Coral Gables Community Foundation Announces Theme and Date for 2022 Gala “The Road to Rio: A Gala from Ipanema”

Coral Gables’ finest will samba and sway the night away!

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (June 14, 2022) — The Coral Gables Community Foundation today unveiled its 2022 date and exciting theme for its signature fundraiser and traditional kick off to Miami’s social season.  “The Road to Rio, A Gala from Ipanema” will be held on Friday, October 21st at the Biltmore Hotel treating guests to Brazilian cuisine, music, dance and culture.

Brazilians and Coral Gables denizens alike are renowned for their love of dance and music. The evening will be a celebration of all things Brazilian and Carnival (actually “Carnaval” in Portuguese), a wild celebration of food, music and fun.

Proceeds from the event benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation, which is the cornerstone of philanthropy in the City Beautiful bringing together benefactors and beneficiaries to address our communities’ greatest needs through charitable funds.

From the cult of soccer to the festivities surrounding Carnaval, Brazilian culture will be feted as the Biltmore Hotel is transformed to one of the most visited cities in the Southern Hemisphere, Rio de Janeiro. Known for its Carnival, samba, bossa nova, and balneário beaches, Rio de Janeiro is a global melting pot of cultures much like Coral Gables.

Co-Chair Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, who has chaired the annual fundraiser for the past eight years, once again pairs with Lauren Harrison Brown for the fifth year in a row to present the city’s premier must-attend, black-tie affairs.

In addition to live music and special performances, guests will bid on silent and live auctions featuring travel experiences and luxury goods and services with all proceeds benefiting the important mission of the Community Foundation.

Patrons of “The Road to Rio” will enjoy a dazzling gastronomic experience – appropriately enhanced with rodizio meats, as well as dishes likely including feijoada and delicacies like pão de queijo and brigadeiros.

As is customary, the Foundation will recognize esteemed members of the community for their tireless efforts that directly improve the quality of life for those living in the City Beautiful. “The Road to Rio will bring Carnival to Coral Gables this fall for an unprecedented event honoring Coral Gables’ finest and celebrating the outstanding work of the Community Foundation in the City Beautiful,” said Sissy DeMaria-Koehne, event Chair and long-time Foundation Board Member.

In keeping with the exotic Brazilian theme, some of those attending “The Road to Rio” will be eschewing satin gowns and traditional tuxedos for elaborate cultural costumes with feathers and boas. Traditional Samba musicians will trumpet the arrival of guests, while dancers gently swing and sway around the event spaces.

“The annual gala has become a time-honored tradition for our organization, and it’s a tremendous point of pride to unveil our latest and most significant edition,” said Foundation Board Chair Venny Torre. “After two years celebrating in homes across the City, we are thrilled to be back together to raise funds for the important work of the Community Foundation while toasting the City we all love so dearly.”


Honorees of the 2021 Gala, themed “Opa! A Gables Odyssey!”, included Brian Keeley for the Legacy Award presented by Trish & Dan Bell, Nancy Hector for the Philanthropy Award, Lee Schrager for the Arts & Culture Award presented by Ray Corral & Mosaicist, Jim & Deborah Davidson for the Community Award, The Mas Family for the Education Award presented by Greenberg Traurig, Tracy Kerdyk for the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, the Landmark Award to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty and the Coral Gables Garden Club for the Gables Beautiful Award.

The 2020 Gala, themed “L’Art De Recevoir – the Art of Entertaining,” honorees included Bill Bonn for the Legacy Award, Matthew Meehan for the Philanthropy Award, Meg Daly for the Arts & Culture Award, David Evensky for the Jerry Santeiro Community Award, Dr. Michael Zinner for the Education Award presented by Trish & Dan Bell, Jonathan Vilma for the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute and Mayda Cisneros for the inaugural Gables Beautiful Award.


Proceeds from “The Road to Rio” benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation – a non-profit which fosters pivotal programs and initiatives aimed at enhancing the quality of life. Established in 1991 and led by community leaders, the Foundation has long served as a philanthropic conduit within the City, connecting those individuals and corporations who are seeking to positively impact its citizens and the community’s overall growth.


“The Road to Rio: A Gala from Ipanema” starts at 7:30 p.m. at the Biltmore Hotel.  Attire is Black Tie or Carnival Costumes. Table sponsorships begin at $6,000. For more information on sponsoring the event or hosting a table, please contact Mary Snow at 305.446.9670 or, or visit

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The Coral Gables Community Foundation works to enhance the quality of life for those who live, work, learn and play in the City Beautiful. Since 1991, the Foundation has been at the forefront of Coral Gables’ evolving needs by effectively bringing together beneficiaries and benefactors to fund programs with the greatest impact and benefit to “The City Beautiful.” Learn more at

For more information or for media resources and interviews, please contact Marketing and Program Manager Robertson Adams, via or 305-446-9670.