Miami Recognition Dinner 2008

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2007 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award recipient Jerry Chasen presented this year’s honoree, Joan Schaeffer with her award.
(Photo by Brett Hufziger)

The 12th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner on October 18, 2008, brought together over 600 guests to raise more than $250,000 for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and for organizations serving the Miami-Dade LGBT community. The event was held at the beautiful InterContinental Miami.

The Task Force honored three extraordinary individuals during a ceremony emceed by the hilarious Bruce Vilanch. Ilene Chaiken, creator of The L Word, was honored for bringing lesbians out of the closet and into America’s living rooms. Keith Boykin, long involved with progressive causes, spoke about the transformational possibilities of this election. Joan Schaeffer received the 2008 Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award for her decades of dedication to the local LGBT community. Joan’s tribute and moving acceptance speech were part of a special video presentation produced by David Bernard and CBS4; click here to view the full presentation.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, addressing the Miami Recognition Dinner audience for the first time, received a standing ovation. She was introduced by Task Force Board Co-Chair Mark Sexton.

Our VIP guests were treated to a spectacular cocktail reception hosted by Brinker International, Inc., and all of the attendees enjoyed a full bar provided by Diageo and wine donated by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly. The silent auction, underwritten by Raymond James and Associates, featured close to 300 items and generated over 15% of the gross revenue for the event. The ballroom décor was arguably the best the event has every seen, thanks to contributions by BBJ Linen, Rex Thompson and Jonathan Kirkland.

The Dinner was fortunate to have the support of a long list of corporate and individual sponsors. Platinum sponsors included Burger King Corporation, Dade Community Foundation, Greenberg Traurig, P.A., Halo and James G. Pepper. Gold sponsors included Akerman Senterfitt, AT&T, Citi, Darden Restaurants, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Jon & Tina Kislak, Mario Magcalas, MD, P.A., Merrill Lynch, William R. Neubauer/Comprehensive Money Management Services LLC, Northern Trust and Olive Watson & Joanna Grover/Watson. Silver sponsors included Norman & Irma Braman, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson, Mark M. Sexton & W. Kirk Wallace and Andrew Tobias & Charles Nolan. Bronze sponsors included Cary E. Berner, Jerry Chasen & Mark Kirby, Karen Costello & Rosemary Wilder, Liebe & Seth Gadinsky, Stephen E. Herbits, Wood Kinnard & Alberto Arias, Elizabeth F. Schwartz, Daniel E. Smith, Daniel Spring & Jean Mark DeSilva and Mark Steinberg & Dennis Edwards. South Florida Blade and MackPlanet.com were media sponsors. We were honored to have two of our national sponsors, American Airlines and Showtime Networks, represented at the Dinner. Thanks also go to Wells Fargo, another national sponsor of long-standing.

Co-Chairs Cindy Brown and David Price led the amazing team of South Florida volunteers who produced the 12th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner. The steering committee and ambassadors included Alan Behmoiras, Joe Bianco, Pietro Bonacossa, Jerry Chasen, David da Silva Cornell, Liebe Gadinsky, Debbie Gonzalez, Ed Guedes, Pete Halpern, Sharon Kersten, Mark Kirby, Matthew Leik, Lisa Mercado, Cristi Mitchell, David Orchard, Cathy Pareto, Christopher Russell, John Schaufelberger, Elizabeth Schwartz, Laura Steckler, Richard Peter Wharton and Hope Wine.