Award winners

Five Miami groups honored for their philanthropy


Special to the Miami Herald

In 1985, the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) Miami chapter pioneered the organization’s first National Philanthropy Days Awards. Now in its 28th year, the group continues the tradition of recognizing South Florida’s most dedicated individuals, corporations and organizations.

“Each year, the community gathers to recognize and celebrate the who’s who of Miami philanthropy and pay tribute to the great contributions that philanthropy has made to our lives, our community and the world,” said Karelia Martinez Carbonell, chair of National Philanthropy Day Miami.

The 2013 honorees will be recognized at a luncheon on Nov. 12 at Jungle Island. They include Roe and Penny Stamps, Bruce and Tracey Berkowitz, Jorge Luis and Marile Lopez, the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Citi Foundation.

Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Director Michael Spring will accept the Outstanding Grantmaker Award on behalf of the department he has run for 23 years, of his 30 years working there. It’s the first time that the AFP Miami selected a governmental entity for this award.

Nominated by the Adrienne Arsht Center, the department is responsible for 19 grant programs that support more than 500 organizations, everything from grassroots projects to major cultural institutions. This year, Spring said they have awarded $14 million in grants.

“Miami has grown faster than any other urban city in the arts,” Spring said. “I’d like to think we’ve played a role as a catalyst to make that happen.”

Selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award, Roe and Penny Stamps are champions of education. They support programs and projects at 40 universities across the country through the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation. The foundation’s major project is the Stamps Scholars Initiative, which provides financial assistance to more than 400 students.

Married 42 years, their appreciation for education began with their own experiences.

“We both attended great state universities and we acknowledge and credit our educational experiences for the foundation that we have built our lives upon,” said Roe Stamps, a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology and Harvard School of Business. (Penny Stamps is a graduate of the University of Michigan.)

“I cannot underestimate the immense joy it has been to see our programs develop at so many universities, or to hear and read the numerous letters of thanks from our Stamps Scholars who have had such incredible educational opportunities made available to them,’’ said Roe Stamps. “We can only imagine the difference they will make in their families, communities and professional fields by a gift of education, and their willingness to ‘pay it forward.’

The Stamps also support Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida, Miami Lighthouse for the Blind, the Humane Society of Miami, Ransom Everglades School and Breakthrough Miami, among other groups.

The Outstanding Philanthropy Award will be presented to Bruce and Tracey Berkowitz for their commitment to charitable endeavors in education, culture and the arts for the past 25 years. In particular, they have generously supported the University of Miami (UM) through their Fairholme Foundation. UM nominated them for the award.

“The Fairholme Foundation’s philanthropic commitment is having an extraordinary impact on the university and our community,” said Sergio M. Gonzalez, senior vice president for university advancement and external affairs. “Their leadership and involvement have forever enriched the college experience for our students.”

Jorge Luis and Marile Lopez have been selected for the James W. McLamore Outstanding Volunteer Award. Most of the couple’s five children are also involved in volunteer work.

“Seeing [my children] involved in the community, seeing them want to do this, it’s really my biggest accomplishment because we are teaching new generations,” Marile said.

Jorge Luis, an attorney, has served on various boards of charitable and faith-based organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Mercy Foundation and Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. Marile is chair-elect for Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation and is also vice chair of the board of the American Cancer Society’s Miami-Dade unit.

The American Red Cross, one of the organizations they are most involved with, nominated the couple. Jorge Luis sits on the Red Cross board in South Florida; Marile sits on the American Red Cross Ball committee.

Barbara L. Romani will accept the Julia Tuttle Award for Community Involvement and Corporate Citizenship on behalf of the Citi Foundation.

The Education Fund nominated the foundation for its decades-long contributions, including creating a grants program to help failing students at Miami-Dade Public Schools achieve success. Citi has provided more than $1.2 million, enabling The Education Fund to support more than 1,000 classroom projects.

“We are honored to receive the Julia Tuttle Award for our efforts to improve the financial security and well-being of Miami-Dade residents,” said Daria Sheehan, senior program officer for Citi Foundation. “We are grateful for this recognition and proud that our longtime collaboration with the Education Fund and other community partners is enhanced by the many local Citi employees who have dedicated time and business expertise to these efforts.”

Read more Philanthropy stories from the Miami Herald

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