Online meetings raise community spirits

South Florida organizations migrated a few of their important annual events online or adjusted them to meet social distancing guidelines, raising funds and spirits for the community. Here are a few.


Gala for the arts. Broward Center for Performing Arts hosted a virtual gala in support of the arts, bringing more than 300 guests together. Broward Performing Arts Foundation President Lisa Kitei and Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley greeted the guests in the event that followed in the footsteps of similar of the Lincoln Center’s “Connecting for Culture: A Gala of Virtual Tables Across the USA.” Guests enjoyed private performances and Q&As with Broadway veterans and local artists. The night ended with a performance of “Here Comes the Sun” by local artists.

Pictured above: Broward Performing Arts Foundation President Lisa Kitei and Broward Center President and CEO Kelley Shanley greetings guests from the Broward Center.


Col. Nicole Malachowski
Col. Nicole Malachowski

Online lunch. United Way of Broward County’s Women United held its ninth annual Magnolia Luncheon, hosting more than 470 guests over Zoom, including United Way of Broward County donors, volunteers and sponsors. The keynote speech was given by Col. Nicole Malachowski, USAF (Ret.), the first woman pilot on the Thunderbirds Air Demonstration Squadron, and an inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame and the Women in Aviation International Pioneer Hall of Fame. The event raised $228,000 for United Way of Broward County’s COVID-19 Relief Campaign, supporting food assistance and emergency financial assistance.


Funding the future. Rotary Club of Weston held an online ceremony during which the organization celebrated 56 local seniors and awarded around $150,000 in scholarships.

“Although we were not able to present the scholarships in person this year, the Rotary Club of Weston and Freedland Harwin Valori, PL are proud to have awarded 56 scholarships to exceptional students in our community,” says Michael Freedland, Esq., founding partner of the title sponsor Freedland Harwin Valori, PL and past president of the Rotary Club of Weston. “Thanks to all our great sponsors, we are able to support the students as they attend college and continue to achieve great success.”

The seniors—from Cypress Bay High and The Sagemont School in Weston, Western High in Davie, and HANDY (Helping Abused Neglected Disadvantaged Youth) in Fort Lauderdale—were chosen from hundreds of applicants through an interview process.

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