United Way of Miami-Dade elects lifelong philanthropist Jayne Harris Abess as board chair
Published by United Way
A lifelong volunteer and philanthropist, Jayne Harris Abess was elected as chair of the board at United Way of Miami-Dade’s Annual Meeting on June 22, 2011. She takes over from Sheldon T. Anderson, president and CEO of Southeast Region of Northern Trust, who served as chair for two years.
As a United Way board member, most recently Abess oversaw the volunteer process that determines how best to invest United Way dollars to yield measurable results in the areas of education, financial stability and health. She also played a key role in United Way’s public policy efforts – having traveled to Washington DC twice to advocate in support of quality early education for all children.
“Jayne comes from a family that is synonymous with service and community. She understands our United Way from the inside out, having served in a number of different capacities. She is a savvy and thoughtful leader who cares deeply about this community,” Harve A. Mogul, president and CEO, United Way of Miami-Dade, said. “We will benefit greatly from her leadership, as will the community.”
A native Miamian, Abess is a dedicated philanthropist and community leader with a commitment and passion for helping others. Her hands-on approach to community service has benefited a number of local and national organizations.
Among her many leadership roles, Abess is chair emeritus of Goodwill Industries of South Florida, past president of the Junior League of Miami, and currently serves on the board of governors of Parsons The New School for Design. She is a founder of Mount Sinai Medical Center, where the Abess family founded the Abess Diagnostic Center and the Abess Family Neonatal Intensive Care Center. She serves on the Medical Center's Foundation Board.
Abess is currently a partner at thinkLAB Ventures. Previously, she served as vice president of community relations for City National Bank of Florida and vice president of Harris Company/South, Inc., an advertising and marketing firm. She attended Bennington College and Florida International University, receiving a bachelor’s degree in Industrial Technology and is a graduate of Leadership Miami.
Among her many honors, Abess is a recipient of the Junior League’s Rebecca Herndon Bush Award for outstanding community service; United Way’s Dorothy Shula Award for Volunteerism; and the AT&T Community Service Award from the American Red Cross. In 2010, she received the Silver Medallion Award from the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews for her service to humanity.
She and her husband, Leonard, have been members of United Way’s Million Dollar Roundtable since 1995, and received United Way’s Tocqueville Award for Outstanding Philanthropy in 2001. Together, they are recipients of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s 2007 Sand in My Shoes Award, and were honored as Outstanding Philanthropists of the Year by the National Association of Fundraising Professionals. They have three children.
About United Way of Miami-Dade
United Way is working to advance the common good by creating opportunities for a better life for all. We are focused on improving education, income and health – the building blocks for a good life. Our goal is to create long-lasting changes that prevent problems from happening in the first place. We invest in quality programs, advocate for better policies, engage people in the community and generate resources. We invite you to join us in this work and LIVE UNITED. For more information visit www.unitedwaymiami.org
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In the photo: Jayne Harris Abess with former board chairs Tony Argiz, Richard Fain and Sheldon Anderson.
To view pictures from the Annual Meeting and Volunteer Awards Ceremony visit us on Flickr or Facebook.