Since Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida’s founding in 1968, corporate sponsorship, community involvement and educational excellence have continued to be important charitable concerns at the Company, according to Steve Power, Executive Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida, a division of Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., which is the country’s leading wine and spirits distributor. Among his many personal charitable activities, Mr. Power serves on the Board of Directors of Kids In Distress.
I. Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida – South Florida Division
Under the leadership of Richard Booth, Vice President, General Manager of Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida, the Company is committed to being a responsible corporate and civic member in the South Florida community. The Company’s efforts are supported through a variety of corporate and divisional sponsorships and donations amounting to countless monetary and in-kind donations supporting close to 100 charity events each year. From events and programs that raise funds to supporting educational advancement, to organizations that provide support and research for incurable illnesses, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida is proud to serve the community in which it operates.
Best Buddies: For the past seven years, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida has supported Best Buddies, a nonprofit 501(c) (3) organization dedicated to enhancing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities by providing opportunities for one-to-one friendships and integrated employment. Each year, Southern Wine & Spirits participates with the Best Buddies spectacular Gala which helps support people with intellectual disabilities around the world who are routinely misjudged or ignored. Each year more than 700 prominent guests – including politicians, diplomats, journalists, sports figures and entertainment celebrities – gather beneath the Miami skyline to celebrate Best Buddies. Guests enjoy a gourmet dinner, an incredible auction and outstanding entertainment, while at the same time, bidding on wonderful auction items and contributing to this great cause.
Best Buddies programs engage participants in each of the 50 United States and have accredited international programs on six continents with additional country programs under active development. Best Buddies volunteers annually contribute, at no cost to their communities, support services that equate to $61 million U.S. dollars and Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida is proud to lend their support.
Project: New Born: Project: New Born supports the Project: New Born Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) in the Holtz Children’s Hospital at Jackson Memorial Hospital. When Project: New Born was a fledgling organization, the I.C.U. unit consisted of 7 beds equipped with adult ventilators rigged to serve the critically ill tiny preemies. In 1973, 96% of the babies born in the hospital under 3 lbs. died. Project: New Born has reversed the statistics and in 2007, 96% of the preemies born in the Project: New Born “NICU” survives.
Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida donates and participates in the Bal Harbour Shops/Project: New Born Fashion Show Luncheon and Bailey’s Irish Cream Presentation which, over the years, has raised millions of dollars to both build and refurbish a state-of-the-art facility.
Today, the unit consists of 253 beds including both a special care and a referral unit expressly for preemies requiring extremely complicated surgical procedures. This highly specialized treatment is available at Jackson Memorial Hospital for premature and critically challenged newborns from Miami, South Florida, and the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.
Here's Help Drug Rehabilitation Center: Here's Help is a fully-accredited treatment program licensed by the Florida Department of Children and Families. Here's Help makes itself available to those in need, without discrimination toward race, color, creed, religious beliefs, gender or sexual preference.
Here's Help's mission from the start has been to provide the best drug/alcohol treatment to the community of South Florida. Drugs cross all lines... from Yale to jail, in school, at the office, "bad" kids, "good" kids, workers from CEOs on down, friends, family; even people you would never suspect have a problem.
Once a year, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida donates to and participates in the Annual Bubbles & Bones Gala, benefiting Here’s Help, Inc. The gala begins with world-class champagnes and sparkling wines provided by Southern Wine & Spirits, gourmet chicken wings (hence the name “Bubbles & Bones”), and an exquisite sit-down dinner followed by music and dancing. In addition, the guests also bid on items in a live and silent auction, with all proceeds benefiting Here’s Help, Inc.
Miami Project to Cure Paralysis: The Miami Project was co-founded in 1985 by internationally recognized spinal cord injury (SCI) expert, Barth A. Green, M.D. and three families who had experienced SCI firsthand. Business people Don Misner and Beth Roscoe were early supporters of Green's efforts. Joining them following the injury of his son, Marc, was NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti. The Buoniconti family vowed that progress in research would not be slowed because of a lack of funds. Their fundraising efforts brought an unprecedented level of public awareness of the need for SCI research.
Since its inception, a goal of The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis has been to increase the number of laboratories undertaking SCI research by recruiting the premier scientists to the field, and by training students who will establish new research laboratories throughout the world. Today, The Miami Project serves as a model for other institutions that are developing centers for SCI research.
Each year, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida participates in the Annual Buoniconti Fund Golf Classic at The Bear's Club with Jack Nicklaus in Jupiter, FL, as well as the Great Sports Legends Dinner. The Great Sports Legends Dinner has gained a reputation for uniting individuals from the worlds of sports, business and entertainment. Over 1,300 people attend this gala event each year, which honors Great Sports Legends from different athletic categories.
Sylvester Cancer Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital: Since its inception as a dedicated, comprehensive cancer center in 1992, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has led the fight against cancer. Today, they are proud to be South Florida’s only university-based cancer center and an integral part of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine.
