Tonight, philanthropist Al Malnik will be honored alongside big band and standards icon Tony Bennett at the star-studded Friars Foundation Gala in New York City. Bennett will be receiving the Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award and Malnik will be awarded for his lifetime of giving by receiving the Friars Club Icon Award for Philanthropy.
While Malnik is involved with many charitable organizations, it is his work as a Lifetime Benefactor of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida that has put him in the spotlight. With the help of Al and Nancy Malnik the organization has granted a total of 9,826 wishes. Their recent donation of $1 million at the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball remains the single largest private donation to help children with life-threatening diseases get a bit of joy.
The chair of tonight’s Friar Foundation Gala is Malnik’s only godson, Hollywood director and producer Brett Ratner. Naturally, the black-tie event has a superstar lineup: Master of Ceremonies Eddie Murphy; legendary comedian Jerry Lewis (Friar Club Abbot); talk show royalty Larry King (Friar Club Dean); and scheduled appearances by Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and Robert DeNiro. Malnik’s son Shareef Malnik, owner of the acclaimed Forge Restaurant in Miami Beach, and Gala Chair of the upcoming 22nd Annual InterContinental Miami Make-a-Wish Ball on November 12, will also be in attendance.
Although most people are familiar with the club through their provocative celebrity roasts which are broadcast on Comedy Central, the club was established way back in 1904, as a members-only club for important entertainment professionals. Its charitable arm, The Friars Foundation, is committed to the betterment of society through the arts, continuing its nearly half-century legacy of providing scholarships and producing entertainment events benefitting worthy philanthropic causes.