History

1991

The Beginning

The Foundation was established by community leaders with the mission of fostering public initiatives that enhance the quality of life for people living and working in the “City Beautiful”. It was first named the Greater South Florida Charitable and Educational Foundation and later changed to the Coral Gables Foundation.

1992

By the end of its second operating year, the Foundation had raised more than $200,000 and started awarding its first grants. A Coral Gables High School honor student, The Learning Experience School for Handicapped Children, Coral Gables High School, and New Theatre, Inc. were among the first to benefit from the Foundation’s efforts.

1994

First Executive Director

In a move to both increase public awareness of the Foundation and to grow its endowment base, the Board of Directors hired its first Executive Director, Gloria Burns, on October 1st.

1995

On June 15th, the Foundation’s Board voted to change the name of the Foundation to the Coral Gables Community Foundation in order to better describe its purpose, and to distinguish it from private foundations. The Foundation’s first permanent donor advised fund was established, the Jose and Mirta Calvo Endowment Fund

1996

Ronald A. “Ron” Shuffield served as Foundation Chair. A preliminary study began to display history and artifacts in our City with the assistance and expertise of the leadership of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which began the Coral Gables Museum.

1997

The Honorable Don Slesnick served as Chair for a two-year term. The PARKnership Fund was established by Bill Kerdyk, Jr. as a public/private partnership to renovate parks and support green space in the City. The Foundation held its fifth annual fundraiser and its first Gala – Merrick’s Dream Ball – at the Biltmore Hotel.

1998

The Foundation received a generous donation to its unrestricted fund from The Calvin and Flavia Oak Foundation. Robert and Marian Fewell donated a .75 acre plot on the SE corner of Coral Way and Granada Boulevard. From this unprecedented gift, Fewell Park was created in their honor.

1999

Jose Calvo served as Foundation Chair from 1999-2000 while also serving as the first Chair of the Coral Gables Museum Board. Lady Suzanna Tweed passed away on May 25, 1999; her legacy lives on through her scholarship fund, administered by the Foundation, for Coral Gables Senior High School students.

2000

Albert H. Friedman, “Mr. Miracle Mile” and a founding Board member passed away in February at the age of 99. The Albert H. Friedman “Miracle Mile Merchant Award” Fund was created in his honor for outstanding Coral Gables merchants.

2001

The Honorable George M. Corrigan began serving as Chair. The Executive Director’s Fund was also established.

2002

Mary Young served as the first female Foundation Chair this year while Honorable Don Slesnick and Bill Kerdyk, Jr. established family funds at the Foundation.

2003

Henry O. “Hank” Langston served as Foundation Chair. The PARKnership Fund began the “Adopt A Fountain” campaign, through which it was able to complete the restoration of four fountains at Granada Blvd. and Coral Way.

2004

William P. “Bill” Murphy served as Foundation Chair. The Foundation made a donation toward renovations for the grand re-opening of George Merrick’s historic home, “The Merrick House.”

2006

J. Thomas “Tom” Cookson served as Foundation Chair. In the summer, an anonymous donor bequeathed two gifts in excess of $250,000 to the Foundation and to Camillus House. The Coral Gables Museum’s official groundbreaking was held on September 20th.

2007

The Foundation, under the leadership of Howard Glicken of The Americas Group as Chair, developed the “Greening of the Gables” initiative to restore the Gables’ tree canopy ravaged by hurricanes.

2008

Jeannett Slesnick began her term as Chair in the Foundation’s new office space at 3001 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

2009

The Foundation swore in a new Chair, Jerry Santeiro and a new Executive Director began, Andria Hanley. The PARKnership Fund provided seed funding for the Waterway Renaissance Project to refurbish bridges in Coral Gables.

2010

The first annual Tour of Kitchens took place this year. The Coral Gables Museum opened its doors to the community on October 10th at 10:10 AM to celebrate the completion of the building.