Their multidisciplinary team of health professionals has helped thousands of families from a wide range of backgrounds, reflecting the cultural diversity of our corner of the world. In caring for so many patients, they have gained expertise – specific and focused expertise – available only from a team of physicians and scientists immersed in the highly complex and ever-changing world of cancer care.
Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida is involved with many functions throughout the year that all benefit the Sylvester Cancer Center & Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equality: The Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity was officially established in 2005 to join forces with the social medicine and health equity movements that are gaining momentum across the globe. The Center is based at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and was established in memory of philanthropist Jay W. Weiss, a longtime champion of the underserved in the Miami-Dade community.
Lack of access to health care is responsible for preventable deaths and suffering of millions of people in today’s world. The founders of the Jay Weiss Center believe that a critical need is the development and support of physician practitioners and policy advocates who will be effective in increasing access to health care and improving the quality of life of the poorest members of our society.
Southern Wine & Spirits has donated product and funds to the fund-raising events that have been held on behalf of the center and will continue to support their efforts.
South Beach Wine & Food Festival: In addition, Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida is proud to partner with Florida International University (FIU) to produce the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival. Each year over 400 students of the FIU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management experience the Festival in a hands-on-way by providing logistical assistance and much needed manpower in the areas of marketing and ticketing as well as working side-by-side with world-renowned visiting chefs and winemakers alike. All proceeds from the South Beach Wine & Food Festival benefit the FIU School of Hospitality and Tourism Management’s Teaching Restaurant and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center at FIU. In seven years through 2008, FIU and Southern Wine & Spirits of South Florida have partnered to raise more than $7 million in support of educational programs at FIU.
On a personal basis, Mr. Booth proudly serves on the International Board of Directors of Best Buddies; and he is especially proud of his long-standing support of Project: Newborn and the Fort Lauderdale and Miami Chapters of The Children's Home Society. In addition, Mr. Booth is an active supporter of the Sylvester Cancer Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Mr. Booth is also currently on the Board of Directors for the Jay W. Weiss Center for Social Medicine & Health Equality, the Here's Help Drug Rehabilitation Center and the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis."
II: Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida – North Florida Division:
Barry Zeidwig, Vice President, General Manager of the North Florida Division of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida is an active supporter of many local medical, charitable and educational efforts, sponsoring a year-round number of annual fundraisers, wine and spirits tastings on behalf of deserving groups and other local charities. Among the groups and projects that the North Florida Division supports:
The St. Vincent’s Foundation: The North Florida Division of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida is a proud sponsor of the St. Vincent’s Foundation annual “Delicious Destinations” Gourmet Food and Wine Tasting Event. The St. Vincent’s Foundation is a faith-based charity that strives to meet the health needs of the sick and poor. The Daughters of Charity continue a journey of charity that began in the early 1600’s to provide outreach programs that bring compassionate care to the needy of our community. The proceeds from this annual event benefit the “Mobile Health Outreach Ministry,” which provides access to medical care to underprivileged children, men, and women throughout the area.
Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation: The North Florida Division of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida proudly supports the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Foundation. Based in Jacksonville, Florida, the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund’s mission is to assist local children with leukemia and other cancers by providing emotional and financial support to help reduce the stress associated with treatment and improve their quality of life. To date, the Jay Fund has helped support more than 1,000 families.
Cruise for the Cure: In addition, according to Mr. Zeidwig, the North Florida Division contributed as the lead sponsor to the 2007/3rd Annual Cruise for the Cure, a local fundraiser based in Sandestin, Florida, whose proceeds benefit the Lance Armstrong Foundation.
Play for a Cure: Brian Hill’s Play for a Cure Golf & Gala weekend is an event to celebrate the great strides the Hill family and friends have made in the fight against cystic fibrosis. Held this year at the Grand Cypress Resort in Orlando, Florida, the charity has raised nearly $3 million. As one of the group’s leading sponsors, the North Florida Division was a proud participant in this 2007 charity event.
III. Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida – Central Florida Division
According to Gene Sullivan, Vice President, General Manager of the Central Division of Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida, the Company is very proud of its ongoing involvement in and support of the communities in which they live, including Company-sponsored support for United Cerebral Palsey, Winn-Dixie Stores Foundation, Cornerstone Family Ministries, and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Inc., among others. The Company is also very involved in the local community through various charities and civic affairs.
Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida’s Central Division is also a proud sponsor of the March of Dimes – Culinary Showcase in Lakeland, Florida and the Sun Coast Winefestival at the Lakewood Ranch Polo Club.
Looking ahead to 2008, Gene Sullivan says the Central Florida Division will be a proud supporter of the annual Florida State Fair at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa, Florida; the Symphony for the Palate, held at the King Center, the Smooth Jazz Fest at Coachman Park; and the Florida Wine Fest, to be held at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida.