More than 400 LGBT professionals gathered to network, honor community leaders and raise funds for charities at the Out Miami Foundation's third annual Bowtie Bash Saturday, Nov. 4 at the MAPS Backlot in Wynwood.
Jaime Bayo, executive director and CEO of the Out Miami Foundation, said the event is the "largest LGBTQ networking party with a purpose."
"Funds raised at The Bowtie Bash support OUT Miami Foundation's community-building grants, programs, and services that create positive, sustainable change in the lives of LGBTQ people right here in Miami," Bayo said.
OUT Miami Foundation is a 501c(3) charitable operating foundation whose mission is to build an engaged, philanthropic LGBT community in the Greater Miami area. Event attendees included members of The Society @ OUT Miami, a philanthropic group for LGBT professionals in Miami who receive special benefits and perks at all of OUT Miami's 20 plus events a year.
The Bowtie Bash also drew several volunteers and event sponsors, including Absolut and Champagne Perrier-Jouët, who provided a full open bar at a champagne reception and the main event cocktail party. Food was catered by Exquisite Catering & Events. The evening concluded with the FETCH Party Miami, the official afterparty with an open bar and $5 drink specials all night long.
Local drag queen Tiffany Fantasia, who was named Best Drag Queen in SFGN's Best Of 2017 contest and won Favorite Drag Queen at the fifth annual Pink Flamingo Awards, performed a show-stopping number to the music of Whitney Houston. The Bowtie Bash also honored the OUT Miami Foundation's Community Builders for 2017, which included retired teacher Hector Zuazo and husband Robert Medina, who helped build the Lambda Living Foundation -- an affordable housing initiative for LGBTQ seniors -- with Cindy Brown, former director of Miami Beach Botanical Garden and Miami Beach Gay Pride, and Fred Stock, CEO of Jewish Community Services of South Florida, also honorees.
Zuazo thanked OUT Miami "for their tremendous help to the LGBT community elders like us."
"Bob and I were very involved with Save Schools South Florida for many years, but as we got to our 70s and plus, we decided that our LGBTQ elders needed help with affordable housing and how they were being treated in some of the assisted living facilities," Zuazo said. "So after asking different people what could we do to help our age group, Bob and I met Fred Stock of JCS and together with Cheryl we started knocking on all the LGBT organizations' doors to find out how we could help our LGBTQ elders and put Lambda Living on the Miami map. The reaction has been fantastic."
Added Brown, who runs the Lambda Living program: "I want to thank the OUT Miami Foundation and Jaime Bayo for recognizing what JCS does for the LGBT community. JCS is a leader in seeing a need in the community and doing what needs to be done to address that need. And as a result in the near future we're gonna see our vision come to reality. Because of JCS and Lambda Living, all LGBT seniors are now living their life with dignity; the Lambda Living house is fully funded and open; and the conversations and behaviors associated with LGBT loneliness are now eradicated from our community. This is the impact JCS and Lambda Living have, making a difference."
For more information on JCS and the Lambda Living program for LGBT seniors, visit www.jcsfl.org. To find out more about OUT Miami Foundation or to become a member of The Society @ OUT Miami, visit www.outmiami.foundation.