2011

William A. “Bill” Bonn, Esq. began his two-year term as Foundation Chair. Manuel C. Diaz of Manuel Diaz Farms donated more than $95,000 worth of trees to The PARKnership Fund.

2012

The Ponce Society of Young Professionals was founded. The inaugural Shirt & Tie Drive is held where shirts and ties are donated for students of Coral Gables Senior High.

2013

Carlos F. Garcia began his three-year term as Foundation Chair. Past Chair Jerry Santeiro passed away in September. The Board of Directors established the Jerry Santeiro Community Fund in his honor. The Merrick Society was established to preserve key philanthropic activities in Coral Gables. Robert and Marian Fewell became lifetime members of the Merrick Society in recognition of their $100,000 contribution to the Foundation. The Foundation Board of Directors establishes the Community Giving Committee.

2014

Mary Snow began her tenure as Executive Director.

2015

The Golden Gables Fund, benefiting the MacFarlane Homestead and Golden Gates neighborhoods of Coral Gables, was established. The Foundation Board of Directors establishes the Four-Year Scholarship Fund.

2016

John O’Rourke III began his two-year term as Chairman. The Foundation celebrated its 25th year with a proclamation from the City of Coral Gables on July 26th. The Commemorative Bench Program was established in partnership with the City to provide a meaningful way to honor the legacy of a loved one, a milestone or a commemorative event.

2017

The Foundation’s annual gala returns to The Biltmore Hotel and is rebranded as The Biltmore Ball to benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Past Chairman Bill Bonn is distinguished as Chair Emeritus.

2018

Umbrella Sky comes to Coral Gables with over 800 umbrellas providing colorful shade over Giralda Plaza. The project was created in partnership with the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Business Improvement District. Evensky & Katz holds inaugural wine auction to benefit the Foundation. Jack Lowell begins two-year term.

1991 - 1995

1991 The Foundation was established by community leaders with the mission of fostering public initiatives that enhance the quality of life for people living and working in the “City Beautiful”. It was first named the Greater South Florida Charitable and Educational Foundation and later changed to the Coral Gables Foundation.

1992  By the end of its second operating year, the Foundation had raised more than $200,000 and started awarding its first grants. A Coral Gables High School honor student, The Learning Experience School for Handicapped Children, Coral Gables High School, and New Theatre, Inc. were among the first to benefit from the Foundation’s efforts.

1994  In a move to both increase public awareness of the Foundation and to grow its endowment base, the Board of Directors hired its first Executive Director, Gloria Burns, on October 1st. 

1995  On June 15th,  the Foundation’s Board voted to change the name of the Foundation to the Coral Gables Community Foundation in order to better describe its purpose, and to distinguish it from private foundations. The Foundation’s first permanent donor advised fund was established, the Jose and Mirta Calvo Endowment Fund

1996 - 2000

1996  Ronald A. “Ron” Shuffield served as Foundation Chair. A preliminary study began to display history and artifacts in our City with the assistance and expertise of the leadership of the Historical Museum of Southern Florida, which began the Coral Gables Museum. 

1997  The Honorable Don Slesnick served as Chair for a two-year term. The PARKnership Fund was established by Bill Kerdyk, Jr. as a public/private partnership to renovate parks and support green space in the City. The Foundation held its fifth annual fundraiser and its first Gala – Merrick’s Dream Ball – at the Biltmore Hotel.

1998  The Foundation received a generous donation to its unrestricted fund from The Calvin and Flavia Oak Foundation. Robert and Marian Fewell donated a .75 acre plot on the SE corner of Coral Way and Granada Boulevard. From this unprecedented gift, Fewell Park was created in their honor.

1999  Jose Calvo served as Foundation Chair from 1999-2000 while also serving as the first Chair of the Coral Gables Museum Board. Lady Suzanna Tweed passed away on May 25, 1999; her legacy lives on through her scholarship fund, administered by the Foundation, for Coral Gables Senior High School students.

