23th Annual (OPAL) Outstanding People and Leaders Virtual Event – Changing Lives & Building Futures – Raised Over $170,000 for College Scholarships and Trades Certificate Programs

February 21, 2021

The 23rd Annual OPAL gala (virtual) event was held on Sunday evening, February 21, co-hosted and led by Neil Saffer, Jan Savarick and Spencer Siegel. Each year, the OPAL red carpet gala honors outstanding community partners and philanthropists in Boca Raton. This year, due to the pandemic,  the OPAL Society members were honored with a custom etched bottle of wine in recognition of their past OPAL award having been chosen by a host of their peers. Plans are being made in hopes  that the event will return to an in-person Gala next January at the Boca West Country Club.

Those recognized during the virtual show included:

  • Peter & Carmel Baronoff
  • Charles Bender III
  • Summer Faerman
  • Ron Gallatin
  • Jerry Kramer
  • Billi and Bernie Marcus
  • Pastor Bill Mitchell
  • Gary Peters
  • Aubrey Strul
  • Marilyn & Jay Weinberg
  • Yvonne Boice Zucarro
  • Rona and Meryl Gallatin
  • Terry and Monica Mayotte

The donated funds from OPAL each year are used to fund scholarships for students in need who (primarily) attend Palm Beach State College (PBSC) or Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Some scholarship awardees recognized included (mentor in parentheses):

  • Sandy Orchell (Bob Buruchian)
  • Jaylee Orchell (Yaakov Heller)
  • Denis Estiman (Frank Frione)
  • Rivka Averbukh (Diane Shawcross)
  • Terrance Jerone (Pia Giannone)
  • Garsendy Saint Fleur (Scott VanWyngarden)
  • Christina Fuentes (Pat McCarthy)

Much appreciation to Lisa Talley for her expertise initiating the use of new ”ClickBid” auction software to manage the virtual event and to Claudia DuBois for coordination of the OPAL Society gifts and managing the finances and administration of the event. Special kudos to Rotarian Jeff Tromberg for his staring performance as Doc Brown, Bob Buruchian and Bill Riddick for professional production of the live event and to Monica Speer for her mastery of social media presence for our Club and this event. This was truly a team effort and no doubt a huge success! We truly went back to our future here.

The OPAL event raised over $170,000 in matching “Fund the Mission” donations and from unique auction items that included: