 million since 2010, causing reductions in recreational programs, backlogs in maintenance and the closing of park facilities. Miamians deserve better,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “The mayor’s proposed budget increase is definitely a step in the right direction.  We’re ensuring all our elected officials know there is a galvanized team of residents who are calling on them to make our parks a priority.”

The 2015 Public Space Challenge winners stand to make a lasting impact on Greater Miami with more permanent park and gathering place projects funded than ever before.  Now in its third year, The Miami Foundation and sponsors Health Foundation of South Florida and Baptist Health South Florida increased prize funds by $175,000, allowing for more substantial awards to this year’s 18 selected ideas.

Winners included nine permanent projects set to transform public spaces and parks throughout the county. Agorascape, a local philanthropic landscape design studio, will convert a vacant lot near Jackson Memorial Hospital into a healing garden.  The project will add much-needed green space to a highly urbanized part of Miami and provide access to nature, a proven treatment that will help Jackson patients in their recovery.  Challenge winners included residents, organizations and government leaders.  Their ideas range from activating crosswalks in West Miami with public art and poetry to installing solar panels powering nighttime lighting at Wynwood Greenhouse.  David Hazim’s project will install an 18-hole disc golf course at Homestead Air Reserve Park and create a meet-up group to engage his neighbors.

“This year’s 330-plus Challenge submissions clearly shows Miamians’ demand for significant, enduring parks, plazas and lively outdoor areas where they can connect with the community they call home,” shared Stuart Kennedy, director of program strategy and innovation.

The Miami Foundation launched the Public Space Challenge in 2013 as a unique ideas contest for funding new and enhanced public spaces.  Both the 2012 and 2014 Our Miami Reports highlighted the importance of parks and public spaces for Greater Miami residents’ physical well-being and facilitating connections to the community and each other. For more information about this year’s winners, visit


Baptist Health South Florida and Code Fever’s Felicia Hatcher to be honored at the 17th Donor Next Door Luncheon
Wednesday, April 22, 2015



LEAVE A LEGACY© announced today that Baptist Health South Florida is the recipient of the 2015 Community Champion Award, which honors the person or organization that contributes to the wellbeing of the community through its work and philanthropy. 

The Miami Foundation also announced that Felecia Hatcher, the co-founder of Code Fever and Black Tech Week, will be the recipient of the 2015 Ruth Shack Leadership Award. Both awards will be presented at the 17th Annual Donor Next Door Luncheon, Thursday, May 14 at Jungle Island, 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail. 

Baptist Health South Florida is the largest healthcare organization in the region, with seven hospitals, 30 outpatient and urgent care centers, 15,000 employees and 2,200 doctors. Baptist Health Foundation, the fundraising arm of the organization, is highly regarded for its support of community programs for families in need. Earlier this year, Fortune Magazine named Baptist one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America (No. 23 in the nation) for the 15th year in a row. Brian Keeley, president and CEO, will receive the award on behalf of Baptist Health South Florida at the luncheon. 

“This year’s honorees showcase both individual and group accomplishments. Felecia found a way to take her passion for technology and entrepreneurship to inspire and empower others, and in the process create a cadre of emerging tech innovators in Miami,” said Hank Raattama, Co-Chair of LEAVE A LEGACY. “Baptist Health, on the other hand, shows how a large organization can create community wellbeing through its healthcare programs and support of other nonprofits and their work. Baptist has leveraged its philanthropy to help thousands in our community.”  

The Ruth Shack Leadership Award is given annually to an emerging community leader that exemplifies hard work, dedication and service to Greater Miami, qualities embodied by the foundation President Emeritus Ruth Shack. Hatcher has earned widespread recognition as the co-founder of the ice cream company Feverish Pops and Code Fever, an initiative that trains African American youth in technology and entrepreneurship. In 2014, the White House named her a Champion for Change for her work in STEM access and diversity. This year, Hatcher and Code Fever hosted their first Black Tech Week conference, which celebrates innovators of color in the United States and all over the world. 

“Like Ruth, Felicia understands what’s critical to Greater Miami’s future,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “Her work creates an entire crop of sharp, young talent for a community that depends on them to thrive.  She’s an example for all of us: find an issue you care about, build a coalition, then change your community for the better.”

Monday, April 06, 2015

MIAMI – April 6, 2015
– The Marlins Foundation, the charitable arm of the Miami Marlins Major League Baseball franchise, has selected The Miami Foundation to manage its charitable fund. The Marlins Foundation leads the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) mission of the team and funds programs that improve the lives of children through education, the arts and baseball. Since the approval of Marlins Park, the Marlins Foundation has invested over $5 million toward local nonprofits, school initiatives, scholarships, youth baseball programming and neighborhood organizations.

“As supporters of the Marlins Foundation’s efforts, we are intimately familiar with their community service and outreach work, making this partnership a natural evolution in our relationship,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Now, we can apply our expertise in stewarding charitable assets and our insight into Miami’s community needs to maximize the impact of the Marlins Foundation’s philanthropy.”

Last October, The Miami Foundation released the 2014 Our Miami Report, a biennial, data-focused, quality of life research study showing Miami’s most pressing community challenges and opportunities. The Miami Foundation will use those findings to assist The Marlins Foundation in identifying programs that align with the Marlins’ charitable mission and address the needs identified by the Our Miami Report.

The Marlins Foundation has a history of working with The Miami Foundation as a charitable partner. Most recently, the Marlins participated in Give Miami Day 2014, by serving as host site for the 24-hour fundraising event and sponsoring the $25,000 prize pool for participating charities. Give Miami Day 2014 raised a record $5.2 million for 520 nonprofits in Greater Miami.

“The Miami Foundation understands our commitment to philanthropy and service,” said David Samson, chairman of the Marlins Foundation. “Having The Miami Foundation manage our fund generates a unique collaboration that allows the Marlins to continue to invest in local charities as well as work effectively alongside other philanthropists to make an impact in the lives of our Miami neighbors.”

To schedule interviews or discuss The Miami Foundation’s newest partnership in greater detail, please contact Meieli Sawyer at 305-668-0070 or

Pictured above: The Miami Marlins staff engaged residents across the county to support their annual Marlins Ayudan Day of Service and Community Engagement nonprofit partners.  They also raised $157,000 on Give Miami Day 2014 to support a number of causes they care deeply about. 

Industry Leaders Will Help Guide The Miami Foundation’s Community Impact And Record Growth
Thursday, March 19, 2015

MIAMI – March 19, 2015 – The Miami Foundation appointed a new board of trustees chair, vice chair and board members whose industry leadership in South Florida span legal services, real estate, financial services and entrepreneurship. Rick Schatz, managing director of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A., was named the new chair, along with Marlon A. Hill, partner of Hamilton Miller & Birthisel, LLP, being named the new vice chair. In addition, the foundation welcomes new board members Adrian Foster, president and CEO of Foster Construction of South Florida, and Nathan Leight, senior managing member of Terrapin Partners, LLC, and its affiliates.

“Our board helps drive the vision and growth of the Foundation,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Their insight on Greater Miami’s most pressing issues, coupled with in-depth community knowledge and broad skillsets, are critical for ensuring we effectively steward our fundholders’ resources to advance civic change and improve the quality of life for every Miamian.”

Rick Schatz, chair
Rick Schatz is the managing director of Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. and is a shareholder practicing in the real estate and corporate and securities departments. He also serves on the firm’s board of directors. He currently chairs the Adrienne Arsht Center Foundation board of directors and is a member of Friends for Sylvester at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Marlon A. Hill, co-chair
Marlon A. Hill is a partner with the law firm of Hamilton Miller & Birthisel, LLP, practicing in the areas of corporate, intellectual property, government and immigration law.  He is an inaugural member of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows leadership program and has served as president of the Caribbean Bar Association (2001-2003).  He currently serves as a board member of the Miami Parking Authority, Miami Book Fair International and an active member of the Orange Bowl Committee.

Nathan Leight, board member
Nathan Leight, senior managing member of Terrapin Partners, LLC, and its affiliates, has over 30 years of experience in asset and hedge fund management, venture capital and private equity investing. Nathan is chairman of Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (NASDAQ: GLDD), the largest provider of dredging services in North America, and Terrapin 3 Acquisition Corporation (NASDAQ: TRTL). Nathan is also a director of both the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County and the Jerusalem Foundation (USA), and is chapter chair of WPO Miami/Ft. Lauderdale.

Adrian Foster, board member
Adrian Foster, president and CEO at Foster Construction of South Florida, has developed and managed construction projects in the United States and the U.S. Virgin Islands. She also worked to build the country’s first LEED Platinum Municipal Building in the city of Miami Gardens. Foster has extensive construction and real estate development experience, managing roughly $100 million in aggregate project value. 

Pictured above: (l to r) Rick Schatz, Marlon A. Hill, Adrian Foster and Nathan Leight

The Miami Foundation's 2015 Public Space Challenge to open March 4th, $305K invested in winning ideas
Thursday, February 26, 2015

MIAMI – March 2, 2015 – The Miami Foundation’s 2015 Public Space Challenge will accept idea submissions from March 4th to April 1st. Now in its third year, the contest seeks ideas to connect Miami-Dade residents by creating, improving and activating public gathering places like parks, libraries, plazas and playgrounds.  Anyone – individuals, groups, agencies, nonprofits or companies – can submit ideas at  The Miami Foundation increased the prize amount from previous years, with a total of $305,000 in grants to be awarded for 2015’s winning ideas, up from $130,000 last year.  Health Foundation of South Florida will contribute towards ideas promoting healthy exercise activities and access to fresh food. Baptist Health South Florida joins the Challenge partners this year, helping to foster ideas that encourage healthy lifestyles in the community.

