Ruth Shack honored as cultural champion

The Cultural Champion Award 2016 honors Ruth Shack, presented by Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust on February 9, 2016.

Featuring national arts leaders and cultural luminaries celebrating Ruth Shack’s pioneering leadership that helped Miami evolve into a globally renowned cultural destination.

“Ruth Shack’s leadership contributions are far reaching, to national and international levels,” said Adolfo Henriques (Chairman and CEO of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust).

“Cultural pioneers like Ruth Shack paved the way. Presenting this Cultural Champion Award to Ruth means so much to so many, including national arts leaders, international philanthropists, artists, performers and cultural visionaries. Her accomplishments are legendary,” said Henriques.

The Cultural Champions series of annual events began in 2012 during Art Basel Miami Beach, with national and international media coverage praising its singular theme of recognizing cultural pioneers who created the foundation for artistic growth at the community level.

The Miami Herald praised the first Cultural Champions event for presenting a new angle whose time had come -“Art Week Miami kicked off as it perhaps always should but never has: with a tribute to the city’s arts-loving pioneers.”

Featured was this question poised to Shack – “So just how much has the city changed, art-wise? Shack’s reply – “Miami has become everything we ever anticipated and hoped for. It keeps on growing and getting better.”

Today, the influence of Miami’s cultural communities radiates throughout the U.S., Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean.

Pioneer Leadership During a Pivotal Time

Ruth Shack’s pioneering cultural highlights offer a glimpse into a time-line that shaped and defined today’s Miami. She was elected to the Metro-Dade Commission (now known as the Miami-Dade County Commission) in 1976, 1978 and 1982.

These years – 1976-1986 – are recognized as pivotal to the area’s growing prominence, and many of the era’s most important cultural milestones were championed by Ruth Shack.

She led the charge amongst her fellow Commissioners to approve Christo’s Surrounded Islands project that shined the global spotlight on Miami as an arts destination. Ruth Shack sponsored the County’s first historic preservation ordinance, and urged reconsideration by municipalities to recognize the value of their historic resources, including South Beach’s Art Deco District.

A History-Making Legacy that Continues Today

Ruth Shack has been honored for her contributions in a remarkably broad set of fields. She has received the highest award for her commitment to civil rights by the ACLU; to philanthropy by Leave a Legacy and The Association of Fund Raising Executives; to leadership by the Miami Foundation, to the humanities by the Miami-Dade Public Library System; to human rights by the LGBTQ Task Force; and to the arts by the Knight Foundation.

Her service has included serving as Vice Chair of the Council on Foundations and Chair of its Management Committee; on the Board of the Community Foundations for Youth; and the Board of Funders Concerned about AIDS.

She is a member of the Bertelsmann Foundations’ Transatlantic Community Foundation Network and was Chair of the Communications Network. She was a Founder and former Chair of the Florida Philanthropic Network and Founder-Chair of the Alliance for Human Services.

Along with her late husband Richard Shack, she has supported, through the 60 years during which she has lived in Miami, many emerging artists and served on Boards of nascent artistic organizations and community art centers. Together they developed one of the area’s most significant art collections.

Shack served as President of the Dade Community Foundation, now known as The Miami Foundation, from 1985-2009 where she spearheaded the campaign to foster philanthropy and charitable giving by developing a permanent endowment to meet Greater Miami’s emerging charitable needs.

Her legacy continues with the “Ruth and Richard Shack Society” recognizing the Foundation’s most generous philanthropists. Each year, The Miami Foundation and Leave a Legacy present the “Ruth Shack Leadership Award” to one of Miami’s most promising young leaders of today.

The Cultural Champion Award Honorary Host Committee members are:

Alberto Ibarguen (CEO of the Knight Foundation); Arva Moore Parks (author & historian); Barbara Young (former Art Historian for MDC Public Libraries); Beth Boone (Artistic & Executive Director of Miami Light Project); David Lawrence (Board Chair of The Children’s Movement of Florida); Eduardo Padron (President of Miami Dade College); Franklin Sirmans (Director of Perez Art Museum Miami); Javier Alberto Soto (President & CEO of the Miami Foundation); John Richard (President & CEO of the Adrienne Arsht Center); Jordana Pomeroy (Director of the Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum FIU); Teresa Weintraub (Managing Director at Merrill Lynch); Toni & Carl Randolph (arts activists); Wendy Kallergis (President & CEO of the Greater Miami & The Beaches Hotel Association); and William Talbert, III (CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau).

About Gibraltar Private Bank and Trust

Celebrating its 21 years, Gibraltar Private is an integrated private banking and wealth advisory company dedicated to enhancing the wealth and well-being of its clients and their families. Gibraltar offers residential and commercial lending, private banking and wealth management services to professionals and professional service firms, corporate executives, families, entrepreneurs and their businesses. Gibraltar Private has eight full-service offices with its headquarters in Coral Gables, offices in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Miami Beach, South Miami, Naples, Ocean Reef, West Palm Beach and New York. For more information on Gibraltar Private, visit


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