Al Malnik Continues To Flex His Philanthropic Muscles – Millions Rassied For Make-A-Wish

For starters, Malnik, who married Nancy Gresham in 1995, twenty years after divorcing his first spouse, has ten kids. His oldest from the first marriage are Shareef, who has a law degree & runs The Forge, which recently underwent a $10-million renovation; Andrea, who also has a law degree; Susan, a psychologist; & Allison, a Palm Beach County teacher. With Nancy, they has triplets Spencer, Jarod & Nathan, 12; Jesse, 5; & twins Noah & Sterling, four.

I was a playboy for a long time between my marriages, but when I met Nancy in 1991, I was so impressed. I dated her for years, they says. She was stunning, unusual, smart, business-oriented, & filled with enthusiasm & imagination. They married at my ranch in west Boca Raton before  500 people.

Today, the Malniks are major movers & shakers in the world of philanthropy. They work together on dozens of charity projects & fundraisers. Malnik is a member of the George E. Merrick Society of the University of Miami, which honors those whose dedication to the University has reached a superior level, & a founding donor of the Jay Weiss Middle for Social Medicine & Health Equity at the University of Miami School of Medicine. They is & a founder of Mount Sinai Medical Middle, & is the only person named a lifetime benefactor of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The Malniks have been active in Make-A-Wish for ten years & help with the annual Miami gala by opening their Palm Beach County home for a spring pre-party.

Al Malnik is everybody’s favourite man, says Lea Black, spouse of attorney Roy Black & a prominent Miami philanthropist. He is fun, brilliant & philanthropic, with a lot energy & massive ideas. And, they has an odd spouse & lovable kids. Malnik is the sole sponsor of the Al & Nancy Malnik Relatives Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Research Fund in honor of of his young kids who has suffered from the disease but is now in remission. For this endeavor, Malnik, who says doctors have made startling discoveries in AML, was honored at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. I think it is vitally important to give back, & they make it a massive part of our lives, says Malnik.

The philanthropist has recently set up a trust at Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital for neurological services. & they has helped launch the new Nat King Cole Generation Hope foundation & its Boca Raton fundraisers. Al helped us start Nat King Cole Generation Hope, & through his generosity they have helped support music schooling in local schools, says Timolin Cole, president of the foundation. He is a dear mate of our relatives. Born in St. Louis to a sister in the wholesale sweet & tobacco business, Malnik attended Washington University there, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree. They married & served in the U.S. Army as a guided missile officer, reaching the rank of reserve captain. After his stint, they attended the University of Miami School of Law & graduated with honors.
I loathed St. Louis weather, so after law school I stayed in Miami, setting up my home in Coral Gables, they says. I loved practicing law, trial work. It was challenging & fun. Indeed, they handled a number of the most colorful clients in the country, including massive names like Huntington Hartford, heir to A&P grocery stores; legendary hotel owners Ben Novack Sr. (Fontainebleau, Miami), Morris Landsberg (Flamingo, Las Vegas), Dan Lifter (Marco Polo, Miami) & Sam Cohen (Riviera Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas). They practiced law for ten years, forsaking it in the late 1960s to invest in actual estate & generate business ventures. They started a filmmaking company, where they worked with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Debbie Reynolds in the United States & Europe, & a jukebox business. They also invested in late-night clubs & other commercial properties. His intelligence, charm & show biz contacts led him in to these more lavish & profitable playgrounds. They sold the film & music businesses when they decided to build a number of his own fantasy palaces.
I created The Forge on a bet, they laughs. I kept complaining about how bad all of the area steak houses were. So I bought the actual estate on 41st Street in Miami Beach & built it as a hobby. Since Malnik continued to take regular business journeys to Rome, Paris, London & Geneva, they bought stained glass & antiques & designed The Forge himself, using his European purchases to decorate what would become a drop-dead pretty & ornate old-world interior with the glitz of a Las Vegas casino. The Forge has won the International Grand Master Wine Award & was voted the No. one steak house in The united states by Wine Spectator in 1996.
They also developed Miami’s Sky Lake Country Club, Cricket Club & restaurant, Los angeles Club residences, shopping centers & several Coconut Grove restaurants, including Lady Bug, Honey for the Bears & My Other Place. They sold all of them & bought sexy resorts in the Poconos, with Champagne flowing in to heart-shaped bathtubs.

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Jay Weiss Center Receives Pledge From Al Malnik – $1 Million

“Jay was the finest, nicest, kindest human being I’ve ever met in my life,” says Al Malnik, who has pledged $1 million to support the Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity, named in honor of his long time friend. “I knew how much Jay enjoyed the work he was doing with the medical school, so when was told there was going to be a medical center that would not only be named after him, but also be devoted to doing the activities he so loved, I wanted to be a part of it for sure.”
The Jay Weiss Center for Social Medicine and Health Equity was officially established in 2005 in memory of Miami’s well known philanthropist Jay W. Weiss, a longtime champion of the underserved in the Miami-Dade County community.
Considered “best of friends” since the day they met, Al Malnik and Jay’s friendship dates back to the late 1950s. Jay’s daughter, Jennie Block, says, “I can’t remember a time when our families have not been friends. Al was always very proud of my dad and his work on behalf of the community. We’re deeply appreciative of his support and many, many years of friendship. He continues to be a good friend to my father in death as he was in life.”
Al Malnik was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. He moved to Miami to pursue a law degree at the University of Miami, which he earned in 1959, and has been here ever since. He practiced law and in 1968 founded the legendary The Forge Restaurant, a Miami Beach dining institution. His son, Shareef Malnik, became the owner of The Forge Restaurant in 1991 and is now CEO of the operation. Al Malnik has been presented with the key to Miami Beach twice for The Forge’s contributions to the community.
“When (Dean Emeritus) Bernie Fogel, Jennie, and I had lunch with Al, he reflected on the nearly 50 years of their friendship and about one quality in particular that he felt most passionate about. It was Jay’s ability to make you go further than you imagined you could,” says Jay’s daughter, Laurie Nuell. “He recalled a time when he really was questioning himself and was not as confident as he should have been. Jay told him that he could be anything he wanted to be and should not settle for less. In many of his successes, it was always Jay’s encouragement that helped him. As a friend, he could always turn to Jay for support—they were like brothers.”
Malnik, like his friend Jay Weiss, is deeply committed to helping his community. The Jay Weiss Center is just one of numerous organizations he supports. He is an active board member of many local arts and civic organizations, such as the United Foundation for AIDS, Miami City Ballet, and Miami Symphony. The Malnik family is also deeply committed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation: Shareef Malnik is the gala chairman of the Annual Intercontinental Make-A-Wish Ball, and Al and Nancy Malnik are lifetime benefactors of the organization. The Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce has honored Al Malnik and his son, Shareef, as Outstanding Citizens of the Year.

Al Malnik Still Raising Money For Chairty In A Down Economy

On Saturday, November 6, 2010, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Southern Florida and InterContinental Miami celebrated the 16th Annual InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball with a captivating Asian-inspired, Zen-like theme. With beloved, internationally celebrated host Paula Abdul as the emcee of the live auction, a performance by Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys and the third anniversary of the Ball’s InterContinentalMiami Make-A-Wish Nightclub featuring a fashion show by designer Nicole Miller, the evening captured the “Art of the Wish” and proved itself to again be one of the hottest social events of the season.

“This year’s Ball was a great success in so many ways,” said Norman Wedderburn, President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida. “From the exceptional décor and stellar performance by Paula Abdul as the celebrity emcee, to the post-Ball celebration, I believe this year’s Ball to be one of the most special to-date. We saw a community come together in support of a great cause and have an unforgettable time while doing so. Most importantly, I want to thank each and every guest, volunteer and sponsor whose support and generosity helped raise an incredible amount of funds for children in need.”

This year’s InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Ball was made possible by the committee’s star players and “The Amigos:” President/CEO of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southern Florida, Norm Wedderburn; Ball Chairman and proprietor of The Forge Miami Restaurant | Winebar, Shareef Malnik; and InterContinental Miami General Manager and Gala Host, Robert B. Hill. Also honored were Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik; Grand Benefactors Stanley and Gala Cohen; Founding Benefactors Howard and Barbara Glicken; Wish Star Benefactor James L. Ferraro, as well as Wish Benefactors Harvey and Roberta Chaplin, Stuart A. Miller of Lennar Corporation and Robert Press of Trafalgar Capital Advisors.

