By Robyn A. Friedman
City & Shore Magazine
This year’s Care for Kids Luncheon June 16 to benefit ChildNet will honor Jarett S. Levan, president of BBX Capital (formerly BankAtlantic Bancorp) with the Champion for Children Award to recognize his commitment to making the community a better place for children.
“I was introduced to Jarett by his dad back in the days of BankAtlantic,” says Emilio Benitez, ChildNet’s president and chief executive officer. “We found that banks headquartered somewhere else did not understand the concept of community-based care, but when I met Jarett and his dad, BankAtlantic was a homegrown company so I didn’t have to explain to them who we were, what we were and what we were trying to accomplish.”
The mission of ChildNet, a community-based agency in Broward County, is to support children in foster care and to protect abused, abandoned and neglected children in the community. Benitez says that since he established a relationship with BankAtlantic and the Levans about 12 years ago, they have enabled the foster kids at ChildNet to attend hockey games, the circus or shows like Disney on Ice at the BankAtlantic Center (now the BB&T Center).
“Those are the type of community-based responses that I like to celebrate,” he says. “Foster care kids don’t have these normal experiences, but with the help of Jarett and his family, we’ve been able to provide them.”
Proceeds from the Care for Kids Luncheon will help cover the cost of developmental activities and other items for children in Broward’s foster care system that go beyond basic necessities, such as swimming lessons, braces, sports uniforms, college tours and one-on-one tutoring.
“The companies and I have supported ChildNet for many years,” Levan says. “Our predecessor company, BankAtlantic, was a strong supporter of ChildNet – it’s been a long-time passion of ours. I have a lot of respect for the programs that ChildNet delivers to our community.”
ChildNet’s Annual Care for Kids Luncheon will be at 11:30 a.m. June 16 at the Hyatt Regency Pier Sixty-Six, 2301 SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets are $75 and include the luncheon and a gift bag. For information or to purchase tickets, call 954-414-6000 or visit childnet.us.
Photo:Jarett S. Levan, president of BBX Capital