“We upped our commitment this year because we have seen Miamians’ increasing demand for better public spaces.  Our community understands how vital open spaces are to improving our quality of life and making Miami a vibrant and engaging place to live,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “The Challenge offers a way for everyone to help advance the cause by putting solutions in the hands of residents who have a passion for this place.  More dollars mean we can invest in bigger ideas, mobilize more people and see greater results in the form of exciting public spaces.”

Past Challenge winners (18 ideas were selected in 2014) are providing new ways to enjoy Miami’s public spaces leading up to the March 4th launch.  Earlier this month, to demonstrate the power of lighting to create and define a public space, Friends of the Underline lit up Vizcaya Metrorail Station a different color nightly from February 14th to 21st. The installation brought attention to their Underline Project, a planned transformation of the 10-mile M-Path beneath the Metrorail from the Miami River to Dadeland South into a linear park that will enhance connectivity, mobility and biking safety for thousands of Miami-Dade residents.

Events in the last week include Bay Skate Miami, which turned the Mildred and Claude Pepper Fountain at Bayfront Park into a skating rink for one, free night on Feb. 26, and the Wynwood Green & Art Market, Bakehouse Art Complex’s March 1st launch of their community market showcasing local produce and crafts.

“The 2014 Our Miami Report highlighted the importance of parks and public spaces for our residents’ physical well-being and facilitating connections to our city and each other,” said Stuart Kennedy, senior programs officer at The Miami Foundation. “We’re lagging behind our peers like New York and Chicago in funding and expanding these spaces. The Challenge addresses that by putting the power in Miamians’ hands to shape lively, attractive gathering places across this community.”

Last year, the Public Space Challenge garnered 410 ideas, up from 263 ideas in 2013.  Individuals can get expert advice for crafting their ideas by attending training seminars around Miami-Dade County in March. Following the submission period, community experts and “placemakers” will evaluate all of the ideas and select finalists, who will develop full proposals for the final selection round.  

The Miami Foundation will host the Public Space Challenge kickoff on March 4th at Ball & Chain: 1513 SW 8th Street in Little Havana.  The free event will feature past winners and opportunities to learn more about the Challenge. RSVP at  For more information and inspiration from our blog, visit To schedule interviews or discuss the Challenge with The Miami Foundation, please contact Meieli Sawyer at 305-668-0070 or

Pictured above: 2013 Public Space Challenge winning idea, bench installation along the Brickell Bay Drive walkway, as a way for local residents to enjoy Miami's scenic landscape

Give Miami Day 2014 Raises a Record $5.2 million for more than 520 local nonprofits
Tuesday, December 02, 2014

The Miami Foundation’s third annual 24-hour giving event draws 19,245 donations

MIAMI – November 24, 2014 – The Miami Foundation exceeded their $5 million fundraising goal on Give Miami Day 2014, raising $5.2 million in the most active 24 hours of philanthropic giving in Florida history. More than 520 participating nonprofits – representing every category of charitable organizations, including the arts, animal welfare, education, health care and youth development – received 19,245 gifts from donors across Miami-Dade County, the U.S. and in more than 30 countries.

“What a phenomenal day it was for Miami,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “For so long, we’ve been marked as not being a generous community. Seeing every Miamian step up, get behind this giving movement and see it through to the landmark finish is beyond gratifying.  It solidifies that this new, more engaged and charitable Miami has taken root and will redefine who we are for years to come.”

In addition to the millions raised from midnight November 20 to midnight November 21, Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees, Marlins Foundation, Health Foundation of South Florida and additional donors contributed to a bonus pool of $340,594. The pool will maximize the community’s generosity by making a bonus gift for every donation between $25 and $10,000 received on Give Miami Day.  Throughout the day, nonprofits were also eligible to receive fundraising prizes sponsored by the Marlins Foundation, such as a $500 3:05 Cafecito Break Prize for the organization that received the gift made closest to 3:05 p.m. Prizes ranged from $500 to $1,500.

Give Miami Day culminated at the Community Block Party hosted by Marlins Park, featuring a digital fundraising/live-tweet board, food trucks and performances from the Miami Jazz Cooperative and Catalyst Hip Hop break dancers.  The event highlighted 20 participating nonprofits that were on hand with additional information, volunteer opportunities and ways to get engaged with the organization.

“The block party was an opportunity to capture the tangible energy that Give Miami Day generates,” said Matthew Beatty, director of communications at The Miami Foundation.  “By bringing people together to connect, engage and celebrate with local charities, we incited donors to volunteer with and provide ongoing support to these nonprofits after Give Miami Day.”

Top earners for the day included The Greater Miami Jewish Federation with $368,739 raised from 278 gifts, Children's Movement of Florida with $156,925 from 537 gifts; and The Cushman School with $93,179 from 249 gifts. The Learning Experience School also did well with 428 gifts, receiving the most donations from midnight to 1:30 a.m. and the $1,500 Early Bird Gets the Worm Prize. The Coral Gables Congregational Community Arts Program also attracted a large donor base with 238 gifts to earn $21,461 on the day.

Give Miami Day is an initiative of The Miami Foundation that furthers their mission of increasing local philanthropy and providing community engagement opportunities for every Miamian. Last year, Give Miami Day 2013 raised $3.2 million from over 10,000 donors for 407 nonprofits, nearly tripling the $1.2 million raised for 300 nonprofits in 2012.

The Miami Foundation releases its 2014 Our Miami Report: an in-depth look at Greater Miami's quality of life
Monday, October 20, 2014

MIAMI – October 16, 2014 – With more than 150 people in attendance, The Miami Foundation announced the results of its 2014 Our Miami Report at an event held October 15th at the Bakehouse Art Complex in the Wynwood Art District. The report summarizes the findings of an intensive research project that focused on Miami’s complex issues, identifying areas that need to be addressed and creating common goals for community improvement. The Our Miami Report identified eight key quality of life issue areas affecting Miamians: transportation, housing, arts & culture, health & safety, civic engagement, economy, environment & public space, and education. The Miami Foundation worked with experts and advisors to identify intersections within these issues and offer multi-dimensional solutions to Miami’s civic challenges. 

“Presenting the research is only the first step,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “The report is a living platform to act upon. By focusing attention on complex issues and what’s driving them, we create a tool for igniting stakeholders around common goals.” 

The biennial report builds on the 2012 Our Miami: Soul of the City study, which explored factors that connect people to the place they live. Those findings led to initiatives such as the foundation’s Public Space Challenge, an ideas contest that engaged thousands of residents to mobilize and turn parks, plazas and idle spaces into the kinds of gathering places they want to see.

The 2014 report takes the research to a new level in terms of its scope and approach to finding connections across the indicators. The report examines five such areas of intersection. It looks, for example, at how traffic congestion has a domino effect on several other important challenges.

“Miamians spend as much time in their cars commuting to work as their counterparts in New York and Chicago but lack the public transit options available in those cities,” said Stuart Kennedy, senior programs officer at the foundation. “This results in reduced amounts of time for community involvement and decreased affordability when you add the cost of driving to an already expensive housing market.  Increased mobility options, like more accessible bus service, walkable streets and safer bike lanes, can help alleviate the root congestion problem and the challenges that ripple out as a result.”

The Foundation is also launching the Accelerator Grants program that will make a $10,000 award related to each of the eight Our Miami Report issue areas.  The program seeks project submissions that address any issue area or related indicator presented in the report. The foundation is particularly looking for entities who already have traction, are making positive headway and could turn modest funding into expanded impact.

“We want to recognize and reward change-makers who are showing strong momentum toward effective solutions and are poised to achieve even more,” said Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs at the foundation.  “The grant program is meant to advance their work and help us map the people and organizations working on these key issues driving Miami’s vitality.

”Detailed findings of the 2014 Our Miami Report and the Accelerator Grants submission platform is available at Media representatives interested in additional information or who would like to interview key personnel involved in the Our Miami Report may contact Meieli Sawyer of The Weinbach Group at (305) 668-0070 or





Economic development, higher education leaders launch talent development network
Tuesday, August 12, 2014

In response to the need to build and retain talent in South Florida, economic development leaders and higher education institutions in Miami-Dade County have united to create a regional talent development network that will provide internships to students in key industries and align academic curriculum with industry needs.

FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg announced the launch of the Talent Development Network on Wednesday, in collaboration with the Beacon Council’s One Community One Goal (OCOG) Academic Leaders Council (ALC).

“Miami’s academic leaders fully support the region’s economic development plan and our local industry – we are committed together to preparing our students for the jobs of tomorrow,’’ said Rosenberg, who chairs the ALC. “We are blurring the lines between industry and academia with our collaborative efforts to develop the OCOG Talent Development Network.”

The Talent Development Network will provide local college students with on-the-job experience in one of OCOG’s target industries: Aviation, Creative Design, Hospitality and Tourism, International Banking and Finance, Information Technology, Life Sciences and Health Care, and Trade and Logistics.

Ignited by a $100,000 challenge grant by The Miami Foundation, the Talent Development Network has received support from numerous local companies and philanthropic groups, including the Peacock Foundation. Today, the program announced its newest investment – $100,000 from Helios Education Foundation, bringing the total raised to $260,000.

“Aligned with Helios’ commitment to ensure students have support and guidance toward high-quality post-secondary certificate and degree pathways, the OCOG Talent Development Network is positioned to become an evidence-based model for state and national replication,” said Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of the foundation.

Beyond creating an internship culture in South Florida, the initiative seeks to address the historic disconnect between local academic institutions and economic development strategies. 

“We are working together in an unprecedented way to prepare and retain tomorrow’s young professionals to strengthen and diversify South Florida’s workforce,’’ said Irma Becerra-Fernandez, FIU’s vice president for the Office of Engagement.

