Coral Gables Community Foundation Announces Honorees for 2023 Gala, ‘Under the Cherry Blossom Sky: A Gala at the Imperial Palace’



Coral Gables Community Foundation Announces Honorees for 2023 Gala, ‘Under the Cherry Blossom Sky: A Gala at the Imperial Palace’

CORAL GABLES, FLA. (September 8, 2023) – Kimonos, the traditional Japanese garment worn for formal occasions and Ikigai, the beautiful and ancient Japanese word that refers to one’s life purpose or reason to live, will be on full display Friday, October 13, when the Coral Gables Community Foundation presents “Under the Cherry Blossom Sky: A Gala at the Imperial Palace,” which pays tribute to pillars of the Coral Gables community. 

“Under the Cherry Blossom Sky: A Gala at the Imperial Palace,” is the Foundation’s most important annual fundraiser. The Foundation’s time-honored gala has been transformed into a Japan themed entertainment and fine dining experience in support of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Guests will experience music, dance, cuisine and the rich culture of Japan for an unforgettable evening. 

Guests will be transported to Ancient Kyoto to enjoy authentic cuisine and Japanese culture, while celebrating six individuals and one local institution recognized for their Ikigai – their own passion for a number of causes from health care, and the arts, to education and philanthropy, all of which combine to make the Coral Gables community a better place for all that live, work, and visit here.

Loews Executive Chef Ricardo Jarquin has prepared a three course meal, starting with Bluefin Tuna Tataki and Kyoto Short Rib, finishing with Matcha Mango Passion Petit Gateaux. A number of surprising and delightful moments will delight guests, from traditional drummers and dancers to karaoke and more, while they bid on an array of silent and live auction items and dance the night away. 

The Coral Gables Community Foundation is proud to announce the honorees:

  • Conchi and Tony Argiz will receive this year’s Philanthropy Award, presented by Miami Dade College Foundation;
  • Lisa and Victor Mendelson will take home the Education Award, presented by St. Thomas University;
  • Silvia Tcherassi is the recipient of the Gables Beautiful Award presented by Ray Corral and Alina Meledina;
  • Adrienne Arsht will receive the Arts & Culture Award presented by Trish and Dan Bell;
  • Tracy Wilson Mourning will be recognized with the Community Award;
  • Judy and Jon Zeder will be honored with the Sports & Wellness Award presented by Doctors Hospital and Baptist Health Orthopedic Care;
  • and the UM Lowe Art Museum will receive the Landmark Award presented by MG Developer and The Village at Coral Gables.

Event co-chairs: Coral Gables Community Foundation board member Sissy DeMaria Koehne, who has chaired the annual fundraiser since 2015, partners with Dr. Sadia Raja Alfonso to present an unprecedented evening of exhilarating performances and cuisine. 

“For the last nine years we’ve ventured beyond the City Beautiful to experience evenings of glamour, philanthropy and fun, traveling to China, Greece, India and Spain while we recognize the patrons who make our own city so very special. The “Under the Cherry Blossom Sky” gala is destined to become our most opulent black-tie affair ever,” said Co-Chair Sissy DeMaria Koehne. “None of which could be made possible without the time, talent and treasure of our donors and sponsors.” 

“We are excited for our 2023 gala installment and grateful to the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami and the gracious Consul General Kazuhiro Nakai for guidance, encouragement and support,” said Mary Snow, President & CEO of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. “In sharing the work of the Coral Gables Community Foundation with our community, as always, it is a privilege to honor those community and cultural leaders who every day carry the torch for Coral Gables.”

This year’s sponsors to date include: Trish and Dan Bell, Baptist Health, MG Developer and The Village at Coral Gables, Anthony R. Abraham Foundation, Ray Corral & Alina Meledina, Bacardi, Knight Foundation, UM Miller School of Medicine, UHealth Jackson Urgent Care, Hindman Auctions, Bermont Gold Wealth Advisory, St. Thomas University, Coral Gables Magazine, Miami Herald, WLRN and Miami’s Community Newspapers, and the Consulate-General of Japan in Miami.

Under the Cherry Blossom Sky” begins at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, October 13th at The Loews Coral Gables Hotel, 2950 Coconut Grove Drive, Coral Gables. Attire is black-tie formal, with kimonos or Japanese formalwear encouraged. Individual tickets are $1,000 and tables start at $10,000. For more information on sponsoring the event or becoming a host, please contact President Mary Snow at 305.446.9670 or email


MISSION: The Coral Gables Community Foundation inspires impactful philanthropy through charitable funds and programs using local knowledge, expertise and trusted relationships.

VISION: The Coral Gables Community Foundation drives philanthropic solutions to improve the quality of life and promote a thriving, collaborative, and generous community.

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