LGBTQ South Florida

LBGT philanthropists honored for work they do in South Florida

Making a difference in South Florida’s LGBT community takes time, talent and resources.

Four leaders who have made it their mission to inspire and help were recognized recently at the Second Annual South Florida LGBT Philanthropy Awards hosted by Our Fund Foundation and Bank of America Private Bank.

“The Philanthropy Awards is a wonderful way to honor and give thanks to an exceptional group of generous community leaders,” said David Jobin, president and CEO of Our Fund Foundation.

“In just two years, this reception has become our signature event and we couldn’t have done it without the continued support from Bank of America Private Bank, which allowed us to recognize these deserving individuals who have helped make South Florida the most livable and energetic community in the country for LGBT people.”

This year’s class of South Florida LGBT Philanthropy awardees includes Wayne Schrebe (Raising the Bar Award), Mark Gilbert (Commitment to a Cause Award), Victor Warren (Next Generation of Philanthropy Award) and Paul Fasana (Dick Schwarz Award for Lifetime Achievement).

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Established in 2011, Our Fund Foundation has grown into the third largest LGBT foundation in the nation.

Visit to learn more about this group’s mission that “promotes a culture of philanthropy by uniting donors with organizations advancing lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties and supporting causes within the LGBT community.”

National grants available for young leaders

The mission of Riley’s Way is to empower youth to “use kindness and empathy to create meaningful connections and positive change.”

Riley’s Way is seeking applicants in 15 grants for teens “that have an idea to drive change that inspires kindness and meaningful connections in their community,” said Terry Kaplan, director and chief creative officer.

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Kaplan, who lives in Coconut Grove, wants to spread the word to Miami teens. She is Riley’s grandmother and the family has roots in Miami.

“This is the second year of the challenge which offers professional help along with the grant to make their idea a reality. Last year, there was one winner in Fort Lauderdale, but there were no applicants from Miami,” Kaplan said.

The two 2019 winners in Florida were Hannah Wiser, 18, from Boca Raton, and her ongoing project Womaze, and Valentina Carrion, from Southwest Ranches, who is working with her school on the project Maverick Movie Night and Carnival.

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Laura Kikuchi, Riley’s Way program director, said the 15 winners for 2020 will receive grants of up to $3,000 to launch or grow their projects.

“At Riley’s Way, we believe that leading with intentional kindness is the key to building meaningful relationships and making the world a better place,” Kikuchi said.

“We’re asking teens to embody Riley’s Way values to design a project that inspires kindness, strengthens their community, and brings people together. Working with their school or a nonprofit partner, teens can submit a brand new idea or tell us how they plan to improve or expand an existing teen-led initiative.”

The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, March 31. Winners will be announced May 6, in honor of Riley Sandler’s birthday.

Ian and Mackenzie Sandler founded Riley’s Way Foundation in 2014 after the loss of their 9-year-old daughter, Riley Hannah Sandler, who was “a good friend” and “always thoughtfully thoughtful.”

Teens can apply for a grant at and learn more at where there are also photos of Riley and the many programs she inspired.

Call for entries in 2020 Underwater Photo Contest

A new category has been added for “marine conservation” in the esteemed annual Underwater Photography Contest, organized since 2005 by the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.

Entries may be submitted until 12 p.m. EST, April 6.

Each year, the contest draws several thousand entrants from across the globe.

The contest is open to all amateur photographers who earn no more than 20 percent of their income from photography. The judges include professional photographers and marine scientists.

Categories are divided into six separate categories: Fish or Marine Animal Portrait, Macro, Wide Angle, UM Student, Marine Conservation, and Best Overall. In the new category for marine conservation, the judges hope to see “the connection between humanity and the marine environment, in a positive or negative light.”

Canon USA is the supporter of this competition and the top prize is a trip on Blackbeard’s Cruises, departing from Nassau to the Exuma Cays, Bahamas. There are also monetary awards for first, second and third place in each of the categories.

Eligible photos must not have been published or accepted for publication and must be the original work of the submitter. No pool or aquarium shots will be accepted. Details about entries and prizes can be found at where you can also see past winners.

The winners will be announced at the Rosenstiel School’s popular Sea Secrets Lecture Series April 28. Visit to learn more.

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