Local Chairmen And Chairwomen Leading This Season's Philanthropic Events

Oct 2017 Also on Digital Edition

These 12 chairmen and chairwomen have us at the edge of our seats with exciting galas and events planned for season. 

Aidan Mattox dress, $395, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 18-karat yellow gold oval hoop drop earring by Rudolf Friedmann, $2,600, 18-karat tri gold heavy link bracelet, $9,500, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart 

Avery G dress, $258, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 18-karat yellow gold South Seas pearl drop earrings, $1,800, 14-karat yellow gold large fancy baroque pearl bracelet, $900, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart

Aqua off-the-shoulder dress, $248, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; bracelet and necklace stylist’s own

Jade Smith

Chairwoman for Project L.I.F.T.’s Clambake

An expected 250-plus attendees will raise more than $100,000 at this year’s Clambake, chaired by Stuart resident Jade Smith, 32. Smith, who also serves as president of Island Party Rentals, is excited to support Project L.I.F.T., which Bob Zaccheo founded seven years ago to help youth struggling with substance abuse. 

What is your personal draw to Project L.I.F.T.’s cause? 

I love Project L.I.F.T.’s mission and all that it does for the youth in our community. [Bob Zaccheo’s] heart literally beats for each young adult he meets that needs him. He treats youth affected by tragedy and substance abuse with vocational skills, therapy and the confidence they need to become the young adults they should be.

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman? 

To see how many people in our community come together to support a cause. How many young business owners come out to give.

Jennifer Waters

Chairwoman for Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast

When Jennifer Waters’ kids were little, the family spent many Saturdays at the Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast exploring the exhibits and attending special events. “I was lucky enough to be recruited to join the board once my kids were both in school,” says the Palm City resident who is also a partner at Fox, Wackeen, Dungey, Beard, Bush, Goldman, Waters, Robison, van Vonno & McCluskey, LLP. In addition to a $300,000 fundraising campaign for the museum, the 40-year-old is also anticipating the 10th annual Purse Party in March.

What is your personal draw to Children’s Museum of the Treasure Coast’s cause?

I was born and raised in Martin County. My parents took classes in the building that now houses the Children’s Museum, so it is amazing that my kids are able to enjoy the fabulous space. I am so proud of how our community has grown since I was a child here and how we have really created a fantastic place for children and families. 

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman?

The involvement in a dynamic organization. Daily, I am amazed by the creativity and vision of our staff members and executive director.  

Philip A. Busch

Chairman for Wild Game Dinner

Philip A. Busch, 34, is the president of Southern Eagle Distributing and head of the Peter W. Busch Family Foundation, which his father started more than three decades ago in order to give back to the Treasure Coast. The organization hosts its Wild Game Dinner for men only this month at Adams Ranch in Fort Pierce.

What is your personal draw to the Peter W. Busch Family Foundation’s cause?

I truly enjoy helping others and trying to get more people motivated to do more for our community. There are so many great causes out there that need financial help and also volunteer hours. I truly believe in the idea of leaving the world/community in a better state than when you arrived.

What has been or will be your biggest challenge?

Making sure our events get bigger and better each year, and we are able to raise even more money year after year. To continue to seek out organizations that believe in giving to their cause and that are truly passionate about their issue. To strive to be a great community partner and help those who are in need.

Leslie Kristof

Chairwoman for Steak & Stake

As campus president at Keiser University in Port St. Lucie, Leslie Kristof is the perfect fit for chairwoman of the 10th annual Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie County’s Steak & Stake Dinner and Auction. This year’s event in November is masquerade-themed. “Bring your smile and sparkle in formal attire or an opera house ball gown,” says the 45-year-old Jupiter resident. “We’ll have a new twist on the grand raffle, silent and live auctions, and entertainment galore.”

How did you get involved with the Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie County?

I attended an event for the Boys & Girls Club and saw firsthand the work they were doing to help our youth prepare for a bright future with the confidence they are capable to achieve their goals. 

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman?

It’s exciting to chair such an important fundraising event for the Boys & Girls Club of St. Lucie County and to continue to educate the community on opportunities to become long-term benefactors for this great organization.

Halston Heritage beaded dress, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 18-karat and 2.5-carat diamond oval inside/outside hoop earrings, $6,500, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart; bracelet stylist’s own

Halston Heritage satin-back crepe gown with sash, $495, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 18-karat yellow gold and diamond drop oval hoop earrings by Nanis, $8,700, 18-karat white gold and 3-carat diamond bracelet with diamond toggle clasp, $7,500, 18-karat white and yellow gold fancy link bracelet by Chimento, $6,500, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart

Lauren Ralph Lauren one shoulder-gown, $165, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 14-karat white gold and 3-carat diamond inside/outside diamond hoop earrings, $6,000, sterling silver extra large rolo link bracelet by Murat, $550, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart

Kim Nash

Chairwoman for Environmental Studies Council Gala

Kim Nash, community health advocate for the QuitDoc Foundation, has been on the Environmental Studies Council’s board for seven years. Now in her third year as vice president, the 34-year-old Port St. Lucie resident can’t comment on this year’s gala. “I can only tell you to expect plenty of surprises, because we’re keeping the entire event under wraps for an evening of excitement and suspense!” she says.

What is your personal draw to the Environmental Studies Council’s cause?

I attended the Environmental Studies Center as a child, and it really shaped my passion for the environment.  In fact, the current administrator of the center was my third-grade teacher, and I remember signing a pledge in her class to be a good steward of the earth—I still have the certificate to this very day. The Environmental Studies Center is really such a treasure to all the children in Martin County.

