Photos by Downtown Photo
By Sharon Aron Baron
SOS Children’s Villages of Florida raised over $500,000 at its annual fundraising gala on October 29.
Based in Coconut Creek, SOS Children’s Villages Florida is a foster care community serving up to 72 children in the residential program. Its annual fundraising gala at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood brought together a community of over 500 like-minded individuals to generate awareness and benefit foster children.
In attendance was Parkland Mayor Rich Walker with his wife, Catherine, and Commissioner Simeon Brier with his wife, Theresa.
The sold-out Black Ball event featured mystery and intrigue as guests entered through the deep fog of the black carpet and experienced a medley of oddities, masked guests, and dazzling entertainment.
Dawn Seay, SOS’ Chief Development Officer, said, “We experienced a resurgence of people coming out to support our mission. This is the first time our annual fundraising gala has sold out. People came prepared to bid on the auction items, and the “Gift from the Heart” appeal did not disappoint. The generosity and support from our sponsors and the community has been wonderful.”
The $500,000 goes towards providing critical programs and services so SOS children can thrive. The organization’s annual operating budget is $4.2 million, of which half comes from funding from the State of Florida. Events like The Black Ball help provide the additional $2.2 million needed to operate this unique and comprehensive program.
Sheri and Famous Rhodes of Parkland chaired the event. The presenting sponsor was the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Other top sponsors were RV Retailer, JM Lexus, Seminole Casino Coconut Creek, Coral Springs Auto Mall, and Diane Lynn Family Foundation. Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) was the official beverage sponsor of The Black Ball, Venice Magazine served as the media sponsor, and Event Services Group (ESG) sponsored the décor and entertainment. Calvin Hughes of WPLG Local 10 served as the event Emcee, and Gordon Latz, with the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation, was the auctioneer.
- Sharon Aron Baron is a Parkland resident and editor of Talk Media. She has been covering Parkland news since 2012. Parkland Talk was created to provide News, Views, and Entertainment for the residents of Parkland.
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