Wishes Do Come True!

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 05, 2016
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Each autumn in Miami, a gala for the best cause we can think of brings in the likes of local and A-list celebrities for one reason and one reason alone—the children. This year, the Intercontinental Miami Make-A-Wish ball celebrates with yet another event for the most-noble cause. Held at The InterContinental Miami Hotel on November 2, this year’s theme is named “magic,” so be prepared to expect the unexpected, as well as a performance by Adam Lambert. And while you’re dressed your best and sipping champagne, keep in mind that this isn’t just a party, it’s a party with a purpose.

18th Annual Make-A-Wish Ball – 2012

“Make-A-Wish is an opportunity to give. Putting a smile on the face of children with life-threatening illness is all-satisfying,” explains Shareef Malnik, whose family has been involved with the charity for 19 years. “My parents, Nancy and Al Malnik, became lifetime benefactors of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball. Nine years ago, they, along with former President, CEO and Founder of Make-A-Wish Nancy Strong, asked me to become Chairman. I have been Chairman now for nine years and two years ago I joined the Board of Directors, as well.”

Wishes do come true 2

As a member of the board, Malnik and his family go the extra mile to ensure Make-A-Wish stands out from other charity events. At the top of their priorities is entertainment. “Although our first goal is to raise as much money for the children as possible, it is condition upon the guests enjoying their evening. If people are entertained, they will come back. In the long run, with that philosophy and strategy, we will grant more wishes,” he explains.

Over the past nine years, the wish fund has increased from $300,000 to $1,700,000 net proceeds. All of which goes toward kids with a dream. “This is as a result of charitable contributions from a lot of great people that want to help children,” Malnik says. Wishes do come true 3- Al Malnik

Aiding in drawing in those funds is the event’s celebrity-filled guest list. This year, attendees include, Lambert, Gabrielle Anwar as the celebrity auctioneer,Flo Rida, Miami Housewives and Miami Heat players will all be saying cheers in the name of charity.

Al Manik with Kim Kardashian WestOver the last few years, stars like Anwar, Melanie Amaro, Paula Abdul, Sharon Stone, Kim Kardashian, Pamela Anderson, Venus and Serena Williams and so many more have shown support for the event. Some of these celebs made last year’s event the most memorable by far for Malnik. “Last year’s ball stands out for several reasons: Gabrielle [Anwar] knocked the ball out of the park with the auction. We raised more money than ever before. And I was forced into a pair of ballet tights in order to offer comedic relief for the audience.”

Malnik is always willing to go that extra mile to ensure the gala is a success. “Each year my goal is to beat last year, in terms of money raised and entertainment level to guests,” Malnik says.

He applies this same philosophy to the after party as well. Now in its sixth year, the event features DJs and a fashion show by Heatherette designer Traver Rains.Al Malnik, Shareef Malnik, and Paula Abdul

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Alvin Malnik is Making Magic Happen

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 05, 2016
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The Southern Florida Make-a-Wish Foundation chapter has granted more than 10,000 wishes to children, making it one of the most successful chapters in the world.

The Make-a-Wish Foundation grew out of the former Arizona highway patrol officer’s effort to grant the wish of a seven-year-old boy with leukemia. The boy wanted to be a highway patrol motorcycle officer, which was in 1980. Unfortunately, the boy died a few days after receiving his wish. However, the impact of how joyful the simple act had made the child stuck with Shankwitz.

Since its inception, Make-a-Wish has granted well over 300,000 wishes. In an interview about him receiving the Medal of Honor, Shankwitz told a news reporter: “There’s a wish granted somewhere in the world every 26 minutes, all because of one little boy.”

Alvin Malnik Making Magic HappenThe South Florida chapter of Make-a-Wish is one of the most robust and grants a wish to children with life-threatening medical diseases every 16 hours. Since the start of the chapter in 1983, more than 10,000 children have received wishes in the area that Make-a-Wish serves. The Southern Florida chapter covers 13 counties in Florida and also the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The president and CEO of the Southern Florida chapter, Norman Wedderburn, says there are three requirements for a child to be eligible to have a wish granted.

