The 23rd annual Make-A-Wish Ball raised over $2.3 million to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Since 1983, Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida has worked to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy.

This year’s ball is the highest grossing fundraising event for the Southern Florida Chapter of Make-A-Wish® Foundation.

The ball was chaired by philanthropist Shareef Malnik, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida, who created it along with his wife and actress Gabrielle Anwar who stars in the ABC drama,“Once Upon a Time.” Malnik also owns The Forge Restaurant & Wine Bar.

The swank gala was held at the InterContinental® Miami Saturday, November 4, where 900 guests watched performances by Lenny Kravitz and Alisan Porter, of The Voice fame.

Lenny Kravitz Knows How To Rock

Kravitz and his 13-piece band and back-up singers, gave guests a memorable 45-minute concert that included his chart-topping hits, “American Woman,” “Are You Gonna Go Your Own Way,” and “It Ain’t Over ‘Til it’s Over.”

In true rock star fashion, Kravitz jumped on top of a table and began singing, making it one of the most epic moments in the ball’s history.

DJ Irie also kept the dance floor lit.

Make-A-Wish kids performed, too. Fourteen-year-old Sage Escalante, who was diagnosed with cancer when she was 12 years old, performed two original songs on a ukulele. She was joined by Madison White, whose wish for a horse was the 11,000th wish granted in Make-A-Wish ®Southern Florida history.

Lenny Kravitz and Make-A-Wish Ball

Lenny Kravitz and Make-A-Wish Ball/Photo Credit: Tracy Destin

Oh, What A Night

This year, a 150-foot-long wraparound runway was transformed into a stage backlit with a wall of video art that showed people dancing to cults songs, “What a Feeling” and “Fame.” Sculptural floral centerpieces created by Bayfront Flora along with a 144-ft LED Wall produced by Mauricio Ferrazza and executed by PSAV kept the ambiance tasteful.

The ball’s “Three Amigos” – Malnik,  Robert Hill, host and General Manager of InterContinental® Miami, and Norman Wedderburn, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida–made sure patrons arrived with a smile on their faces.

After welcoming the crowd, Malnik wound a music box that sat onstage, which opened to reveal Gabrielle, with the help of auctioneer Brian Holland, auctioned eight items, with all proceeds benefitting Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida.

Sabrinah Boasman and Make-A-Wish Ball

Editor-In-Chief of L’Etage Magazine Sabrinah Boasman and guests attend the Make-A-Wish Ball.

Attendees were treated to an over-the-top cocktail reception on the hotel’s mezzanine complete with a cigar-rolling station, where they grubbed on tasty dishes and sweet drinks. The gala featured a raw seafood bar with stone crabs, lobster and shrimp.

Dinner was held in the Grand Ballroom where guests were met by dancers en pointe. Dinner was made by InterContinental Miami Executive Chef Klaus Happel featuring stone crab claw, jumbo shrimp and crab meat salad;  beef tenderloin with chipotle sweet potatoes and seasonal vegetables; and a spherical passion fruit chocolate mousse.

The night capped off with a 1980’s inspired runway show curated by Saks Fifth Avenue Brickell City Centre, showcasing the holiday collection. Models were coifed by in-kind donor Danny Jelaca of Danny Jelaca Hair, with makeup by Beauty for Real by Leslie Munsell.

Make-A-Wish Ball

Guests attend the Make-A-Wish Ball./Photo Credit: Tracy Destin

A Silent Auction Like No Other

Aside from a table-dancing Kravitz, the ball’s famed silent auction stole the show, offering hundreds of premier items and experiences.

The lucky winners were rewarded exotic travel packages including a five-night-stay at a private home in Beaver Creek, Colorado donated by Joseph Perez; a 2018 Porsche 718 Cayman Coupe in “Miami Blue,” from The Collection; and the Romero Britto Pink Dream Horse.

Other auction sponsors included: Make-A-Wish Board of Directors; British Airways and InterContinental® London Park Lane; InterContinental® Bora Bora Resort & Thalasso Spa; InterContinental® Los Angeles Century City; InterContinental® Moorea Resort & Spa; InterContinental® Tahiti Resort & Spa; Bob & Alysia Press; Hotel InterContinenal® Lisbon; InterContinental® Porto – Palacio das Cardosas; Domaine Bertaude Belieu St. Tropez; Haute Living Magazine; Palace Hotel Byblos; JetSmarter; and InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.

The party continued into the night at the 10th Annual InterContinental® Miami Make-A-Wish® Nightclub, presented by E11EVEN MIAMI, held on hotel’s mezzanine. the Nightclub was held at InterContinental® Miami and featured a performance Snoop Dogg.

Model Kiki Barts at Make-A-Wish Ball./Photo Credit: Tracy Destin

Guests included Al and Nancy Malnik, Lifetime Benefactors of Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida; Jim and Megan Ferraro; Miami Mayor Francis Suarez; City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell; Dr. Thinh Trann; Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools Alberto M. Carvalho and Maria Carvalho; Orianne Collins; Barbara Becker and Juan Lopez Salaberry; Dr. Lenny and Lisa Hochstein; Aaron Resnick; Jay Phillip Parker and Alison Zhuk; Howard and Barbara Glicken; Harvey and Roberta Chaplin; Wayne and Arlene Chaplin; Bob and Alysia Press; Dr. Jeffrey Kamlet; Trina Robinson; Daniel and Merle Weiss; Brian and Andrea Holland; Jonathan and Missy Babicka; Richard Polidori; Richard and Robin Weissman; Eugene and Brooke Frenkel; Rocky and Susie Stein; Alli Malnik; Chris Paciello; Barry Skolnick and Missy Broder; and Dennis Crowley and Mari Haupert; Dennis DeGori; Ken DeGori; Ramona Messore; Jesus Rohena; Igor Makarov; Joseph Perez; Amy Bloom; and Drew and Lisa Mandala.

Make-A-Wish Ball

Guests attend the Make-A-Wish Ball./Photo Credit: Tracy Destin

The co-chairs of the Nightclub 2017 Host Committee included Miami tastemakers in fashion, arts, music and nightlife such as Maxwell Blandford, Michael Capponi, Nick D’Annunzio, Clif Loftin, Whitney McLees, Antonio Misuraca, Tara Solomon, and Clayton van Hooijdonk.

Make-A-Wish Southern Florida has granted more than 11,000 wishes to children who have life-threatening medical conditions. The foundation has raised more than $23.3 million, granting the wishes of more than 4,300 children from South Florida in its 23 year history.

The Make-A-Wish Ball is presented by the Makarov Foundation and the Finker-Frenkel Legacy Foundation.

Click here to view photos of red carpet arrivals on Facebook

Click here to view photos of Lenny Kravitz’s performance on Facebook

Photo Credit: Tracy Destin

About The Author

Lifestyle Editor

As an editor and a woman about town, Carla has the luxury of writing about a multitude of topics throughout South Florida. ? If it's poppin' and about music ?, entertainment and the arts ??, she's all over it. If it involves fashion ?and a chance to indulge in beauty, skincare and haircare products, she'll cover it. Have a foodie ?event that needs coverage? Want to talk about your hotel's new spa amenities? If so, reach out to her for editorial opportunities at

Related Posts