Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Red, White & Blue Jeans Fundraiser

By Julie Unger

The Wellington Community Foundation held a special event to honor veterans on Friday, Nov. 11 at the Wanderers Club in Wellington. Red White & Blue Jeans: “A Nostalgic Salute to Our Veterans” was a patriotic event where veterans, their families and members of the Wellington community came together for dinner, dancing and a special ceremony honoring prisoners of war and veterans missing in action. There was singing, laughter, and even a friendship circle as everyone came together to honor and support veterans and help those in need in the community. Sponsors of the event included: TABLE SPONSORS Lesser, Lesser, Landy & Smith; Wellington Regional Medical Center; Regis and Tom Wenham; Bob and Karen Cavanagh Allstate Insurance; Jim and Paula Sackett; Dr. Raj Bansal; Palm Beach Avionics; Palm Beach Urology; and Wellington The Magazine; PAY IT FORWARD SPONSORS Drs. Humberto and Claudia Porrata; MediValue; Trilogy Home Care; Above & Beyond Party Décor; and Kenny Mondo Productions; GOLF SPONSOR The Wanderers Club; and EVENT DECOR SPONSOR Andrea Plevin – Above & Beyond Party Décor. The event was the foundation’s largest fundraiser of the year and raised much-needed funds that will be used to benefit residents of Wellington, particularly children and seniors, by supporting and improving their quality of life. For more info., visit

Wellington Community Foundation Helps Keep Village Clean

Several volunteers from the Wellington Community Foundation met up Saturday, Oct. 22 in front of the Wellington library to coordinate efforts on the group’s first quarterly Adopt-A-Street Clean Up Day.
The Wellington Community Foundation adopted the east and west roadways along Forest Hill Blvd. from South Shore Blvd. to Stribling Way and agreed to conduct cleanup days four times per year as part of the ongoing Wellington Adopt-A-Street program.
The program, which began back in the 1990s, allows residents to get involved and help keep the community looking great. Individuals, organizations or businesses commit to clean up their areas at least four times a year.
The Wellington Community Foundation Board of Directors agreed to sign up for the program as a great way to give back to the community, Foundation Chair Tom Wenham said. Although village employees do pick up trash on the streets all the time, volunteers were surprised at all the trash they did pick up along the route.
The Wellington Community Foundation is a charitable organization committed to benefiting the residents by supporting and improving their quality of life. For information about the foundation, or to become involved, call (561) 333-9843 or visit

ABOVE: Lizz and Mickey Smith, Tom Wenham, Maria Becker, and Jim Sackett take part in the cleanup effort.

Wellington Foundation Helps Back To Basics

By Julie Unger

The Wellington Community Foundation presented a $1,500 check to Back to Basics on Wednesday, Aug. 10 to provide 400 uniforms for local Wellington children at Elbridge Gale and New Horizons elementary schools.
Back to Basics is a Wellington-based volunteer organization that helps provide children with shoes, socks, underwear and a gift during the holiday season, as well as provide school uniforms to children in need.
Back to Basics, founded by Wellington resident Beverly Perham in 1984, will provide 10,000 complete school uniforms to children in at least 40 schools in Palm Beach County this year. The uniforms were recently delivered, and volunteers sorted the 16 pallets containing 602 boxes.
During the holiday season, Perham estimates that Back to Basics will provide gifts for 6,000 children in Palm Beach County.
Back to Basics is in need of organizations and groups to support its efforts. For more information, call Perham at (561) 319-4277 or visit
To drop off items for the holiday season or the school year, call Maggie Zeller at (561) 715-9262. Donations can be dropped off at Evergreen Insurance, located at 105th Avenue North, Suite 2, in Royal Palm Beach.

