Alvin Malnik

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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Alvin Malnik-Nat King Cole Generation Hope-The Gala

Posted by Alvin Malnik on February 17, 2010
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philanthropist-alvin-malnik

The Cole twins, Timolin and Casey of Boca Raton, daughters of legendary Nat King Cole, have established Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., a non-profit foundation to benefit music education in schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

The Gala was chaired by philanthropist and international financier Alvin Malnik and his wife Nancy Malnik. The Forge, a Miami Beach restaurant and bar, has served as the institution of elegance and taste and was founded by Alvin Malnik in 1968 now owned by his son Shareef Malnik. The historic landmark and American icon has been the home of great music events throughout the years including performances by Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr.

The Gala featured visits from celebrity guests and star-studded entertainment including a performance by Siedah Garrett and 11 time Grammy nominated songwriter and producer Dennis Lambert. DJ Irie, a 2007 BET Award nominee and winner of Miami New Times’ 2005 Best Club DJ, lent his award winning musical talent during the cocktail reception and the After Party at the Glass bar inside The Forge. Guests included some of today’s hottest entertainers, the Cole Family and friends.

The Cole twins launched the Foundation after learning of budget cuts in South Florida public schools. The Foundation was created to provide funding for music education to children of all ages, ethnic backgrounds and diversities, including music instrument instruction, music composition and songwriting, technical instruction in the recording arts, music instruments and equipment, and music related seminars and field trips.

“Our father was a pioneer and music legend who transcended color and race. During his lifetime, the arts were an integral part of the educational curriculum; today’s youth are art starved,” said Timolin Cole. “By enriching students with the opportunity to enhance their musical talents and abilities, his legacy lives on.”

Twin sister Casey Cole added, “We believe our father, by right, has earned his place in history as a true American hero and legend through his contributions to the world of music. We hope that through the funds raised we can help inspire a new generation of youth through the power of music.”

Nat King Cole was one of the most popular singers ever to hit the American charts. A brilliant recording and concert artist during the 40s, 50s, and 60s, he attracted millions of fans around the world with a sensitive and caressing singing voice that was unmistakable. Cole had a rare blend of technical musical knowledge and sheer performing artistry topped off with an abundance of showmanship. In the 23 years that he recorded with Capitol Records, he turned out hit after amazing hit – nearly 700 songs – all the while managing to remain a gentle, tolerant and gracious human being.

Cole’s first mainstream vocal hit was his 1943 recording of one of his compositions, “Straighten Up and Fly Right,” based on a black folk tale that his father had used as a theme for a sermon. Johnny Mercer invited him to record it for the fledgling Capitol Records label. It sold over 500,000 copies, proving that folk-based material could appeal to a wide audience. Although Cole would never be considered a rocker, the song can be seen as anticipating the first rock and roll records. Indeed, Bo Diddley, who performed similar transformations of folk material, counted Cole as an influence.

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Beginning in the late 1940s, Cole began recording and performing more pop-oriented material for mainstream audiences, often accompanied by a string orchestra. His stature as a popular icon was cemented during this period by hits such as “The Christmas Song” (Cole recorded that tune four times: on June 14, 1946, as a pure Trio recording, on August 19, 1946, with an added string section, on August 24, 1953, and in 1961 for the double album The Nat King Cole Story; this final version, recorded in stereo, is the one most often heard today), “Nature Boy” (1948), “Mona Lisa” (1950), “Too Young” (the #1 song in 1951),[3] and his signature tune “Unforgettable” (1951). While this shift to pop music led some jazz critics and fans to accuse Cole of selling out, he never totally abandoned his jazz roots; as late as 1956, for instance, he recorded an all-jazz album After Midnight. Cole had one of his last big hits two years before his death, in 1963, with the classic “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer”, which reached #6 on the Pop chart.

