In this issue . . .  
BOARD NEWS  Board of Directors gains two new members
FOCUS ON FUNDS The Slesnicks contribute to growth in the Gables
RECENT EVENTS  Tour of Kitchens leads to Culinary Arts Fund donation
MERRICK SOCIETY Become a member, make a difference in your community     
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Sissy DeMaria and Jos� Valdes-Fauli join Board of Directors

New to the Coral Gables Community Foundation's Board of Directors is Sissy DeMaria, President of Kreps DeMaria. In addition to running one of the most successful public relations and marketing firms in South Florida, DeMaria also founded Give A Buck for Special Equestrians, a non-profit focused on fundraising for therapeutic riding programs for adults and children with special needs. Give A Buck for Special Equestrians has also joined the list of funds that are currently a part of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. DeMaria's philanthropic endeavors do not stop there - she is also active in Young Patronesses of the Opera and the UM Citizens Advisory Group, as well many other associations. green dotted line

Jos� Valdes-Fauli has joined the Coral Gables Community Foundation's Board of Directors. Valdes-Fauli is a well-known South Florida banker and was most recently the President/CEO of Regfin Acquisition Corp. He joins the Foundation's Board of Directors with more than 25 years of experience in his industry. 

In addition to the Foundation's Board of Directors, Valdes-Fauli is highly involved in many philanthropic activities throughout the community. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Florida International University Foundation, among other organizations.

John O'Rourke named as Chair of the 
Community Giving Committee 

We are pleased to announce that board member John O'Rourke, President of Montica Jewelry, is the new Chair of the Community Giving Committee. As part of the Executive Committee, O'Rourke and the Community Giving Committee are responsible for reviewing grant applications and selecting organizations that will receive grants from the Foundation.

Grant application deadlines for the Coral Gables Community Foundation are April 25, 2014 and September 19, 2014. Grant applications may be found at For more information, please contact Executive Director, Mary Snow, at 305.446.9670 or 

Mary Snow takes the lead as Executive Director


The Coral Gables Community Foundation welcomes Mary Snow as its new Executive Director. A Coral Gables native, Snow joined the Foundation in February with a considerable amount of experience, having served as the Managing Director of Client Relations for Coral Gables-based The Washington Economics Group for more than eight years.  


She is a graduate of Florida State University and Coral Gables Senior High School. As Executive Director, Mary's priorities are to raise the visibility of the Foundation, grow the Foundation's endowment and bring in new corporate and family funds.


Board Members sworn in at 2014 Board Instillation and Appreciation Reception
The Coral Gables Community Foundation's annual installation of officers and directors was held on February 20, 2014 at Tarpon Bend Raw Bar and Grill. The 2014 Board of Directors were sworn in by Coral Gables Commissioner Frank Quesada. Special awards were presented to Matthew Meehan for 2013 Board Member of the Year, Immediate Past Chairman Bill Bonn for 2013 Executive Board Member of the Year and Ponce Society of Young Professionals member Amanda Bonifay, who received a Certificate of Appreciation for her services on the Foundation Board.
The 2014 Board of Directors celebrate at Tarpon Bend.
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Jeannett Slesnick contributes $30,000 to the Foundation 


Jeannett Slesnick and Bill Bonn present a check to the Foundation.
Former Foundation Chair and local realtor Jeannett Slesnick made a generous donation to the Coral Gables Community Foundation this past December. Slesnick contributed $30,000 to the Slesnick Family Fund, a general purpose donor-advised fund.
On supporting her family's fund at the Foundation, Jeannett said: "This is my hometown and I am proud to live here. We all should protect and nurture our community and setting up a pass-through fund at the Foundation is a way to start."

Slesnick and her husband, former Coral Gables Mayor Don Slesnick, have both served as Chairs of the Coral Gables Community Foundation. Jeannett in 2008 and Don from 1997-1998.

"The Slesnick family is proud to have its name associated with the Coral Gables Community Foundation. For the past twenty years, the Foundation has played a significant role in the civic life of the community," said Don Slesnick.

This donation is just the latest on the long list of charitable contributions that the Slesnicks have made to the Foundation, to their fund and to the community. 

CGI Merchant Group donates $15,000 to the Foundation, sets aside $5,000 for Fourth Annual Jazz in the Gables


Miami-based investment management firm CGI Merchant Group donated $15,000 to the Coral Gables Community Foundation in December 2013. The donation was in addition to CGI's recently announced renovation plans for 55 Miracle Mile, a retail/office space with a 402-spot parking garage in downtown Coral Gables that includes tenants such as Cibo, HSBC Bank and Tarpon Bend.

Nicole Yarling and Federico Britos perform at Jazz in the Gables on March 26, 2014.


"We view 55 Miracle Mile as a cornerstone of the ongoing revitalization of downtown Coral Gables and CGI's commitment to investing in the local business community to increase property values, drive traffic and promote commercial vitality," said Founder and CEO of CGI, Raoul Thomas.

CGI allotted for $5,000 of its donation to go directly toward the 2014 edition of 'Jazz in the Gables,' which ran every Wednesday from January 15 through March 26 on the Plaza of the Coral Gables Museum. The annual event offers free, outdoor concerts during lunchtime and is a partnership between the Miami Jazz Cooperative, the Coral Gables Museum, the Business Improvement District (BID) and the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce. 