“We determine a child’s medical eligibility with the help of a treating physician. To receive a wish, the child must be diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition. Children, who have reached the age of 2½ and are under the age of 18 at the time of referral, may be eligible for a wish. The wish can take place after the 18th birthday, but the child needed to be referred prior to that date. And a child may not have received a wish from another wish-granting organization. After all this has been determined, we make it happen.”

While many believe a child must be terminally ill to be eligible for a wish, that is not the case.

So in its more than 30 years of making dreams come true, you probably want to know some of the wishes that the chapter has granted.

“It’s been everything from tree houses to a recent one — a synthetic ice skating rink. Our children have met presidents; two children met the Pope; a child met the first lady; they’ve requested and met every celebrity you could imagine from Taylor Swift to the Jonas Brothers. We had one young girl who waited a number of years to meet Paul McCartney.”

One of the Southern Florida chapter’s “Wish” kids wanted to be in a Broadway play and Norm recalls, “we were able to get her a cameo on Broadway in the musical Wicked.” Another child wanted to be in a James Bond movie — “that was a while back,” Norm states.

Children’s wishes usually fall into four categories: “I wish to be” (something), “I wish to meet” (someone), “I wish to go” (somewhere), and “I wish to have” (something). Families are always encouraged and welcomed to participate in the experience of wish making. What is the average cost of a wish? $5,000, according to foundation statistics.

“We’ve given a number of children horses, musical equipment, such as pianos. And then there are some that I will call ‘unique’ — a young man wanted to ring the bell to close the stock exchange. And he did.”
Wishes, Wedderburn says, are as large and as wide as the imagination of the children. The foundation’s “wish granters” are volunteers who have the job to explore the imagination and go into the home of the child.

“They might really want to go to Disney World because that’s what they think is the top, but it might be More Alvin Malnik Making Magic Happensomething different once you start talking to them.”

The volunteers ark the children to come up with 12 potential wishes. “We then narrow it down with the child so that we can really grant the child’s ‘No. 1’ heartfelt wish.”

Wedderburn, who gave up practicing law to become the head of the non-profit group, has been the CEO of the Southern Florida chapter for the past 10 years. Wedderburn joined as a board member in 1998 after another lawyer introduced him to the organization. Wedderburn got so involved, he says, he sold his interest in his law practice to work for the organization full time.

“What’s special about Make-a-Wish,” he says, is that we can show donors the child their contribution impacted and exactly what they’ve done with their money, and that’s a really rare thing in the world of non-profits. Other organizations do incredible things, but you aren’t always aware of the impact your money is having on individuals. If you walk into my office, the walls are lined with pictures of ‘wish’ children that I have personally underwritten their wish. I know who they are, their disease, and where the dollars went.”

Make-a-Wish does not receive any state or federal funding, and all of the money to grant wishes is raised through corporate sponsorships, special events, foundation grants, and individual contributions.

While Wedderburn is proud that his chapter granted more wishes last year than all but three of the other 62 chapters in the world, he says there’s never a time to let the magic wand rest for even a second.

“While we are happy about the children we have reached, our goal is always to reach every eligible child in our community. Yes, we take a moment to celebrate our successes, but then we realize that there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Couple for a Cause

Shareef Malnik cast a spell over his soon-to-be-wife, Gabrielle Anwar with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Prior to meeting her fiancé, the Burn Notice actress had her own charities that she supported, but his dedication to Make-a-Wish now has her in a solid and recurring role. She’s going on her fourth year at the annual Wishmaker’s Ball at the InterContinental Miami as celebrity auctioneer, which this year is set for Saturday, Nov. 7.

There is no doubt about Malnik’s strong impact on the annual charity, which is a Greek mythology theme this year. “Something that she conjured up,” Malnik is shares during our interview.

“He’s so involved in the behind-the-scenes and making sure it’s a success, and every now and then I pipe up with an idea and I do it in a way that he has to listen,” Anwar jokes. “As it gets towards the night of the ball, we start rehearsing some of the ideas we’ve batted around for a few months.”

The couple’s extravagant ideas have become one of those “what will they do next?” highlights of the evening. You almost want to be a fly on the wall after listening to the two of them talk about their participation, their plans, and what surprises they have in store for this year’s event.