Immediately upon arrival, guests were greeted by visions and iconic figures from the Orient including glowing orange Chinese lanterns and fashion-forward Geishas. Transformed by Javier Velarde of Triton Productions, the hotel’s Mezzanine level was brought to life by Samurai swordsmen, ribbon dancers, a gigantic Orange Blossom tree and the palpable energy created by 20 live Taiko drummers. While enjoying the Ball’s much buzzed-about hors d’oeuvre stations created by InterContinental Miami’s celebrated Executive Chef Alexander Feher and spirits provided by Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc., guests raised $140,000 by bidding on more than 130 premier items, including a guitar autographed by John Mayer; children’sMercedes-Benz ride-on SUV; luxury goods by Betsey Johnson, Valentino, Burberry, Diane Von Furstenberg, Longchamp USA, Judith Ripka and more; as well as hospitality packages ranging from local Miami stay-cations to destination packages in the Grand Cayman Islands, and a number of worldwide travel experiences courtesy of InterContinental Hotels and Resorts: InterContinental Abu Dabi, InterContinental Athens, InterContinental Bali, InterContinental Bangkok, InterContinental Boston, InterContinental Carlton Cannes, InterContinental Chicago, InterContinental Costa Rica, InterContinental De La Ville Rome, InterContinental Frankfurt, InterContinental Le Grand Paris, InterContinental London, InterContinental Madrid, InterContinental Miami and mySpa, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, InterContinental Montelucia, InterContinental New Orleans, InterContinental The Barclay New York, InterContinental Rio de Janeiro, InterContinental Toronto Yorkville and InterContinental Willard Washington DC, among others.

Following a dramatic parade led by a 42-foot-long dragon and beats by resident Ball and Miami Heat celebrity beat-master DJ Irie, guests were summoned into the dining room. Up-and-coming crooner Duane McLaughlin opened the main event with his inspirational song, “Ready to Live,” as 20 children dressed in white encircled the stage with glowing smiles. During the heart-warming performance, guests enjoyed a three course meal.  Following touching videos by the Ball’s key players testifying to the impact of the power of a wish, Paula Abdul, host of CBS’s new show LIVE TO DANCE, took the stage as the emcee of the event’s famous wish and live auction. Longtime Make-A-Wish supporter Jim Ferraro then opened the Wish Auction with a crowd-inspiring donation of $100,000, a pledge that will grant an astonishing 20 Wishes. Following his lead, the legendary pop icon and emcee donated $10,000 of her own money to grant two wishes for South Florida children in need.

During the action-packed live auction which raised a total of $160,000, guests bid on high-stakes items including a walk-on role for USA’s hit show Burn Notice, which was notably auctioned off by its own star, Gabrielle Anwar; another walk-on role for the film Tower Heist starring Ben Stiller, donated by director Brett Ratner; a $25,000 gift certificate for Rene Ruiz Couture provided by the designer himself; the ultimate Los Angeles Jet-Setting weekend getaway courtesy of Jason Binn and Niche Media; a luxurious Judith Ripka-inspired New York City experience complete with a $5,000 shopping piece from the designer’s collection;  an all-expenses-paid getaway to chic hotspot St. Barth’s, as well as a spectacular tour of the Orient with accommodations courtesy of the InterContinental Hong Kong, InterContinental Shanghai, InterContinental Beijing, InterContinental Tokyo, and Business Class travel by American Airlines.Closing out the live auction and following personal greetings by Abdul to more than half of the crowd, was a custom 2011 Ferrari 458 Italia donated by Ken Gorin of THE COLLECTION. After the auction, guests were entertained with a live performance by Tony Award-winning music production Jersey Boys, a story-like show based on the lives of famed 1960s rock-‘n’-roll group, The Four Seasons.

Following dinner and dancing, and for the third year in a row, guests re-entered the Mezzanine to celebrate the Ball’s success at the InterContinental Miami Make-A-Wish Nightclub, titled “Enter the Dragon” and hosted by Robert Hill, Shareef Malnik,Michael Capponi, Clif Loftin and Antonio Misuraca. Taiko drummers were replaced with go-go dancers and their drumming with beats by DJ Joe Dert, as guests – both Ball attendees and the next generation of contributors – were captivated by a retrospective fashion show by Nicole Miller featuring a collection of the designer’s looks previously worn by celebrities includingAngelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen, Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Tyra Banks, Sheryl Crow and Carmen Electra, among others. Ball attendee and international model Ines Rivero made a surprise appearance as the show’s opening and closing model.

