The Miami Children's Hospital's Leading Ladies
BY CHRISTINE BORGES
Carola Pimentel and Lucy Morillo-Agnetti deliver a gift to a patient at Miami Children’s Hospital during the holiday toy drive
For 50-plus years, the Miami Children’s Hospital Auxiliary has supported Miami Children’s Hospital, holding monthly luncheons and five annual signature events. These events have brought in millions for the hospital, and serve as an opportunity for daughters, mothers, and grandmothers to bond over children’s charitable causes. This year, with the help of some friends, Miami Children’s Hospital Foundation CEO and president Lucy Morillo-Agnetti (an attorney who now works full-time for the hospital) is poised to revamp the roster of events, adding February 8’s Wine, Women & Shoes, an afternoon soirée that lives up to its name. We sat down with Morillo-Agnetti, cochairs Carola Pimentel (owner of Assure Interiors) and Criselda Breene (a former real estate executive and mother of three), and honorary chair Shannon Hori (a CBS4 evening news anchor) to discuss the rewards of motherhood and the future of the foundation.
What does the foundation do for the Miami Children’s Hospital?
LUCY MORILLO-AGNETTI: It funds the world-class care provided at Miami Children’s—our guiding principle is to ensure that all kids, regardless of ability to pay, geographical location, rarity of disease, or complications, have access to the world-class care.
SHANNON HORI: Miami Children’s Hospital and the foundation have been so impactful to my family, and they’ve provided [my son, who was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called TAPVR] with a number of therapies. The doctors there have seen both of my kids, in the middle of the night—I’ve taken them there at one o’clock in the morning! Really, you can’t get that kind of treatment for our kids anywhere else.
CAROLA PIMENTEL: It’s amazing, because it’s there for those who need it. It’s like an insurance policy. When [Lucy] called me [to chair], I didn’t hesitate—I’ve always become involved with any charity that is for kids, never chairing an event, but I’ve always been helping somehow.
This fundraiser theme sounds like it marries some guilty pleasures. Tell us about it.
CRISELDA BREENE: The whole Wine, Women & Shoes event [is] going to be comprised of a fashion show, a Christian Louboutin trunk show, a fashion marketplace—and wine, of course. All those different aspects give us an avenue to sell something, and allow people the opportunity to donate their time, energy, and money. LMA: What are the two things that women love, other than their children? This event allows us to combine things that are fun, and at the same time help a great cause.
SH: Women are really the ones now who spearhead events, and they’re the ones who get involved. This is the first time we’re going to put on this event in South Florida, and I think it’s going to be one of the signature events of the year throughout the entire area.
How did the theme come up?
LMA: Wine, Women & Shoes is a national brand, and we, this year, own the ability to use that brand; no other not-for-profit organization can use it. So we have it from Palm Beach County all the way to Miami-Dade.
SH: [It was begun by] a woman who has a winery. She branched out and offers it to various charities. I knew some people who had taken part in Wine, Women & Shoes, and they said, “It’s so much fun, do you have it in Miami?” We learned about it, and we said we must bring it here.
How has the team here helped?
LMA: These ladies have brought not only all of this beautiful energy—and they do it from the heart because we are all mothers and it is very special to us—but they are also bringing their Rolodexes and their iPhone contacts with all these fabulous women who have a common thread of helping children and shopping.
SH: Don’t we all love shopping?
LMA: Especially if you do it for a cause. It’s wonderful.
CB: We’re trying to combine something you see in a trunk show. We’re going to bring that into the luncheon— an energy that’s hip and fun. I think that everyone can enjoy a great fashion show or an accessories show, and the shoes will be handed out on platters. We have these shoe guys, which is also going to be enticing for a lot of women.
SH: What is their title?
CB: Shoe guys! They’ll be hot men. Hopefully, none of our husbands will want to go to this event. We’ll have good-looking guys walking around with shoes on silver platters!
LMA: There will [also] be a fashion marketplace, and we’ll have an exchange of donated items ranging from jewelry to trips to handbags.
What other elements are you excited about?
CP: Another very interesting thing about the silent auction is the little vintage corner that we want to bring in, which is something new and different.
CB: There’s a different mind-set to the event this year, but we’re going to try to produce something that will make everyone happy.
Why do this?
LMA: We are in this community, and we are all involved. It’s in our best interest to make sure that everything is successful, whether it’s in the arts, education, museums, anything. The world is shrinking, and we need to at least extend our reach as much as we can to help if we have the resources and the time to do it. It’s worth doing. There is such a list of organizations, and it makes such a big impact. How could you not?
PHOTOGRAPHS BY PRESSCOTT MCDONALD