2000  Albert H. Friedman, “Mr. Miracle Mile” and a founding Board member passed away in February at the age of 99. The Albert H. Friedman “Miracle Mile Merchant Award” Fund was created in his honor for outstanding Coral Gables merchants.

2001 - 2005

2001  The Honorable George M. Corrigan began serving as Chair. The Executive Director’s Fund was also established.

2002  Mary Young served as the first female Foundation Chair this year while Honorable Don Slesnick and Bill Kerdyk, Jr. established family funds at the Foundation. 

2003  Henry O. “Hank” Langston served as Foundation Chair. The PARKnership Fund began the “Adopt A Fountain” campaign, through which it was able to complete the restoration of four fountains at Granada Blvd. and Coral Way.

2004  William P. “Bill” Murphy served as Foundation Chair. The Foundation made a donation toward renovations for the grand re-opening of George Merrick’s historic home, “The Merrick House.”

2006 - 2010

2006  J. Thomas “Tom” Cookson served as Foundation Chair. In the summer, an anonymous donor bequeathed two gifts in excess of $250,000 to the Foundation and to Camillus House. The Coral Gables Museum’s official groundbreaking was held on September 20th.

2007  The Foundation, under the leadership of Howard Glicken of The Americas Group as Chair, developed the “Greening of the Gables” initiative to restore the Gables’ tree canopy ravaged by hurricanes.

2008  Jeannett Slesnick began her term as Chair in the Foundation’s new office space at 3001 Ponce de Leon Blvd.

2009  The Foundation swore in a new Chair, Jerry Santeiro and a new Executive Director began, Andria Hanley. The PARKnership Fund provided seed funding for the Waterway Renaissance Project to refurbish bridges in Coral Gables.

2010  The first annual Tour of Kitchens took place this year. The Coral Gables Museum opened its doors to the community on October 10th at 10:10 AM to celebrate the completion of the building.

2011 - 2015

2011 William A. “Bill” Bonn, Esq. began his two-year term as Foundation Chair. Manuel C. Diaz of Manuel Diaz Farms donated more than $95,000 worth of trees to The PARKnership Fund.

2012 The Ponce Society of Young Professionals was founded. The inaugural Shirt & Tie Drive is held where shirts and ties are donated for students of Coral Gables Senior High. 

2013 Carlos F. Garcia began his three-year term as Foundation Chair. Past Chair Jerry Santeiro passed away in September. The Board of Directors established the Jerry Santeiro Community Fund in his honor. The Merrick Society was established to preserve key philanthropic activities in Coral Gables. Robert and Marian Fewell became lifetime members of the Merrick Society in recognition of their $100,000 contribution to the Foundation. The Foundation Board of Directors establishes the Community Giving Committee.

2014 Mary Snow began her tenure as Executive Director.

2015 The Golden Gables Fund, benefiting the MacFarlane Homestead and Golden Gates neighborhoods of Coral Gables, was established. The Foundation Board of Directors establishes the Four-Year Scholarship Fund.

2016 - Today

2016 John O’Rourke III began his two-year term as Chairman. The Foundation celebrated its 25th year with a proclamation from the City of Coral Gables on July 26th. The Commemorative Bench Program was established in partnership with the City to provide a meaningful way to honor the legacy of a loved one, a milestone or a commemorative event.

2017 The Foundation’s annual gala returns to The Biltmore Hotel and is rebranded as The Biltmore Ball to benefit the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Past Chairman Bill Bonn is distinguished as Chair Emeritus. 

2018 Umbrella Sky comes to Coral Gables with over 800 umbrellas providing colorful shade over Giralda Plaza. The project was created in partnership with the Coral Gables Community Foundation, the City of Coral Gables and the Coral Gables Business Improvement District. Evensky & Katz holds inaugural wine auction to benefit the Foundation. Jack Lowell begins two-year term.