Since 2016, Lifestyle has dedicated a high-season issue to prominent philanthropists throughout the tri-county region, individuals whose commitment to a cause (or, in most cases, multiple causes) embodies the spirit of the season. Along the way, we’ve been humbled that so many CEOs, nonprofit leaders and volunteers have shared personal backstories connected to their charitable journeys.
After his mother succumbed to a two-year battle with breast cancer in 2015, Andrew Koenig, CEO of City Furniture, honored her wish to raise awareness by passing out pink pumpkin buckets for children to use on Halloween. It’s just one tentacle in a larger City Furniture Pink Pumpkins campaign that generates hundreds of thousands of donation dollars for the American Cancer Society toward breast cancer research and local programs.
For Carlton Washington, volunteering for Kids in Distress, which provides short- and long-term placements for children through its foster care program, provided an opportunity to pay it forward. The co-founder of 4Ever Young Anti Aging Solutions was adopted by his parents out of foster care.
For Raquel Case, general manager at Rick Case Automotive Group, giving back is in her DNA. The charitable footprint made by her mom, Rita, and late father, Rick, continues to grow thanks to an ongoing connection to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward and projects including the largest Habitat for Humanity neighborhood ever built in the county, a 77-home site in Pompano Beach.
This year, we’re once again honored to share the stories of renowned philanthropists making a difference in South Florida.
People like Sally Berenzweig, whose role as CEO of The Pap Corps doubles as a poignant reminder of her late step-mother, who founded a Boca Raton-based chapter of the organization that raises funds for the cutting-edge research being done at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Or Symeria Hudson, CEO of United Way Miami, whose service spirit is fueled by the towering example her single mother set in Alabama when the family was living in public housing.
Or Laurie Sallarulo, CEO of Junior Achievement of South Florida, who has spent her adult life advocating for children with special needs and their families—because she’s inspired every day by her own son, Patrick, who has Down syndrome.
The challenges of the past few years continue to weigh heavily on individuals and families in our local communities. With the holiday season on the horizon, keep in mind the words of another one of this year’s philanthropists, Ray Berry, CEO of Health Business Solutions.
“When it comes to giving, it’s important to provide service not only in dollars but also with your time.”
Enjoy the issue.