Wellington Foundation Supports Village Block Party

By Julie Unger

The Wellington Community Foundation recently partnered with the Village of Wellington to host its annual Back to School Block Party at Tiger Shark Cove Park on Saturday, Aug. 6.
The foundation sponsored 200 backpacks filled with back-to-school supplies in cooperation with Walgreens. “This is one of those events where we actually get to see the smile on students’ faces first hand as they pick out their favorite color backpack,” Foundation Chair Tom Wenham said.
Board Member Maggie Zeller agreed. “Working with the Village of Wellington’s staff was such a pleasure, and we hope to participate again next year.”
Although rain delayed the start of the event, bad weather could not stop the community spirit.
“Giving back to the community is why I came on board,” Board Member Mickey Smith said. “I agreed to serve because it is about the community coming together to help our neighbors, and this event epitomizes that.”
For more information about the Wellington Community Foundation, call (561) 333-9843.

ABOVE: Wellington Community Foundation board members Mickey Smith, Maggie Zeller and Tom Wenham get ready for students to come by and choose their backpacks.

Wellington Foundation Provides Camp Scholarships

By Julie Unger

Wellington Community Foundation board members met with campers from Wellington’s Parks and Recreation Department on Tuesday morning.
The foundation, a nonprofit organization designed to improve the lives of Wellington residents, provided five Wellington children with camp scholarships for eight weeks, explained Tom Wenham.
Wenham, who chairs the Wellington Community Foundation, was joined by foundation board members Robbin Lee and Maggie Zeller, along with Wellington’s ‎Community Services Director James Poag, Athletic Programs Manager Ryan Hagopian and Senior Neighborhood Advocate Jonathan Salas.
“We’re very excited that we’re able to do this,” Wenham said. “We’re very happy to help these five kids enjoy themselves and enjoy the summer.”
Poag and Salas chose the recipients, Wenham said.
Foundation officials were proud to be making a difference in the summers of young Wellington residents.
“This is our mission, to help Wellington children have a great summer,” Zeller said.
Lee, CEO of Wellington Regional Medical Center, is glad to see that the newly revitalized foundation was able to provide this assistance.
“Wellington is known for families, and especially our children,” Lee said. “To be able to do something for the kids in our community, it’s very exciting. I’m thrilled to be here.”
Campers took a quick break from playing to pose for a picture with foundation officials and village staff members.
“It’s a great opportunity for our children to have this experience. Wellington prides itself on family, on our parks, on our recreation,” Poag said. “To expose these children to the Wellington Parks & Recreation system, I think, is just an absolute positive. We really appreciate the foundation’s contribution.”
Wellington’s summer camp program, he explained, brings many former campers back as counselors, where they are able to share their experiences with current participants. Campers get to take field trips, where they go fishing, to the Wellington pool and to other places that not all camps are able to attend, giving campers unique opportunities.
Some of the activities for campers when they aren’t on field trips, Hagopian said, include rock wall climbing, bounce houses and more. Earlier this week, the children made their own stuffed animals.
On average, the camp has 200 participants each week. Older campers go on field trips Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and recently went to Miami. They have deep-sea fishing trips, and go to entertainment destinations such as Boomers.
“The counselors have been really good,” Hagopian said. “All of them are over 18 years old and have graduated from high school.”
Hagopian directed people to the village’s web site,, for information about signing up.
“We should still have spaces available for the kinder group, ages 5 to 7, and the 7- to 12-year-old group,” he said. “The teen group has filled up pretty quickly this year.”
The scholarships provided by the foundation gave children in need an opportunity to hang out with their peers and participate in great activities, he said.
“It’s a really big deal,” Hagopian said. “For people to come out and be able to sponsor some of these kids who may not have the ability to go to summer camp, hats off to the Wellington Community Foundation and some of the other scholarships and sponsorships that we’ve had this year.”
Wellington’s summer camp runs through Aug. 12 with weekly sessions from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information about the Wellington Community Foundation, call (561) 333-9843 or visit

ABOVE: Jonathan Salas, Maggie Zeller, Robbin Lee, Tom Wenham and James Poag with Wellington campers.

