On Friday, January 15, JustWorld International made the spirit of Rio do Carnaval come alive in Wellington, bringing more than 600 guests together to celebrate and raise funds for the extraordinary work JustWorld is doing around the world to support more than 6,000 children in Honduras, Guatemala, Cambodia and Colombia. Thanks to the generous support of sponsors and guests and through the success of both the live and silent auctions, the 2016 gala raised well over $450,000 for the children at JustWorld's partner projects. The annual gala is JustWorld's largest fundraiser each year, and it is those funds that allow the organization to continue its goal of funding local partners around the world helping children thrive through their support of education, health and hygiene, nutrition and cultural development.
During the 13th Annual JustWorld Gala, presented by Wellington Masters, the theme of Carnival do Rio was brought to life through delectable food, drinks and specialty entertainment created for the evening by renowned event planners, Dazzle Creative Events, and Regency Party Rental & Productions. Guests were offered a warm welcome as partner Florida Coast Equipment, Inc. provided shuttles to the entrance of the event, where a lively Brazilian band lured the guests into a brilliant tent that truly transformed host Belle Herbe Farm into a beautiful scene straight out of Rio.
Steven Wilde returned to emcee this year's event along with Jonathan Duerr. Before turning over the floor to JustWorld founder and executive director, Jessica Newman, the two started the evening by introducing a video segment on JustWorld and the incredible growth and tremendous success of the organization , supporting more than 6,000 children this year alone.
As Jessica Newman took the stage, she began by paying tribute to passionate rider and Ambassador Andres Rodriguez, with the Venezuelan team joining on stage. Jessica shared a beautifully moving tribute to Andres and highlighted his exemplary accomplishments. To honor his spirit of humanitarianism and to commemorate his life, Jessica presented the Andres Rodriguez Professional Ambassador Award to Kevin Staut of France and Juan Andres Rodrigues of Guatemala, who both truly embody the light and positive outreach that Andres shared with the world. Team Venezuela, represented by Alejandro Karolyi, Angel Karolyi, Pablo Barrios, Emanuel Andrade, Juan Ortiz, Luis Larrazabal and Victor Segovia were on stage to pay tribute to the Andres Rodriguez Award.
Jessica also recognized fourteen outstanding individuals with "Leg Up" Awards that have gone above and beyond spreading the JustWorld core values and have demonstrated admirable efforts in giving children in impoverished communities a "leg up" to a brighter future. These amazing "Leg Up" Awards also included Sam Ephraimson, Nadja Rajan, Dylann Ephraimson, Steven Wilde, Cesar Hirsch and Equis Boutique, Joanne Weiner and Palm Beach International Academy, Henry and Maria Acevedo, Chris Pack, Steven Michael King, and Francisco Arredondo.
The "Philanthropist of the Year" Award went to Mark Samuel and Kevin Sanford and the "Corporate Social Responsibility" Award went to Longines.
Event sponsor Whole Foods of Wellington once again provided food for the sumptuous Brazilian tasting stations and fresh ingredients for the fabulous welcome Caipirinha cocktail, while guests enjoyed an open bar sponsored by Official Bar Sponsor Seahorse Fashion Cuisine, Tito's Vodka, and Fernando Cellars. JustWorld welcomed new exciting sponsorships at the Gala, with GenSpring Family Offices joining as the Official Wealth Management Sponsor, Lugano Diamonds joining as the Official Jeweler Sponsor, and Bancroft Automotive as the Vallet Sponsor.
Before the night opened up to the lively music by DJ Adam Lipson and an after party at The Grille Fashion Cuisine, guests turned their attention to the live auction in support of JustWorld. Some of the most popular live auction items included a VIP table package for the LA Masters, including a chance to compete, donated by JustWorld partners EEM; an exclusive IPC package including a membership to the International Polo Club donated by IPC, paired with a brunch and private box for 8, along with personal insights into the game by polo players Brandon Philips and Kris Kampsen; a round-trip flight for one horse from JFK Airport to Amsterdam or Liege donated by the Dutta Corporation and Guido Klatte; an extravagant experience venturing out into the beautiful Florida waters on an all-inclusive, professionally crewed yacht, donated by Marshall Field; a luxurious stay at a five-star Grand Isle Resort in the Bahamas; a Cilantro's Gourmet Deli Asado for 40 guests; and an amazing 2016 Olympian Experience, including a lunch and ride with Olympic medalists Laura Kraut and Nick Skelton, plus a course design and course walk with Olympic course designer Guilherme Jorge.
Guests danced the night away, fully embracing the celebration of all the year's accomplishments. Other fun activities included vibrant Brazilian dancers, a giant Jenga Ambassador fundraising game sponsored by Parlanti and KASK, a balloon artist, and a Horseware Photo Booth, and adorable mini goats. Guests left with wonderful parting gifts, such as delicious truffles donated by GenSpring and a gift bag donated by Bancroft Automotives.
The 13th Annual JustWorld International Gala commemorated another incredible year of making strides for change to create a just world. The organization thanks sponsors, supporters and newcomers to the event and to the organization.
Source: Press release from JustWorld International // Picture © Steven Michael King
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