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InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball


November 05, 2013


Event raised $2,020,421 for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; Guests included Hélio Castroneves, Brett Ratner and Juwan Howard

MIAMI, Fla. (Nov. 5, 2013) – On Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, the InterContinental® Miami and Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida celebrated the 19th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball. Transformed into a Vaudevillian sideshow, the hotel welcomed over 900 VIPs, socialites, celebrities and philanthropists who together raised $2,020,421 for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida. Actress Gabrielle Anwar served as celebrity auctioneer for the evening’s live auction while Grammy-nominated recording artist, and upcoming “Glee” star, Adam Lambert entertained guests with a near hour-long performance.

It was a star-studded night where “The Three Amigos”–Gala Chairman and proprietor of The Forge | Restaurant and Wine Bar, Shareef Malnik; Gala Host and InterContinental Miami General Manager, Robert Hill; and President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, Norman Wedderburn, –welcomed guests including Indy Race Car Driver Hélio Castroneves; “Real Housewives of Miami” star Lea Black; former Florida Governor Charlie Crist; “Queen of Versailles” stars Jackie and David Siegal, director/producer Brett Ratner; Designer Traver Rains; Miami Heat Assistant Coach Juwan Howard; boxing promoter Don King, Lisa Pliner, Al and Nancy Malnik, Wayne and Cynthia Boich, Bob Press and Stewart Rahr.

"Now I know how Chuck Yeager felt when he broke the sound barrier," said Gala Chair Malnik. "My goal this year was to break the $2 million barrier." 

Hill said, “It is the believer who creates magic; and over the last 19 years, the partnership between InterContinental® Miami and Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida has left its mark on the community by creating the magic that makes wishes come true, changing the lives of thousands of children with life-threatening medical conditions.  I can’t express enough how grateful I am to our generous benefactors, and to all who donate their time, money and heart to make this event an overwhelming success.”

"This year’s event was better than ever,” said Wedderburn.  “We are proud to announce that the 2013 edition of the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Ball netted in excess of $2 million to grant wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses in South Florida.”

Shareef Malnik, Chairman of the Ball for the ninth year, introduced the Chairman’s Society in 2011 as an operating cost endowment to cover all expenses associated with organizing and planning the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball. Malnik has met his goal of enlisting 20 business, civic and philanthropic leaders – each pledging $25,000 per year for five consecutive years – to yield a total commitment of $500,000 annually.

Charter members of the Chairman’s Society include: Shareef Malnik and Gabrielle Anwar; Stuart Miller; The Lennar Foundation/Marshall Ames; Richard Polidori; Andrew Sasson and Chris Paciello/LGD Management; Todd and Kim Glaser; The Jordan Zimmerman Family Foundation; Geert-Jan and Joyce Bakker; Total Merchant Services/Eddie Freedman; Jim and Sue Oppenheimer; Randy and Barbara Ann Frankel Foundation; Steven Tanger; UNCS/Brett Rose and Jerry Gutierrez; The Genting Group; Mark Gold; Mark and Robin Levinson; The Learning Experience/The Weismann Family; The Braman Family Foundation, Wayne Boich and Eugene Frenkel


Notable contributors to the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball include Lifetime Benefactors

Al and Nancy Malnik, who donated an unprecedented gift of $1 million at last year’s gala to create the Malnik Family Wish Fund; Grand Benefactors Stanley and Gala Cohen; Founding Benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken; and Wish Star Benefactor James L. Ferraro, as well as Wish Benefactors Harvey and Roberta Chaplin, Stuart A. Miller of Lennar Corporation and Bob Press of TCA Fund Management.

DECO Productions, of South Florida, not only transformed the event into a Vaudevillian show, but with details and characters so well-thought out, it made guests feel as if they had stepped into another world full of magic and illusion.  With traveling bands of minstrels and misfits, bars stocked with mysterious potions and characters emerging throughout the night that could only exist in imaginations, guests were constantly caught by surprise and awed.

While enjoying hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, guests placed automated bids on more than 150 premier items donated by top hospitality, entertainment, fashion and luxury brands. Highlights included a David Yurman bracelet, Yves Saint Laurent classic duffle, a Goodyear blimp ride, a “See You Later, Alligator” Jac Henri Wallet, a jumbo stone crab dinner for eight delivered to your home with wine, Gurkha Cigars, numerous golf packages and InterContinental Hotel stays around the world including: Tokyo, Dubai, Manila, Las Vegas, Hong Kong, Melbourne, Beijing, Rome, Atlanta, Warsaw, Vienna, Buenos Aires, Bali, Bangkok, Cannes, San Francisco, New Orleans, Athens, Berlin, Austin, Madrid, Chicago, San Juan,  Washington D.C., New York Times Square, Moorea  and Tahiti.

