2018 Volunteer Awards Winners

Join United Way Board Chair Carlos Migoya and President and CEO Maria C. Alonso for United Way of Miami-Dade’s Annual Meeting where we will celebrate the extraordinary contributions of five outstanding volunteers.

Come meet them, greet them and celebrate together.

Rsvp by Friday, June 22.


Carlos Curbelo
U.S. Representative

The son of Cuban exiles that fled Fidel Castro’s regime, Carlos Curbelo represents Florida’s 26th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives. Born and raised in Miami, his desire for public service did not come until later in his career. He started a public and media relations firm, where he would spend 12 years learning of the struggles of small business owners. In 2002, he co-founded Centre Court Charities, a nonprofit organization that runs basketball leagues for South Florida high school students during the summer months. It was not until 2009 that he entered public service as state director and advisor for U.S. Senator George LeMieux. Shortly after, Carlos was appointed to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization and in 2010, was elected to the Miami-Dade County Public School Board. He won his first term in Congress in 2014, where he fought for common sense solutions and worked with Republicans and Democrats to improve the quality of life for the people of South Florida. He was reelected in 2016 and is a member of the House Committee on Ways and Means, where he took the lead on tax reform.


Annelies Da Costa Gomez

Annelies Da Costa Gomez grew up in Curaçao and moved to Miami in 2002, where she currently resides with her husband. She is owner and partner of Hoffmann Contemporary, an art consulting firm, and is the managing director of Boutique Hotel Casa del Coliseo in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia. At United Way of Miami-Dade, Annelies has been able to combine two of her passions – volunteering and early childhood education. She currently serves on the board and chairs the United Way Center for Excellence in Early Education Committee, after having served as a member for several years. She is a member of the Tocqueville Society, Women United and a VeritageMiami trustee. Annelies has also participated in United Way’s volunteer reader program, ReadingPals, helping to improve literacy skills in young children and has been a classroom assistant at Teach For America. She graduated from York University with a bachelor’s in liberal arts and French, and speaks Spanish, English, Dutch, French, Papiamento and German.


Francisco “Paco” Vélez
President and CEO, Feeding South Florida

Francisco Vélez is at the helm of the leading domestic hunger-relief organization in South Florida – Feeding South Florida – which provides more than $65 million worth of food to Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Paco, as he known to all, brings more than a dozen years of food bank experience, which he earned at the San Antonio Food Bank – one of the nation’s leading food banks. His wealth of knowledge and expertise in the areas of program development, client services, government contracts and leadership are invaluable to the community. Paco was born in Waco, Texas, where he graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s in science in biology and a minor in anthropology. He also has a certification in nonprofit management from the University of Texas. Paco serves on the boards of the Florida Association of Food Banks and United Way of Miami-Dade’s Emergency Food & Shelter Program (EFSP).


Shekeria Brown
Executive Director, South Florida Community Development Coalition

With more than 18 years of experience in the community and economic development field, Shekeria Brown has designed, implemented and assessed affordable housing, community and economic development programs throughout South Florida and has administered over $100 million dollars in community development federal and state grants awarded to local jurisdictions. As executive director of South Florida Community Development Coalition (SFCDC), she continues to have a long-lasting impact in our community by continuing to shape affordable housing and community development public policy, strengthening the role of nonprofits, and encouraging collaboration for more effective and equitable community development investment in the region. Prior to joining SFCDC, she worked for an urban affairs and grants administration consulting firm serving municipalities primarily throughout Broward County. Shekeria holds a master’s in urban and regional planning from Florida Atlantic University, with a concentration in community and economic development; and a dual bachelor’s in mass communication and interpersonal speech communication from the University of South Florida.


To be announced at the 2018 Annual Meeting

2019-03-18T09:55:44-04:00 June 6th, 2018|