In 1965, Nat King Cole died tragically of lung cancer. He was only 45. Nathaniel Adams Coles was born in Montgomery, Alabama on March 17, 1919. He was the son of Baptist minister, Edward James Coles, and mother, Perlina Adams, who sang soprano and directed the choir in her husband’s church. Cole grew up in Chicago, met and married a girl in New York named Maria Hawkins, who was from Boston. They had five children and lived in Hancock Park in Los Angeles.

NKC Generation Hope, Inc. has been established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in South Florida. Its officers are Timolin and Casey Cole, both of Boca Raton. Honorary Board Members are: Mrs. Nat King Cole of Ponte Vedre, Fla.; Ms. Natalie Cole and Ms. Carole Cole, both of Los Angeles; Mr. Jimmy Cefalo of Pittston, Pennsylvania; Mr. Colin Cowie of Los Angeles; Mr. Anthony C. Gruppo of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Mr. and Mrs. Ellis Jones of Los Angeles; Ms. Leslie Linder of West Palm Beach; Mr. and Mrs. Al Malnik of Palm Beach; Ms. Marylynne Stephan McGlone of Palm Beach; Ms.Holly Robinson and Mr. Rodney Peete, both of Los Angeles, Ms. Madelyn Savarick of Boca Raton; and Mr. and Mrs. Jordan Zimmerman also of Boca Raton.

To obtain more information on Nat King Cole Generation Hope, Inc., please visit: www.natkingcolefoundation.org

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Make A Wish 15th Annual Ball – The People Behind It

Posted by Alvin Malnik on February 08, 2010
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Gala Chairman Shareef MalnikShareef Malnik
Gala Chairman

Shareef Malnik, owner of The Forge restaurant in Miami Beach and the Gala Chairman for the fifth consecutive year, became involved as the Chairman to reinvigorate the image of the Ball.  “I believe very strongly in what the Make-A-Wish organization stands for and I saw the opportunity to be able to use my expertise in events and marketing to increase the fundraising potential of this event.  In my first year [as Gala Chairman], we broke every fundraising and attendance record in the event’s history!”  Malnik’s motivation to continue his involvement comes from seeing the happiness that the Foundation is able to bring to deserving children’s lives.  After experiencing the diagnosis of his younger brother with Leukemia and having him become eligible to receive a wish from the organization, Malnik was able to grasp the importance and the hope that a wish provides.  Thankfully, his brother is now cancer-free, but Malnik continues to bring improvements to the event.

Gala Host Jack J. MillerRobert B. Hill
General Manager,
InterContinenal Miami

Robert B. Hill, General Manager at the InterContinental Miami since September 2009 is a 20-year veteran in the hospitality industry and most recently comes from the InterContinental Stephen F. Austin where he served as General Manager since 2006. Prior to that, he served as Hotel Manager at the InterContinental Chicago and Executive Assistant Manager at the Willard InterContinental in Washington D.C. Robert returns to Miami where he previously held the position of Assistant Food & Beverage Director from 1996 to 1999. He has also held positions at InterContinental properties in Maui and London. Robert is a native of Limerick, Ireland and graduated from the prestigious Shannon College of Hotel Management.“Robert has proven his commitment to the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts brand, and his experience will be instrumental in continuing the success of one of our finest properties,” said Lew Fader, vice president of operations, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, North America. “We’re delighted that he has taken this next step in his career with us and know that he will be an asset to the InterContinental Miami.”

Lifetime Benefactors Al & Nancy Malnik Grand Banafactors Stanley & Gala Cohen Founding Benefactors Howard & Barbara Glicken Wish Benefactor James L. Ferraro
Lifetime Benefactors
Al & Nancy Malnik
Grand Benefactors
Stanley & Gala Cohen
Founding Benefactors
Howard & Barbara Glicken
Wish Star Benefactor
James L. Ferraro

Wish Benefactors
Harvey & Roberta Chaplin
Stuart A. Miller, Lennar Corporation
Robert Press, Trafalgar Capital Advisors

