Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center

Nordstrom Aventura Mall Opening Gala Raises $212,500 For Three Miami-Area Charities


Seattle-based Nordstrom, Inc., one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, kicked off the opening of its third Miami-area store at Aventura Mall with an evening gala on Wednesday, February 13. The event, entirely underwritten by Nordstrom, helped raise $212,500 for the signature projects of the Junior League of Miami, The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis/The Miami Project at the University of Miami and the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Nordstrom at Aventura Mall opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, February 15.

A crowd of over 1,700 guests were the first to preview the new Nordstrom store while enjoying lavish hors d’oeuvres, buffets, bars and live entertainment throughout the two-level store. The highlight of the gala was two full-scale, theatrical runway fashion shows staged in a specially constructed hangar-size tent adjacent to the store.

Co-chairs for the evening were Pennie and Gary Abramson, Marc A. Buoniconti, Nick Buoniconti, Barth A. Green, M.D., and Erin Knight.

The Charities

The Junior League of Miami, founded in 1926, is an organization of more than 1,000 women sharing a common vision to empower Miami’s women, children, and families to conquer tomorrow’s challenges and to build a community. Funds raised through the event will help support the mission of the Junior League of Miami to promote voluntarism, develop the potential of women and improve communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.

In 1985, Barth A. Green, M.D. and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti helped found The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis after Nick’s son, Marc, sustained a spinal cord injury during a college football game. Today, The Miami Project is the world’s largest, most comprehensive spinal cord injury research center based at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. Committed to finding a cure for paralysis resulting from spinal cord injury, the Buoniconti family established The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis in 1992, a non-profit organization devoted to assisting The Miami Project achieve its goals. The Miami Project to Cure Paralysis is embarking on the most exciting study in its 22-year history. Funds raised from the gala will be used to initiate its first-ever transplantation clinical trials in humans. The study has potential to affect millions worldwide living with paralysis and suffering from spinal cord injuries.

Since its inception as a dedicated, comprehensive cancer center in 1992, the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center has led the fight against cancer. As South Florida’s only university-based cancer center, UM/Sylvester is an integral part of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine and works diligently to reduce the human burden from cancer in research, education, prevention, and delivery of the highest quality patient care. Funds raised will be used to conduct ground-breaking research, resulting in better outcomes for the community. Their goal is to reach a day when cancer is no longer a life-threatening illness.

The Fashion

With spring right around the corner, Nordstrom presented the best designer looks for women and men from American and European spring 2008 collections. The show included Burberry Prorsum, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Michael Kors, Missoni, Moschino, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, St. John and Versace. The show featured 40 models from Miami, Los Angeles, New York, Dallas and Chicago. It was staged on a custom-built, multi-level set that featured two video screens, elaborate theatrical lighting, a revolving turntable and a 64-foot catwalk.

The Fun

Live salsa music by Miguel Cruz and Tropical Dreams entertained guests throughout the evening. Each guest received specially designed note cards by world-renowned fashion illustrator Ruben Toledo as a gift for attending.

The Food

With a tantalizing mix of food and fashion, nobody left the party unsatisfied. Guests were tempted with mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres, buffets and full bars from A Joy Wallace Catering throughout the store. Highlights from the extensive menu included: Thai beef and Asian pear roulade; flaky, buttery potato and leek tarts; pistachio-covered grape truffles; a ceviche bar featuring white fish, shrimp, vegetarian and calamari shooters; and blackened shrimp with a avocado and corn crown. Passed desserts, including chocolate-dipped key lime pie popsicles, mascarpone berry napoleons and a candy bar cupcakes station, added a sweet finish to the evening.

Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers, with 156 stores located in 28 states. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 101 Full-Line Stores, 50 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, one freestanding shoe store and two clearance stores. Nordstrom also serves customers through its online presence at and through its catalogs. Nordstrom, Inc. is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.

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