FIU will lead the program in partnership with The Beacon Council and ALC’s other member institutions: Barry University, Florida Memorial University, Miami Dade College, Miami-Dade County Public Schools, St. Thomas University and the University of Miami. 

In addition to supporting talent preparation for target industries, the Talent Development Network will positively impact at-risk populations, by providing real-life experience and networking opportunities. Studies show students who participate in internships are more likely to succeed in college, graduate on time and find employment in their first year after graduation. These positive effects are more significant for minority populations.

Using technology modules to help employers and students create successful internships, the program will place its first cohort of interns with industry partners in Summer 2015. The program will be enhanced with supportive curriculum and mentoring to create a network of leaders who are informed and engaged with their community.

“A regional effort to prepare and retain talent is critical to building our creative class and ensuring Miami is globally competitive,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, whose team was instrumental in the program’s conceptualization. “By hardwiring them into our local professional networks, we foster our home-grown economic generators to propel this entire community forward.”

Click here to learn more about the Talent Development Network.

$130,000 awarded to 18 winning ideas in 2014 Public Space Challenge
Monday, July 14, 2014

MIAMI – Miamians can look forward to renewed public spaces, including artistic lighting installations beneath the Metrorail, an outdoor theatre and performance space at Arcola Lakes Library and a marketplace at Wynwood’s Bakehouse Art Complex. These are just a few of the 18 ideas awarded $130,000 in funding through The Miami Foundation’s 2014 Public Space Challenge.

The winning ideas, designed to improve local public spaces and encourage healthy lifestyles, were celebrated at a June 24th reception held at The Historic Lyric Theater in Overtown. The Miami Foundation and Health Foundation of South Florida will invest $100,000 and $30,000, respectively, to bring the winning ideas to reality. 

The 2014 Challenge drew 410 entries (up from 263 in 2013) from individuals, groups, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations throughout Miami-Dade. A panel of experts selected winners from proposals developed by contest finalists, evaluating which ideas would have the greatest impact on Miami’s quality of life. 

“The growth of the 2014 Public Space Challenge shows Miamians are charged to speak up about how they want to change our city,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Activated parks, plazas and public gathering places help residents bond, making our city a more engaged place to live. We look forward to working with this year’s Challenge winners to develop their projects, drive public support and help our community understand the importance of shared spaces.”

The Public Space Challenge is part of The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which fosters a greater sense of community and builds attachment to the city by creating a more enjoyable and connected Miami-Dade. The 2014 contest winners have already begun creating project timelines and recruiting build-out teams. Each group will receive technical assistance from The Miami Foundation to work with county and municipal offices in executing their projects. 

“I’m thrilled to see Miami-Dade’s libraries recognized as public spaces in this year’s Challenge,” said Gia Arbogast, assistant director of the Miami-Dade Public Library System. “We can now provide Arcola Lakes with a venue encouraging dialogue and engagement – something that our community desperately needs. We are ready to develop a vibrant space … one that encourages literacy, showcases important programs and highlights library resources.” 

For more information about this year’s winners, visit

Hundreds of engaged Miamians celebrate $1.2 million in Community Grants
Monday, July 14, 2014

MIAMI – The Miami Foundation announced the 73 local nonprofit organizations that will share $1.2 million in grants for their innovative programs improving Miami-Dade County. The event, held at The Historic Lyric Theater on June 24, 2014, was attended by more than 200 guests, including David Lawrence, Jr., chair of the Children’s Movement0020of Florida; Christopher Russo, Sunny Isles Beach city manager; Raymond Santiago, Miami-Dade Public Library System director; and Ruth Shack, president emeritus of The Miami Foundation. The grants are made possible by donors who allow the foundation to address emerging needs throughout Miami, including arts education, literacy, health, economic advocacy, homeless services and after-school programs.

“The impressive turnout for the reception shows just how much Miamians support the hard work of these critical organizations,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “These are the folks on the ground and in our neighborhoods, making sure that the hungry in our community are fed, that our children are nurtured and our natural resources are protected. It’s our privilege to support their important work.”

A portion of the grants were part of the foundation’s Safe Passage program, which helps young people transition from foster care to independent adult life. Programs offer legal and financial counseling, educational resources, mentoring and tax consultation to support and empower youth. This year, Safe Passage grants totaled $200,000 and were made possible by the DadeFund, a supporting organization of The Miami Foundation.

“We have awarded more than $14.5 million through the Community Grants program since 1980,” added Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs at The Miami Foundation.  “We are incredibly grateful to the many generous philanthropists who entrusted their charitable dollars and legacies to us and make these grants possible.”

Click here to see all grant recipients. 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Saif Ishoof and Ruth Shack Award winners

Each year, The Miami Foundation presents the Ruth Shack Leadership Award to an individual under age 40 who reflects the leadership qualities embodied by our president emeritus, Ruth Shack. Below, CEO Javier Alberto Soto shares why the Foundation selected Saif Ishoof as the 2014 winner.

At The Miami Foundation, we have a laser-focus on Miami’s future. One of the keys to ensuring our future as a great, global city is to develop, attract and retain young, talented and engaged people with a deep love for this community. This will help shape a city that values innovation, collaboration and unity.

To that end, we annually take a moment to recognize a young leader who reflects these tenets.  They are important to us because they are the same values The Miami Foundation is built on.  Since arriving in Miami in 1951, our president emeritus, Ruth Shack, has worked tirelessly to give voice to the voiceless. Her dedication to social equality and civic responsibility is why we are a better community today than before she and Richard moved here. We honor her legacy through the Ruth Shack Leadership Award, given to an exceptional, young professional who exemplifies her commitment to Miami’s voiceless.

This year, it is our privilege to bestow the honor on Saif Ishoof.  Saif has worked diligently to not only share the traditions of his own family and faith, but steadfastly bridge gaps of understanding among various groups in Miami’s multicultural community. He has demonstrated his social entrepreneurship in various capacities of public service. As executive director of City Year Miami, he widened the organization’s service area, doubling the number of schools served by its corps of 200 college-aged tutors and mentors. City Year Miami now reaches 6,000 students in high-need neighborhoods each year. He also cofounded EmergeUSA, a national, non-partisan organization that engages underrepresented communities in the political process, with a focus on Muslim, Arab and South Asian Americans.

The list of Saif’s accomplishments goes on, but it’s important to note the common thread.  He is a bridge-builder for Miami. He inspires and motivates others to work on issues and initiatives for the greater good outside of his personal interests. By grasping the power of the collective, Saif has fearlessly mobilized other champions for education and social advocacy. That Miami is producing this kind of visionary leader makes me optimistic about who we are and the dynamic city we will be.

Miami needs the values, dedication to social good and passion for the 305 that both Ruth and Saif share. If we achieve that, then there is no doubt Miami will be one of the greatest cities on the planet.

Javier Alberto Soto is president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. 

Pictured above: (l to r) Previous Ruth Shack Leadership Award winners Marlon Hill, Amy Rosenberg and Jaret Davis stand with Saif Ishoof at the 2014 Donor Next Door Luncheon.

Foundation seeks web development agency
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Miami Foundation is accepting proposals from qualified web development agencies to present results from a research project  gathering data on the trends and issues affecting quality of life in Miami-Dade County.  The study will be a current snapshot and forward-looking analysis of interconnected issue areas critical to the well-being of our county and its residents.  It will identify progress we should be proud of and challenges we need to address and set a vision for Miami’s growth as a rising, world-class metropolitan area.  Click here to view the RFP. 

$130,000 Public Space Challenge accepting ideas March 3rd - April 8th
Monday, March 10, 2014

Public Space Challenge promo graphic

Submit your ideas now at!

The Miami Foundation will accept idea submissions March 3rd through April 8th for the 2014 Public Space Challenge.  The county-wide challenge will again seek to uncover the best ideas for creating and improving local public spaces. Ideas may be submitted at by anyone, including individuals, groups, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations.  Community experts and professional placemakers will identify the top ideas; The Miami Foundation and Health Foundation of South Florida will invest $100,000 and $30,000, respectively, to make the ideas become reality. The program is part of The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which fosters community by building attachment to the city, developing public spaces and retaining young talent in Miami.

“Vibrant public spaces are essential to social engagement in our neighborhoods and Miami’s civic life,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “During the inaugural 2013 challenge, this community generated incredible energy and awareness benefitting Miami’s public spaces.  By allowing every resident a voice through our idea submission platform, we hope Miamians will take personal interest in creating a more appealing and connected city.”  Last year, more than 250 ideas were submitted.

Public spaces are defined as parks, libraries, public buildings, markets, plazas, playgrounds or any place where people can convene and link up.  Health Foundation of South Florida will again invest an additional $30,000 in the challenge to fund ideas promoting healthy, physical exercise activities and access to fresh food through gardens and farmer’s markets.

Shelly Baer, Brickell resident and 2013 challenge winner, had the idea to install benches along the Brickell Bay Drive walkway.  Soon, local residents will be able to sit and chat with scenic Biscayne Bay as a backdrop. “I was overwhelmed with the community support for my idea,” said Baer.  “It was such a simple way to improve the neighborhood and I’m glad the challenge empowered me to make it happen.”

Representatives from The Miami Foundation along with winners from last year’s Public Space Challenge will host training and information seminars throughout the submission period. Community experts and placemakers will evaluate all submissions and select finalists. These finalists will have professional support to develop full proposals, from which winners will be selected and announced in early summer.

The Public Space Challenge is part of The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which aims to attract and retain young talent in Miami-Dade by fostering a greater sense of community and by building attachment to the city. “Public spaces shape the way we interact with our environment. These are the places we meet, relax, and connect with each other,” said Stuart Kennedy, senior programs officer for The Miami Foundation. “Everyone has the power to build a better Miami, and the Public Space Challenge allows us to invest in those ready to do so.”

