South Florida developers and brokers give back during coronavirus

Some firms are donating masks, others providing free meals

From left: Armando Codina, Ana Codina Barlick, Barry Sternicht, Tony Cho and Jorge Perez
From left: Armando Codina, Ana Codina Barlick, Barry Sternicht, Tony Cho and Jorge Pérez

UPDATED, April 7, 6 p.m.: Some South Florida developers are stepping up during the pandemic and giving to those less fortunate, through cash donations, medical supplies and food.

Developer Jorge Pérez is donating a total of $350,000. The Related Group founder announced a $200,000 contribution to the Miami Foundation’s Community Recovery Fund to support local arts and cultural organizations that have been affected by coronavirus. Another $100,000 is going to the United Way of Miami-Dade’s Miami Pandemic Response Fund, for working families and small businesses. Pérez is donating the remaining $50,000 to support Miami-Dade County Public Schools to provide daily meals to families.

Tony Cho’s Metro 1 is giving an initial investment of $33,000 to Metro 1 Community’s newly created Little Haiti Small Business Relief Fund. The fund will provide micro grants of up to $2,500 to small businesses and their employees in the Little Haiti neighborhood. Metro 1 is partnering with the nonprofits that include the Miami Foundation, United Way of Miami-Dade and the Black Professionals Network.

And xBoca Raton-based Pebb Enterprises made a contribution, in an undisclosed amount, to Feeding South Florida, a food bank that’s feeding people during the pandemic.

Associated Builders and Contractors’ Florida East Coast chapter has been urging its members, in email calls to action and on social media, to donate their masks and other materials, according to a spokesperson. Moss Construction responded, and has donated more than 500 N95 respirator masks and is in the process of giving 1,200 more. “We’ve been able to secure them, at our cost, from our vendors with the commitment we’d send them to medical facilities. Otherwise they would ration them to us in quantities of less than 100,” said a spokesperson for Moss.

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Doral-based KW Property Management & Consulting, a property management firm with more than 1,700 employees, is putting together a program to support employees and family members of employees who have been affected by Covid-19, said co-founder Paul Kaplan. Kaplan said the company will use the roughly $75,000 in funds it normally sets aside for events – such as holiday parties and picnics – to give to those families who have been affected.

Codina Partners is funding a meal program for students and families of Downtown Doral Charter Elementary and Upper School, which is offering meals every Saturday. Restaurants at the Codina Partners-developed Downtown Doral are making the meals, including Bulla Gastrobar, Avo Taco and others. Codina also arranged pop-up performances for residents, including having local musicians perform over two weekends in late March.

The North Miami Community Redevelopment Agency created two emergency relief grant programs for North Miami businesses. One program will offer 25 North Miami businesses with grants of up to $1,000 each, and the other will allow 120 small businesses to receive grants of up to $5,000.

Barry Sternlicht, chairman and founder of SH Hotels & Resorts, launched the Starwood Cares Employee Relief Fund to support the 1,500 workers that SH Hotels & Resorts furloughed. Sternlicht will be donating $1 million, including an initial $500,000 to the employee relief fund, and a $500,000 match to what the Starwood Capital team and other supporters raised. The company manages hotels that include 1 Hotel South Beach.

Some organizations have also come together to launch response funds geared toward the hospitality industry. F+B Hospitality Brokerage, led by Felix Bendersky, is working with Miami restaurateurs to raise money for full-time restaurant workers in Miami-Dade County. The GoFundMe has raised nearly $90,000 and is giving away $250 grants.

The Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau, United Way, Miami Herald/el Nuevo Herald, Health Foundation of South Florida and The Miami Foundation created a $500,000 fund for hospitality workers and their families in need.