By: Dale King Contributing Writer
Members of the Rotary Club Downtown Boca Raton transformed their third annual Mayors Ball into a specialized experience for the nearly 400 people who attended the festivities the evening of Oct. 14.
Rotarians rolled out the red carpet – literally – struck up the band and snapped photos of anyone who asked. Members and guests donned gowns and tuxes to enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, then sat down for a sumptuous meal specially prepared by Executive Chef Andrew Roenbeck in the main hall of the venerable Boca Raton Resort & Club.
The room where three Boca “visionaries” were honored for their contributions was decorated with overflowing vases of light blue and white flowers. A city-themed décor curated by the Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum swept across the room.
Co-chairs and Rotary Club Downtown Boca Raton members Constance Scott and Kim Champion, and the honorary chair, former Mayor Susan Whelchel, introduced recipients of the George Long Award – an illustrious honor named for Boca Raton’s first appointed mayor who served from 1924 to 1925.
Recognized as a visionary among individuals was Bobby Campbell, a shoe industry magnate who shared his largesse with Boca Raton. Kaufman Lynn Construction was picked as visionary among companies in Boca and Florida Atlantic University was honored for its visionary performance in the area of nonprofits.
Rotary Club Downtown President Penny Money welcomed attendees. She noted that money raised at the annual ball “will enrich a variety of health and wellness-related programs and projects for a diverse assortment of nonprofits serving the Boca community.” A portion of the funding will be set aside to help “those that stepped up to help local victims of Hurricane Irma when aid was most needed.”
“Our Mayors Ball co-chairs, Kim Champion and Constance Scott, alongside the founder of the Mayor’s Ball and our 2017 event producer, Jon Kaye, have worked tirelessly to make this Mayor’s Ball not only successful, but truly enjoyable for the attendees.”
Morey added: “The Mayors Ball is an annual beacon of city pride. The best part of the evening is seeing personal and professional reconnections made and relationships renewed and strengthened as together we celebrate ‘Boca at its best.’”
Recognized for individual achievement in industry and philanthropy was Bobby Campbell, who made an indelible imprint on the international footwear trade. Founder, owner and chairman of BBC International, he led the company into becoming one of the leading children’s and athletic footwear design and sourcing companies in the world.
The recipient has also been a generous philanthropist, supporting capital campaigns, making endowed legacy gifts, donating to educational and children’s missions and underwriting health and wellness organizations. Most recently, he and his wife, Barbara, donated $5 million to build the 12,000-square-foot Bobby and Barbara Campbell Academic Success Center that will be the cornerstone of the Schmidt Family Complex for Academics and Athletic Excellence at FAU.
Dr. John Kelly, president of the Boca-based university, came forward to accept the George Long Award for the educational institution. Established in 1961, the university today serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students with 1,000 faculty members at sites throughout a six-county service region.
Michael Kaufman, head of Kaufman Lynn Construction, brought his staff to the stage with him to accept the George Long Award for the company.
Since 1989, KL has built high quality buildings and made long-lasting client relationships throughout South Florida. The firm is headquartered in Boca Raton with offices in Southeast and Southwest Florida, North Carolina and Texas.
The event raised more than $125,000 for the club’s “Service above Self” grant program that supports the health and wellness needs of nonprofits.