“Yes, we’ve had people say that to us before,” says Anwar, which is precisely why there is gag reel on YouTube of the couple “rehearsing” at the Miami City Ballet for the 2012 ball. This is where they led the crowd in a Bollywood-inspired dance to the music of “Jai Ho,” from the movie Slumdog Millionaire.

“She whipped me into shape to dance in front of the crowd, and it was a good eight weeks,” says Malnik. “Eight weeks to get me to look at least okay next to her — a professional dancer.”

“Last year, it was the Wizard of Oz theme; I played the wizard and was hiding underneath her dress. The year before I got to saw her in half, which was definitely my idea.”

All joking aside, Anwar speaks of her celebrity auctioneer role, which she says, she was tentative to take on because “I didn’t want to try to fill Paula Abdul’s shoes, even though they are tiny.” Abdul had been the celebrity auctioneer at 2010’s ball and the first ball Anwar had attended with Malnik.
In her role as auctioneer, she says, “You have to inspire the spending of money, which is sometimes difficult to inspire, I’ve recently learned. But hopefully, Shareef and I come up with an idea every year that is going to be humorous, instill some emotion, and eventually lead to generosity. It’s really not an easy combo,” she reveals.

Malnik, who owns the legendary Miami Beach steakhouse, The Forge, became the chairman of the gala in 2004. “I made an observation, not realizing that it would lead to me becoming chairman. I thought that the direction the ball was going had a limited life — even though it was a sold-out event.” Since he has taken over as chairman, the ball’s profits have gone from $300,000 to $2.5 million last year.

So what’s his secret? “I think first and foremost, you have to spend money to make money. That old idea that a charity should try to get everything for free, and they can be as lean as possible — you end up making less money. And the goal for me here is the wishes. What will it take for me to get the most possible wishes out of the ball? What does it take to get people to want to spend money at the ball and to develop incentives so that they want to keep coming back?”

Shareef’s father, Al Malnik, is a lifetime benefactor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. At the 2012 gala, Al announced a $1-million donation to the charity to establish the Malnik Family Wish Fund. The contribution is intended to grant wishes “in perpetuity” to children suffering from life-threatening diseases.

“I had been around Make-a-Wish because of my father; it was the late Nancy Strom, a founder of the Southern Florida chapter, who asked me to get involved as chairman. And the more I became involved, the more it became part of my DNA,” says Shareef.

Soon after taking on the roll of chairman, his younger brother, Jarod – 6 at the time – was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia, AML.

“He became eligible for a wish,” recalls Malnik. The wish Jarod got granted was to throw a strike over home plate at Fenway Park in a Red Sox game. He was able to do it and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Jarod is 16 years old and cancer free today.

“I think this happening to my family gave me more empathy for the wish families and reinforced my commitment to Make-a-Wish,” says the charity ball chairman.

While Malnik had first-hand experience, CEO Norman Wedderburn says the signature event serves a very important introductory purpose. As a main fundraising sources for Make-a-Wish Southern Florida chapter, the event is key to help “get a group of people who don’t naturally wake up one day and think about helping an organization that has not impacted their life. This gala has been used to really build awareness about the foundation and from there, get the kind of support that nurtures lifetime support. That’s the real secret in the sauce.”

Malnik adds: “It’s such a positive charity. You’re making people feel good today, as opposed to hoping that the money you give will help someone feel good some day in the future.”

Speaking of wishes, Malnik and Anwar are set to be married by the time the Wishmaker’s Ball. Dating since 2010, they’ve picked Labor Day weekend to exchange their vows.

My Wish: A Story

By Ian Sallee

”I’d like to tell you my story about my cantankerous and cancerous adventure that began when I was 16 years old. I am happy to report now, however, that I am 21 and have nearly five years of cancer-free scans under my belt.

The story began in 2010 when I was participating in a drama competition in Tampa. I was sick for most of the trip — so ill that I ended up not being able to compete, let alone leave the hotel room.

A few days later, when I returned home to Miami, I felt a bit better. But as the months wore on, I continued to have a pesky cough. For the summer months, I worked as a camp counselor, but two weeks into the job, I was sick again. I went to my family doctor. His diagnosis was that I had a bacterial infection.

