By Sharon Aron Baron
Community Foundation of Broward has honored two residents of Tamarac as their “Nonprofit Hidden Heroes.”
Community Foundation President and CEO Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson said these hidden heroes that live among us are serving our community every day in our nonprofits here in Broward County and helped us get through COVID-19.
“These are some amazing stories of courage, care, compassion, and love.”
The winners were selected for helping their nonprofits continue to provide valuable services to their clients and the community during the pandemic.
Xenia McFarling, of Tamarac, was named one of Broward’s Nonprofit Hidden Heroes for her work as vice president of operations at LifeNet4Families, Fort Lauderdale.
Melanie Geddes, CEO of LifeNet4Families in Fort Lauderdale, said Xenia has been instrumental in creating an environment where they could serve safely.
“We are serving 250 meals a day. We provide showers. We are providing clothing and operating our mailroom. Xenia leads those departments. During the pandemic, she really stands out. She does not accept failure as an option, and so it inspires others to do the same.”
Alex Nesar, also from Tamarac and was honored as a Nonprofit Hidden Hero for his work as director of construction for Habitat for Humanity of Broward, with its main office in Fort Lauderdale and with Habitat for Humanity homes located throughout Broward County.
Nancy Robin, Habitat for Humanity of Broward CEO, said Alex’s creativity and his desire to deliver really inspire all of them.
“While everything was shutting down around us, Ales was gearing up and figuring out how he could get these homes closed for the families that were counting on us and truly needing a safe place to call home. We ended up closing 19 homes by the end of June, thanks to Alex’s creativity and tenacity.”
Other Broward Nonprofit Hidden Heroes are:
Tina Cortez, Director of Wildlife Hospital, Sawgrass Nature Center & Wildlife Hospital, Coral Springs
Timothy Curtin, Executive Director of Community Services, Memorial Healthcare System, Hollywood
Rebecca “Becky” Gould, STEM Center for Education and Career Development Manager, Museum of Discovery & Science, Fort Lauderdale
Tammy Holder, Teaching Artist-in-Residence, Broward Performing Arts Foundation, Fort Lauderdale
Samantha “Sam” Kelly, Vice President of Rehabilitation Programs, Lighthouse of Broward for the Blind & Visually Impaired, Fort Lauderdale
Natasha McFarquhar, Emergency Basic Needs Navigator, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, Lauderhill
Belinda Paulicin, Director of Program Services, Gilda’s Club of South Florida, Fort Lauderdale
Sandra Powell, Regional Laboratory Manager, Broward Health, Fort Lauderdale
Patricia “Pejay” Ryan, Director of Marketing, Broward Education Foundation, Fort Lauderdale
Elise Samet, Volunteer Program Manager, Canine Assisted Therapy, Oakland Park
Each of the winners receives a $500 award and a prize package that includes a 2-night staycation at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel and gift certificates from multiple restaurants.
Each of their nonprofit organizations receives a monetary award of up to $25,000 and a VIP seat in the Community Foundation’s upcoming Resilience and Recovery program to improve nonprofit crisis preparedness.
Community Foundation of Broward hosted a blue-ribbon judging panel of community leaders to select winners based on taking on extra work, was bold or innovative, solved problems, or created a new system.
For more information, visit www.cfbroward.link/HiddenHeroes.
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