Last weekend while on Fisher Island relaxing with Miami’s Social’s Alison Zhuk, the Alexander Team and Martin Rozenblum, along came the beautiful Marisa Toccin Lucas and her husband Hal Lucas, esq. Marisa approached us, full of nerves, in anticipation for the very respected gala that was started by her thirteen years ago.
Last Saturday, March 8, 2014, The Women of Tomorrow Mentor & Scholarship Program hosted its annual gala at the beautiful Mandarin Oriental with more than 500 of South Florida’s leading philanthropists, celebrities and politicians. Gala Chair Marisa Toccin Lucas along with founders Jennifer Valoppi and Don Browne and Co-Vice President, the Honorable Katherine Fernandez Rundle planned an unforgettable evening in celebration of the Women of Tomorrow’s Annual Gala and its 18th year of mentoring at-risk young girls in South Florida. The gala had a record breaking year, bringing in over $900,000.
Gala Chair Marisa Toccin Lucas said, “This year’s gala was a tremendous success thanks to an unprecedented live auction and the remarkable support from our donors. The record-breaking funds raised will help change the lives of so many young women in our community and for that I could not be prouder.”
The evening began with a lavish cocktail reception featuring hors d’oeuvre stations created by the Mandarin Oriental’s executive chef, complemented by a highly anticipated silent auction, including items from top luxury brands and vendors including Prada USA; Saint Laurent Bal Harbour; Saks Fifth Avenue, BalHarbour; Britto Central; The St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort; Diane Walder, M.D., P.A.; Perry Ellis International and many more. James Rosenquist, one of America’s greatest living artists, donated an important art piece of his, which was one of the most anticipated items being auctioned off since it is a rare event for such an important piece of art to be auctioned off at a charity gala. The “A Hole in the Wallpaper: Be Beautiful” piece was sold for an undisclosed amount, well in the 6 figures. Pat Riley was also in attendance and in a surprise move, auctioned off a VIP Heat experience for a private dinner with him and his wife Chris, along with VIP seats to a game and signed memorabilia. THE COLLECTION also auctioned off a 3 Year Lease on a Maserati Ghibli – and then awarded Honorary Chairs and expectant parents Wayne & Cynthia Boich their very own baby Ferrari walker. A Kaufmann Franco Spring 2014 Collection Gown was auctioned off along with 2 tickets to their Fashion Week show at Lincoln Center in New York City. Other highlights of this year’s live auction included a $5,000 Gift Certificate courtesy of Neiman Marcus and a one of a kind Donna Karan Dress courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue Bal Harbour and Donna Karan New York.
The Heat Championship Trophy was also available during the cocktail hour for guests to take photos in front of.
Following the reception, guests were escorted into the ballroom, where they were treated to a decadent four-course dinner and a live performance by South Florida’s own Soul Survivors.
Jennifer Valoppi, Founder & President, said “As our program continues to expand around the country, our gala continues to draw supporters from all over. They are people who see problems and are willing to take action to solve them. What better way to stop the cycles of violence, poverty and abuse than to uplift the lives of the young women who will raise the next generation.”
Honorees at the annual event included Honorary Chairmen Wayne & Cynthia Boich; Legacy Builder Honorees Bruce & Tracey Berkowitz, The Fairholme Foundation; Leadership Award Honoree Edie Lutnick; Champion Award Honoree Miami HEAT; Excellence Honorees Tara Solomon & Nick D’Annunzio, Tara Ink; and Mentor of the Year Robbin Newman.
Edie Lutnick, who received the Leadership Aware Honoree, is Founder & President of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund in New York. Lutnick, who is an avid supporter of Women of Tomorrow, said of its unique mentoring program which pairs highly accomplished women with small groups of at-risk young girls, “Women of Tomorrow does something extraordinary, they recognize the wisdom of those women who have succeeded and they capitalize on what they have accomplished. The past and the future combine in one spectacular organization. The Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund is so proud to be able to support Women of Tomorrow.” The Cantor Relief Fund was started in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attack, in which Cantor suffered the single largest loss of life, including Lutnick’s brother.