The submission period runs through April 4th.  For more information, help with developing ideas, or information about last year’s winners, visit



The Miami Foundation adds four new members to board of trustees
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

2014 new board of trustees members

The Miami Foundation announced the appointment of four new board members whose deep influence in South Florida’s financial and legal communities can help to solidify and propel the Foundation forward in 2014. The new board members are (l to r): Joe Fernández, president of the Florida Region of BNY Mellon Wealth Management; John Fumagalli, chairman and CEO of Northern Trust Florida; Richard Giusto, co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig; and Allison P. Shipley, principal of the Personal Financial Services practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Florida.

“Adding this esteemed group to our board gives The Miami Foundation even greater breadth of leadership, increased donor opportunities and a more diverse reflection of our community,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO. “We look forward to incorporating our newest board members’ perspectives and capitalizing on their decades of experience.”

Joseph Fernández, CFP

Joe Fernández, president of the Florida Region of BNY Mellon Wealth Management, has 26 years of investment and financial experience. A Miami native, Joe is a founding member of the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting Corporate Advisory Board (Miami Chapter), and a trustee board member of the Dranoff International 2 Piano Foundation.

John D. Fumagalli

John Fumagalli is chairman and CEO of Northern Trust Florida. He serves on the foundation boards for Naples Community Hospital and Florida Gulf Coast University. He is on the board of directors at Palmer Trinity School, the Forum Club and the Council of Advisors of Searching for Solutions, Inc.

Richard J. Giusto

Richard Giusto, who serves as co-managing shareholder of Greenberg Traurig’s Miami office, practices real estate law and has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America® for Real Estate Law from 2007 to 2014. He is the former chair of the Parent Family Leadership Council at the University of Chicago and a former board member of the I Care I Cure Foundation.

Allison P. Shipley, MBA

Allison Shipley, principal, leads PwC's Personal Financial Services practice for the state of Florida. Allison has more than 20 years of experience providing comprehensive tax, financial counseling and wealth transfer solutions for high net worth individuals and family groups. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of Goodwill Industries of South Florida.

Give Miami Day shatters records, raises more than $3.2 million in 24 hours
Friday, November 22, 2013

Give Miami Day 2013 million dollar photoFoundation staff celebrates as gifts top $2 million just hours into Give Miami Day 2013

The Miami Foundation far exceeded the amount raised in their inaugural effort during its second annual Give Miami Day. The 24-hour online philanthropy blitz raised $3.2 million for more than 400 local nonprofit organizations.

“We are thrilled by the outpouring of generosity,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Once again, when given the right opportunity, Miamians and our supporters around the globe generously gave to build a better community. This new, philanthropic and engaged Miami is here to stay, and Give Miami Day should make us proud to call this place home."

Between midnight November 20 and midnight November 21, donors were able to view online profiles of various nonprofit organizations, learn about the mission and impact of each organization, and support the causes most important to them.

This year, received 12,286 donations.  Last year, almost 5,000 donors gave more than $1.2 million to 300 organizations during the inaugural Give Miami Day. “Our goal is promote philanthropy and democratize giving. Give Miami Day does both by engaging Miamians across our community to invest in our future.” said Soto.

With the support of Knight Foundation, Marlins Foundation, Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees and Hector Family Fund, every donation between $25 and $10,000 that was made on will have a percentage of it matched by The Miami Foundation. Many donors gave to the match pool throughout the day, adding an additional $36,812 for a total match pool of over $300,000.

“This was a community-wide effort. Much credit for the day's success goes to the nonprofit organizations that participated and promoted the event. Together, we created a special Miami Moment that demonstrates to the world the deep spirit of generosity that exists here.” said Soto.

Lead fundraisers for the event included Greater Miami Jewish Federation, which raised $207,362.00, the largest total out of all of the organizations, and The Children’s Movement of Florida, which received the most individual gifts at 397, and raised $95,585.

“The new Miami is one of hope and the people of our community are committed long term to helping Miami fulfill its extraordinary potential,” said Soto.

Local community ramps up for Give Miami Day 2013, Nov. 20
Monday, November 18, 2013

  • Match pool tops $250K
  • Iconic downtown Miami buildings light up purple in celebration of event
  • “Countdown” Twitter party set for 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 19

MIAMI – November 18, 2013 – With less than 48 hours before the start of Give Miami Day 2013, The Miami Foundation announced that additional contributions from Miami Marlins Foundation and Hector Family Fund have increased the donation match pool to more than $250,000.

During the 24-hour period between midnight November 20 and midnight November 21, individuals may view online profiles of more than 400 nonprofit organizations serving Miami-Dade County, and make a charitable gift on givemiamiday.orgDonors are able to search organizations based on their work and impact, allowing them to give in support of their interests.

With the support of Knight Foundation, Marlins Foundation, Miami HEAT Charitable Fund, The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees and Hector Family Fund, every donation between $25 and $10,000 made through the Give Miami Day website on Nov. 20 will have a percentage of it matched by The Miami Foundation. Donors can also support all participating nonprofits by giving directly to the match pool.

“Give Miami Day puts the power of philanthropy in anyone’s hands.  Everyone with a passion for Miami can invest in our bright future,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.

Two iconic downtown buildings will celebrate the big event. On Tuesday and Wednesday night, the Miami Tower, located 100 S.E. 2nd Ave., will light up in purple and white. On the evening of Nov. 20, the Freedom Tower, located 600 Biscayne Blvd. will also light up in purple.

The Foundation will also ignite Twitter in the final hour before Give Miami Day during the Countdown to #GiveMiamiDay Twitter Party. Alumni from the Foundation’s Miami Fellows leadership program and local change-agents will host the online party, Nov. 19 at 11 p.m. Users may follow @miamifoundation  and use the #GiveMiamiDay hashtag to participate and learn about the nonprofits, how to make gifts and the impact of their donations.

Last year, the inaugural Give Miami Day on December 12, 2012, made South Florida history as the most active day of philanthropic giving ever. Almost 5,000 donors gave more than $1.2 million to 300 organizations working to improve our community. 

400+ Miami-Dade nonprofits registered for Give Miami Day, November 20!
Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Give Miami Day 2013 Banner


More than 400 Miami-Dade County nonprofit organizations are poised to participate in The Miami Foundation’s Give Miami Day 2013, scheduled for November 20. 

Last year, Give Miami Day made South Florida history as the most active day of philanthropic giving ever.  On December 12, 2012, almost 5,000 donors gave more than $1.2 million to 300 organizations working to improve our community.  The unique, online giving event provides everyone an opportunity to build a better Miami through philanthropy.

During the 24-hour period between midnight November 20 and midnight November 21, individuals may view online profiles of more than 400 nonprofit organizations serving Miami-Dade County, and make a charitable gift at  Donors are able to search organizations based on their work and impact, allowing them to give in support of their interests.

“The inaugural Give Miami Day was a demonstration of Miami’s charitable spirit,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “The event puts the power of philanthropy in anyone’s hands.  Everyone with a passion for Miami can invest in our bright future.”

With the support of Knight FoundationMarlins Foundation, Miami HEAT Charitable Fund and The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees, every donation between $25 and $10,000 made through the Give Miami Day website on that day will have a percentage of it matched by The Miami Foundation. Donors can also support all participating nonprofits on the site by giving directly to the match pool.

“Any donor can search and give to organizations doing the work they believe is best for Miami-Dade, which makes it easy to support the causes most important to them,” continued Soto.  “Together with a thriving and engaged community, we will reignite the new, philanthropic Miami to make Give Miami Day 2013 another milestone for our city.”

The Miami Foundation seeks full-service public relations, communications agency of record (RFP)
Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Established in 1967, The Miami Foundation builds community by providing civic leadership to tackle issues of concern in our community. Currently, most communications tasks are delegated to various consultants and agencies by the Director of Communications. For 2014, we aim to have one or two agencies handle all public relations and communications needs in collaboration with the in-house Communications Department.  This allows us to consolidate vendors, benefit from cost efficiencies and have continuity throughout our brand communications channels.

We are seeking a full-service house, including marketing, media relations, press release development and distribution, content development and placement, graphic design, website development and support, event support, social media networking, multimedia communications and results measurement and reporting.

We invite all qualified agencies to submit a proposal by December 3, 2013. Click here to view the RFP.

The Miami Foundation announces winning ideas in $130,000 Our Miami Public Space Challenge
Thursday, October 17, 2013

PSC winnersBrickell resident Shelly Baer (front, right) and Jose Solano of Bayfront Park Management Trust (front, left) stand with fellow challenge winners at the Wrap Party.

Click here to view all the winning ideas.

Public Space Challenge Logo

The Miami Foundation announced the top winners in their Our Miami Public Space Challenge.  Fifteen ideas for improving, creating and activating local public spaces will share $130,000 in funding.  The announcement was made to hundreds of young, engaged Miamians at the contest’s Wrap Party hosted at The Stage Miami on Wednesday, October 16. The challenge is part of the Foundation’s ongoing Our Miami initiative, an effort to build a stronger sense of community and retain talented people in Miami by improving livability.

From July 31st to September 19th, residents, advocacy groups and organizations submitted more than 250 ideas at A panel of community experts and professional placemakers selected top submissions based on their compelling nature, economic feasibility, relevance to the surrounding area and above all, community impact.

“The explosion of energy Miamians created around the challenge was tremendous,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “Each visionary idea added to the spark – a spark we hope will fuel a permanent community-wide focus on improving public spaces.”