I kept feeling sicker and sicker. It got so bad one day that I decided an emergency room visit was in order. They suggested a chest X-ray. What was revealed was a mass that had grown larger than my heart, located on my thymus gland, smack dab in the middle of my trachea. After a slew of tests, it was discovered to be mediastinal B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I was admitted to the hospital where I stayed for a little over two weeks. There were surgical procedures — then chemotherapy.

Dealing with cancer was the greatest hurdle of my life, but there were good experiences I didn’t even know existed, however, on the other side. I learned from hospital workers that because of my medical condition and my age, I was eligible for Make-a-Wish. It was one of sweetest things that occurred during this difficult time. And it gave me something incredibly special to look forward to — that when I finally got healthy, I would be able to, perhaps, have a wish come true. It was also a great opportunity for my family, who because of limited income, would also get the chance to do something unforgettable with me.

The road to my Make-a-Wish began after speaking with social workers in my oncology office. They told me to “dream big” since this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I didn’t only dream big, I dreamt “huge.” Over the next four years, I created a laundry list of wishes that included — but weren’t limited to — a trip to Uganda to track a family of gorillas, an Antarctic cruise, a chance to meet Nelson Mandela, and to be knighted by the Queen of England. And those were just the wishes I shared with Make-a-Wish.

I was determined to make sure that if the aforementioned wishes didn’t work out, something within the realm of possibility would come to fruition. It dawned on me that traveling was it — that was something that was in my heart to do. Since my family would be joining me, I wondered where I should go. Italy! I could spend quality time with my family, experience a new and different place, and learn about another culture.

When four years of treatment was finally over and my biopsy was negative for the lymphoma, I could finally fulfill my “wish.” I was going to Italy. The Make-a-Wish trip turned out to be one of the most enchanting and unforgettable experiences of my life, to date.

We ate delicious Italian meals, saw ancient and modern art, explored the streets, and bought mementos and souvenirs — normal tourist stuff. We visited Ischia, a volcanic island paradise that looked like a postcard. We traveled to the ruins of Pompeii and climbed to the top of Mount Vesuvius. We had a private tour of Rome and the Vatican. We climbed the Spanish Steps and on to the Coliseum. All of these experiences were astonishing, but more than that, I was grateful for the chance to be doing something special that most people would not have the opportunity to experience.”

The Make-a-Wish Foundation truly makes a difference in these children’s lives. Whether they send a toddler to Walt Disney World or a 20-year-old to Italy, what Make-a-Wish does for children with life-threatening medical conditions is provide them something to look forward to on the other side of difficult times when they are struggling with disease.

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Al Malnik and company raise 1.1 million dollars for 220 wishes of babies with life-threatening illnesses in South Florida

Posted by Alvin Malnik on December 01, 2011
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The InterContinental Miami hosted of South Florida’s premier galas to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida – The 17th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball. The evening’s theme was Truman Capote’s legendary Black & White Ball of 1966. With a performance by rock-n-roll legend Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, an action-packed live auction emceed by Burn Notice star Gabrielle Anwar, the fourth anniversary of the InterContinental Make-A-Wish Night club, & the achievement of a $10 million lifetime fundraising milestone, the affair was a smashing success.

‘We are happy to announce that the 2011 edition of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball netted in excess of $1.1 million dollars to grant 220 wishes of babies with life-threatening illnesses in South Florida,’ said Ball Host & Intercontinental Miami GM Robert Hill.

Recently appointed to the Foundation’s Board, Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik introduced his newest endeavor, the Chairman’s Challenge. ‘I’m thrilled to announce that while they are only in the first year of the Challenge, they have already received eight commitments for endowments to underwrite the cost of the Ball for the next years. It is with these new fundraising missives, & more importantly the unwavering support of our generous donors, that they will be able to take the Ball & its fundraising initiatives to the next level,’ said Malnik.

Deco Productions took the Ball’s historically over-the-top décor to an entirely new level of extravagance with a contemporary take on ‘The Party of the Century,’ in homage to Truman Capote’s A-list-only vanity affair at New York’s Plaza Hotel. On arrival, masked guests were welcomed by living chandeliers with elaborate crystal headpieces that were functional lighting fixtures & living stanchions led guests to the white carpet. Upstairs on the mezzanine, warriors handed guests drinks from behind interactive gallery bars, & psychedelic black & white art installations were brought to life by camouflaged performers, igniting guests’ senses with a feeling of mystery.

