Miami Beach Going Green Thanks to ECOMB & Community Support

Newspaper: Gay Solfa
Title: Miami Beach Going Green Thanks to ECOMB & Community Support
Author/Reporter: David L. Wylie
Date: January 2009

A group of Miami Beach politicians, community leaders and local celebrities may have been gathered in the Red Room of the luxurious Shore Club, but it was the color green that was on the collective minds of the attendees of the first- ever fundraiser for ECOMB.

According to Luiz Rodrigues, ECOMB is an anachronym for Environmental Coalition of Miami Beach and is a Florida 501 (c) 3 not-for profit volunteer-based corporation. “ECOMB is dedicated to educating Miami-Dade County’s residents and visitors to adopt responsible environmental behaviors and to raising their awareness to our surrounding ecosystem,” said Rodrigues.

Even though ECOMB was founded in 1994 in the City of Miami Beach, the organization had never held a public fundraiser. The group’s monthly community beach cleanup events, anti-litter educational campaigns and recycling programs have been underwritten by local businesses and manned by volunteers.

“There are many ways members of the community can support ECOMB,” observed Michael Gongora, Chairman of the organization’s Board of Directors. “Some people help by getting their hands dirty while volunteering at our monthly beach clean-up events, while others prefer helping out by writing a check so that we can continue our efforts,” the former Miami Beach Commissioner added.  Gongora emphasizes that both avenues of contributing are equally important.

Among the city luminaries enjoying the complimentary Champaign and hors d’oeuvres and dancing to the music of special guests Tito Puente, Jr. and DJ FR80 were Miami Beach Mayor Matti Bower, Commissioners Saul Gross and Jerry Libbin, Collins Park Neighborhood President Ray Breslin. Miami Beach Commerce President Wendy Kallergis, General Manager of Shore Club Tim Nardi and Emmy award winning journalist and CBS-4’s Chief Investigative/Environmental Reporter Michele Gillen.

“Our first fundraiser was a big success, but now we’ve raised the bar for future events,” noted Gongora.  “Although our executive director and volunteer board of directors give 100% to our efforts to maintain a greener and more sustainable community, we will never be completely successful without the support of the community.  Tonight is a good start.”  Over $5000 was raised at the event.

ECOMB’s first fundraiser was sponsored, in part, by Shore Club and the Challenge of Change Foundation.

David L. Wylie is the Senior Editor of GaySOFLA Magazine.

Wylie is passionate about creating an online media outlet that will encourage, entertain and educate the south Florida LGBT Community.  Wylie hopes that GaySOFLA serves that purpose.  He can be reached at David@gaysofla.com