BICE Restaurant, Altima International and the Capponi Group raise funds for Haiti

Bice Ristorante on Worth Avenue will host a ‘Friends of Haiti’ bartending event on Tuesday August 24th.  Prominent South Florida entrepreneurs and community leaders from Dade and Palm Beach County have volunteered to bartend to help raise funds for Camp Belvil, Hope Alive for Haiti and Haiti Hospital Appeal.  Additional funds will be raised through on-site exhibits by local artists and through silent auction and raffles provided by various luxury purveyors.

Celebrated bartenders include local residents Fi Stephenson, Ryan Hernandez and Miami based developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Capponi.   Their relentless devotion and grass roots efforts have been instrumental in making a difference in the lives of the surviving victims.

Linda Uribe, Public Image Director for Island Company suggested tying in the Capponi Group after having experienced hands on their accomplishments in Haiti.

“What was going to be just a fun evening among locals to raise funds for Haiti and support the efforts of our local friends Ryan Hernandez and Fi Stephenson, is now going to be the most successful off-season fundraiser.  Because of Michael’s extended outreach and following, we received the support of The Breakers and The Ritz Carlton both of whom are offering packages to lodge visiting guests. We expect over 300 people to attend,” said organizer Maribel Alvarez, president of Altima International.

Local artists Rafael Domenech and Norm Gitzen and jewelry designers Otniel Castro, Sasha Lickle, Cristiana Shields and Jill Elisofon are contributing to the fundraising efforts with donations for silent auction.  These artists and artisans will also be showcasing a limited selection of their collections on site which will be available for sale with percentage going to the three causes.

Patrons of the event include Palm Beach residents Ambassador Earle Mack, Jane Holzer, Jim Pappas and Joel Pashcow.  Earle Mack, one of the first who came to Haiti’s assistance, not only offered his plane and leveraged the connections he cultivated while Ambassador, but also personally traveled to Haiti and continues to offer chartered jet service to transport the supplies and medical personnel needed.

“I’m very fortunate to have such philanthropic friends.  Within 24 hours I received commitments from Earle, Jane, Jim and Joel.  Earle Mack immediately called me and committed to a sizeable donation but asked me to reciprocate by commiting to visiting Haiti personally,” said Maribel Alvarez.

Other sponsors and supporters of the event include A.R.T on Worth Avenue, The Breakers, Calypso, The Charles Evans Foundation, Casa Dragones Tequila, Eau Spa by Cornelia, Emilio Pucci, Island Company, The Ritz Carlton Hotel and, Scopaio Wines,  Sleek Med Lab, Stubbs & Wootton

About the honored guests and their organizations

Fiona Stephenson, avid polo player and trained as a Registered Nurse and Midwife, has chosen to leave her tony lifestyle in Palm Beach and Wellington, where she managed living legend polo player Carlos Gracida to set up roots in Haiti as a volunteer.  For the last nine months Fiona has been living and working in a hospital in Cap Haitien; originally destined to be a children’s hospital, there were so many Haitians that were paralyzed by the earthquake that the hospital changed its directive. Fiona’s mother Judy Waterlow was awarded an MBE by HRH Queen of England last year for her World recognized work in the treatment Pressure Sore Prevention and Wound Care. Now Fiona has been able to extend that legacy and is using her mother’s cutting edge techniques to tend for these victims. Her professional background has helped carve a path in the new concept of Spinal Cord Injury earthquake victims in Haiti. Fiona has been instrumental in teaching the Haitian people the theory and practice of spinal cord injury care. Her hospital is now run by Haitian staff trained by Fiona.  With the collaboration of Palm Beach resident Kirsten Braden, they spearhead local fundraising efforts for Haiti Hospital Appeal.

Ryan Hernandez, local musician and D.J has traveled to Haiti on multiple occasions, transporting medical supplies and assisting in the development of clean water systems, and more recently, initiating an agricultural program for sustainable purposes, under the auspices of Hope Alive for Haiti.  Ryan is always willing to volunteer is professional services to raise money for Haiti relief efforts

Michael Capponi, Miami based developer, entrepreneur and philanthropist became actively involved with Haiti from Day 1. Just 5 days after the earthquake, Michael was on the ground with a team of Miami Beach firefighters on a life safety mission, assisting with medical aid to as many Haitians as he could. Upon returning, Michael organized several fundraisers in the Miami Beach area to raise money for tents, food and medical supplies. He took it one step further and with the support of United Way, set up a tent community in Belvil, where he has now provided food, water and tents for over 3000 Haitians (half of whom are children) since the earthquake. He has actively been going to Haiti every two weeks since to ensure delivery of donations received for the camp. The next step in his mission is to raise money to give these Haitians sustainable housing for a more permanent solution to their living crisis.

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