Honored at this year’s event were Lifetime Benefactors Al & Nancy Malnik; Grand Benefactors Stanley & Gala Cohen; Founding Benefactors Howard & Barbara Glicken; & Wish Star Benefactor James L. Ferraro, as well as Wish Benefactors Harvey & Roberta Chaplin, Stuart A. Miller of Lennar Corporation & Robert Press of Trafalgar Capital Advisors.

‘This year’s Ball was a dream come true,’ Said Norman Wedderburn, President & CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Florida. ‘Joan Jett gave a performance of a lifetime, Gabrielle Anwar put her heart & soul in to raising funds in the coursework of the live auction, & our supporters seldom appeared more excited & optimistic. All of these elements combined contributed to the amazing achievement of our lifetime fundraising milestone, which they far surpassed.’

The 17th Annual Miami Make-A-Wish Ball Raises $1.1 Million – Al Malnik

Posted by Alvin Malnik on November 17, 2011
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The 17th annual Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, often called the “party of the century,” raised $1.1 million dollars for the organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions, in an effort to enrich and improve their quality of life. The evening was star-studded, with actress Gabrielle Anwar of Burn Notice emceeing a live auction and legendary musician Joan Jett taking the stage for an outstanding performance. The live auction included over-the-top items such as a 2012 McLaren MP4-12C, a Bogosse Lifestyle travel package that includes private travel from Miami to the Dominican Republic and VIP ground transportation, and a “James Bond 007 experience.”

“Joan Jett gave a performance of a lifetime, Gabrielle Anwar put her heart and soul into raising funds during the live auction, and our supporters never seemed more excited and optimistic. All of these elements combined contributed to the incredible achievement of our lifetime fundraising milestone, which we far surpassed.” –Norman Wedderburn, President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida

Norman Wedderburn, along with Shareef Malnik and Robert Hill are the trio who made this year’s Make-A-Wish Miami blowout possible. Robert Hill, the General Manager for the Intercontinental Hotel said “We are happy to announce that the 2011 edition of the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball netted in excess of $1.1 million dollars to grant 220 wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses in South Florida. The impact of granting wishes to Wish Kids and their families is life changing and simply cannot be measured by a number, each story is different but the hope and joy we are able to create is and will continue to be the driving force behind the effort of all of us involved.”

Nearly one thousand A-list VIPs, socialites, philanthropists and celebrities attended the Make-A-Wish Ball, including: Sammy and Sonya Sosa, Elsa Benitez, Andre Dawson, Chris Nirschel Al and Nancy Malnik, Jim Ferraro, Ken Gorin, Laurence Geller, Andy Hilfiger, Sanford Ziff, Roy and Lea Black, Carlos A. Gimenez, Lance Parker, Greg Lotus, Donald and Lisa Pliner, Fernando Wong, Ema Koja and more.

South Florida Philanthropist And Cultural Icons

Posted by Alvin Malnik on October 04, 2011
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Miami Beach developer, philanthropist and supporter of numerous arts and cultural organizations, Craig Robins, caught up with the Malnik family at a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. Robins was joined by his father, Jerry Robins, while Al and Nancy Malnik were jointed by Al’s son, Shareef Malnik and Shareef’s two children, Bruna and Yaseen Malnik.

Robins, 48, is no stranger to the fundraising circuit and has lent his name and efforts to numerous charitable organizations in the past. Many of his volunteer efforts are focused on the arts. Malnik and Robins each maintain their own private art collections, but both believe art should be shared. Many of Malnik’s treasured pieces are on display at The Forge, a Miami Beach restaurant now run by his son, Shareef.

Pieces from Robins’ private art and design collection the “Craig Robins Collection,” are displayed in public places throughout South Florida as well. His generosity towards local artists goes back a long way. When Robins purchased and restored numerous Art Deco buildings in the 90s, it was not unusual for him to offer local artists free studio and living space in one of his renovated buildings.

