By D. Channing Muller Posted June 23, 2009, 12:20 PM EDT
MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA Children’s charity Amigos For Kids’ annual celebrity domino night fund-raiser, sponsored by financial institution ING, took place on Saturday night at exotic zoo Jungle Island. Through print, radio, and television advertising sponsorships, the event had grossed about $300,000—in line with last year's post-event tally—before the doors even opened on Saturday night.
“The bottom line is what you net, and the great thing about this year is that we are going to net more than last year,” said Amigos executive director, Rosa Plasencia. Final numbers confirmed the event had a 21 percent increase in the net amount going to the charity.
Though the event had 20 fewer sponsors than last year, the 100 that participated this time donated larger sums than previous years, allowing the charity to surpass last year’s amount. The organization worked with the Agency PR and Event Specialists to promote the fund-raiser through partnerships with Clear Channel, which provided outdoor billboards and radio spots, as well as local NBC affiliate WTVJ and Spanish-language stations Univision and TeleFutura, which ran promotional spots. Ford Motor Company signed on for the first time as the presenting sponsor for $35,000. Returning table sponsors included Nike, Nielsen Company, Carnival Cruise Lines, Burger King, and ING, which returned for its fifth year as the title sponsor. ING Foundation president Rhonda Mims also announced the company had signed on to sponsor the event again in 2010.
Approximately 2,000 people attended the event, which began with cocktails and food stations from more than 20 Miami restaurants and caterers, including Por Fin Restaurant and Lounge, RA Sushi, and Donut Divas and Fun Foods, in the food pavilion set up in the zoo’s courtyard. Dewer’s sponsored the main bar, which surrounded the central stage where singer Ivan Hernandez performed during the reception. The ING Flamingo Terrace, adjacent to the pavilion and alongside the park’s flamingo lake, offered seating at orange and white tables and chairs branded with ING’s logo.
Following the 90-minute outdoor reception, the Treetop Ballroom opened with 153 domino tables, each bearing a flag with a corporate sponsor’s logo. Local personalities like Deco Drive TV host Louis Aguirre, ING Foundation president Rhonda Mims, and chef Ingrid Hoffman of Simply Delicioso on the Food Network served as chairs for the event, along with about 15 other volunteers and local philanthropists who also participated in the domino games.
The Celia Cruz All Stars, a tribute band to the late Grammy Award-winning Latin singer (booked through Eventus Marketing Services), Salsa Kings salsa dancers, and costumed entertainers from Hot Jam Entertainment performed on the ballroom's main stage and dance floor throughout the remainder of the evening, which wrapped up around 2 a.m.
The zoo stayed open for the first time during the event, offering late-night tours and animal encounters with kangaroos, lemurs, snakes, and more.
Bacardi and Miami magazine also sponsored the event.
Correction: The name of the main event sponsor has been amended from ING Direct as originally reported.