About CGI Merchant Group
CGI Merchant Group, LLC is a private equity, alternative investment manager that capitalizes on commercial real estate and infrastructure investments by using an entrepreneurial approach to building stakeholder value. In the last nine months, the Firm has deployed more than $80 million of capital in acquiring more than 370,000 square feet of Trophy and Class-A commercial real estate in Florida. Recent acquisitions include four office buildings in West Palm Beach and the commercial portions of a mixed-use property located at 55 Miracle Mile in Coral Gables, FL ("55 Miracle Mile"), which comprised 65,242 square feet of rentable retail and office space and a 402 car parking garage. The property was approximately 90 percent occupied at time of purchase.
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Tour of Kitchens proceeds benefit Coral Gables Senior High School's Culinary Arts Program 


The fifth annual TOUR of KITCHENS took place on Saturday, January 25th, 2014. The self-guided Tour showcased some of Coral Gables' most spectacular designer kitchens and raised $30,000 for the Foundation.


Tour takers began the day at SNAIDERO kitchens + design, where they received their Tour booklet and embarked on their delicious journeys. They toured through six homes in various parts of the Gables. At each home, participants tasted the best dishes from local eateries such as Swine Southern Table & BarTalavera Cocina Mexicana, Bottega La Dolce Vita, Bricktop's, Route 9 and Tarpon Bend. All this lead to the Closing Event, which took place at Ferguson 

Executive Director Mary Snow and Chairman Carlos F. Garcia present a check to Culinary Arts Program Director Marcy Vera.

Bath, Kitchen & Lighting GalleryDessert, champagne and other refreshments were served courtesy of the Closing Event participants, including Seasons 52, Joanna's Marketplace, Cibo Wine Bar, Party of 5 Cake Pops, Misha's Cupcakes, La Giralda Taberna, Bellmont Spanish Restaurant, Korbell, Brown-Forman and Perrier.


Some of the proceeds from the 2014 TOUR OF KITCHENS went to the Foundation's Culinary Arts Program Fund, which is dedicated to the Culinary Arts program at Coral Gables Senior High School.


On Monday, March 10, 2014, the Coral Gables Community Foundation presented a check for $10,000 to the Culinary Arts Fund as Gables students prepared an appetizing four-course dinner at The Dome Restaurant & Lounge for their annual gala. The students and program director Marcy Vera accepted the donation, which will be used for scholarships, culinary competitions, purchasing new cooking supplies and other necessities that support the students' gastronomic interests.


 Ponce Society of Young Professionals spend time with the Elderly


PSYP Chair William Colas smiles with a Riviera Health Resort resident.
On February 26, 2014, the Ponce Society of Young Professionals (PSYP) visited the residents of Riviera Health Resort in Coral Gables. The PSYP members did not show up empty handed - they brought gift baskets full of flowers and other goodies for a group of residents at the resort. The PSYP also joined the group for a game of bingo!


The visit to Riviera Health Resort is just one of the ways the Ponce Society of Young Professionals is reaching out to the community. For more information on the PSYP's programs and initiatives, or to join, please visit the official PSYP website and/or the PSYP Facebook. 




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City Founder George Merrick's vision for Coral Gables was one of lasting beauty. The historic homes built in the 1920s stand today as enduring reminders of the fulfillment of a vision and passion for aesthetics of one very special dreamer. This historic home at 803 North Greenway Drive was featured in our 2012  TOUR of KITCHENS and is largely unchanged and every bit as charming! Find out how you can fulfill your legacy by joining our Merrick Society.    
(Black and white photos is titled "Two-story residence of O.D. Gray at 803 N. Greenway Dr. in Coral Gables, Florida.", circa "not after 1928" | used with the permission of the State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,image no. 165816.)
Merrick's vision for better living lives on today as involved Coral Gables residents strive to maintain the look and feel of the City Beautiful. Do you have a vision for Coral Gables? The Coral Gables Community Foundation established the Merrick Society so that visionary people like you could continue George Merrick's dream of color of your own. The Merrick Society preserves key philanthropic activities in the Gables and raises unrestricted funds for the Foundation. Merrick Society donors commit to a 3-year annual contribution of $1,000,  $2,500$5,000$10,000, or more. Merrick Society level donors are invited to the annual benefactor reception and other special functions, and receive a lapel pin in recognition of their participation and vision. To find out more, please contact our Executive Director, Mary Snow, at 305.446.9670, or via email
Merrick Society Dream in Color 



The Foundation is pleased to present our MERRICK SOCIETY Level Donors


 Robert J. "Bob" & Marian Fewell*

John R. Allen, Jr.                                          Matthew T. Meehan & Rod Hildebrant      
Pat Blanco, BSN MPH FACHE F.                                             David & Ann Olazabal

William A. Bonn & Ruben Ceballos                                  John & Marichi O'Rourke

Evelyn Budde                                                                               Lee J. Osiason, Esq.

Karelia Martinez Carbonell & Marino E. Carbonell      Alfonso & Shannon Perez       

George Corrigan                                                                                  Aura Reinhardt

Sissy DeMaria                                                           Anthony L. "Tony" Rogers, J.D.      

Dr. Joyce Elam                                                                                             Ari Rollnick

Wayne Cameron Eldred                           The Hon. and Mrs. Don Slesnick II, Esq.      

Carlos F. Garcia, CPA                                                                    Eddie & Judy Snow

Zeke Guilford, Esq.                                                                          Jose Valdes-Fauli 

Andria Hanley                                                                              Marielena A. Villamil

Henry O. "Hank" Langston                                                Wayne E. "Chip" Withers      

Miles & Patty McGrane                                                              



*Lifetime Membership at $100,000 Level 

305.446.9670 |


Established in 1991, the mission of the Coral Gables Community Foundation is to foster programs that promote and encourage cultural, educational, health, historic preservation, and charitable projects that enhance the quality of life for all people in Coral Gables.  


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