In December 2010, Robins, the co-founder of Design Miami I, donated an outdoor installation titled “Netscape,” to the Miami Art Museum. The large-scale steel structure was created by the Design Miami I 2010 “Designer of the Year” recipient, Konstantin Grcic. The installation features a star-shaped modular steel structure with hammock-like swings constructed from fiberglass and polypropylene netting.

The recent donation is one of a long list of Robins’ efforts to bring world-class art and artists to the South Florida area.

Al Malnik, Shareef Malnik and LeBron James Continue To Step Up – Philanthropy

Posted by Alvin Malnik on September 23, 2011
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Two Miami icons have at least one thing in common: a mega-sized commitment to providing children with the tools they need to succeed and lead happy lives.

Shareef Malnik, proprietor of The Forge miami beach restaurant, and LeBron James, Miami Heat All Star basketball player, both do more than just lend their names to charitable organizations. Both have perfected the art of harnessing their power and financial clout to secure unwavering support and sizable donations for organizations making a difference in the lives of needy children.

James’ family foundation and the “Two Kings” charity, a partnership with Jay-Z, work with Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the country to renovate buildings and playgrounds, and update computer access and equipment in cities where high school graduation rates can be as low as 50 and 60 percent.

The February 2011 Boys & Girls Club of America gymnasium unveiling, during the NBA All-Star game weekend, marked the third year in a row Jay-Z and James joined forces for this cause.

Taking a page from his father’s (Al Malnik) philanthropy book, Shareef Malnik’s commitment to the Make-a Wish Foundation of Southern Florida stems from their desire to see children with life-threatening illnesses smile. In addition to the hectic schedule surrounding his Miami Beach restaurant, Malnik chairs the organization’s annual Intercontinental Ball, which by all accounts is a year-round endeavor.

The Ball, in its 16th year, has raised more than $9.6 million under Malnik’s guidance. That’s enough to grant the wishes of 2,100 children with life-threatening medical conditions. Each year the event features dinner, drinks, dancing and the chance to bid on fantasy items and experiences which Malnik promises will be bigger and better than any other in 2011.

Al Malnik – A Beacon Of Hope And Inspiration

Posted by Alvin Malnik on August 15, 2011
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Alvin Malnik will live forever. Few people can truly make that claim, but Malnik has marked the pages of history with permanent ink and a sensational success story of ambition and generosity. Every story has its beginning and with Malnik, it begins in St. Louis, Missouri.

Malnik was born to Russian Jewish immigrants and grew up in a poor, mostly ethnic neighborhood. He was a self-described “wild teenager” who at one point, ran with a neighborhood crew and enjoyed mischief typical of his age. It wasn’t long before his family moved into slightly more comfortable accommodations that he began to turn his young life around. He was introduced to peers from better economic situations, which gave him the initial spark for ambition, and success that would eventually lead him to pursue a career in law. Sometimes, all it takes the flip of a coin to change your entire world.

After spending two years as an Army officer in Texas, Malnik decided to resettle in South Florida with the toss of a coin. He enrolled at the law school of the University of Miami and became a lawyer. South Beach would be the home of his new practice on Lincoln Road.

Malnik enjoyed success with both his law practice and with other ventures in the film and restaurant industries. He opened The Forge Miami in 1968, which remains one of the most highly praised restaurants in the country, and was the center of a cultural reawakening in South Beach and Miami. Malnik’s renaissance would continue through the decades that followed, forever transforming Miami into the premier destination it is today.

Success can be measured a thousand ways and comes in many forms – Alvin Malnik has embraced them all. The secret ingredient to this incredible success story? A simple mixture of ambition, dedication, hard work and love. It’s his love of family and community that truly makes a difference. Wherever he goes, he inspires an absolute positivity in others through his altruism and philanthropy.

Among the many honors Malnik has gained over the years, perhaps the most prestigious came from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of South Florida, who named him a lifetime benefactor. Giving the foundation over a decade of support, Malnik has helped raise millions of dollars for the organization that grants special wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions. Through wish-granting, the foundation fosters feelings of hope, joy and strength which are some of the most important components of recovery. Malnik himself once remarked, “They literally bring the child back to life by granting a wish. They really do. We saw it.”