Eleven projects will be funded by $100,000 from The Miami Foundation. Health Foundation of South Florida will invest an additional $30,000 in the challenge to fund four ideas promoting healthy, physical exercise activities and access to fresh food through gardens and farmer’s markets. Both organizations will work with winners to execute their projects.

Selected ideas include:

  • Creating artistic wooden benches and hand-painted flower pots filled with tropical plants in Little Havana, celebrating their burgeoning arts community. (Idea from Ileana Collazo)
  • Install a shade covering over the outdoor fitness zone at Liberty City's Gwen Cherry Park to protect park-going residents from the South Florida heat and rain. (Idea from Gwen Cherry Park Foundation)
  • Transform an empty Downtown Dadeland lot next to the M-Path into a new public green space for Miamians to walk their dogs and engage with neighbors. (Idea from Eric Katz)

All participants were invited to sign up with challenge partner ioby (in our backyard), a powerful online crowd-resourcing platform that drives public financial support for neighborhood projects.  Funded projects will also require volunteer support, providing opportunities for challenge participants to engage in the project’s next phase.

“This challenge is a community-wide achievement,” said Stuart Kennedy, the Foundation’s programs officer coordinating the Our Miami initiative. “By connecting challenge contributors to ioby and other resources, we could see many more ideas crystallize in the coming weeks.  Together, we’re making Miami a more open, attractive, healthier and engaged place to live.”

Eight Miami-Dade organizations form unprecedented coalition to tackle LGBTQ youth homelessness
Friday, September 20, 2013

Eight South Florida organizations, committed to issues of homelessness, LGBTQ youth or LGBTQ equality, and State Representative David Richardson (D-Miami Beach) have formed a unique coalition to reduce the number of homeless LGBTQ youth under age 24 in Miami-Dade County.

According to executive director of The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, Carla Silva, LGBTQ youth are at a higher risk of physical and sexual abuse, are almost twice as likely to run away from home as their heterosexual counterparts and 34% have been kicked out of their homes in Miami-Dade County.

The coalition wants to address the disturbing growth of LGBTQ youth homelessness and find solutions for the lack of housing equipped to deal with their special circumstances. Over a year in development, funding was secured through the efforts of State Representative Richardson, The Alliance, Pridelines and The Miami Coalition for the Homeless. Aqua Foundation also pledged grant money and secured the participation and funding of The GLBT Community Projects Fund at The Miami Foundation.  

The goals of the collaborative are to combat homelessness, provide secure housing for LGBTQ youth, acquire a consistent funding stream for sustainable initiatives and increase LGBTQ cultural competency across the homeless system of care throughout the county and state.

Coalition participants and their roles in the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Initiative include:

  • State Representative David Richardson, the first openly gay member of the Florida Legislature, secured special state funding for the initiative and selected Citrus Health Network to lead this effort. 

  • The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth will hire, train and supervise a full-time LGBTQ Youth Homeless Service Liaison using their extensive knowledge to develop specific programming. 
  • Pridelines Youth Services will provide wrap-around services at its youth drop-in center and via the Internet through its David Bohnett Cybercenter.

  • Citrus Health Network will provide housing and support services to participating youth, preparing them for a transition into foster care, reunion with family or for independent living.

  • Aqua Foundation for Women has committed to help fund the initiative for the next three years, and continue to seek additional funding resources to sustain and grow the initiative.

  • The GLBT Community Projects Fund at The Miami Foundation has committed to $33,333 over the next 12 months through funding from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

  • Our Fund pledged $33,333 to fund the initiative for the first 12 months from various donor-advised funds.

  • Miami Coalition for the Homeless provided $18,500 in additional grant funding for advocacy, intervention and prevention programs by the Homeless Youth Liaison.

  • SAVE Dade, the county’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization assisted in selecting Citrus Health Network to lead the LGBTQ housing effort and immediately began working to secure state funding.

To offer support, please contact Jerry Chasen.

Foundation leaders named to Leadership Florida Class XXXII and Connect Florida IV
Friday, August 23, 2013



Leadership Florida announced new members of Class XXXII. Maria C. Alonso (left) was selected to join the nine-month program that unites Florida’s top leaders. New members for Connect Florida IV, a program catered to the next generation of leaders for the betterment of Florida, included Vance Aloupis (2nd from left), Wali Salahuddin (3rd from left) and Cecile Houry (right).

Maria C. Alonso

Maria C. Alonso is the senior vice president and Miami and Ft. Lauderdale market manager for corporate social responsibility at Bank of America. Maria also serves as program committee chair on the board of The Miami Foundation.

Vance Aloupis

Vance Aloupis, statewide coordinator for The Children’s Movement of Florida, is a member of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows Class VI. A graduate of the University of Miami School of Law, Vance received the Judge Peter Palermo Fellowship as a member of the Center for Ethics and Public Service's Street Law clinic.

Wali Salahuddin

Wali Salahuddin is currently the strategic sourcing manager at Cordis Corporation, a Johnson & Johnson Company. As a member of Masjid Al-Ansar's Leadership Team, Wali utilizes his talents to facilitate the growth and development of South Florida's Muslim community. Wali is also a member of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Fellows Class VI.

Cecile Houry, Ph.D.

Dr. Cecile Houry is the assistant dean for continuing education at FIU’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work. She is on the board of the Aqua Foundation for Women and Miami Council for International Visitors. Cecile is also a Miami Leaders grant recipient from The Miami Foundation.


Hundreds pack launch event for The Miami Foundation’s $100,000 Our Miami Public Space Challenge
Friday, August 09, 2013

Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO, The Miami Foundation

Stuart Kennedy, Program Officer, The Miami Foundation Javier Alberto Soto, President and CEO (top), and Stuart Kennedy, Programs Officer (bottom)
encourage more than 400 young professional Miamians
to get involved with
The Miami Foundation's OurMiami initiative: Public Space Challenge and Match305

Public Space Challenge LogoMatch305 logo

MIAMI – More than 400 young professionals, local change-agents and engaged Miamians filled The Stage Miami for The Miami Foundation’s Our Miami Project Launch.  The kickoff event, held on Wednesday, July 31, introduced two new projects: the Public Space Challenge and Match305, a talent retention project. Both programs are part of the foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which fosters community by building attachment to the city, developing public spaces and retaining young talent in Miami.

Our Miami uses research from the foundation’s Our Miami: Soul of the City study that clearly shows attracting and retaining young, talented and creative people in Greater Miami will grow the economy faster than other, more traditional measures of economic development.

“Looking around the room at all of this young talent, I can’t help but feel optimistic about Miami’s future,” said foundation President and CEO Javier Alberto Soto during his remarks. “We are not a place where you have to find your niche within a sprawling, established city.  Planting your roots in Miami gives you a chance to shape this young, dynamic community.  Our role on the global stage depends on your vision and your contributions to our growth.”

The Miami Foundation developed the Public Space Challenge to uncover the best ideas for creating and improving local public spaces: parks, libraries, public buildings, markets, plazas, playgrounds or any place where people can convene and connect. Anyone can submit ideas. Community experts and professional placemakers will identify the top ideas; The Miami Foundation will invest $100,000 to make the ideas become reality. The Health Foundation of South Florida joined the challenge, adding an additional $20,000 to fund public space ideas focused on nutritious food access and physical activity.

The Miami Foundation also launched Match305, a talent retention project and Web survey. The online tool measures an individual’s “attachment” to Greater Miami and provides suggestions about how to become more engaged where they live.  Results will be made available to community stakeholders to help guide talent retention efforts. The tool is based on research from a Georgetown University study and has been instrumental in reducing year-over-year employee turnover at Fortune 50 companies.  Florida International University signed on as a partner in the project, investing $10,000 with Match305 to aid their ongoing local graduate retention work.

The Public Space Challenge will accept ideas through September 19.  Anyone in Miami-Dade County can submit a challenge idea or participate in Match305 by visiting

The Miami Foundation to launch contest awarding $100,000 to improve local public spaces
Friday, July 19, 2013

The Miami Foundation will host up-and-coming young talent, local change-agents and engaged Miamians at their kickoff event for two new projects: the Public Space Challenge and a talent retention project. The reception will take place on Wednesday, July 31, 6 – 8 p.m. at The Stage Miami, located in the heart of the Design District at 170 NE 38th Street Miami, FL 33137.  Entry is complimentary with RSVP and open to the public. Attendees may RSVP at and connect with other attendees on Facebook.

The projects will open for public participation on August 1st. Both programs are part of the Foundation’s Our Miami initiative, which fosters community by building attachment to the city, developing public spaces and retaining young talent in Miami.

“Our Miami uses research from our Soul of the Community Study that clearly shows attracting and retaining young, talented and creative people in Greater Miami will grow the economy faster than other more traditional measures of economic development,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “The initiative’s programs are excellent opportunities for anyone who is passionate about building a greater Miami and want to get involved in making it happen.”

The Miami Foundation developed a county-wide challenge to uncover the best ideas for creating and improving local public spaces: parks, libraries, public buildings, markets, plazas, playgrounds or any place where people can convene and connect. Ideas can be submitted from anyone, including individuals, groups, for-profit companies and nonprofit organizations.  Community experts and professional placemakers will identify the top ideas; The Miami Foundation will invest $100,000 to make the ideas become reality.

In addition to the Public Space Challenge, the foundation will also launch a talent retention project and Web survey. The online tool measures an individual’s “attachment” to Greater Miami and provides the participant suggestions about how to become more engaged where they live.  Results will be made available to community stakeholders to help guide talent retention efforts.  The tool is based on research from a Georgetown University study and has been instrumental in reducing year-over-year employee turnover at Fortune 50 companies.

