Outstanding Individual: John Padget
Entrepreneur, education advocate and philanthropist John Padget empowers people, especially youth, to positively change the future. From public service to private investments, John’s leadership, service, passion for advancing education, and commitment to equality has set the standard for others. His efforts have significantly impacted the Keys, the state of Florida, and many parts of the nation and world.
As founder of Padget Associates, a private equity investment firm, John’s business life has featured multiple international assignments. He spends most of his time on charitable projects that benefit kids, including as a key supporter and advocate for Take Stock in Children, whose achievements include assisting over 24,000 low-income students with scholarships and volunteer mentors for post-secondary education opportunities.
John is a former Superintendent of Monroe County Schools, former Vice Chair of Florida’s State Board of Education, board member of the Florida College System Foundation, and trustee of the LeRoy Collins Institute at Florida State University, among countless other public service appointments. He was one of the first Fund Advisors at the Community Foundation of the Florida Keys, where his donor-advised fund helps to greatly improve education efforts and enhances other charitable causes.
Outstanding Business: The BottleCap, owners Carmelo Vitale and Carolyn Sullivan
For the past 10 years, The BottleCap has generously supported the Keys’ non-profit community by hosting “Non-Profit Fridays,” in which gratuities generated during Happy Hour each Friday are donated to a different charity. Having hosted more than 500 events to date, The BottleCap has helped raise approximately $500,000 for Florida Keys nonprofits, raised awareness for the mission of scores of organizations, and added hundreds of new supporters to causes. What began as a single event 10 years ago has developed into an incredible, well-known business partnership. Their Non-Profit Fridays calendar is now booked nearly a year in advance.
Say BottleCap Owners Carmelo Vitale and Carolyn Sullivan, “Non-Profit Fridays is the perfect opportunity to thank the hundreds of amazing hard-working volunteers from the various charitable organizations, the best people in the world.”
Through the dedication and outreach efforts of its owners, The BottleCap encourages other individuals and businesses to support important charitable causes in our community.
Outstanding Nonprofit Organization: Star of the Sea Outreach Mission
With the goal of increasing the health and well-being of low-income individuals and families, Star Of the Sea Outreach Mission does incredible work serving those in distress in our community. Under Thomas Callahan’s tireless leadership as its unpaid executive director, SOS serves a half a million meals each year and provides over 1.8 million pounds of food to 9,000 different individuals annually.
SOS became a certified food pantry and an independent nonprofit in 2006 with the purchase of a building on Stock Island. Today, it operates one of the largest food pantries in South Florida, working 7 days a week, 365 days a year. In addition, SOS provides food, clothing, household items and services in collaboration with 35 different agencies in Monroe County serving children, veterans, seniors and the homeless. Its recently expanded programs include a Community Kitchen, which prepares fresh, nutritious meals for low-income children and seniors, and nutrition education programs and classes.
Alleviating hunger and serving the underserved, Star of the Sea Outreach Mission exemplifies community service by providing critical assistance to those most in need in our community.