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Charitable Causes & Events

Heartfelt gathering for men nominated for volunteering

Men who work gratis for Boca charities aren’t used to accolades. So as a group they were moved to be chosen for the 18th annual Men with Caring Hearts Awards Luncheon.

“It means so much to be asked,” said  PurePoint Financial exec Scott Van Wyngarden, new to Boca. He’s co-chair of the April 26 event with Saks Fifth Avenue v.p. Heather Shaw. Thursday’s reception, with a cigar rolling demo and whiskey bar, was in Saks’ men’s department.

“We’re honoring men in our community for all they do,” Shaw told the crowd.

Well-known architect Derek Vander Ploeg is Boca Raton Historical Society’s choice. “He’s been helping us for a long time and now he’s working with our new displays,” said executive director Mary Csar.

Characteristically quiet, his wife Lisa was happy to react. “This is really a big deal,” she said.

“I’m a mentor for eight years and a board member for eight weeks,” Rotarian Gary Hildebrand said about Boca Helping Hands.  There to support him was Helping Hands’ director Greg Hazle.

“He’s a very strong advocate for children and always a phone call away,” Best Foot Forward Foundation co-founder Debbie Ellman said about their nominee Judge James Martz.

Eliot Popper was said he’s been mentoring a teen in the American Association for Caregiving Youth for 2 ½ years. It has made a big difference in his life, Popper said.

The luncheon is a fundraiser for Florence Fuller Child Development Centers. They serve more than 600 kids and families daily.

This year, 26 men were nominated, said Fuller CEO Ellyn Okrent.

“What an honor to be in a room with these exceptional men,” said Fuller board president and chair Stacey Packer. Among the sponsors are board members Kathy Adkins, Amy Kazma and Eda Viner. Presenting sponsors are Office Depot and Schmidt Family Foundation.

Boca Raton Resort & Club provided the food for the reception. President John Tolbert is on the Fuller board and will receive the Biggest Heart Award. Also, there was Pinnacle Advertising CEO Peter Gary, the 2017 Caring Hearts honoree for George Snow Scholarship Fund.

By Marci Shatzman


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