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InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Celebrates 21st Anniversary


November 09, 2015

More than 850 VIPs attended the mythology-themed Ball, which raised $2.25 million and counting for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida

MIAMI, FL (November 2015) – On Saturday, November 7, 2015, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida and InterContinental® Miami celebrated the 21st Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball, welcoming more than 850 guests to its mythology-themed gala. The glamorous celebration featured a special performance by six-time Grammy Award-winning entertainer Marc Anthony, and a return appearance by actress and filmmaker Gabrielle Anwar as celebrity emcee for the fifth consecutive year. The Ball raised $2.25 million and counting for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions. The event was hosted by the InterContinental® Miami, Ball founder and in-kind donor for the past 21 years, along with Shareef Malnik, who has served as Ball Chairman for 11 years.

Upon entering the Ball, guests were greeted by towering pharaoh statues as they made their way to the ancient Greece-themed white carpet, surrounded by drapes and Ionic columns. Mingling with guests were the Ball’s “Three Amigos” – Shareef Malnik, philanthropist, Make-A-Wish® Board Chairman Elect, and owner of The Forge Restaurant | Wine Bar; Robert Hill, Gala Host and InterContinental® Miami General Manager; and Norm Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; along with Gabrielle Anwar. Guests included Al and Nancy Malnik, lifetime benefactors of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; Bob and Alysia Press; Romero Britto; Taylor and Lisa Gang; Katherine Fernandez-Rundle; Donald and Lisa Pliner; “Real Housewives of Miami” cast members Adriana de Moura and Lisa Hochstein; Igor Makarov; Elaine Lancaster; James L. Ferraro; Fabian Basabe; Michael Capponi; DJ Irie; Steven and Carly Patterson; Daniel and Stephanie Gold; Gary and Dana Shear; Edgar and Nicole Lozano; and Wayne and Arlene Chaplin.

During the mystical cocktail reception, guests enjoyed specialty cocktails and a bounty of food from elaborate gourmet stations, surrounded by oversized godly ice carvings and a video montage of a larger-than-life Poseidon, God of the Sea. To keep with the mythology theme, servers were outfitted in Trojan and mermaid attire throughout the reception, also complete with gold “living” statues and interpretive dancers acting out tales from ancient Greece. Guests bid on hundreds of premier items and experiences at the Ball’s legendary silent auction, donated by InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts worldwide as well as leading entertainment, fashion and luxury brands.

Poseidon summoned revelers to the Grand Ballroom for dinner. Inside the Ballroom, guests were captivated by the white and gold décor, including overarching displays of Greek antagonist Medusa. Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik welcomed the crowd by introducing the Chairman’s Society and Gabrielle
Anwar, who has become his wife since last year’s Ball, commenting that their relationship “has evolved on the Make-A-Wish stage,” to which Gabrielle quipped, “and I thought I was just a one-night stand.” In what has become a Ball tradition, Gabrielle and Shareef opened the night’s festivities with a creative and dramatic moment. The Miami Gay Men’s Chorus, wearing white and red togas with golden laurel leaves behind their ears, broke into clever song lyrics, written by Gabrielle herself, which encouraged guests to bid generously during the Wish auction that immediately followed. With Gabrielle on the mic, she charmed the crowd into raising more than 200 wishes, including 42 wishes – two for each year, in celebration of the Ball’s 21st anniversary - from Bob and Alysia Press.

Live auction items were A Snow Escape in Beaver Creek, Colorado (Mr. Joe Perez); The World is Yours aboard The World – Residences at Sea (Legacy Wealth Group with special thanks to the Schiralli Family); Luxury in Finland (Mr. and Mrs. Eugene and Brooke Frenkel, Luxury Auction, and Mr. and Mrs. Bob and Alysia Press); Haute Living St. Tropez Experience (Domaine Bertraud Belieu St. Tropez, Haute Living Magazine, and Palace Hotel Byblos); Your Porsche Boxster S (The Collection); Best of Britain (Hotel Connections); Fiji Fantasy (Mr. and Mrs. Albert and Renee Bertini); A Getaway for the Gods to Rome and Athens (Anthenaeum InterContinental®; Athens, InterContinental® De La Ville Roma, and British Airways); Party in Punta Mita (Strategic Hotels & Resorts and The Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita); Retreat to French Polynesia (InterContinental® Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa, InterContinental® Los Angeles Century City, InterContinental® Moorea Resort & Spa, and InterContinental® Tahiti Resort & Spa). All proceeds from the auction went to Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida.

