The Our Fund Foundation and Presenting Sponsor Bank of America Private Bank hosted the Fifth Annual South Florida LGBTQ Philanthropy Awards which celebrated outstanding philanthropy, volunteerism and emerging leadership.
The sold-out event, which included a cocktail reception and awards ceremony, was held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts’ Mary Porter Riverview Ballroom on Saturday, February 3, 2024.
“We were honored to recognize these uniquely inspiring and generous leaders who lift up our community and truly make a difference,” said David Jobin, president and CEO, The Our Fund Foundation. “They epitomize our mission of advocating for philanthropy to make South Florida the most livable and energetic community in the country for LGBTQ people.”
This year’s guest speaker was Hannah Kanstroom, Senior Vice President, Philanthropic Strategist for the Philanthropic Solutions National Consulting and Advisory Practice at Bank of America Private Bank who presented anecdotes of interest from the 2023 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy: Charitable Giving by Affluent Households.
Woodward Middleton, Market Executive for the Bank of America Private added, “Bank of America is honored to be aligned with The Our Fund Foundation and these incredible individuals who are improving our community every day.”
The 2024 class of South Florida LGBTQ Philanthropy awardees includes:
Philanthropist of the Year
Michael’s philanthropic journey with The Our Fund Foundation began with a conversation about his vision to establish a bricks-and-mortar LGBTQ-owned and managed facility to protect and uplift unhoused LGBTQ youth in South Florida. From that conversation, Michael drove a 3-year exploration of research, including a one-year trial 6-bed facility, that resulted in the development of the Sunshine Pride House, a 12-bed house in Fort Lauderdale slated to open in January 2024 and is owned by the Sunshine Cathedral Foundation with programs and services provided by local non-profits, FLITE Center and SunServe. Donating more in a single year than any philanthropist in Our Fund’s 13-year history, Michael’s vision attracted philanthropist Terry Merlin, who was on a tandem journey to create a shelter for LGBTQ unhoused youth. Michael’s leadership and leadership gift, along with Terry’s extreme generosity and leadership, made the Sunshine Pride House a reality. It is the intention with this $1M+ investment that the Sunshine Pride House will serve as a model to be replicated in South Florida for LGBTQ marginalized youth. Click here for tribute video.
Commitment to a Cause Award
An artist, teacher, mentor and healer, Niki Lopez is known by many for the passion project she founded in 2014 – What’s Your Elephant – that uses the arts to create a safe space for life’s unspoken topics, including gender discrimination, sexual and emotional abuse, and other traumas. Her creative activism includes being a co-founder for Artists for Black Lives Matter, as well as 1310 Bandits, a nationally recognized, award-winning visionary team of female-led, predominantly LGBTQ filmmakers. Her extensive work has impacted LGBTQ and Afro-Latina communities, women/feminist groups, people of color and sexual abuse survivors. Click here for tribute video
Next Generation Philanthropy Award
Spontaneously originating in 2020 during the height of the Covid lockdown, the volunteer-led FLOATARAMA, the country’s largest pride event on the water, has granted $125,000 to LGBTQ youth-serving agencies in South Florida. As importantly, FLOATARAMA has initiated a dialogue and awareness about the importance of philanthropy among a new generation of LGBTQ individuals. Founders Scott Schramm and Roderick MacKenzie are committed to expanding FLOATARAMA’s reach and influence, and along with it, the circle of donors and supporters that make their work possible. Click here for tribute video
Dick Schwarz Award for Lifetime Achievement
Larry Hyer’s lifetime of support of LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS causes and his personal involvement as a volunteer and leader of numerous agencies have cemented his reputation as one of South Florida’s leading philanthropists. He supports a variety of LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS organizations, including SAVE, YES Institute, Equality Florida, the AQUA Foundation, Communion, and the University of Miami’s LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS programs. Larry’s work leading and supporting OUTShine Film Festival has been instrumental to the organization’s success as one of the country’s leading LGBTQ film festivals. Click here for tribute video
Tickets to the cocktail reception and awards ceremony are $75 per person and may be purchased at our-fund.org/awards. For additional information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 954-565-1090.