Dream Catchers
Drs. Roger & Ginger Medel
E. Roe & Penny Stamps

Honorary Chairpersons
Jonathan Babicka
Karim Benyahia & Pascale Van Cleemput Benyahia
Jason & Haley Binn
Maxwell Blandford
Michael Capponi
Cynthia Carr
Wayne & Arlene Chaplin
Jeffrey & Linda Chodorow
Jeffrey & Michelle Eisenberg
Katherine Fernandez-Rundle
Barry Florescue
Willie & Gloria Gary
Ken Gorin
Austin & Sara Harrelson
Lady Monica Heftler
Patrik Hoffman
Courtland Lantaff
Laurence Leavy
Evan Lefferts
Donald & Judy Lefton
Clif Loftin
Peter Loftin
Andrew & Lisa Mandala
Dr. Frederick Miller & Sharon Barnwell-Miller
Eric Milon
Antonio Misuraca
Stephen & Sandra Muss
Adam Nathanson
Richard Polidori
Gail Posner
Jerry & Sandi Powers
J.R. & Loren Ridinger
Jerry & Joan Robins
Brad Rosenblatt
Jaime Rubinson
Rene Ruiz
David Scheiner
Jacqueline Simkin
Count Alan & Countess Claudine Smurfit
Ira Sochet & Sheree Savar Sochet
Bruce Sutka
Brian & Karyn Tageson
Bobby Yampolsky
Jordan & Denise Zimmerman


After the Ball, the party continues well into the night at the exclusive
InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub.

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2003 – Palm Beach International Film Festival

Posted by Alvin Malnik on November 25, 2009
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From 2003 – Palm Beach International Film Festival Website:

The 8th Annual Palm Beach International Film Festival attracted huge audiences, far outnumbering last year’s attendance. The success of this year’s festival created a whole new level of awareness and recognition not only in Palm Beach County, Florida, but in the entertainment industry as well.

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The fest opened Thursday, April 3, 2003 with “The Kid Stays In The Picture” presented by legendary producer Robert Evans. Commissioner Burt Aaronson announced to the audience that the PBIFF has turned over a check for $100,000 to Film and Television Education Programs for the schools throughout Palm Beach County.

An enthusiastic swarm of fans eagerly awaited the arrival of Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody outside the Mizner Park Theater where Brody introduced the festival’s screening of Roman Polanski’s multi-award-winning film, “The Pianist.” Alex Simon from Venice Magazine moderated a passionate Q&A session with the audience members.

The audience attending Saturday night’s Grand Gala ceremony at the Palm Beach International Film Festival at the Boca Raton Resort & Club, was treated to a surprise visit by such stars as Brett Ratner, Chris Tucker, Carol Alt, David DeLuise, Alvin Malnik, Michael Jackson and host Cady Mc Clain as honors were awarded to Oscar winner Adrien Brody, silent film legend Fay Wray, producer/writer/actor Robert Evans and producer Suzanne DeLaurentiis. Brody graciously accepted his honor for Performance of the Year with the same elegance that rivaled his infamous Oscar speech. Evans received a Lifetime Achievement Award presented by director Brett Ratner, Fay Wray received the Legend in Film award. and Suzanne DeLaurentiis received the Founder’s Award.

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With over 90 films to choose from, there was certainly something for everybody! Filmgoers turned out in record numbers to see such films as “The Bachelorman,” (that had David DeLuise and producer/writer/ actor Rodney Lee Conover working the streets), “Broadway: The Golden Age,” (Fay Wray came to talk about the film to a sold-out crowd, along with director Rick McKay), “Annihilation of Fish” (with standout performances by Lynn Redgrave and James Earl Jones), “Coney Island Baby,” (directed by Amy Hobby, who recently produced “Secretary” and “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing”), “5 Card Stud,” (with Khrystine Haje attending), “Kissed By A Crocodile” (made by Aussie Wendy Dent, focusing on how western tourism is changing the face of Bali and their traditional family culture) and “Movie Hero,” (a fascinating tale of a man who is convinced his life is a movie). Attendees also sought out more serious fare such “Klezmer on Fish Street,” “Small Voices,” “Season Of Youth,” “The Egoists” and “The Last Reunion: A Gathering of Heroes.”