The Malnik family hosts a fantastic ball for the Make a Wish Foundation each year to raise awareness and inspire others to pledge support for the organization. For years, these events have raised millions in donations and granted wishes for thousands; and the ball grows more popular each year. Entering its 17th year, the annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball celebrates the foundation’s anniversary – 2011 will celebrate 28 years of wish-granting. Malnik and his family have built an unstoppable legacy of giving that will go on for years to come, spreading happiness and hope to those who need it most.

While Malnik’s work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation might be the most notable, the philanthropist has supported a myriad of other organizations and causes. Through his work with the Nat King Cole Foundation, he helped establish Nat King Cole Generation Hope. With the help of the legendary singer’s youngest daughters, Timolin and Casey Cole of Boca Raton, Malnik supports the funding for music education in local schools and to children of all ages. The teaching of music and the arts in public schools faces scrutiny as budgets tighten, but it is through this beacon of hope that future generations can be enriched through the magic of music.

The support doesn’t stop there either. Alvin Malnik has been honored by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston for his role in the Al & Nancy Malnik Family Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Research Fund. He has also set up a trust for neurological services at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital. Incredibly, the list goes on. Malnik is renowned for being founder of University of Miami/Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Mount Sinai Medical Center and is also the principal benefactor for the Jay Weiss Research Center at the University of Miami School of Medicine.

While a human being cannot physically live forever, their ideas and actions create legacies that remain immortal through the inspired generations that follow them. Alvin Malnik’s achievements inspire this kind of long-lasting hope in the world. He’s helped create legions of givers, people who use their good fortunes for the benefit of others, for years to come. That’s why one could say that Alvin Malnik will live forever. He’s created a powerful empire of love and generosity that will last through the ages.

12th Annual InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball Delivers Sensational Society Turnout – Al Malnik ARCHIVE RECAP

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 27, 2011
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Grammy Award Winner Macy Gray and wacky Comedian Pauly Shore Took to the Stage to Help Raise over $675,000 for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida.

A spectacular Winter Wonderland came to life at the 12th Annual InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball on Saturday, November 4th. Featuring an over-the-top performance by the ever smooth Macy Gray and special guest emcee Pauly Shore, the gala raised more than $675,000, enough for the Make-A Wish Foundation of Southern Florida to grant 135 wishes.

Gala Chairman, Shareef Malnik, greeted guests as they walked the red carpet into a winter themed cocktail hour. Sipping drinks courtesy of Southern Wine & Spirits, guests browsed the silent auction and savored the sumptuous display of appetizers created by Chef Alexander Feher. One of Holland’s most notable performers, Nanine Linning, a/k/a The Champagne Lady, dazzled the crowd as she welcomed everyone to dinner while hanging from a chandelier and pouring Perrier Jouët for each amazed onlooker.

Fantastic snow machines dusted the ballroom with an icy flurry as DJ Irie of the Miami Heat played a stellar set of explosive sounds that beckoned guests to hit the dance floor. At every seat in the room, a tin of caviar on ice was waiting, and as guests took their seats at the premium tables, personal butlers were on hand to service their every need. Following dinner, the famous Make-A-Wish Live Auction commenced with the acclaimed Red Barron at the helm and comedian Pauly Shore working the room to help bring home the winning bids.

Featured auction items included a $20,000 gift certificate donated by jewelry designer extraordinaire, Georg Jensen, a $20,000 gift certificate courtesy of local couture designer Rene Ruiz whose gowns adorned some of the most beautiful women in the room, and a 2006 Lotus Elise courtesy of THE COLLECTION. To top off the auction, James Ferraro, a generous benefactor of Make-A-Wish, got the audience excited when he pledged $100,000 to the foundation, equivalent to 20 wishes and challenged the room to match his donation which they surpassed with a gift of 37 wishes.