Following the reception, lavishly outfitted dancers summoned guests into the main ballroom for a decadent meal by Chef Alexander Feher, and Celebrity Auctioneer Gabrielle Anwar kicked off the event’s famous wish and live auction by performing an illusion during which Gala Chairman Shareef Malnik sawed Anwar in half.  During the live auction Anwar tempted the audience with a Voyage aboard The World, the world’s largest privately owned residential yacht, donated by The World, Residences at Sea; an all-inclusive trip to the Vatulele Resort on Vatulele Island, Fiji, donated by Albert & Renee Bertini; a CORUM “Golden Bridge” sapphire crystal watch, donated by Levinson Jewelers; a trip to St. Tropez with lodging at the Domaine Bertaud Belieu, donated by Haute Living & Bertaud Belieu; a luxurious stay at the Four Seasons Resort in Punta Mita, Mexico, donated by Strategic Hotels & Resorts, a real estate investment trust (REIT) and owner of the InterContinental Miami; a 2014 Maserati Ghibli, donated by THE COLLECTION; a 007-style trip to London with business class tickets aboard British Airways, donated by InterContinental Hotels & Resort and British Airways; and a trip to Parrot Cay, a private island in the Turks and Caicos, donated by COMO Hotels & Resorts.

Adam Lambert took to the stage for a 40-minute set that included his hit singles “Whataya Want From Me” and “Trespassing,” as well as songs from his collaboration with Queen.  His charisma and talent had guests crowding the dance floor and singing along.  

After Lambert provided one of the most energetic finales in the event’s history, guests were welcomed to the 6th annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub. Hosted by “The Three Amigos,” Malnik, Hill and Wedderburn, and spearheaded by Michael Capponi, Vice-Chairman and President and CEO of the Capponi Group, as well as Co-Chairmen Maxwell Blandford, Clif Loftin, Antonio Misuraca, Danny Estevez, Sarah Bromley, Felicia Marquez and the Honorary Host Committee, the official after-party continued the Vaudevillian-era theme with a fashion show from designer Traver Rains, during which Adam Lambert sat front row. Inspired by 1930s burlesque and “modern-day Cirque du Freak,” Rains premiered his “La Nuit Magique” collection while guests celebrated the evening’s success into the early morning.


The mission of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida is to grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. In its 19-year history, the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball has raised in excess of $14.3 million. With these much needed funds, the Foundation has been able to grant more than 3,000 wishes for deserving children in our community. Past VIP guests of the Ball have included Gabrielle Anwar, Adam Lambert, Melanie Amaro, Paula Abdul, Sharon Stone, Kim Kardashian, Esteban Cortazar, Pamela Anderson, former Florida governor Charlie Crist, Scottie and Larsa Pippen, Russell Simmons, Venus and Serena Williams, Don King, Sex in the City’s Candace Bushnell, Marcus Schenkenberg, Pauly Shore, and performers Joan Jett, Macy Gray, Natalie Cole, Wyclef Jean, Bernadette Peters, the late Nell Carter, Deborah Gibson, and The Honey Brothers, featuring Adrian Grenier.


Celebrating over 25 years as an icon of the Downtown Miami skyline, the InterContinental® Miami is located at the crossroads of Miami's Business and Arts & Entertainment districts. A beacon for business and leisure travelers alike, the hotel rises 34 stories over the city with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean, Biscayne Bay and the Port of Miami. The hotel features 641 luxury guest rooms, including 34 suites and two presidential suites designed by Venus William’s V Starr Interiors; 33 meeting rooms with over 101,000 square feet of meeting and exhibition space, including a spectacular Grand Ballroom; multiple food and beverage outlets - Toro Toro, ¡Ole!, Blue Water, Table 40 and the hotel’s interactive lobby lounge; full-service fitness center and spa at mySpa Miami; and rooftop pool deck with gardens. The InterContinental Miami is a proud corporate citizen of the Miami-Dade community, invested through its annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, and its corporate social responsibility program. For more information or to make reservations, call 305-577-1000 or visit


Press Contact

Richard Kelly
Chief Operating Officer
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Phone : (954) 967-9474 x307
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Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, Inc.
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