“Miami has the eighth-highest percentage of college students per capita in the U.S. and the fifth-highest flight rate of those students once they graduate,” continued Soto. “It is incumbent on us to develop, attract and retain the best and brightest here in Miami – our future depends on it.”

Sixty-five local nonprofits receive $1 million at The Miami Foundation’s 2013 Community Grants event
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pictured left to right: Luis De La Aguilera, president, TotalBank; Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO, The Miami Foundation; Castanda Paul, Kristi House; Barrington Irving, president, Experience Aviation and Michael A. Marquez, chair, The Miami Foundation Board of Trustees.

MIAMI­­ – June 19, 2013 – The Miami Foundation hosted their annual Community Grants signature event on June 18 in the Diamond Club at Marlins Park. Generously sponsored by TotalBank, more than 150 donors, nonprofit executive directors, board members and community leaders gathered to celebrate the program that awarded $1 million to 65 local nonprofit organizations.

Attendees heard personal accounts of impacted lives through the work of grantee spotlight organizations.  Experience Aviation highlighted their hands-on STEM education programming, including their students constructing an airplane and supercar, Kristi House shared about their work treating abused and sexually exploited youth, and the talented alumni of YoungArts Miami provided musical entertainment.

“The organizations selected represent diverse programs that provide critical services engaging thousands of Miami-Dade citizens every day,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “Through the generosity of our donors and tremendous work of the recipient organizations, we are able to direct high school students into college ­ – who otherwise would not attend – educate families about South Florida’s ecosystem, provide basic health care to the uninsured and fuel our cultural explosion. This advances the greater Miami we all envision.”

The Miami Foundation received a record number of applications to the 2013 Community Grants Program from almost 350 nonprofit organizations.  Programs awarded addressed a variety of issues vital to improving people’s lives and communities, especially those taking leadership roles to solve Miami’s challenges and maximize its unique assets. 

The foundation has awarded $13.5 million through the Community Grants Program since 1980. The grants awarded are made possible by the generosity of many philanthropists who have entrusted their charitable dollars and legacies to The Miami Foundation.

For more information about each 2013 Community Grant recipient, please click here.


The Miami Foundation selects 16 top, young leaders for Miami Fellows Class VII
Thursday, May 02, 2013

The Miami Foundation announced the 16 leaders who will comprise Class VII of the Miami Fellows, its leadership development program designed to engage the new generation building Greater Miami.

“We are at a significant point where young talent is called to shape the future of our community,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Individually, the new fellows have already demonstrated their passion and commitment to lead that charge. We are excited to see them go a step further and become a focused group, working together to address the community’s most pressing issues.  I look forward to watching their collective development.”

Class VII reflects Miami’s diverse communities and includes:

  • Roy Altman, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida
  • Courtney Berrien, Program Director, MCCJ
  • Alexander Binelo, Director, Morrison, Brown, Argiz & Farra
  • Alex Buznego, Manager of Digital and Social Media, Miami Marlins
  • Wifredo Fernandez, CEO and Co-Founder, The LAB Miami
  • Pandwe Gibson, Regional Director of Marketing and Operations, USA Fast Tax LLC
  • Monique Hayes, Attorney, Genovese, Joblove & Battista, P.A.
  • Marianna Lopez, Attorney, McDermott Will & Emery LLP
  • Yara Lorenzo, Attorney, Hogan Lovells US LLP
  • Cedric McMinn, Vice President, Miami Children’s Initiative
  • Rochelle Mukiza-Gapere, Attorney Advisor, Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
  • Philip Poekert, Partnership Manager, University of Florida Lastinger Center for Learning
  • Bahia Ramos, Program Director, Community Foundations, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
  • Lauren Reskin, Owner and Co-Founder, Sweat Records
  • Frankie Ruiz, Chief Running Officer, US Road Sports & Entertainment Group
  • Michael Thakur, Assistant United States Attorney, U.S. Department of Justice

The Miami Fellows program lasts 15 months and helps growing leaders gain a deeper understanding of Greater Miami’s community issues.  Participants will attend seminars, workshops and group experiences throughout the program facilitated by established local leaders in government, law, business and the nonprofit sector. The class will develop the individual and collective skills to increase their community impact.

Miami Fellows Class VII builds on the legacy of the program that began in 1999. Funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, nearly 120 people have participated. The program focuses on building fellows’ knowledge, networks and abilities and increasing their community engagement and influence.  More information can be found online at

Overtown Music Project founder and David Lawrence to be honored at 15th annual Donor Next Door Luncheon
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

LEAVE A LEGACY and The Miami Foundation announced today that Amy Rosenberg is the recipient of the 2013 Ruth Shack Leadership Award. The award is presented to an emerging leader who represents the qualities of ethics, dedication and service to Greater Miami embodied by The Miami Foundation’s former president, Ruth Shack.  She will be recognized along with the Community Champion Award recipient, David Lawrence, Jr., at the 15th Annual Donor Next Door Luncheon, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 11 a.m. at Jungle Island.

Rosenberg is an attorney and arts advocate who founded Overtown Music Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and showcasing the tradition of music that existed for decades in Overtown.  Rosenberg currently serves as co-chair of the board of directors after spending many years as the arts and social service organization’s executive director.  She recently joined the National YoungArts Foundation (formerly known as the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts).

David Lawrence, Jr. is president of The Early Childhood Initiative Foundation and leads The Children’s Movement of Florida.  The Community Champion Award is given to a person who has contributed to the nonprofit community and has shown a commitment to Greater Miami through their work.

“Amy has founded a number of meaningful organizations that are serving our community.  As an alumnus of our leadership program, Miami Fellows, she exemplifies the commitment to Greater Miami that we seek to instill in young leaders.  This honor is well-deserved by Amy,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.

“This leadership award recognizes individuals in our community who have demonstrated their commitment to advancing civic engagement, public service and building bridges among diverse groups,” said Hank Raattama, shareholder at Akerman Senterfitt and co-chair of LEAVE A LEGACY. “Through Amy’s work in the community, many other people have been inspired to work toward creating a more vibrant Miami.” 

The Miami Foundation ranked among the nation’s top charities
Tuesday, April 09, 2013

We are pleased to announce that The Miami Foundation was awarded the coveted four-star rating by Charity Navigator, the premier charity evaluator in America, for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.

Receiving four out of a possible four stars indicates that our organization adheres to good governance and consistently executes our mission in a fiscally responsible way.  Only 25 percent of the charities evaluated receive the four-star rating.

“We are honored to receive this recognition,” said President and CEO Javier Alberto Soto. “Being responsible stewards of our donors’ charitable funds is a priority for the Foundation.  We are committed to addressing Miami’s needs and remain accountable to those who invest in its future.”

For additional information about The Miami Foundation’s Charity Navigator rating, click here. To learn why donors choose us, click here.

The Miami Foundation’s Javier Alberto Soto among 20 global leaders selected for 2013 Henry Crown Fellowship
Monday, March 25, 2013

Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation, has been selected by the Aspen Institute as a member of their Henry Crown Fellowship Program, a two-year program that engages the next generation of leaders to develop community-spirited leadership and put thought into action.

The highly selective fellowship will bring together 20 executives from North and South America – all under 45 years of age – who have achieved success in their chosen fields and are at a meaningful inflection point in their lives and careers. The program comprises a structured series of seminars and each fellow will undertake an individual leadership project.

“It is an honor to be included in the 2013 class of the Henry Crown Fellows,” said Soto. “Cultivating thoughtful leaders is a key goal of the Foundation’s work.  I look forward to getting the global perspective on society’s leadership challenges and infusing those principles into our programs training young leaders here in Miami-Dade.”

The Henry Crown Fellowship Program, established in 1997 to honor the life and accomplishments of Chicago industrialist Henry Crown, is the flagship program of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.  It has 1,600 Fellows in 45 countries.

The program has four previous fellows from Greater Miami: Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for university advancement & external affairs at the University of Miami; Wifredo A. "Willy" Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida; Cesar R. Conde, president of Univision Networks and Ricky Arriola, president and CEO of Inktel Direct Corporation.  Soto is the only Florida member of the 2013 fellows class.

Photos and bios of the 2013 Henry Crown Fellows are available at

The Miami Foundation names Michael A. Marquez new board chair, appoints two trustees
Monday, February 25, 2013


The Miami Foundation named Michael A. Marquez (left), previously the development committee chair, as the new chair of their board of trustees.  The Foundation also announced two new appointees to its board: real estate investor Barron Channer (center) and retired orthodontist Dr. Michael N. Rosenberg (right). “The board’s two new members are outstanding community leaders who know Miami well,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO.  “I look forward to their added expertise as we build a greater Miami.”

Michael A. Marquez

Michael Marquez, the Foundation’s new Board of Trustees chair, is managing director and senior resident officer for Bessemer Trust. Michael has responsibility over Bessemer’s efforts in Florida, including management of client relationships and new business development for Bessemer’s offices in Miami, Palm Beach and Naples. A Miami native, he is active in the community and serves on the Amigos for Kids Board of Directors.

Barron Channer, MBA, CAIA

Barron Channer is the CEO and founder of BACH Real Estate, an affiliate of Woodwater Investments. He has nearly a decade of experience with complex real estate transactions, including acquisitions, restructuring and development. A native of Miami, Channer is active in the community and serves as a board member for Baptist Health South Florida’s South Miami Hospital and national board member for The American Friends of Jamaica.

Dr. Michael N. Rosenberg

Dr. Michael Rosenberg is a retired orthodontist who practiced in Miami for 37 years. He serves on the HistoryMiami Board of Trustees and as chairman of the Miami-Dade County Environmentally Endangered Lands Committee. He also serves on the City of Miami Parks and Recreation Board and the Kampong Board of Governors, part of the National Tropical Botanic Gardens of America.

