Annual reception to host Miami’s top philanthropists
Margarita and Armando Codina will receive United Way of Miami-Dade’s prestigious Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy during the United Way Tocqueville Grand Reception at the home of The Honorable Paul L. Cejas and Trudy Cejas on March 16, 2016. The reception is underwritten by Van Cleef & Arpels and Ed Ansin.
The Tocqueville Grand Reception brings together 400 of Miami’s most generous givers who contribute $10,000 or more annually to build a stronger Miami with United Way. Margarita and Armando Codina have built a life of civic duty and giving back, not only to the city they call home, but also to the country that opened up many opportunities for them. The Codinas are deeply rooted in our community, being involved with numerous organizations and have supported United Way for 24 years. They are members of the United Way Million Dollar Round Table.
“Armando and Margarita are proof that determination, strong family values and a true belief in paying it forward helps families achieve the American Dream,” Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said. “They are the very definition of selfless – quietly going about helping others, with a kindness and humbleness that is truly rare, and with absolutely no expectation or desire for any sort of recognition or reward. We are honored that they have allowed us to celebrate them and their extraordinary contributions to this community because they are indeed an example and inspiration to us all.”
At 14, Armando arrived in the United States from his native Cuba as part of Operation Pedro Pan – alone, with one Cuban coin in his pocket and no knowledge of the English language. He was sent to an orphanage in New Jersey and lived in and out of foster homes for three years until he was reunited with his mother. From a young age, he had a keen sense of business and community.
After selling his first business in the 1970s, Armando knew it was time to give of his time and treasure to help those in need. He has spent decades supporting numerous organizations, many times quietly behind the scenes, to ensure that those less fortunate receive some of the same opportunities he was awarded as a young immigrant. Today, Armando is executive chairman of Codina Partners, LLC, a real estate investment and development firm based in Coral Gables. Previously he served as chairman of Flagler, a full-service commercial real estate firm with a portfolio spanning more than 12 million square feet of Class-A office and industrial space throughout Florida. Prior to that he served as chairman and CEO of Codina Group, a South Florida-based commercial real estate firm, which he founded in 1979.
Armando serves on the board of directors of The Home Depot and board of trustees of the Mayo Clinic. In addition, he serves on a number of professional, civic, and educational organizations, including Vice Chair of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts/YOUNG ARTS, Chair of the Town Square Neighborhood Development Corp, Chairman Emeritus of Florida International University; co-founder Community Partnership for the Homeless; and a member of the Florida Council of 100, among others.
He has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including: the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Sand In My Shoes and Real Estate Achievers & Leaders Lifetime Achievement award; the American Red Cross Humanitarian of the Year award; the Urban Land Institute Lifetime Achievement award; and the Merage Foundation’s National Leadership award, which recognizes leaders whose journeys to the United States as immigrants have made a positive impact on the quality of life for all Americans.
Margarita is a champion for the arts and education, and among her many volunteer roles, she has joined Armando as chair of several galas including YoungArts and the Adrienne Arsht Performing Arts Center. She serves as a trustee of Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart and is involved with several other nonprofit causes.
Margarita and Armando have four daughters – Ana, Alexandra, Andria and Amanda – each accomplished in their own right and all carrying on their parents’ legacy of service and philanthropy to others.
The 767-member United Way Tocqueville Society contributed nearly $15 million to support the Miami-Dade community through United Way during its last campaign, representing 40 percent of the overall annual campaign. The society was named after a French historian who recognized, celebrated and immortalized the voluntary spirit he witnessed in America during the 1800s. Years later, United Way of Miami Dade’s Tocqueville Society continues to honor those individuals who demonstrate an extraordinary sense of philanthropy with remarkably high levels of giving.