Over 700 people attended an encore presentation of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” outdoors at the Old School Square Pavilion.

The short films drew a particularly enthusiastic crowd throughout the week with such popular offerings as “Polaroid” “Home,” “Salaryman,” “Today You Are A Fountain Pen,” “Over My Dead Body,” and “The Wedding Bout.” The talent showcased by many of these directors is sure to elevate them to a new level of filmmaking!

Word of mouth about the exceptional lineup of films has reached beyond Palm Beach, garnering interest from various studios requesting to see several of this year’s entriessomething every film festival aspires to do.

The week concluded with several well-attended events, ranging from a Latin-themed party at the popular Oceans 11 following the screenings of “12 Horas,” (for which ex-Menudo star Charlie Mass came in from Puerto Rico) and “Los Zafiros,” to a beach party at Canopy Palms on Singer Island at which pop sensation Heather (who currently has a song rapidly rising on the charts) performed.

The closing night festivities started with a screening of Alan Rudolph’s newest film, “The Secret Lives of Dentists,” starring Denis Leary, Campbell Scott and Hope Davis, followed by a Wrap Party at the Old School Square in Delray Beach. The Film Awards were presented at the party, emceed by Rodney Lee Conover, producer/writer/co-star of “Bachelorman.” (The list of winning films is attached.) The crowd, which consisted of filmmakers, press, volunteers and festival attendees partied the night away! The Awards ceremony was sponsored by WCI Communities and the Closing Night event was sponsored by the City of Delray Beach and Old School Square.

The 8th Annual PBIFF became a competitive forum for the first time. The jury consisted of three individuals from different areas of the business. The jury was headed by national journalist Luke Sader, and was accompanied Terry Tharpe of Sony Pictures and Gregg Chabot, writer of “Reign of Fire.”

The 2003 PBIFF Award winners

Feature
SMALL VOICES (Mea Munting Tinig) Directed, produced and cowritten by Gil M. Portes.

Documentary Feature
THE LAST REUNION: A GATHERING OF HEROES, Directed by Brent Wilson. Producer Robert Reese

Short Subject
TODAY YOU ARE A FOUNTAIN PEN, Written and directed by Dan Katzir.

Director
Gil M. Portes, SMALL VOICES.

Screenplay
Gil M. Portes, Adolfo B. Alix, Jr. and Senedy H. Que, SMALL VOICES.

Actor
Jonathan Bennett, SEASON OF YOUTH, Directed by Eric Perlmutter.

Actress
Lynn Redgrave, THE ANNIHILATION OF FISH, Directed by Charles Burnett.

Special Jury Prize
KLEZMER ON FISH STREET Directed by Yale Strom. Producer Elizabeth Schwartz.

Audience Favorite Awards

Feature
BACHELORMAN, Co-producer/co-writer/co-star Rodney Lee Conover.

Documentary
BROADWAY: THE GOLDEN AGE, BY THE LEGENDS WHO WERE THERE, Directed by Rick McKay, who was on hand to accept the award.

Short Film
KILLING PEDRO RIVERA, Written and directed by Austin Stark and Jeffrey Karp, who were on hand to accept the award.

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Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida 2005

Posted by Alvin Malnik on October 28, 2009
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From November 18, 2005

11th Annual InterContinental Ball For The Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida


This year’s gala was a huge success, shattering all previous records in attendance, celebrity guests, and, most importantly funds raised for those in need. More than $700,000 can now be used to grant the wishes of 141 children in South Florida living with life-threatening medical conditions.

The 2005 Ball Chairman, Shareef Malnik, owner of The Forge restaurant in Miami, emceed alongside “Apprentice” alumni Katrina Campins and Bradford Cohen. Al Malnik and his wife Nancy were honored as Lifetime Benefactors. Special Guest Honorees were music and fashion icons Russell and Kimora Lee Simmons, joined by tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams, model Marcus Schenkenberg, boxing promoter Don King, and Charles Koppelman, Chairman of Martha Stewart Living. Celebrities also included Florida Marlin Jeff Conine, Miami Dolphin Sam Madison, Sex and the City author Candace Bushnell, and Miami fashion designer Rene Ruiz.

