“A Night in Paradise” marks the end of ordinary fundraisers.

After four short months on the Business Alumni Chapter Board, a small group of dedicated volunteers envisioned a creative charity event—one that would create funds for the college’s Business Alumni Scholarship Fund as well as contribute a gift to CHARLEE, a non-profit organization that helps abused and neglected children.

From left, 2006-2007 Business Alumni Chapter Board members James Rivera (BACC ’01), Manny Matalón (MACC ’03, BACC ’00), and Gilbert Santiesteban (BACC ’02)
From left, 2006-2007 Business Alumni Chapter Board members James Rivera (BACC ’01), Manny Matalón (MACC ’03, BACC ’00), and Gilbert Santiesteban (BACC ’02)

The board’s mission was to develop a philanthropic event that would continue to grow and be passed on to the next generation of board members. They began working on what would be an invitation to a very special evening.

The board worked extremely hard, acquiring donations from generous sponsors like Deloitte, Advaion, Appelrouth, Farah & Co., AV Development Group, Aviation Express, CGA Mortgage, South Dade Wireless, Kramer Professional Staffing, Odyssey DJ’s Productions, Project X Media, Arasoza Brothers, Santa Barbara Nurseries and Capital Guarantee Associates. They built partnerships with associations such as Next in Line, Cuban American CPAs, and the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA) to help build awareness in the community.

Their hard work paid off. Thanks to this event, the Business Alumni Chapter will provide $3,000 to the college’s Business Alumni Scholarship Fund and give a gift of $3,000 to CHARLEE.

“A Night in Paradise” took place November 22, 2006, in the Treetop Ballroom at Parrot Jungle Island, replete with a forest of trees and amazing lighting that created a very special night.  R&B singer Gie entertained attendees with his music. Kiki Valdes, a local Miami artist, painted a live mural to the rhythmic sounds of salsa played by Sabor De Cuba, led by Tomas Diaz of the Spam All Stars. The Salsa Casino dance group took center stage when performing an electric salsa routine. Additional art was on display by artists Loren Santiesteban and Silvia Garcia Castro.

Guests donned guayabera chic attire and savored passed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Parrot Jungle Island and cocktails provided by Bacardi.  The party-goers enjoyed live premium cigars hand-rolled by Padilla cigars.  They also received a mini disc of the evening’s photographs as a memento when it was time to leave.

In short, the evening was a tremendous success, with more than 260 guests in attendance to usher in Thanksgiving.

Gilbert Santiesteban (BACC ’02), president-elect of the Business Alumni Chapter, was pleased by the turnout.

“Not only did all attendees have a great time, but also they knew that their money was going towards excellent causes,” he said. “The Business Alumni Chapter’s executive board and the college’s alumni and partner Relations team will continue planning events that will not only build great pride in the school, but also will provide venues for networking.”

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