Attendees included: Macy Gray; Pauly Shore; Latin pop star Ana Cristina; DJ Irie; Jack Miller, InterContinental Miami General Manager; Norm Wedderburn, CEO Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; Randy Friedlander, Make-A-Wish Foundation Chairman of the Board; Al & Nancy Malnik, Lifetime Benefactors; Howard & Barbara Glicken, Founding Benefactors; Jacob the Jeweler; Craig Robins & Ambra Medda; Jim Ferraro; Jerry & Sandi Powers; Ken Gorin; Lee Schrager; Michael Capponi; Jeffrey & Linda Chodorow; Cynthia Carr; Veronica Cervera; Antonio Misuraca; State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle; Claudia & Alan Potamkin; Loren & J.R. Ridinger; Kamal Hotchandani; Cecile Barker; Edie Lacquer; Roy & Leah Black; Peter Loftin; Thomas Kramer; Alan & Diane Lieberman; Elaine Lancaster; Mark Lenkhul; Jorge & Darlene Perez; Michael Dreiling; and Nicole Rifkind.

Since the beginning of the InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball twelve years ago, more than 4.7 million dollars has been raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida in order to grant the wishes of 1,235 children with life-threatening medical conditions. For more information about the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, please call 954.967.9474, or visit www.sfla.wish.org.

Photography: Ian Ankele, Harvey Bilt, Seth Browarnik.

Make A Wish Garden Party at the Malnik Home

Posted by Alvin Malnik on April 19, 2011
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Six “Friends With You” inflatable art characters were among the guests invited to the Make-a-Wish Garden Party, hosted by Al and Nancy Malnik at their Ocean Ridge home on a perfect Sunday afternoon. Six characters created by Miami art collective added a colorful, whimsical touch to the private event, which preceded the 17th annual InterContinental Miami Make-a-Wish Ball, taking place November 5.

The Malniks are lifetime benefactors of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, which aims to grant more than 500 wishes to children with threatening medical conditions in 2011. This was the sixth consecutive year the Malnik’s has hosted the spring garden party at their Ocean Ridge home.

The party, which ran from 4 to 6 p.m. was a casual cocktail affair, with hors d’oeuvres by Silver Sac Catering. Music and entertainment was provided by DJ Joe Dert and by the Friends With You characters—Malfi, MR. TTT, Rainbow King, Buddy Chubb, MR. TT, and Zoo-Zoo—who mingled with guests by the Malniks’ stunning oceanfront pool.

“The theme of this year’s event was ‘Avant Garden,'” said Shareef Malnik, Make-a-Wish Ball chairman. “When we looked for a partner artist that could play a large role in creating a magical and youthful environment, Friends With You was the obvious choice.”

Malnik took note of the art collective’s popularity during December’s Art Basel Miami Beach as an indicator that the characters would contribute to the party’s mood of hope and youthful fun. “The characters absolutely succeeded in bringing great cheer to the crowd of supporters who come out year after year.”

Another first for this year’s garden party was the announcement of the celebrity M.C. for the live auction portion of the ball—Burn Notice’s star Gabrielle Anwar, who was in attendance.






2011 Make A Wish Garden Party to be held on April 10th. Al & Nancy Malnik

Posted by Alvin Malnik on April 11, 2011
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This Sunday, April 10 Al and Nancy Malnik will be hosting the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida annual Garden Party at their beach front home in Ocean Ridge from 4 to 6 p.m. The event will help promote the upcoming 17th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball, and is strictly invite only.

Lifetime Benefactors, Al and Nancy Malnik will house the expected 200 guests at their oceanfront estate in Ocean Ridge. Guests who are able to attend will sip on delicious cocktails, nibble on hors d’oeuvres and enjoy live entertainment leisurely on their Sunday afternoon.

The Garden Party will also hold announcements about the preparations for this year’s ball that will take place Saturday, November 5, 2011. The discussion will be prepared by President and CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norman Wedderburn, the Ball Chairman and proprietor of The Forge Restaurant Winebar, Shareef Malnik and the Ball Host and General Manager of InterContinental Miami, Robert Hill.

If you remember, last year the Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball raised $1 million for needy children in South Florida. It also created a star studded crowd with people like Paula Abdul in attendance along with a performance by the Tony Award-winning musical, the Jersey Boys. Not to mention that the third anniversary of the Ball’s InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub featured a fashion show by designer Nicole Miller.

Check back for a post report of this beautiful seaside party!