Christmas came early for the folks of the Buoniconti Fund!
Someone stood up in the middle of dinner at the non-profit’s yearly fundraiser and pledged to give the Fund named after Marc Buoniconti, the paralyzed son of Miami Dolphins great Nick Buoniconti, a whopping $25 million!
Others followed with $1 million gifts.
And when all was said and done at the Bal Harbour Shops wingding, folks had pledged $31 million to spinal cord research.
You read right: $31 million – possibly a South Florida record for a one-night charity gala.
Guests included major pop culture names, but a humble, understated Boca Raton socialite is the one who came through.
Christine E. Lynn, as in Lynn University and the widow of insurance magnate Eugene Lynn, pledged the $25 million.
“People gasped when she made the announcement, then cheered like crazy,” said Fund Spokeswoman Stephanie Aagaard. “When you gather (former NBC Nightly News anchor) Tom Brokaw, (Men in Black actor) Tommy Lee Jones, (crooner) Enrique Iglesias, (polo superstar and model) Nacho Figueras and the most spectacular donors in the world, the event is already successful. But this (the big gift) was just great.”
After Lynn’s announcement, Outback founder Tim Gannon, and Miami philanthropists Swanee and Paul DiMare each donated $1 million.