Fuller names Men With Caring Hearts on a rooftop

A rainbow symbolically appeared above Boca West’s parking garage after a brief sun shower. Socially distanced supporters of this year’s crop of Men With Caring Hearts gathered at the unusual rooftop spot for a fundraiser to cheer on their nonprofit nominees. The 2019 luncheon was held inside the country club.

At the evening’s end after dark, George Snow Scholarship Fund nominee Eddie Ventrice was named outstanding male volunteer. He raised a record $245,000 as a Ballroom Battle dancer in 2019.

Earlier, Cliff Viner, lauded by his wife Eda and family there and on video, received the lifetime achievement honors for founding a scholarship foundation. “Now we have 135 children going to college,” he said.

“We’re thrilled to be hosting this event at all,” board chair Simone Spiegel said to introduce county Vice Mayor Robert Weinroth, who delivered a proclamation for Fuller’s 50th anniversary.

With campuses in east and west Boca, Fuller opened in June to serve 775 children whose parents are front-line workers and couldn’t stay home, said Fuller CEO Ellyn Okrent. “We managed to keep people in their jobs, knowing their children were safe with us.”

Each non-profit with a nominee had supporters, among them Spirit of Giving’s Ann and Charlie Rutherford supporting Boca Bowl exec Doug Mosley.

Executive director Greg Hazle was there for Boca Helping Hands’ nominee, Tom Groendyke, who teaches English as a Second Language there.

Jane and Richard Zenker attended to support Dr. Donald Janower, Junior League’s nominee who is also on Boca West Children’s Foundation board. Weinroth’s married to Pam Weinroth, exec director.

CEO Jason Hagensick led the YMCA of South Palm Beach County contingent to support chief volunteer officer Robert Robes.

CEO Connie Siskowski’s nominee was retired pastor Dr. Tom Tift for American Association of Caregiving Youth. Tift said he and his wife Jana are moving to central Florida and this was their last event in Boca.

Also there en masse to support Rotarians Alan Kaye and Bob Buruchian were Downtown and Rotary of Boca Raton clubs.

Fuller board member Heather Shaw, former honoree and emcees Neil Saffer and Neil Meany, Kim Champion, Arlene Herson, Bonnie and Gary Hildebrand, Spencer  were also among the guests.

Other nominees included:

  • Aitor de Achurra, Hispanic Entrepreneur Initiative
  • Phillip DiPonio, Unicorn Children’s Foundation
  • Gen. Retired Bernard Loeffke, Food for the Poor
  • Harry Meran, Fuller Center
  • Mark Moza, CROS ministries
  • Dan Paulus and Alex Kaye, Eda & Cliff Viner Community Scholars Foundation
  • Ramon Robinson and Ethan Foreman, AVDA
  • Marty Rosenzweig, Adolph & Rose Levis JCC
  • Dr. David Snyder, Caridad Center

“Tonight we honor gentlemen who are proud to be kind, compassionate, thoughtful, giving and responsible and …act on those convictions,” Okrent said.

By Marci Shatzman


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