More than 900 A-list VIPs, socialites, philanthropists and celebrities attended the Ball – joining the likes of live auction emcee Paula Abdul and auction item presenter Gabrielle Anwar, including E!’s Michael Yo; founders of Market America J.R. and Loren Ridinger with daughter Amber; Lifetime Benefactors Al and Nancy Malnik; attorney Jim Ferraro; President of THE COLLECTION Ken Gorin; designer Rene Ruiz; international model Ines Rivero; designer Nicole Miller; nightlife impresariosMichael Capponi and Antonio Misuraca; artist Romero Britto; founders of clothing line Bogosse Patrick and Fabrice Tardieu; television personality Katrina Campins, Thomas Kramer, and more.

Al Malnik brought Miami to the main stage with style and sophistication, now he invites you home.

By Kamal Hotchandani & Megan O’Neil of Haute Living Magazine

Al Malnik knows Miami. And, it’s safe to say, Miami is a world-class city, in large part, because of him. A smart businessman, family man and philanthropist, Malnik has left his mark on much of the Miami Beach landscape since he moved here in 1956. From his world-renowned restaurant, The Forge, his creation known in its heyday as the stomping grounds of the Rat Pack and other legendary characters (now owned and operated by his son Shareef Malnik), to his extremely generous support of local charitable organizations such as the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the Jackson Memorial Hospital and Mt. Sinai Hospital, it is obvious that Malnik likes to make things happen. And, when he does, no one can top him.

His success as a restaurateur, a major consumer loan lender and an entertainment lawyer to the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Jr., Dean Martin and Jackie Gleason are well documented and testament to his unrivaled clout and reputation. But, few know that this prominent South Florida figure is a self-made, private, humble and deeply spiritual patriarch of an ever-growing family-his wife, Nancy, recently gave birth to twins rounding out his brood at 10-with an eye for design, a passion for art and a love for good home-cooked meals.

Driving up to the entrance of the Beaux Arts Mansion, Malnik’s 35,000-square-foot Palm Beach residence, it appears that F. Scott Fitzgerald could have had it in mind as he penned The Great Gatsby. It is a breathtaking feat, a modern-day nod to the historical Beaux Art style, helmed by the athletic Malnik himself.

“I have always wanted to create a Beaux Art house,” Malnik confides energetically. “l love to build. I love to complete my eclectic taste.”

Malnik is a passionate collector. A hobby-turned-obsession when he was a young law student, collecting provided a vehicle for him to amass value and wealth while writing his own history through celebrated objects. It started with stained glass but today, everything from art-a cast-away Picasso hangs behind a guest bathroom door and unique Roy Caruthers pieces are displayed throughout the house-to wine-thousands of Jeroboams and Methusalis of Margaux, Petrus and Rothchilds sit in his multilevel wine cellar-to antiques-the third pool table ever built by Brunswick stands next to two enormous mirrors from the Carnegie Mansion in New York-has a special niche at the Beaux Art Mansion.

“My philosophy,” Malnik explains of his approach to antiques, “is to buy art…that is irreplaceable because the craft no longer exists as it did when it was made. They need to be individual and unique.”

Individual and unique are themes that run throughout Malnik’s home, largely due to his masterful coupling of seemingly disparate elements from the classic to the contemporary. Touring through his collection, the suave and handsome Malnik seems to channel Old Blue Eyes himself as he glides from room to room unveiling his favored pieces. His dining room is an unexpected treasure trove. Featuring a stunning 1860-dining room set emblazoned with the Cartier seal (a little known fact: the esteemed jeweler was an accomplished furniture maker, he also designed Malnik’s alabaster clock fireplace) from the Cartier family estate in Switzerland paired with Russian Beaux Art candelabras and a solid-gold candle holder, a gift from Saudi Arabian Prince Abdul Aziz, the room is the picture perfect marriage of styles.

“The house is replete with all different types of things,” Malnik admits with a charming grin, “yet it all seems to work together. Others might say that it is lunacy but it is a turn on for me.”

Mixing things up has been a recurring agenda for the St. Louis, Missouri native not only in décor but also in business and in philanthropy. “I started out as a renegade,” Malnik admits, “I always did what I wanted, represented people when I practiced law that many people told me, ‘you’re just going to ruin your career’ and perhaps they were right. But, I always felt I needed to do what I wanted to do.”

