Miami Recognition Dinner 2009

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Approximately 720 guests attended the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s 13th Annual Miami Recognition Dinner on October 17 at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach — the highest attendance since 2005.

The event — which included two cocktail receptions (one exclusively for VIPs), dinner, an awards ceremony and dancing — exceeded its gross revenue goal, raising more than $325,000. More than $90,000 of this sum was raised the night of the event through the silent auction. Additional income is expected from the sale of auction items that did not receive bids at the event.

Karen Brown hosted the formal program segment, which included welcome remarks from event co-chairs David Price and Liebe Gadinsky, a speech by National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey, musical performances by Kimona and Marger and a video yearbook of previous Miami Recognition Dinners.

U.S. Rep. Alcee L. Hastings (D-Fla.) presented the National Leadership Award to Lt. Dan Choi, the former West Point cadet who has become the face of the campaign to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and also presented him with a flag recently flown over the U.S. Capitol in Choi’s honor. Local veterinarian and event committee member Steven Leidner presented the Humanitarian Award to one of his personal heroes, the Rev. James Trapp, president and CEO of the Association of Unity Churches International. Eddy McIntyre Community Service Award winner Steve Adkins was introduced by a moving tribute video that included remarks by Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower.

Grey Goose Vodka sponsored the bar, with wine provided by Barefoot Wine & Bubbly.

The financial success of the Miami Recognition Dinner can be attributed in large part to more than 20 corporate sponsors and underwriters. In their opening remarks, Price and Gadinsky noted that corporate support for the event was higher than ever before.

Burger King Corporation, Dade Community Foundation, James G. Pepper, Wachovia/Wells Fargo were all Platinum Sponsors of the event. Gold Sponsors included AT&T, Akerman Senterfitt, Best Buy, Bradley Carlson & Aurelio Tiné, Liebe & Seth Gadinsky, Greenberg Traurig, The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kraft Foodservice, Mario Magcalas, M.D., P.A., Merrill Lynch, Ryder Charitable Foundation and Shore Club Miami. Underwriters included Berger Singerman, Bonnelly Productions, Brinker International, Cargill, Comprehensive Money Management and Shore Club Miami.

All combined net proceeds from the 2009 Miami Recognition Dinner and the 2010 Winter Party Festival benefit organizations serving the LGBT community. The Task Force donates two-thirds of the combined net proceeds to the Miami-Dade LGBT community through the GLBT Community Projects Fund administered by the Dade Community Foundation. The remaining one-third of the net proceeds helps fund the Task Force’s efforts to achieve equality for all LGBT people.