Marlins Foundation now accepting applications for the Charity Partner Empowerment Fund
Monday, February 04, 2013

The Marlins Foundation is requesting proposals for the 2013 Charity Partner Empowerment Fund. The $100,000 fund was created to continue their commitment to corporate and social responsibility and in recognition of the vital role nonprofits play in Miami’s community.

The Marlins Foundation will select four 2013 Charity Partners to empower with a $25,000 donation and season-long benefits at Marlins Park. To be considered, organizations must provide direct and unique programming for youth through educational, arts and baseball-related programming, more specifically by providing unique experiences for kids in schools, parks and on the water.

Timeline for Marlins Charity Partner Empowerment Fund:

Pre-proposal due (online): Friday, February 15 by 5 p.m.

Notification and invitation to full proposal: Thursday, February 21.

Full proposal due (by invitation only): Friday, March 15 by 5 p.m.

Announcement of 2013 Charity Partners (tentative): Opening Night at Marlins Park, Monday, April 8.

For information on how to apply, please visit

Nonprofit managers encouraged to complete national survey
Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) ( is conducting its fifth annual nationwide survey examining the current state of the nonprofit sector. The survey, which is anonymous and takes only 10 minutes to fill out, collects data on important financial and management issues facing the nonprofit sector. (View previous year’s findings here.)

To take the 2013 survey, please click on this link before February 15th!:

Feel free to pass the link on to other nonprofit managers — the more survey respondents, the more representative and accurate the findings will be.

NFF will analyze the results and provide them to nonprofits, government agencies, foundations, lending institutions, media and umbrella organizations in late March.

All survey respondents who choose to give their contact information will receive the results directly. The findings and comparison to previous years’ findings will help identify the most critical areas of need in the sector.

Local nonprofit professionals to attend Philanthropy Miami 2013 conference
Monday, January 28, 2013

Leave A Legacy Miami is proud to announce their second annual Philanthropy Miami, a conference for our community’s nonprofit sector. Don’t miss these three professional development opportunities:

The Leadership Forum on February 21st will introduce nonprofit leadership (exectutive directors, senior development professionals and board members) the Dan Pallotta’s revolutionary ideas that are challenging the status quo in the philanthropic sector.  The main part of the Pilanthropy Miami conference, on March 14th, features two program, a fundraising bootcamp for those new to the profession, and a day-long program packed with speakers teaching new topics and tools.

Please click here to download a pdf of the detailed conference agenda, including the registration form.

PhilADthropy offers free advertising and creative services for South Florida nonprofits
Friday, January 18, 2013

Deadline for nonprofits to apply for participation is Jan. 22, 2013

South Florida nonprofits seeking help with advertising and creative services can apply for free assistance during the fourth annual PhilADthropy event on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 8-9, 2013, at the University of Miami School of Communication.

During PhilADthropy, School of Communication advertising, public relations and film students, guided by faculty members, alumni and agency professionals, will work with local nonprofits to develop and deliver advertising and other promotional materials.  The services will be rendered during a 25-hour marathon work session beginning at 11 a.m., Feb. 8, and ending at noon on Feb. 9. Final projects will be unveiled during a reception for the organizations and their representatives at the end of the 25th hour.

Watch a video about the event at on YouTube.

Last year, students helped 16 selected nonprofits. Projects included the creation of a vibrant ad campaign for the 25th anniversary of a local Salvation Army chapter, a billboard concept for the health charity, Kill Aids, and a compelling social media campaign created for the Florida Poison Information Center, which then was implemented nationally by the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

The deadline to apply is Jan. 22. To apply and for more information, visit and find us on Facebook and Twitter.

New nonprofit network set to launch this month
Friday, January 18, 2013

The University of Miami School of Education and Human Development is partnering with the School of Business Administration, The Miami Foundation, and its community partner Catalyst Miami to launch the Leonard Turkel Nonprofit Network, a complete learning experience and network for nonprofit professionals to help build the capacity of community-based organizations in Greater Miami.  The kick-off event will be held on January 24, 8 – 11:30 a.m. at University of Miami’s Storer Auditorium.

Event details:

Thursday, January 24, 2013
8 to 11:30 a.m.
8 to 8:30 a.m. – registration, coffee & networking
Storer Auditorium, University of Miami, Coral Gables Campus
Parking available in the Pavia Garage: 5615 Pavia Street, Coral Gables
Registration fee:  $25 (scholarships available)
Please make checks payable to University of Miami

Keynote speaker: George Knox, attorney and community leader

Additional speakers include:

Isaac Prilleltensky, dean, UM School of Education and Human Development
Gene Anderson, dean, UM School of Business Administration
Bruce Turkel, CEO/ECD, Turkel Brands
Charisse Grant, senior vice president for programs, The Miami Foundation
Daniella Levine, president/CEO, Catalyst Miami

To RSVP and for more information, contact Laurie McDonald at or 305-284-6119.

The Miami Foundation set to award more than $1 million in 2013 Community Grants Program
Friday, January 11, 2013
2012 Community Grants grantee Shake-A-Leg Miami received $15,000, furthering their mission to provide people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth opportunities to use the marine environment to improve their health, education and independence in an inclusive community setting.


In their signature program for awarding dollars to nonprofits, The Miami Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2013 Community Grants program. Established in 1967, the program invests in quality and innovative organizations that strive to build a greater Miami. The Foundation will review pre-proposals and invite selected organizations to complete full proposals. The deadline to submit a pre-proposal is Thursday, February 7, 2013, by 4 p.m. Last year, the Community Grants program awarded more than $1 million to support 62 nonprofits in Greater Miami.

“These grants are made possible by generous philanthropists in our community and allow us to address emerging needs throughout Miami,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.  “From youth and homeless programs to the arts and social services, the causes supported are as diverse as Miami-Dade’s community.  We invite all local nonprofits that share our vision for a better Miami to apply.”

Pre-proposals for the 2013 Safe Passage grant program are also being accepted and are due by Wednesday, February 13, 2013, by 4 p.m. Safe Passage grants support nonprofits that help young people make the challenging transition from foster care to living independently. These grants, totaling $200,000, are made possible through the generosity of the DadeFund, an endowment established by Hugh Westbrook and Esther Colliflower in 1992.

Guidelines and pre-proposal applications can be found on The Miami Foundation’s website at in the “Community” section. For additional information, please contact Marianne Maduro, senior program officer, at 305-357-2087 or

The Miami Foundation raises $1.2 million for local nonprofits during inaugural Give Miami Day
Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Miami Foundation raised more than $1.2 million during the inaugural Give Miami Day.  Held on Wednesday, December 12, 2012, the 24-hour fundraising effort benefitted 300 nonprofit organizations that built searchable profiles on The public was able to browse the profiles, allowing almost 5,000 donors from 45 states and eight countries to see the mission, work and impact of each organization, then immediately make a charitable gift.  Nonprofits connected with donors looking to support the important work they do in the community.

“Give Miami Day completely surpassed our expectations,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “Our community’s generosity of spirit was on full display as we proved once again that, when given the right opportunity, Miamians will generously give to build a better community."

Every donation between $25 and $10,000 received through on December 12th will have 12.5 percent of it matched by $100,000 contributed by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and $100,000 contributed by The Miami Foundation.  Additionally, the Marlins Foundation provided $15,000 in incentive prizes to nonprofits throughout the 24-hour event.

“This first Give Miami  Day would not have been possible without the help and support of Knight Foundation and Marlins Foundation,” said Nancy Jones, vice president for development and communications at The Miami Foundation.  “We are grateful to the community for their extraordinary outpouring of donations and also credit this great success to the nonprofit organizations that participated and promoted the event. This is their victory as well.”

Lead fundraisers for the event included Neat Stuff, Inc., a Miami-based nonprofit providing new clothing for abused and neglected children, which raised $45,875, and The Children’s Movement of Florida, which received the largest number of gifts, 252, and raised $41,951.

“The incredible success of this inaugural community building effort created a special Miami Moment that we should all feel proud of,” continued Soto.  “It has demonstrated that America’s long tradition of philanthropy is alive and thriving in Miami.  We hope that it also serves to further increase engagement and attachment to Miami on the part of all who call this place home.”

The Foundation is committed to making this an annual event and increasing its reach and impact each year. Planning for Give Miami Day 2013 is already underway.

Save the Date - Give Miami Day 12.12.12
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

On December 12, 2012, The Miami Foundation will launch the inaugural Give Miami Day, a unique, online giving event that allows individuals in the community an opportunity to build a greater Miami through philanthropy. The 24-hour, online donation event will ignite Miami to support hundreds of nonprofits making a difference in Miami-Dade County.  Nonprofits can create their profile for viewing on, allowing existing and potential donors to see the mission, work and impact of each organization.  Nonprofits can connect with donors looking to support the work they do in the community.

"This is a distinctive way to introduce people to the important role of nonprofit organizations and help them learn more about how their donation can impact lives in greater Miami," shared Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.

Donors will make charitable gifts to local nonprofits beginning at 12 midnight on December 12, 2012 and ending at 12 midnight on December 13, 2012.  Every donation between $25 and $10,000 received through the Give Miami Day website on that day will have a percentage of it matched by The Miami Foundation.

Nonprofits, register now!

Nonprofits may go to to set up their free profile now (must be completed by 5 p.m., Monday, November 26). Organizations can also review event details and Give Miami Day rules at  For more information, please contact Marianne Maduro, senior program officer at The Miami Foundation, at

The Miami Foundation announces recipients for 2012 Miami Leaders Awards
Monday, October 15, 2012

Oct. 5, 2012 ­– Eight emerging community leaders are recipients of The Miami Foundation’s Miami Leaders program for 2012.