And today, the tireless Malnik is collaborating with noted businessman Jordan Zimmerman and record executive Steve Rifkin to develop Kids Block, an educational entertainment project for children buttressed by hip-hop music, created by the talented and famous record producers, Poke & Tone. The venture will include a weekly television show and several other satellite components.

“It’s an updated Sesame Street,” Malnik enthuses. “Very hip. Very urban. Very today.”

Hip, urban and today. These words could also be used to describe Malnik’s other business endeavors. Joining his “eleventh son”, film director Brett Ratner of Rush Hour and X-Men: The Last Stand fame, Malnik’s professed next phase will be an exploration of opportunities in the entertainment industry.

But, despite his many business dealings, Malnik remains deeply committed to supporting causes and charities that make a difference in people’s lives. Sometimes, those people are very close to home. Malnik and his beautiful wife Nancy had been involved with the Make-A-Wish foundation long before they had children of their own.

“They literally bring the child back to life by granting a wish,” the grateful Malnik remarks. “They really do. We saw it.”

Three years ago, one of their triplets, Jarod, was diagnosed with leukemia and was admitted into St. Mary’s Hospital for six months while he underwent chemotherapy. Luckily, Jarod has been in remission for almost three years now and is a happy healthy 8-year-old boy but during his hospitalization, Malnik observed Make-A-Wish in action. They brought hope and happiness to all of the kids in the pediatric-cancer wing including Jarod. “It was fantastic,” he enthuses.

Splitting his philanthropic energies among children’s causes, religious-based charities and other worthwhile organizations, Malnik is proud of his charitable work. Currently, he is setting up a foundation that will specialize in seeking out deserving causes to be the recipients of his generosity so that donations like his current gift to the Jackson Memorial Hospital, in honor of the late chairman and his dear friend Jay Weiss, are a regular occurrence.

Although Malnik fondly recalls the days of Miami Beach past, he is enamored of Miami Beach today. “I have seen the beach go through all of these different phases and I mean it is certainly in its glory now,” Malnik says. “It is just absolutely phenomenal. Beyond what I could ever envision would happen to Miami Beach.”

That said, the seasoned resident recognizes that Miami Beach is still in its infancy and is therefore vulnerable to the cycles of real estate. “The real-estate market here is quite amazing,” he explains. “When times seem that there is no limit to the upside, you marvel at how quickly values have escalated and how quickly the escalated values of real estate are selling…and then, it just seems like a combination of factors occur and one day it all wipes out and fortunately that is only temporary.”

Luckily for Malnik, he sold most of his real estate last year when the market began to get shaky and although the crumbling market troubles him, he admits, “I felt good that I sold when I did.” But, Malnik has not lost faith and believes that like all things, real estate in Miami will rebound. The question is, “when?”

Until then, Malnik, who is in fantastic shape thanks to his daily workouts, is happy adding an extension to his home for his children that will include a tennis court, a basketball court and a football field in the backyard. It will also house an Asian gallery in the lower level complete with prehistoric mammoth tusks and awe-inspiring pieces made of jade and agate.

“It’s great to be at a place in life,” admits the contented Malnik as his toddlers’ laughter echoes in the background, “where you do what you please and you become accustomed to your own shoes.”

Alvin Malnik has worked hard to get to this place. A self-made man who has proved repeatedly that if you put your mind to something, the sky and beyond is the limit. But, unlike many, Malnik takes his success in stride. Enjoys it without gloating and his humility is perhaps one of his greatest achievements.

“I consider myself not particularly noteworthy,” Malnik smiles. “To be honest with you, and I know this may sound a little bit funny, but I’ve kind of grown into my life so, I am used to it. I don’t really consider myself or what I have or what I do to be very unusual.”

Unusual indeed. And, remarkable. And, inspiring. And, historic. His is a life in a movie, one that everyone is dying to watch, that he both directs and stars in just as he sees fit. His purpose is singular and pointed. “My primary legacy,” Malnik confides, “is I want all of my children to have a footing in life. To be proud of themselves. Be proud of their family. To grow spiritually, intellectually and economically.” Leaning back and smiling, he continues, “I am very proud of all of my family.” Well, it is fairly certain, that they are very proud of him too. And, the legacy continues.

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