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For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2015
Media Contact:
Sheila Stieglitz
[email protected]

Deering Estate Foundation Annual Meeting Honors 2014 Partners of the Year

(MIAMI, January 21, 2015) - Deering Estate Foundation President David A. Marley, Jr. proudly presented a summary of the past year’s accomplishments in Deering Estate’s historic Stone House Ballroom.  Included in the list of successes were the sold-out Deering Seafood Festival; the 100 Ladies of Deering, who have grown in number and dramatically impacted the refurnishing project of the historic homes; the extraordinary Weeks-Wulf Gift to the Foundation of 8.75 acres and a 10,500 square foot energy efficient home; an over-the-top signature fundraiser Wine On Harvest Moon; and the confirmation of Jennifer Tisthammer as the new Director of the Deering Estate at Cutler.

“The Deering Estate Foundation is stronger than ever, both fiscally and programmatically,” said Marley. “I would also like to recognized my Executive Committee and look forward to a second year facing new challenges with Vice-President Buff March –Bye, Treasurer Vicki Simmons-Hinz, Secretary Liede DeValdivielso and Immediate Past Chair Eric Haas.”

Mary Pettit, Executive Director of the Deering Estate Foundation, welcomed newly elected directors to the board: Tom Cromer, Dr. Lyle Culver, Dr. Evelyn Gaiser, Patrick Roberts, Jamie Thomas and Andrew Yagoda. Joining the ranks of Trustees is Heather Bell O’Brien.

Following the installations were the award presentations honoring the Foundation’s outstanding Champion Partners. Honorees are:

Preservation Partner
Robert Jude of Sunshine Paint & Restoration was honored for going above and beyond his contractual obligations regarding preservation and restoration of the historic buildings and resources, and for the volunteer leadership that he provided.

Conservation Partner
Jennifer Possley accepted the award on behalf of the field biologists at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Gardens. For more than 10 years, these scientists have provided collaborative support in conducting critical habitat and species assessments of the Deering Estate at Cutler in partnership with Natural Areas Management, and updating the Estate’s Florida Natural Areas Inventory (FNAI) for the State of Florida.

Programming Partner
Representing the National Water Dance was Dale Andree, who accepted this award for the organization’s participation in the Deering Festival of the Arts. Their program brought the Estate to the national stage, and created an opportunity for dancers of all ages and movers of all kinds to experience the power of art and performance as a vehicle for social change. Their collaboration on the formation of a nationwide movement choir on “water ethics,” informed and inspired both participants and audience members to take responsibility to conserve and protect water as a precious resource.

Education Partner
Principal Raul Calzadilla accepted the Education Partner Award on behalf of Air Base K-8, for their participation in the Estate’s NESTT program. NESTT, Nurturing Environmental Stewards of Today and Tomorrow, is a DEC program designed to improve a child’s academic achievement, enhance critical thinking, and develop decision-making skills through participation in highly interactive, relevant and stimulating science activities. For the past two years, Air Base K-8, a Title One School, stood out among all participating NESTT Schools for having diligently raised funds on their own in an underserved market to pay for the full scope of the NESTT Program. 

Community Partner
Grant Miller of Community Newspapers received the Community Partner Award for his role as an outstanding media sponsor.  His family-owned newspaper has been fully supportive of both the Deering Estate at Cutler and the Deering Estate Foundation, printing press releases, writing stories, and generously running photo spreads and ads for special events. Personally, Grant is a staunch supporter of the South Florida community and generously helps to generate publicity for numerous non-profits, area schools, businesses, sports leagues and community events.

Corporate Partner
Dan Yglesias accepted the Corporate Partner Award on behalf of Palmetto Ford Truck for their longstanding financial support of the Deering Seafood Festival. The corporation was also instrumental in connecting the Foundation with the Ford Motor Company, and initiating a funding source for the expansion of the Estate’s educational programs. As an individual, Dan’s level of engagement with the Deering Estate Foundation is reflected in the countless hours he gives, and the leadership and resources he provides each year.

Volunteer Award
Jerry Morale received the Foundation’s Volunteer Award. This “volunteer-extraordinaire” gives his whole heart and soul to everything he does for the Estate from diligently organizing and directing Seafood Festival traffic, graciously pouring wine at the Harvest Moon fundraiser, to making breakfast and serving it with a smile for other hard-working volunteers. “When you’re a volunteer, we’re all in it together,” he said.

“What can I do next?” That is the question that Fred Fiallo always asks. He was honored with the Estate’s Volunteer Award for tirelessly working with the team in the Artist Village, installing exhibits and being an exceptional volunteer.

Champion Partner of the Year
The winner of this award is held under wraps until it is announced at the meeting each year. This year it was awarded to Sheila Stieglitz. “I am humbled to say that when my name was called as this year’s recipient, I was confused, a bit numb and had trouble processing what had happened,” said Stieglitz. “I was overwhelmed with gratitude and deeply honored to accept the award.”

For more information on getting involved and becoming a Deering Estate Foundation member, please call 305-235-1668 x 253.

About the Deering Estate Foundation, Inc.
The Deering Estate Foundation is a volunteer driven community-based charitable 501(c) 3 Florida Corporation that was founded in 1989 by members of our community for the sole purpose of preserving, protecting and enhancing the Deering Estate at Cutler for this and future generations. The mission of the Deering Estate Foundation is to raise public awareness of the Deering Estate at Cutler and to raise funds to support education, research, exhibits and collections and the conservation and restoration of the Estate’s natural and historical resources.
About the Deering Estate at Cutler
The Deering Estate at Cutler, a Miami-Dade County Park, is located at 16701 SW 72 Avenue in Miami. This 444-acre natural and archeological preserve and historic site is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and serves as a center for education, culture and recreation. Historic house tours are offered daily at 10:30 am & 3:00 pm. Natural areas tours are offered daily at 12:30 pm (October – May). DeeringAdventure Tours are also offered throughout the year for an additional fee. For more information on the Deering Estate's educational and cultural programs, please visit