During the evening, the following individuals were acknowledged and celebrated for demonstrating extraordinary commitment to Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida’s mission through their support of the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball, each granting more than 100 heartfelt wishes through their generosity – Al and Nancy Malnik, Bob and Alysia Press, and James L. Ferraro.

At this point, the anticipation had mounted for the night’s special performance by Marc Anthony. As soon as the iconic singer, together with his renowned orchestra, took the stage, the Ballroom floor filled to capacity, with guests singing along to the superstar’s hits including “I Need to Know,” “Flor Palida,” and “Vivir Mi Vida.” Anthony also surprised the crowd with a special cover of The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”

The dynamic Ball had an equally dynamic finale with the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Nightclub, presented by E11EVEN-LIV, chaired by Shareef Malnik and Vice Chairman Michael Capponi, and co-produced by Maxwell Blandford and Clif Loftin, with creative direction by DECO Productions. The Nightclub was located on the Mezzanine level of the InterContinental® Miami and featured DJ Nathan Asher, DJ Joe Dert, and globally renowned DJ and producer Chuckie, who pioneered the rapidly proliferating Dirty Dutch and kept the party going well into the night.

The Nightclub, which celebrated its 6th anniversary, also included an extravagant runway show curated by Neiman Marcus Bal Harbour. The models were styled by Arel Ramos with hair by Danny Jelaca Salon. Co-Chairs of the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Nightclub were Maxwell Blandford, Christine Corson, Nick D’Annunzio, Danny Estevez, Clif Loftin and Antonio Misuraca. The Nightclub 2015 Host Committee was comprised of the next generation of contributors as well as Miami tastemakers in fashion, arts, music and nightlife: Peter Ancona, Rebecca Astorga, Crista Azqueta, Francisco Baixauli, Maxwell Blandford, Olga Castano, Eduardo Castillo, Nick D’Annunzio, Christopher Dischino, Louis Fonseca, Barbara Espaillat, Andres Fanjul, Robert Fernandez, Nicole Gomez, Alex Holland, Krista Karnis, Gideon Kimbrell, Scott Kranz, Chris Lentz, Clif Loftin, Luigi Lone, Adam McPherson, Margene Munoz, Lauren Lesslein, Nicole Pindelea, Jake Roberts, David Roth, Rich Santelises, Guigo Simoes, Jeff Soulouque and TARA, Ink.

In its 21-year history, the InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Ball has raised more than $19 million to grant the wishes of more than 3,900 children from South Florida. The $1 million donation by Al and Nancy Malnik in 2012 remains the single highest donation of record. Over the past 21 years, the InterContinental® Miami has donated the in-kind value to underwrite the Ball’s food, beverage, parking accommodations and venue expenses, in addition to dedicating more than 8,700 management hours that have gone into the Ball’s planning.

Since 1983, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida has granted more than 10,000 wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy. The nonprofit organization serves families in Palm Beach, St. Lucie, Martin, Broward, Collier, Glades, Hendry, Highlands, Indian River, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Okeechobee counties and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It receives no federal or state funding and raises money to grant wishes through corporate sponsorships, special events, foundation grants, and individual contributions. The Southern Florida chapter grants a wish every 16 hours, every day of the year, at an average cost of $5,000. For more information, to make a donation, volunteer or refer a child, contact Make-A-Wish at (888) 773-WISH or log on to

Celebrating 30 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; 35 meeting rooms with over 101,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting and exhibition space, including a spectacular Grand Ballroom; multiple food and beverage outlets - Toro Toro, ¡Ole!, Bluewater, Table 40 and the hotel’s interactive digital arts 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 reservations, call 305-577-1000 or visit



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