By Ariel Penzer Milgroom
Ariel Penzer Milgroom is a local Miami philanthropist. As Vice President of her family’s foundation, The Penzer Foundation, Ariel supports many charities such as Vizcaya Museum, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, Angel Watching Over Me, YoungArts, The Bass Museum, Chapman Homeless Shelter, Fairchild Gardens, American Cancer Society, Miami Women Who Rock, and more. As well as donating and attending events, Ariel takes a hands on approach, participating in volunteer efforts, board meetings and committees. Ariel comes from generations of philanthropy in New York, having assisted her family in the fight against NYCHA, fighting for millions of public housing tenants of New York City to have heat, hot water, and general safe living conditions. Ariel attended rallies with Governor Cuomo as well as state representatives to fight for the people. Ariel is known around Miami to be the most over the top creative dresser at all the local events, and always in theme.
The Miami Social Calendar is in full swing this time of year. We have such a great variety of philanthropic events in our city, there is always something for everyone to enjoy.
The weather is delightful in Miami in March, setting the scene up for the top luncheon of the year, The Vizcaya Preservation luncheon. The ladies all wear fabulous hats and their most colorful and fun ensembles, and the location is unparalleled. This year the luncheon is sponsored by Valentino and Messika Paris jewelry which should add to the fabulous fashion. There is a hat and fashion contest which really motivates the ladies to go ALL OUT. Last year, I won most avante garde, sporting a fascinator from local millinery expert Suzy Buckley Woodward of Shapoh Hats. So if you have not yet, secure your tickets to Miami’s most fabulous luncheon of the year and contact Suzy to help you accessorize.
For the art crowd, one of the most highly sought after galas takes place in early March. The Perez Art Museum is hosting on March 7th, along with their longtime fashion partner, Valentino. Valentino does evening gowns that are incredible, Last year these were some of my favorite looks of the gala season. The committee and guests looked amazing in beaded, paillete, feathered and overall embellished to the nines gowns by Valentino. This gala is not to be missed if you are an art enthusiast.
One of the strongest impacts you can make as a philanthropist, in my opinion, is contributing to a mentorship program for underprivileged youth. It is incredible to be able to give an opportunity to an enthusiastic child who may not have the opportunities or role models to look up to in order to thrive. Three of my favorite mentorship programs in Miami include the Women of Tomorrow, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Angel Watching Over Me. The Women of Tomorrow hosts one of the most elegant and moving galas of the year, this year being held on March 14 at the Mandarin Oriental. The funds go towards their mentorship program, a unique mentoring program with highly accomplished professional women, college campus visits, career focused fieldtrip and scholarship opportunities, helping high school girls accomplish educational, professional and personal success. The Big Brothers Big Sisters Gala is also March 7, being hosted at Ice Palace Studios this year. They also have a really fun Bollywood event on March 28 at the Coral Gables Country Club. Partygoers don traditional Indian outfits, dancers perform Bollywood dances all night, and they even serve local Indian food. This was one of the most fun events last year, and the theme really brought a unique flair to this cocktail party. The Big Brothers Big Sisters charity works by pairing mentors one on one with a little brother or sister, making meaningful connections that last a lifetime. Angel Watching Over Me, a charity that mentors local at risk Middle School Girls in Dania Beach holds their annual fashion show for the girls on March 7 at the school. Last year they had 30 local designers, including Project Runway alumni and well known local designers, create looks specially designed for each girl. They created the looks from a recycled denim drive, promoting recycling and sustainability. The girls felt so special, and there was not a dry eye in the room when a few of the girls gave speeches about the impact the charity has on their lives. These local mentorship efforts really give you a feeling that you are making a difference.
Another local charity making a huge difference is the Little Lighthouse Foundation, with Jonathan Bibicka at the helm. With his heart completely dedicated to the underserved children of Miami, Jonathan throws an absolute wild, young party that garners millions for his cause. This is not your typical gala, you can expect more of a Miami style epic night out, with club style tables and dancing all night.
Miami culture is thriving in the past few years, becoming very cutting edge with shows and entertainment with the Adrienne Arsht Center and our Miami City Ballet leading the way. The famed musical, Hamilton, famously impossible to get tickets for, is even showing at Adrienne Arsht this season. The Arsht Center celebration gala, this year held on April 4th is one of the absolute most fun, atypical galas. Starting with performances, last year was Latin superstar Juanes and Broadway Star Brian Stokes Mitchell. This year famed superstar Patti Labelle will headline! After the performances, guests are treated to dinner on the stage. This is really a unique and entertaining night, and the funds go towards a camp program that the center does for underprivileged local youth, teaching them confidence, drive and commitment to a goal. There is also the famed
, being held on March 14. This year dazzling sets and costumes by Santo Loquasto, complete with gallant knights, princely bull fighters, and colorful gypsies will provide the inspiration for an incredible backdrop while mingling with MCB dancers. The evening’s highlight will be a special performance filled with passion and flair by Miami City Ballet dancers as they perform an excerpt from Don Quixote.
There is something for everyone in the Miami Social Scene. You are sure to have a fun and exciting night, while giving back to your community.