Guests enjoyed music by DJ Cassidy during the cocktail hour while they mingled and toured the silent auction (more than 150 packages which included fashionable designer names, plus InterContinental Hotel stays in Bali, Paris, Cairo, Athens, Amstel, New York, and London, among others). For the Live Auction, Kimora Lee Simmons joined fellow auctioneers Lee Schrager and Shareef Malnik, encouraging guests to bid. Auction items included tennis lessons with Venus and Serena; trips to France and Chile courtesy of Southern Wine & Spirits and American Airlines; a walk-on role in Brett Ratner’s next movie, Rush Hour 3; the newly introduced Aston Martin V8 Vantage courtesy of The Collection; a date with Schenkenberg; a $50,000 membership to Casa Casaurina, plus items from Bvlgari and Rene Ruiz Couture. Ending the evening with a bang, international recording artist Wyclef Jean performed some of his greatest hits.

The night was a true success thanks to InterContinental Miami General Manager Jack Miller, special guests, generous donors, dedicated volunteers, and Platinum Sponsor Premier Beverage Company, who all helped to make this the highest grossing fundraiser in Make-A-Wish history! Be a part of the magic at next year’s 12th Annual Intercontinental Ball.

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Alvin Malnik Talks About Is Realationship With Michael Jackson

Posted by Alvin Malnik on September 14, 2009
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Behind The Mask
The Private Life Of Michael Jackson

As told to Stephanie Wilson (Haute Living) by Alvin Malnik
Photo By Tatijana Shoan
alvin-malnik-michael-behind-mask

As soon as the untimely and sudden death of superstar Michael Jackson hit the airwaves, the rumors began flying. From the highly suspicious to the utterly ludicrous, falsehoods spread through the media like wildfire. Michael Jackson—a superstar with unmatched talent and charisma, a national treasure under a glaring global spotlight from the time he was 10 years old—was an incredibly private person. And though millions revered the man behind the pop-king mask, few really knew him. Al Malnik, the famous and legendary lawyer, businessman, and restaurateur whom Haute Living referred to as a “Living Legend” during our cover profile in the January/February 2007 Miami edition, was one of the few people whom Michael trusted wholeheartedly. In fact, Malnik is the godfather of Michael’s youngest son, Blanket, a piece of reality that got twisted and misconstrued in the weeks following his death. The rumor mill warped the truth so much that it was claimed that Malnik was actually the biological father of Blanket—a completely fabricated falsehood. Malnik appeared on The Today Show to answer the claims, which he called a “Ripley event,” considering he didn’t meet Blanket until he was one year old. Speaking out for only the second time since Michael’s passing, Al Malnik shares his personal history with Michael Jackson with Haute Living in hopes of setting the record straight about the private life of this public figure.

I first met Michael about nine years ago. I was told that he had heard about me and was interested in meeting, and in particular wanted to request a tour of my house in Palm Beach. Michael was an architecture buff, and he had admired the property from afar. He was in L.A. at the time, and expressed interest in discussing several different  business ideas and plans. He finally asked [director] Brett Ratner, whom I refer to as my 11th son, to call me and ask to meet with him. I initially said no because I was not a fan, so I really didn’t see the point in inviting him to come over and entertain him. When I told my wife Nancy about it, she raised holy hell! She said, “Are you kidding? Michael Jackson! I grew up with him! His posters were on my wall! You have to let him come over, I want to meet him.” So to please her, I invited him to the house, and from that first meeting we all developed a beautiful friendship. Throughout the past decade or so, Michael would come and stay at the house quite a bit, sometimes with the children, and sometimes alone. It was an extraordinary time. Michael was an amazing houseguest because he really didn’t require any attention. He liked to clean his own room and make his own bed, and he taught his kids to do that, too, much to our amazement. Michael soon became close friends with my son Shareef, along with Brett Ratner and Chris Tucker. The four of them spent a great deal of time together at our house, always having a ball, filled with a lot of laughs. I also have triplets that are around the same age as Michael’s two older children, Prince and Paris, who are 12 and 11 now. We would travel often with Michael and the family, going down to Acapulco or other family vacation spots. We also have fond memories of our times out at Neverland Ranch. The most important bungalow there is called the Elizabeth Taylor suite, which is where we stayed. The first night, he had Elizabeth Taylor herself call me, welcoming me to her suite at Neverland Ranch! The kids, of course, loved Neverland; they went around with Michael’s children and saw the zoo and rode the train. It was such a magical time. One year, at a birthday party that Nancy was having for the triplets, Michael came to the theater and surprised not only us, but the birthday guests as well. Everyone thought it was a Michael Jackson impersonator. They couldn’t believe it was really him! Come to think of it, some of the people may still think it was a lookalike. All of our children spent a lot of time together, and Michael’s children especially enjoyed it. When they were with us, they were able to go out with Nancy and I and our family and not be haggled. They didn’t have to wear their veils because no one knew who they were. When they spent time with us they got to experience normal situations that were lacking in their daily lives, like visiting St. Andrew’s school or going to the movies. When they were with my family, they literally were able to take off the masks and no one bothered them. Michael was able to do the same. We worked to create everyday experiences for him, like going shopping. One time we rented out a Publix supermarket so that he could do what ordinary people do on a regular basis.

Michael was able to relax when he was with us and let his guard down. We live on the beach, and he and I would go down to the water together after the sun went down where he was just an ordinary guy, kicking his feet in the surf. When it comes to my history with Blanket, Michael asked me to be Blanket’s godfather when the boy was a year old. My relationship with Blanket is limited, because he was just a baby at the time, and I did not really participate in his upbringing. But I think that in the event something happened, Michael really wanted me to be a sort of safety net. He wanted to know that I would be willing to raise Blanket as though he were one of my own children, and that’s what the legal document says. I haven’t spoken with the family since Michael’s passing. I am not used to being in the media spotlight so when the stories came out, I was shocked. I know if I go to the funeral, the press will besiege me again. So instead, our family will just pray for Michael, and wish him bon voyage from this Earth. Our family loved Mi-chael very much, and we will always be respectful, and always extend our hand of friendship to any of his children, should they ever need our help. Michael had such an amazing energy and such talent. He was always composing new songs and singing them a cappella. One day, he was walking around the house in his pajamas, singing some new pieces that he was working on. He was walking up one set of stairs, and then down another. I asked him, “What are you doing?” He said, “I’m doing two songs at once! I am walking up this set doing one song, and when I walk down the other, I do the other song.” He could write a song in five minutes, it was unbelievable. I know he did end up recording some of these new songs. He planned on making his comeback by doing an outrageous concert tour, starting in Europe and ending in the United States. At the same time, he wanted to simultaneously publish some of the new albums that he had been working on while he was staying at our house—all new, never-been-heard stuff. He was so excited to do this tour, so prepared for it. One of our friends who had seen his rehearsal one or two nights before his death, called me and said, “You ought to come out and see Michael before he does his concert. He is unbelievable. It’s like you have never seen him before.” I did have the opportunity to see him perform before, at our house. While visiting, he asked if we could get him a portable dance floor, so of course we did. When I saw him move around on that floor, I was wowed. I had never seen anything like it. I knew he was unbelievable, and it’s nice to know that five years later, he was equally impressive. It was great fun in those days, but we also shared some hard times. I helped Michael out financially in a lot of different areas when he needed it. At that time, we managed to resolve all of his financial problems. After that period, which was after I had paid for his bail when he was arrested, I felt it was not in our best family interest to spend all of the time that was required to get Michael on the right track again, because at that point he had capable people around him. And, of course, geography was a big problem because Michael’s business interests are essentially in California or out of New York or Europe. I really just didn’t have the time to continue to devote myself to trying to resolve the many considerations that were in his life. The last time I saw Michael was right before his trial, although we spoke many times after that. He was a bit meaner at that time; he was so furious and so disappointed at the charges being hurled at him. He swore to me that he was absolutely innocent of each and every charge that was made against him. And that’s the way it turned out. I think the legacy of Michael Jackson will endure for many years to come. Ultimately, the negativity surrounding him in the press will dissipate. He will be more acknowledged and respected for the musical genius that he demonstrated, and that legacy will survive our decade and the ones to come. Our children will rediscover Michael Jackson again many years from now, and be amazed that he created the music that he did, the style of dancing that he did, and more importantly, the wonderful charisma that he generated.

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Make-A-Wish Foundation Garden Party – Alvin Malnik

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 28, 2009
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The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida held the 2009 InterContinentalMiami Make-A-Wish Ball Garden Party, a private cocktail reception for 200 of South Florida’s leading philanthropists. The intimate gathering was held at the private Palm Beach area estate of lifetime benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik and was the first event of the year in honor of the highly anticipated annual ball.

“We are very fortunate to have such dedicated individuals in attendance year after year, whose support has proven as strong as ever in these hard economic times,” states Shareef Malnik, Gala Chair of InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball.

Guests at the garden party included Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida; Jack Miller, General Manager of InterContinental Miami and Gala Host of the IC Miami MAW Ball; Shareef Malnik, owner of The Forge restaurant and returning Gala Chair of the IC Miami MAW Ball; James Ferraro, of The Ferraro Law Firm and Wish Benefactor of the IC MAW Ball. Special celebrity guests included designer and 2008 IC Miami MAW Ball Nightclub’s fashion show host Richie Rich, champion boxer Bernard Hopkins and burgeoning singer/songwriter Jamie Jo Harris. Guests mingled oceanside and enjoyed passed hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and live entertainment by The King’s Academy Jazz Band and Choir.


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Granting Wishes – Alvin Malnik

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 20, 2009
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sharon-stone-makeawish-al-malnik4

Usually, when VIPs and celebrities gather, we know to expect an opulent atmosphere emphasized by a lavish dinner, elaborate cocktails, and the country’s A-listers dressed to the nines. On November 10, this exact depiction took place at the InterContinental Miami, however there were a few exceptions. First, there was a charitable reason behind it all, the 13th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish ball, and second, there was an exceptional host, Sharon Stone.

The big screen femme fatale and off-screen philanthropist was the soirée’s definitive highlight, aggressively seducing the attendees as well as their hefty wallets. Stone captivated the crowd with a touching story of how a young girl with HIV asked Stone to grant her wish before beginning the auction. Accordingly, she went to work by firmly stating, “You’ve got the money and I’m going to get it!”

Stone also played a major role in the highly anticipated auction of the night: the offering of her vintage black 1985 Rolls-Royce. The highest bidder, Jim Ferraro, bought the car for $160,000, which included a case of vintage Dom Pérignon, a bottle of Rémy Martin Louis XIII, Tiffany & Co. crystal champagne stirrers, and seven key chains carefully stored in the car’s trunk.

Another prized item up for auction was a Ferrari F430 F1 Coupe donated by The Collection, Miami’s premier luxury car dealership. The car collected the highest bid of $240,000 from Dr. Roger Medel, CEO of Pediatrix in Miami.

With more than 900 guests spanning from socialites to philanthropists, the ball was packed. Notables included Scottie Pippen, Mike and Alicia Piazza, Al Malnik, Rob Van Winkle (aka Vanilla Ice) and South Beach diva Elaine Lancaster. Guests enjoyed a lavish five-course Hollywood-themed gala dinner while Triton Productions wowed the crowd with a video presentation beamed onto a circular video screen. The video montage featured welcome speeches by 2007 Ball Chairman Shareef Malnik and President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norman Wedderburn.