Foundation Hosts Fundraising Event

By Julie Unger

The newly revitalized Wellington Community Foundation held its first fundraiser Thursday, June 2 at the home of Dr. Edward and Maria Becker. Dozens of supporters enjoyed the private party and helped the foundation raise money for school supplies to give to Wellington students in need. Wellington children will get backpacks with the school supplies at the village’s annual block party on Saturday, Aug. 6 at Tiger Shark Cove Park. For more info., visit

Wellington Foundation Aims To Help Area Residents

By Jason Stromberg

The newly revitalized Wellington Community Foundation will hold its first fundraising event on Thursday, June 2 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Wellington home of Dr. Edward and Maria Becker.
It is an event that will open a new chapter in the history of the nonprofit organization, currently chaired by former Wellington Mayor Tom Wenham.
Created in 2009, the Wellington Community Foundation was originally envisioned as a nonprofit community service arm of the Village of Wellington, led by the Wellington Village Council. However, new rules have since been put in place that forbid elected officials from raising money through such an entity.
After years of discussion, the foundation was handed over to a community-run board last year. Since then, Wenham has been working with attorney Mickey Smith, secretary of the foundation, to expand the nonprofit’s board and develop its mission.
“From my perspective, the foundation would have died without Tom Wenham’s leadership,” Smith said. “His relentless desire to give back to the Village of Wellington inspired me to help him.”
With a new board coming together, Wenham sees bright days on the horizon.
“I’m very pleased with the positive spirit of the board of directors,” Wenham said. “I’m so proud to be a part of this wonderful group.”
Joining the board in recent months are treasurer Maria Becker, Wellington Regional Medical Center CEO Robbin Lee, Town-Crier Publisher Barry Manning, former Palm Beach County Commissioner Ken Adams, retired news anchor Jim Sackett, and local businesswomen Karen Cavanagh and Maggie Zeller.
Zeller is thrilled to be a part of the growing organization.
“I am honored to have been asked to serve as a member of the board of directors,” Zeller said. “The Wellington Community Foundation will allow me to serve the children and seniors of Wellington to make a positive difference in their lives.”
Lee will serve on the board as its vice chair.
“Wellington is a wonderful community, and it is an honor to be a part of a foundation that focuses on improving the lives of some of the community’s residents,” Lee said. “There is a misconception regarding the needs of some of our residents, especially children and the elderly. As a member of the Wellington Community Foundation, I can help align some resources for those in need.”
The June 2 fundraiser at the Becker home will raise money to help supply backpacks for needy students in local schools.
“We are working with James Poag, the director of community services for the Village of Wellington, in supplying backpacks to students who need assistance when they go back to school in August,” explained Wenham, who thanked the Beckers for their generosity in hosting the fundraiser.
Poag and the village expect to raise enough money to buy the backpacks and hand them out to students at a block party scheduled for Aug. 6, Wenham said.
Giving back to the community is why Smith came on board.
“I agreed to serve on the board because it epitomizes everything good about Wellington,” he said. “It’s about the community coming together to help our neighbors who need a hand. The board has very quickly grown to nine people, and I am thrilled to work with such a dedicated group.”
The foundation has plans for a number of projects to support the most vulnerable people in the community.
“Many people only associate Wellington with affluence,” Smith said. “This image of Wellington means absolutely nothing, though, to the many children and elderly people living right here who need our help. If we are successful in communicating the disparity between perception and reality, the foundation will be wildly successful. I believe with every ounce of my being that the generosity of the folks here in Wellington is second to none.”
Sackett agreed. “Having lived in Wellington since 1985, I have seen sweeping changes to our village,” he said. “I have seen it grow. I have seen it flourish. But I have also seen an increased need to extend a helping hand to those who need it. The Wellington Community Foundation is a perfect vehicle to do just that.”
The Wellington Community Foundation offices are located in the original Wellington Mall at 12794 W. Forest Hill Blvd., Suite 19F.
For more information about the June 2 fundraiser, or to make a donation, call the Wellington Community Foundation office at (561) 333-9843.

ABOVE: Wellington Community Foundation board members include: (front row) Mickey Smith, Karen Cavanagh, Robbin Lee and Barry Manning; and (back row) Tom Wenham, Maria Becker, Maggie Zeller and Jim Sackett. Not shown: Ken Adams.