Pap Corps President Recieves Women’s Chamber of Commerce Giraffe Award
Gloria Berkowitz received the Giraffe Award from the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Palm Beach County in recognition of her leadership as President of the Papanicolaou Corps for Cancer Research, Inc. The Pap Corps has supported cancer research at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center for the last 54 years.
The Giraffe Awards are given to women who have “stuck their neck out,” whose focus, initiative, dedication, perseverance, and “risk-taking” made a difference to other women in the work place and in the community. The 11th Annual Giraffe Awards were held on Friday, March 17, 2006, at the Palm Beach Convention Center where soap star Susan Lucci was the keynote speaker.
Berkowitz is in her fourth year as president of the Pap Corps, the largest all-volunteer grass-roots fundraising organization in the state of Florida
“With Gloria’s leadership and the more than 17,000 Pap Corps volunteers we are truly making a difference in the lives of cancer patients today and setting the stage for even more dramatic advances in the future,” says W. Jarrard Goodwin, M.D., F.A.C.S., UM/Sylvester Director.
The Pap Corps has experienced it largest growth since Berkowitz took over the helm in 2003. The organization increased its membership from 35 south Florida units with 10,000 volunteers to 47 units last year alone. In May 2005, the Pap Corps presented a record-breaking $3.25 million gift to fund cancer research at UM/Sylvester, part of a five-year pledge that was increased from $10 million (in 2003) to $12 million, to make 2005 a banner year.
Her mantra has always been: “May the next dollar raised be the last dollar needed in our quest to find a cure for cancer.” Berkowitz is focused on and dedicated to this goal, which she sincerely believes can be achieved.
Berkowitz began with the Boca West Cancer Research Unit as president for several years where she demonstrated not only the ability to raise money for a worthwhile cause but also to get a whole community involved in a single humanitarian purpose. She also had the vision to encourage others to participate so there would be continuity in leadership.
Once Berkowitz became the president of the umbrella organization, the Pap Corps, she continued that philosophy – of leadership building – by holding seminars and workshops so leaders-in-training would feel confident and knowledgeable in their positions.
Berkowitz has initiated many strategies that brought the work of the Pap Corps to all members of the organization. Last fall, she achieved a long-held dream of publishing a newsletter that would not only circulate to all 17,000 volunteers but also to the medical and community service population. With support from UM/Sylvester, the Pap Corps Press is published twice a year and distributed to current volunteers.
Pap Corps volunteer, Nancy Winn says “one of Gloria’s most outstanding gifts as a community leader is to support and encourage others who have ideas to promote the work of the Pap Corps. If these innovations bring the possibility of raising money and awareness for finding a cure for cancer one step closer, Gloria will go out on a limb to channel the volunteers’ enthusiasm and creativity toward that goal.” In her nomination of Berkowitz for the award, Winn described her qualifications for receiving the award in three words: energy, vision, and connection
Earlier this year, more than 2,500 Pap Corps volunteers, their families, and friends attended the Sixth Annual Celebration of Life Walk-a-Thon and Health Fair, one of the organization’s largest fundraising events, raising more than $200,000 for cancer research at UM/Sylvester.
Berkowitz is very active in numerous organizations such as the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and serves on the board of the ADL at Boca West and as an Associate National Director. She has served her Boca West Community as a member of the governing board and countless committees.
Berkowitz’ educational and professional background is business-oriented, but she has immersed herself in the language of cancer research and care. She is married to Ronald Berkowitz and has two adult children.