Jeremy Katzman/Linda Villafane
O’Connell & Goldberg, Inc.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Beyoncé KNOWLES Honored; Smokey Robinson, Gloria Gaynor and ETHAN BORTNICK Perform AT "PARTY OF THE YEAR"
Diamond Ball & Private Concert Raises $12 Million
for Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation
MIAMI – The stars shone brightly at the Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation Diamond Ball & Private Concert on Saturday, Oct. 4, as acclaimed luminaries Beyoncé Knowles, Smokey Robinson and Gloria Gaynor, joined by musical prodigy Ethan Bortnick, took the stage at AmericanAirlines Arena for the charity event of the year.
The second-annual star-studded gala raised approximately $12 million for children’s healthcare research and programs at Miami Children’s Hospital, far surpassing last year’s total. Dr. Rafael Herrera and family donated $10 million toward the Miami Children’s Hospital Research Institute.
"We pulled out all the stops to make this the event of the year and it proved to be exactly that," stated Foundation President Lucy Morillo. "No matter what economic climate we face our benefactors are very passionate about supporting children’s healthcare initiatives and they showed once again how generous this community can be."
This year’s Diamond Ball & Private Concert was held for the first time at AmericanAirlines Arena, the state-of-the art facility in downtown Miami that hosts world-renowned concerts and events such as the Video Music Awards and Latin Grammys. The evening included a lavish dinner for 800 on the arena floor and spectacular entertainment co-produced by Grammy and Country Music Association (CMA) Awards supervising producer Tzvi Small and Black Entertainment Television (BET) Awards producer Ron Weisner.
"We incorporated elements of the award shows we’ve produced into the Diamond Ball & Private Concert to make the event a truly stunning occasion," Small said.
"As Lucy Morillo says, ‘children are our most precious gems,’ and we wanted this event to dazzle as a reflection of that theme," Weisner added.
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For a $50 donation, thousands of additional Foundation sponsors and supporters were given select seats to witness Beyoncé’s induction into the Ambassador David M. Walters International Pediatric Hall of Fame and revel in musical performances by the legendary "King of Motown" Smokey Robinson, 70’s Diva Gloria Gaynor, who celebrated her 30th anniversary "I Will Survive" tour, and 7-year-old Ethan Bortnick, the exceptional piano prodigy who has performed with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Nelly Furtado and Natalie Cole.
The Diamond Ball & Private Concert was co-chaired by Patricia and Thomas Cornish, Vivian and Juan Carlos Mas, and Bibiana and Mario Murgado.
Beyoncé was inducted into the International Pediatric Hall of Fame for her contributions to the betterment of children through the Survivor Foundation, an organization she co-founded to provide transitional housing for Hurricane Katrina
victims and evacuees in the Houston area. The Survivor Foundation extends the mission of the Knowles-Rowland Center for Youth, a multi-purpose community outreach facility in downtown Houston. Among the Foundation’s projects are the establishment of Knowles-Rowland Temenos Place Apartments and a partnership with Houston Habitat for Humanity to provide two homes for qualified families.
Beyoncé rose to fame as lead singer of Destiny’s Child, the best-selling girl group of all time. After going solo, she released "Dangerously In Love," a highly successful album that produced two number-one singles and earned her five Grammy Awards. Her most recent album, B’Day, released in 2006, went triple-platinum.
As a member of The Miracles, as a solo artist and legendary songwriter, Smokey Robinson has written and recorded more than 37 Top 40 hits, leading Bob Dylan to proclaim him "America’s greatest living poet." In his illustrious 50-year career, Robinson has been inducted into the Songwriters and Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame, earned a Grammy Award and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, was honored by the United Negro College Fund and received The United States National Medal of Arts during ceremonies at The Kennedy Center.
In 1973, Gloria Gaynor made history as her single "Never Can Say Goodbye" bowed at #1 on the Billboard dance chart. She followed with a number of hits, including "I Will Survive," which was recognized by VH-1 as No. 1 among the Top 100 Dance records of All Time.
Junior Ambassador to the Diamond Ball & Private Concert, Ethan Bortnick showcased both his extraordinary talent and commitment to Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, performing several piano solos and helping to present Beyoncé with her award alongside Morillo’s 8-year-old son Nicholas and 8-year-old dialysis patient Adrian Munnings.
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Ethan’s musical genius inexplicably blossomed when his brother Nathan was born with an almost fatal heart defect and was airlifted to Miami Children’s Hospital, where surgeons saved his life. Four-year-old Ethan, who had just begun taking lessons, suddenly began playing beautiful classical music as tiny fingers danced across piano keys. Almost as if he had found a spiritual connection to the brother he had yet to meet. Ethan has since made it his goal to help other children like Nathan by helping to raise funds and awareness for the Foundation.
The evening was emceed by Carlos Ponce, who currently appears in NBC’s Lipstick Jungle, starred in the Telemundo soap opera Dame Chocolate (Give Me Chocolate), hosted the Miss Universe Pageant and was a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight. CBS 4 News Anchor Antonio Mora served as celebrity auctioneer for the event.
Sponsors of the 2008 Diamond Ball & Private Concert included: AmericanAirlines Arena, Comcast, Diamond House, Fiji Water, General Motors, Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce, Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, Rene Ruiz Couture, Premier Beverage, and Tzvi Small and Ron Weisner.
Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation (MCHF) is a non-profit 501 (C) (3) organization whose sole mission is to create awareness and generate funds for Miami Children’s Hospital (MCH), the only licensed specialty hospital in South Florida exclusively for children. The
Foundation’s guiding principle is that children’s health care is the primary concern of all and that children are precious like diamonds and thus must have access to state-of-the-art pediatric care. MCH, a 289-bed freestanding facility, is Florida’s only pediatric hospital to be included in U.S. News & World Report’s 2007 listing of "America’s Best Children's Hospitals."
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Gifts to Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation are tax deductible according to IRS regulations and 100% of gift proceeds benefit Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation. The fair market value of this event is $12.75. The deductible amount of your contribution is limited to the excess of your contribution over the fair market value stated above. Please keep this acknowledgment as a receipt for your charitable contribution deduction, pursuant to IRS Code, Section 6115. Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation, Registration No. CH2282, has complied with the registration requirements of Chapter 496, Florida Statutes, the Solicitation of Contributions Act. A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE 1-800-435-7352 WITHIN THE STATE OF FLORIDA. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE.