Friends and Neighbors

Coral Gables Rotarians honor longtime volunteer


Special to The Miami Herald

Congratulations to volunteer extraordinaire Gloria Burns for her recent award of Rotarian of the Year at the Coral Gables Rotary Club. Burns was celebrating her 24th anniversary of involvement with the club when outgoing president Walter Alvarez surprised her with the announcement.

Burns was honored for co-chairing club fundraising activities including a series of four wine dinners partnering restaurants and local charities, and working with the weekly raffle that raises thousands of dollars every year for civic and charity giving.

She also sponsors and recruits new members, and served as publicity chair to raise club awareness. And she set up a partnership with CRAVE Cares to benefit programs supported by the Rotary Foundation of Coral Gables. CRAVE restaurant encourages diners to add to their receipts to support worthy causes.

Last year the club donated about $50,000 to Shake-A-Leg, the May Van Sickle Children’s Dental Clinic, and The First Tee Foundation, among others.

“Everyone wins when these partnerships come together,” Burns said in a release. “From providing increased exposure and positive branding for businesses to creating great team building opportunities for all, these partnerships never fail to produce terrific results. Coral Gables Rotarians, with their active community service committee that reaches out seemingly every weekend to make a difference in our community, understand this better than anyone. I am truly blessed to be associated with such an amazing club.”

Members of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables now meet at the Marriott Courtyard, 2051 S. LeJeune Rd., at 11:45 a.m. for weekly Thursday lunch meetings. Visiting Rotarians are always welcomed. For more, check out


Tickets are about to go on sale for the upcoming University of Miami Frost School of Music’s Festival Miami, and this year, to celebrate its 30th anniversary season, the month-long festival will open with seven-time Grammy Award winner Gloria Estefan.

The opening multi-media concert will feature the singer-songwriter-entrepreneur performing her favorite classics from The American Songbook that will be included on her upcoming work The Standards. The album, to be released on Sept. 10 by Sony International, is arranged, orchestrated and co-produced by Grammy-nominated jazz arranger and Dean of the Frost School of Music Shelly Berg.

The concert will be performed at 8 p.m., Oct. 1, in the intimate setting of the Frost School of Music’s Maurice Gusman Concert Hall, 1314 Miller Dr. on the UM campus.

The program will also feature behind-the-scenes video footage from the studio recording and highlights from the upcoming PBS Standards concert that Estefan recorded with the Frost School of Music’s Henry Mancini Institute Orchestra, conducted by Berg.

"I grew up listening to Frank Sinatra, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini and great romance recording artists in Cuba,” Estefan said in a release. “This genre is right up my alley, since music is always a catharsis to me."

The concept took off at a trustee dinner at the UM Frost School of Music. Berg has produced and arranged for artists including Patti Austin, Elliot Smith and Arturo Sandoval.

“We sat at the piano just for fun and he asked me to sing a song,” Estefan said. It was during this evening that she sang Good Morning Heartache, the Billie Holiday classic that is now featured on The Standards.

“From the first moment of going through songs with Gloria, I got that goose bump feeling that told me this was going to be a very special and important recording,” Berg said. “The artistry and heart that Gloria brings to The Standards will resonate with people across a spectrum of generations and cultures. With this recording she has given us a beautiful gift.”

More than 25 concerts and events are planned for Festival Miami organized into four themes: Great Performances, Jazz and Beyond, Music of the Americas, and Creative American Music. For the full schedule and concert packages, visit or call 305-284-4940.

Individual tickets to opening night with Estefan start at $60 and go on sale Aug. 1. Other Festival Miami tickets start at $15 and there will be several free concerts.


As part of its community service involvement, attorneys and staff at Bilzin Sumberg recently spent a day, along with 200 other volunteers, repainting 32 apartments at a shelter for homeless women and infants in Overtown. Their volunteer efforts contributed to the first annual service day at Lotus House.

The outreach, Bilzin Sumberg Cares, “provides attorneys, employees and their families with volunteer opportunities to work together to benefit charitable organizations in South Florida and beyond.” For six years, projects have included partnering with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics Miami-Dade County, United Way of Miami-Dade, Voices for Children Foundation, and other non-profit organizations.

Bilzin Sumberg managing partner John C. Sumberg is a member of the Sundari Foundation Board of Directors, which created the Lotus House Women’s Shelter. The resource center and residential facility “seeks to empower women to break the cycle of homelessness, achieve greater self-sufficiency and transition to permanent homes.” To volunteer, donate, or learn more, visit


The Coral Gables Woman’s Club recently received a large donation to help with its May Van Sickle Dental Clinic for Miami-Dade County children in need of dental care. The $35,000 grant was among those awards presented by the Dr. John T. Macdonald Foundation and the repeat grant was increased by a generous $5,000 this year.

Over the years, the Foundation has provided critically needed funds for the dental clinic housed in the historic former Coral Gables Library at 1009 E. Ponce de Leon Blvd., adjacent to the clubhouse. This past year, the clinic provided children in need with more than $237,615.00 in free dental care.

For more information on the clinic, now open year round on Mondays, Tuesday and Saturdays, call 305-448-6536.

If you have news for this column, please send it to Christina Mayo at

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