What are your goals this year?

I’m looking forward to another great year of working with an amazing group of people. We all work together to raise funds for the council to ensure the center has what it needs to continue to thrive, including capital improvements, a fourth teacher and community outreach events throughout the year.

Stephen G. Leighton

Chairman for Rock the Block

Stephen G. Leighton, 39, is a Stuart resident and deputy chief of staff for Brian Mast. This year he will chair Habitat for Humanity’s Rock the Block event held in November at the Saint Christopher event hall with the goal to raise $1.8 million in funds for eight homes in Hobe Sound.

What is your personal draw to Habitat for Humanity’s cause? 

Affordable housing is something that affects an entire community. Even with our beachfront houses and waterfront mansions, there is a dire need for affordable housing here in Martin County. Habitat for Humanity of Martin County is a tremendous force behind making sure people throughout our community have a safe, reliable foundation upon which to raise their families. 

What will be your biggest challenge?

As always, land is the No. 1 obstacle for Habitat for Humanity to be able to continue their mission. The organization has adapted the past few years to be able to partner with existing homeowners, but moving families out of the substandard rental conditions that permeate our community requires land on which to build new.

Kari Polhemus

Chairwoman for Environmental Studies Council Gala

As a stay-at-home mom, Kari Polhemus, 46, says the Environmental Studies Center is “near to my heart as both my children have attended every year through the school system and enjoyed the summer camps.” The Stuart resident has been on the Environmental Studies Council’s board for years and will co-chair the “surprise” event with Kim Nash.

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman? 

I love meeting new people and enjoy listening to the stories of how important the ESC has been to them growing up in Martin County.

What are your goals this year? 

Our goal is for our community to realize the importance of environmental education, specifically to give our children the tools they need to make our marine life and waterways a priority.

Lynette Marraffa

Chairwoman for CASTLE’s Holiday Magic Gala

Lynette Marraffa, 42, is not only the owner and managing partner of Traxx Entertainment, The Wishful Wedding Showcase and the Treasure Coast Business Summit, but the Port St. Lucie resident is also the governing board president and board chair of CASTLE’s Holiday Magic Gala in November. 

What are your goals this year? 

Our goal this year is to raise over $100,000 at the 21st annual Holiday Magic Gala held at Treasure Coast Lexus on Saturday, Nov. 18. The monies raised support five enriching programs for children and families on the Treasure Coast.

What will be your biggest challenge? 

I like to believe that there are only opportunities in life. Challenge equals opportunity.

Adrianna Papell dress, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 18-karat yellow gold and 0.75-carat diamond button earrings by Rudolf Friedmann, $4,900, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart; bracelet stylist’s own

Jarlo V-neck gown, $215, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 14-karat yellow gold, diamond and South Seas pearl Y-drop style necklace by Just Gold Jewelers, ($2,750) and drop earrings ($4,550), Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart

Halston Heritage silver dress, Bloomingdale’s, Available at bloomingdales.com; 14-karat white gold and 2-carat total weight diamond inside/outside hoop earrings, $4,500, Just Gold Jewelers, Available in Stuart; bracelet stylist’s own

Kelly Gordon & Cat Altschuler

Co-chairwomen for The Pine School Evening at Auction

Their commonalities don’t end at co-chair. Not only will Kelly Gordon of Tequesta, 45, and Cat Altschuler of Palm City, 45, head this year’s A Knight at the Movies together in March, but they both began their volunteer work at The Pine School seven years ago when their children started attending.   

What are your goals this year? 

Our goal is to elevate The Pine School from being one of the top schools in the Treasure Coast to a nationally recognized college preparatory school, a school that is distinguished for nurturing, preparing and guiding our students to make a positive difference in the world today.

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman?

As we approach our 50th anniversary it’s exciting to chair this event to work with a group of similar minded parents who enjoy collaborating on supporting The Pine School and exceeding all of our educational expectations.

Stephen Ngo & Amy Moniz

Chairman and Chairwoman for Goombay Bash

Amy Moniz, 40, first attended Martin Health Foundation’s Goombay Bash four years ago and knew she wanted to get involved with the event as funds contribute to the quality of care for moms and babies during labor and delivery. “As a mom, my own personal experiences really helped me come to value the importance of maternity and pediatric care at the hospital,” says the Palm City resident who works for Crary Buchanan Attorneys at Law. As for her husband, Stephen Ngo, 39, his inspiration stems from growing up in a medical family—his father a gastroenterologist in Stuart since 1981. “I’ve always had a great time at the Martin Health Foundation Goombay Bash and felt that we could take it to the next level as far as getting new and younger donors comfortable with the idea of becoming donors in the long term,” says the realtor with Premier Realty Group. 

What’s the most exciting part of being a chairwoman?  

Moniz: In addition to meeting (and hopefully beating fundraising goals), the most exciting thing is to put together an event that keeps guests wowed and entertained. 

What are your goals this year?

Ngo: This is my second year as the chairman of this event, and, of course, the goal was to raise more than last year. We did that, and exceeded our financial goal. More importantly, I think we were able to cement the Goombay Bash as one of the can’t-miss parties of the summer in Martin County.

 

Photography By Steven Martine

Styling by Jodi Belden

Makeup By Tara Lane, Briana Alessi and Jenny Cardona

Hair by Nicole Jurina, Emily Follweiler and Sarah Powell

Jewelry by Just Gold Jewelers

Men’s Suits by Cardita Formal Wear

Location thanks to C.J. and Jack Heckenberg

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