norvel_bethel.jpgWho says you can’t mix business with pleasure? Shamarco Forbes, of South Florida Professionals, makes it possible to combine the two. Forbes promotes the idea of the social charity mixer.

Such events encourage South Florida professionals—from all walks of life—to come together at some entertainment venue, network their individual services and raise funds for a collective cause.

Forbes usually chooses a particular cause or need and a few local organizations are selected to receive the proceeds from a charity function.

This year, members and supporters of local organizations gathered for the 2011 South Florida Professionals Social Charity at Pangaea in the  Hollywood Hard Rock Casino. The nightclub ambiance was a sophisticated setting for the business professional to mix entertainment with charitable contribution. Minimum $10 donations were taken as a cover fee for admission.

“We’re partying with a purpose,” said Norvel Bethel, president of Urban League of Broward County’s Young Professionals Network, quoting one of his fellow chapter members. “Considering what we usually pay for an evening out, $10 is a drop in the bucket when it’s for a good cause.”

Proceeds from this event benefited Urban League of Broward programs, 100 Black Men of Fort Lauderdale mentoring programs, and the James W. Bridges Medical Society Haiti Relief effort.

The organizations share the common objective of improving the quality of life in African-American and other minority communities, with emphasis on health, education and economic empowerment.

Initiated by Forbes, the Social Charity featured a fair representation from several professional organizations.

Bethel was among the hosts, along with James Green, president of Urban League of Palm Beach Young Professionals; Dennis Wright, president of 100 Black Men of Greater Fort Lauderdale; Dr. Cheryl Holder, president of James W. Bridges Medical Society; Eric Gillman, president of the National Association of Black Accountants; Catherine Minnis, president of National Black MBA’s of  South Florida; Ghenete Wright-Muir, president of the T.J. Riddick Bar Association; and Tinu Pena, president of the National Society of Black Engineers.

The charity, now in its second year, was started following the earthquake that devastated Haiti in January 2010. Forbes reached out to several organizations to raise funds to aid the country. Turnout exceeded expectations, he said.

“A little more than 200 people attended last year’s event, with considerable donations,” Forbes said. “All proceeds went to three organizations for aid to Haiti after the earthquake.”

This year, on the first anniversary of the earthquake, Forbes figured it was time for an encore, with a difference.

“What better way to start the new year than with a charity function?” said Forbes.
The 2011 Social Charity, however, was upgraded from last year’s edition.  Rather than a sole focus on aid to Haiti, this time local organizations were also beneficiaries.

“The purpose of this event is to raise funds for organizations within our community,” said Forbes, “while bringing South Florida professionals together to network.”

The networking element was an attractive bonus.

“It’s an opportunity to lift as you climb,” said Green. “It’s refreshing to see everyone having fun while building on business capital and intellectual capital.”

“It’s a wonderful thing to see so many professionals come together to help other non-profit organizations in the community,” added Holder.

“This year’s event was a success,” said Forbes. The event this year raised $2,475, compared with $2,030 last year.
Funds allotted to Haiti relief programs will provide resources to continue regular health care and education for Haitian orphans.

“Our objective is to rebuild the capacity within Haiti,” said Holder.

“Haitian physicians have suffered a lot of damages and we are just helping in the meantime until we raise enough dollars to help them get strong again.”
With the event behind him, Forbes is looking to the future.

“One of the projects in progress is Vision 2020, a series of fundraisers designed to heighten awareness and the importance of giving back,” said Forbes. “Vision 2020 is a concept which means where do we see ourselves in the year 2020.”

Pictured Above:  Norvel Bethel

Tranika Fagan may be contacted at

Such events encourage South Florida professionals—from all walks of life—to come together at some entertainment venue, network their individual services and raise funds for a collective cause.