Awareness and proceeds from the signature event support the organization’s planned, 20,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Friendship Campus and newly-launched “We All Belong” campaign
Friendship Circle Miami, the volunteer-driven, non-profit organization dedicated to offering friendship and acceptance to individuals with special needs, held its 3rd Annual Heart & Soul Gala on Thursday, November 4 at Fairchild Botanical Gardens. The celebratory occasion, “An Enchanted Evening,” raised more than $230,000 to benefit the organization and its planned, 20,000-square-foot new Friendship Campus, that will be state-of-the-art with capabilities to serve thousands of individuals and families in its full vision.
In an ambience true to its garden theme and backdrop, the gala attracted more than 250 of Miami’s philanthropists, Friendship Circle Miami’s Board of Directors, and business, civic and social leaders. Miami Dade-County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava gave opening remarks about the importance of inclusion, with insightful programming led by Directors Rabbi Yossi Harlig and Nechama Harlig, and Co-Chairs Michele Kaplan and Stacy Bolduc. Florida State Representative and Event Honoree Vance Aloupis was presented the “Heart & Soul” Award for his community contributions.
A distinguished presentation marked the introduction of Friendship Circle Miami’s “We All Belong” campaign, inspired to raise awareness for its mission to provide friendship, belonging, and a sense of community to children and young adults with special needs. The campaign message transcends across humanity and will be a driving force behind Campus fundraising initiatives going forward.
The Gala commenced with a cocktail reception featuring delectable hors d’oeuvres and entertainment of performers and stilt walkers adorned in flora. A gourmet dinner in a grand tent, beautifully landscaped with greenery, followed with a live comedic performance. An expansive silent auction captivated attention of guests, with notable items, from airline tickets and travel to luxury goods and services.
“We are filled with gratitude after witnessing the community’s support to further our commitment of promoting inclusion for all children and adults with special needs,” said Harlig. “Our ‘We All Belong’ Campaign will take our mission to the next level, helping us reach our fundraising goals for the future campus and allowing us to substantially increase our enrollment capabilities.”
Generous contributions included Bean Automotive serving as the presenting sponsor, as well as Fairholme Foundation, WLRN Public Media, Berger Singerman, Veitia Padron Inc., Armor Health, G. Navarrete Consulting Inc., Florida Power & Light Company, Miami’s Community Newspapers, Miami Kids Magazine, The de Moya Foundation, and Stanford Blake Mediation.
Friendship Circle Miami is a volunteer-driven, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to offering friendship and acceptance to individuals with special needs. As a leading South Florida organization for more than 15 years, Friendship Circle provides dynamic programming and resources that greatly impact the community and foster a sense of belonging. Studies prove that friendship make every day feel worthwhile, drives purpose in life, and individuals live longer, meaningful lives.