The program is designed to grow the leadership skills and administrative competencies of Miami-Dade County’s nonprofit leaders. Miami Leaders grants, totaling $27,350 this year, are awarded to emerging, nonprofit leaders serving Miami-Dade County.

Winners will attend premier executive education programs around the country through grants from The Miami Foundation as Miami Leaders. Miami Leaders will bring their new learning and experiences back to Miami-Dade County, where they will continue to serve as vital resources to their organizations in the Foundation’s key mission to build a Greater Miami.

“We’ve been in the community 45 years, and believe that investing in Miami-Dade’s future leaders is central to the advancement of our mission,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation.

“The Miami Leaders program is designed to be of deep benefit to our community through the enhancement of the recipients’ skills and talents,” said Nancy Jones, the Foundation’s vice president for public affairs and communications. “Each recipient attends a targeted leadership program, and each program is among the best in the country.”

This year’s recipients and programs are:

C.J. Ortuno, Executive Director, SAVE DADE: Leadership Effectiveness Workshop at UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School;

Eveline Pierre, Executive Director & Founder, Haitian Heritage Museum: Fundraising for Small Nonprofits at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis;

Dena Tolkin, Development Coordinator, Miami Children’s Museum: Principles & Techniques of Fundraising at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis; 

Anna Pietraszko, Executive Director, Miami Music Project, Inc.: The Developing Leaders Program at Columbia Business School;

Ralph Rosado, Executive Director, South Florida Community Development Coalition: Performance Measurement for Effective Management of Nonprofit Organizations at The Hauser Center for Nonprofit Education at Harvard University;

Heather Winters, Executive Director, Family Counseling Services of Greater Miami, Inc.: Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program at Georgetown University;

Lars Gilberts, Director of Financial Stability, South Florida Urban Ministries: Breakthrough Strategic Thinking Program at New York University’s Stern School of Business;

Natalia Martinez, Communications Director, Roots of Hope: Leadership Training for High Potentials at NYU Stern.

The Miami Foundation appoints CFO
Monday, October 15, 2012

Sept. 6, 2012 – The Miami Foundation has announced that Pamela L. Olmo has joined the organization as chief financial officer.

Olmo reports to Javier Alberto Soto, president of the permanent philanthropic endowment established in 1967 that provides leadership and financial leverage to address the issues and needs of Greater Miami.

She is responsible for all financial and fiscal management aspects of the Foundation's operations. Olmo's role includes providing leadership and coordination in the administrative, business planning, accounting, finance and budgeting work of the Foundation.

“Pamela is a great addition to our team, and we are confident she will successfully take the lead in managing our donor’s complex financial needs,” Soto said. “I look forward to working with her and know that the foundation will benefit from her knowledge and experience.”

Olmo has more than 12 years of finance, investment and management experience and previously served as the chief financial officer for the National Parkinson Foundation in Miami.

Olmo holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Miami and a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Florida International University. She has served on the board of her condominium association for eight years and is currently the board president. Olmo is a certified public accountant and lives in Miami’s Brickell area.


Now accepting Miami Leaders applications
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We are excited to announce a total of $25,000 in grants to nonprofit leaders serving Miami-Dade County. These grants will allow for the continued development of new skills for leaders in our community by attending leadership training programs across the country.

Applicants can apply to attend leadership programs such as Columbia Business School's Developing Leaders Program for Nonprofit Professionals, NYU Stern's Leadership Training for High Potentials program, FIU Center for Leadership's High Potential Leader program, and Georgetown University's Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate program. These leaders will bring their new knowledge back to Miami-Dade County, where they will continue to serve as vital resources to their organizations and our community.   

 What we are looking for:

  • History of commitment and involvement in Greater Miami
  • Demonstrated leadership in the nonprofit sector and in the community
  • Clear goals for increasing personal and organizational leadership impact
  • Plan for applying learned skills and knowledge to improve Greater Miami

Applications are due on August 20, 2012 by 3 pm.

Click here for more information and to apply.  

The Miami Foundation supports partnership with Miami Dade College to provide students Digital Learning Resources
Monday, July 23, 2012

Miami, July 23, 2012 - Miami Dade College (MDC) is teaming up with NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, to provide digital learning resources that significantly expand learning opportunities at the college. This innovative collaboration provides subscription access to NBC News' award-winning resources to students, faculty and staff at the college, beginning with the fall 2012 semester.

MDC was able to obtain this invaluable resource thanks to the generous support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation and the Marlins Foundation.

“Thanks to the support of foundation partners, we are able to provide our college community with tools to acquire a deeper awareness of the forces that shape our world,” saidMDC President Dr. Eduardo J. Padrón. “Granting our students access to historic and current events brings understanding and depth, as well as immediacy and relevance, to learning.”

The NBC Learn collection includes more than 12,000 3-6 minute video clips, as well as documents, images and other resources from the NBC News archives that are specifically designed for use in classrooms to stimulate and engage students. This innovative and collaborative teaching mechanism will enable faculty to access archived news articles, photos, videos and other media with a simple click of the mouse. 

“Miami Dade College is very well respected within the academic community and is known for providing innovative programs to increase student success.  We at NBC Learn are honored to have them adopt our resource as a learning tool for their faculty and students,” said Bruce Wilson, Director of Higher Education of NBC Learn and former publisher of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “This was truly a collaborative effort on behalf of the Marlins, Miami and Knight Foundations, reinforcing the commitment these leaders in the Miami community have to the students at this incredible institution. This collaboration provides a template for other colleges and universities to follow and proves what can happen when foundations and leading institutions are focused on the success of the students in their communities.”

MDC students, including students at the college’s nationally recognized dual enrollment high schools, School for Advanced Studies and New World School of the Arts, will have access to NBC Learn through their college portal and through library databases, and can be used for research projects and presentations. The program also provides faculty with primary source materials, lesson plans and classroom planning resources, and additional text and image resources from NBC Learn’s content partners.

“As the largest institution of higher education not just locally but in the country, Miami Dade College has an enduring influence on South Florida’s future leaders,” said Matt Haggman, Miami program director for Knight Foundation. “NBC Learn will be an important asset in helping to educate students to be informed and engaged in the issues that matter to them and our community.”

“The Miami Foundation is proud to be part of this collaboration with Miami Dade College, providing 174,000 students this unique and valuable education tool,” said Javier Alberto Soto, president and CEO of The Miami Foundation. “NBC Learn will promote greater engagement and ensure that students have timely, relevant and quality information.”

“We are proud to join the Knight Foundation and The Miami Foundation to support the students of Miami Dade College with this incredible tool that NBC Learn has made available,” said Miami Marlins Senior Vice President, PJ Loyello.  “Access to information in this innovative fashion will give students a deeper appreciation for comprehensive research and learning.” 

MDC, NBC Learn, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Miami Foundation and the Marlins Foundation will officially launch the program soon with a special training session for faculty and students. The media will be invited to attend.


Media-only contacts:
Juan Mendieta, 305-237-7611,, MDC communications director
Tere Estorino, 305-237-3949,, MDC media relations director
Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710,, media specialist
Alejandro Rios, 305-237-7482,

Now accepting proposals for 2012 GLBT Projects
Monday, July 02, 2012

We are accepting proposals for the GLBT Community Projects Fund grants program. The deadline for submission is 4 pm on Tuesday, July 31, 2012. Guidelines and application information can be found here.

The GLBT Community Projects Fund at The Miami Foundation is a partnership with the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force to support organizations and programs that advance education and public awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender issues in Greater Miami.

Through this partnership, proceeds from the Task Force's two signature events in Miami, the Winter Party Festival and the Miami Recognition Dinner, are reinvested in our community each year. If you have any questions, please contact Marianne Maduro, Senior Program Officer at 305.357.2087 or via email.

Task Force donates $211,291 to The Miami Foundation
Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On June 14th, 2012 the National GLBT Task Force held a reception at the Bacardi Headquarters where they presented their annual donation to The Miami Foundation for $211,291. This donation represented the majority of the proceeds from their two signature Miami events, the Recognition Dinner and Winter Party Festival. This donation was the largest to date! With this check, the Task Force has donated $1.4 million to The Miami Foundation to support local GLBT organizations.

For more click here

The Miami Foundation will recognize more than 60 local nonprofit organizations with grants for their efforts toward improving Miami
Wednesday, June 13, 2012

By Nicky Diaz

uAspire, a nonprofit organization that promotes awareness of college affordability, will be awarded a $25,000 grant by The Miami Foundation at the foundation’s Bridging Generosity, Leadership and Grantmaking luncheon on Monday.

The event, which took place for the first time last year, recognizes organizations that dedicate themselves to a greater Miami by providing helpful services, such as providing healthcare to underserved communities, and supporting the arts and education.

This year, the foundation will award $1 million in grants to 62 nonprofit organizations. Five of those 62 were selected to receive the largest grant of $25,000: Ronald McDonald House Charities of South Florida, Single Stop USA, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Kristi House and uAspire.

uAspire, formerly known as ACCESS, helps students prepare for college and find funding.

The organization has been based in Boston since it was founded in 1985, but it plans to add a program in Miami this fall.

Read complete story here

Press release: The Miami Foundation Will Award More Than $1 Million to Local Nonprofit Organizations
Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The Miami Foundation will award more than $1 million to 62 local nonprofit organizations at its Bridging Generosity, Leadership and Grantmaking luncheon on June 11.

The Foundation’s signature Community Grants program invests in organizations and programs that share a vision of a Greater Miami. These organizations represent the depth and breadth of innovation and services offered across our county, such as investing in Miami kids to become airline pilots; providing basic health care to those most in need; and supporting arts, culture and education.

Click here for press release.