Ms. Stone truly fulfilled her goal, as the star-studded event was one for the record books, raising $1.5 million for terminally ill, young children across South Florida. Wishes at the event were bought at $5,000 each, with real estate mogul Jim Ferraro buying a record 40 wishes at a total of $200,000, emerging as the star donor of the event for the second year in a row. Following Ferraro was Market America’s CEOs J.R. Ridinger and his wife, Loren, who purchased 20 wishes.

“We are overwhelmingly delighted that our 13th Annual InterContinental Make-A-Wish Ball has managed to raise a record amount of money for our children,” Wedderburn said. “The money raised this year beats last year’s amount by more than $600,000. These generous funds will go toward granting hundreds of wishes for underprivileged children throughout South Florida. I would like to particularly thank my good friends Shareef Malnik and Jack Miller for their continued hard work, personal support, and friendship.”

In the 13 years that the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball has been conducted, more than $6 million has been raised to benefit the South Florida branch of the organization. The ball is the perfect excuse for a night of fun that is ultimately a rewarding experience for all in attendance.

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Al Malnik sets the record straight about Michael Jackson

Posted by Alvin Malnik on July 07, 2009
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Al Malnik Interview with Merideth Viera on the Today Show 070109

Merideth Viera- You know, I look at the images you have offered to share with us this morning, both still photos and the videos, and its clear that yours was a place where Michael felt he could come and relax and take the masks off his children, both literally and figuratively. What are some of the fondest memories of the time he spent with you and your family?

Al Malnik- Well, there are so many stories. As I’m sitting here I just thought of one. At a dining room table, which is sitting right next to me, we were having dinner one night and Michael mentioned how fond he was of Louis Armstrong,  and I said Michael, that’s extraordinary that you said that, because the dining table here, that we’re having dinner on, was once Louis Armstrong’s table and chairs in New Orleans. He broke down and sobbed. Michael was filled with humility, sensitivity, reverence and respect for anyone and everyone. And most of all the love that he had for his kids equalled the love that he had for his fans.  He just was a guy that was beyond amazing and it’s just sad to hear all the spurious stories that have been created about him.

MV- You know, Alvin Malnik, I’m struck by the photos, or the video actually, that was shown in Mike’s piece that was taken at that supermarket. You took Michael Jackson to a market in the middle of the night so he could do what everybody else does normally, just go shopping, and how much fun he had there. And it seemed to point out to me how isolated he must have been in his daily life to get such a thrill out of this. Did he ever talk to you about the loneliness he felt?

AM- He said loneliness is part of his obligation, because he really felt he had a God given talent that he was required to share with the world. And that’s what he did, and a part of that was for his personal loneliness to suffer. He was well equipped and agreed to do that.

MV- You know, I get the sense looking again at these images that his children seem well adjusted, at least the pictures show them to be well adjusted. Is that the way they came across to you?

AM- Not only well adjusted,…great story- You know I asked him, I said to my staff you have a lot of extra work with the kids staying here, do we need some extra work efforts on your part? They said there isn’t any extra effort. Michael’s kids clean their rooms, they make up their beds, polish the mirrors and they take care of everything, and he (Michael Jackson) said that’s the way I bring up my kids and that’s exactly what they did. Each and every morning Michael’s children, their first chores before breakfast were to clean their rooms.

MV- Are you concerned about the kids welfare right now? I mean they just lost the only parent they’ve ever known.

AM- Yes I am, but I think the Jackson family love these children just as they loved Michael, and I have no doubt at the end of the day the kids are going to be fine and they’re going to be well provided for.

MV- You know Al, there were reports that at one point you had claimed to be Blanket’s biological father. Do you want to set the record straight here this morning?

AM- (Laughs) Yes, it would be very interesting (for people) to realize that I didn’t meet Blanket until he was two years old, so that would really qualify as a Ripley (Believe It or Not) event, I think. Of course I’m not the biological father.

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