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Adrienne Arsht Named Outstanding Philanthropist of 2011

(Arlington, Va. - March 14, 2011) - Adrienne Arsht, a long-time supporter of the arts and numerous other charitable causes across the United States, has been selected to receive the 2011 Award for Outstanding Philanthropist, given by the Association of Fundraising Professionals' (AFP) as the organization's top philanthropy honor.

The award honors an individual with a proven record of exceptional generosity who, through direct financial support, demonstrates outstanding civic and charitable responsibility and whose generosity encourages others to take philanthropic leadership roles on a community, national and/or international level. It will be presented to Ms. Arsht on March 21, 2011, at the Awards for Philanthropy Banquet in Chicago, during AFP's 48th International Conference on Fundraising, the largest gathering of fundraising professionals in the world.

Nominated by the University of Miami and the AFP Florida, Miami-Dade Chapter, Ms. Arsht has given millions of dollars to support arts programs, including $30 million to Miami's performing arts center. Renamed the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County, the institution is now a vibrant gathering place for the South Florida community and an internationally renowned performing arts center.

Arsht also has given millions to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., funding numerous programs there. The Adrienne Arsht Musical Theater Fund will support the production and presentation of musical theater at the center for the next 10 years. She's also co-funded "Arts in Crisis: A Kennedy Center Initiative" that provides confidential advice and support to struggling arts nonprofit groups across the United States.

Her philanthropy goes far beyond just the arts.  She has given more than $5 million to the University of Miami to establish an ethics program, and support the university's athletic program, the Frost School of Music and research into retinal degeneration research at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. She is the first woman to join the Million Dollar Roundtable of the United Way of Miami-Dade, and has contributed $750,000 to Best Buddies International in Delaware, which emphasizes serving Hispanics and African-Americans with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"The examples set by my parents and their lifelong tradition of philanthropy taught me an unforgettable lesson about the importance of giving, whether of one's time or financial support.  I feel extremely fortunate to be able to help others. This award is most meaningful to me and I want to thank both the University of Miami for nominating me and to AFP for selecting me for this honor," said Arsht.

Arsht's passion for giving was shaped by the legacy of philanthropy established by her parents, Roxanna Cannon Arsht and S. Samuel Arsht, who were major donors in Wilmington, Del. Her parents left a bequest of $22 million creating the Arsht-Cannon Fund at the Delaware Community Foundation.  Today, Ms. Arsht directs all of the giving from this fund.  She has donated $2 million to Goucher College in Baltimore, her mother's alma mater, to create the Roxana Cannon Arsht Center for Ethics and Leadership.

In Miami, she restored a house built in 1913 by William Jennings Bryan, the three-time presidential candidate.  The home was about to be demolished by a developer. Ms. Arsht had the house designated as a historic landmark, thus preserving an important part of Miami's heritage.

"Ms. Arsht is an amazing philanthropist who not only gives significant funds, but just as importantly, also gets involved with the causes she supports, contributing her time, talent and experience," said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP.  "Her philanthropy has touched countless lives across the United States and the programs she has created and supported are a source of inspiration. All of us at AFP are honored and humbled to be able to recognize her for her extraordinary generosity."

The AFP Awards for Philanthropy Banquet will take place on Monday, March 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. More information can be obtained by contacting Michael Nilsen, AFP vice president, public affairs, at or (425) 890-6628.


The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) represents 30,000 members in 213 chapters throughout the world, working to advance philanthropy through advocacy, research, education and certification programs.  The association fosters development and growth of fundraising professionals and promotes high ethical standards in the fundraising profession.  For more information, go to

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