Light the Night: The 17th Annual Beacon Awards Celebrate Miami’s Dynamic Innovation & Growth

2019 Beacon Award Recipients Announced

(Miami, FL – June 14, 2019) – The Beacon Council Economic Development Foundation, Inc., a 501(C)(3) tax-exempt, not-for-profit organization, is pleased to announce the 2019 Beacon Award Honorees, including the Jay Malina Leadership Honoree. A celebration of the dynamic innovation powering Miami’s growth, Light the Night: The 17th Annual Beacon Awards, presented by Greenberg Traurig, are set to take place on Wednesday, June 26th at the InterContinental Miami Hotel.

Celebrating companies, organizations and individuals driving growth and prosperity for Miami-Dade, The Beacon Awards recognize honorees in seven unique categories that align to One Community One Goal’s seven pillars: Business Policy & Climate; Economic Development Marketing; education and Workforce Development; Entrepreneurship & Innovation; Physical Infrastructure & Resiliency; Target Industries; and Leadership.

Named after the founder of One Community One Goal, this year’s esteemed Jay Malina Leadership Award, presented by Phillip & Patricia Frost, recognizes Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Ibargüen’s commitment to promoting informed, engaged communities is a thread that pulls through his entire career, first in the Peace Corp, then as a lawyer and businessman, including his role as the publisher of The Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald, which were among Knight Ridder’s most financially successful newspapers under his watch and won three Pulitzer Prizes. His commitment to community has continued as head of Knight Foundation over the last 14 years. Ensuring Knight evolves to identify and capitalize on positive trends, Ibargüen’s leadership has supported a level of innovation in arts, technology, media, and community engagement that has accelerated Miami’s growth and left an indelible mark. Since 2012, Knight has invested more than $30 Million in Miami-Dade’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting innovators, attracting investments and growing the city’s talent base. Local Knight Grant recipients include, but are not limited to: The LAB MiamiVenture CaféeMerge AmericasBlack Tech WeekEndeavor Miami500 Startups MiamiLaunchCodeGirls Who CodeCodeFeverCode/Art, Miami City Ballet, New World Symphony, and O, Miami Poetry Festival. Knight Foundation under his tenure has invested or committed more than $165 Million to arts and culture as part of an effort to connect Miamians to place and to each other.

“Jay Malina was a good friend of mine; I even had the privilege of eulogizing him at his funeral. So, this recognition is very special to me. Jay was a great leader, a big mind and bigger heart, who led by example and with a passionate commitment for community engagement. He appreciated the transformative impact we could have when we developed a common vision and worked together toward that goal. He started One Community One Goal to forge a commitment to place and boost Miami-Dade’s economy, including all parts of the county,” said Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. “We benefited immensely from his leadership and have continued to evolve. To ensure we continue transforming into the Miami of our dreams, Jay would remind us that we need vision, courage, skill and tenacity – together. Thank you to The Beacon Council Foundation for this honor, and congratulations to all of the 2019 Beacon Award Honorees.”

“Alberto Ibargüen is a leader!  Whether it is in business, or the community, Alberto stands out as someone others want to follow.  Why is this?  It is because we all know that he is our friend, a friend who is concerned about our welfare and wants a better life for everyone,” said Dr. Phillip Frost, Chairman & CEO of OPKO Health. 

While the Jay Malina Leadership Award recipient is selected by Past Chairs of the Miami-Dade Beacon Council, the other six awards are voted on by a diverse panel of business and community leaders asked to  review key success attributes including: partnerships/collaboration; innovation/creativity; jobs impact such as high wages, equity, inclusion, job creation and retention; community engagement; long-term community impact; environmental resiliency and other relevant information.

“This year we received very strong nominations from multiple organizations in all six categories, proving that our community is committed to diversifying and strengthening Miami-Dade’s economy in ways that continue to align with the One Community One Goal strategic plan,” said Michael A. Finney, President & CEO, The Miami-Dade Beacon Council. “The 17th Annual Beacon Awards celebrate the dynamic innovation powering economic development in our community, and we are proud to recognize all of our 2019 Beacon Award honorees.”

Over 54 nominations were received from 41 different organizations from the private sector, not-for-profit organizations, government agencies and educational institutions. Deliberations were difficult given the strength of the many applicants, but one honoree will be recognized in each of the following six categories at the 2019 Beacon Awards on June 26th:

  • Business Climate & Policy Award | Presented by Florida Blue
    Honoree: Kaufman Rossin & The Women’s Fund Miami-Dade
    Finalists: Florida Small Business Development Council (SBDC) at FIU  & Wynwood Business Improvement District (BID)


  • Economic Development Marketing Award | Presented by Baptist Health South Florida
    Honoree: City of Miami Gardens
    Finalists: Innovation City & WhereBy.Us/ The New Tropic


  • Education & Workforce Development Award | Presented by Bank of America
    Honoree: Florida Power & Light (FPL)
    Finalists: Ironhack U.S, LLC & Year UP South Florida


  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation Award | Presented by John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
    Honoree: CIC Miami
    Finalists: 500 Startups & Babson College WIN (Women Innovating Now)  LAB


  • Physical Infrastructure & Resiliency Award | Presented by Dosal Tobacco Corporation
    Honoree: Brightline/ Virgin Trains USA
    Finalists: City of Miami Beach &Miami-Dade County + Ford Autonomous Vehicles LLC


  • Target Industries & Leadership Award | Presented by Florida Power & Light (FPL)
    Honoree: Natural Vitamins Laboratory
    Finalists: DBK Concepts & Kaseya

“We are happy to join as Presenting Sponsors in recognizing Alberto Ibargüen with the Jay Malina Award.  The key to effective community action is to have conveners involved who can bring community leaders together and focused, so that major initiatives and improvements can occur in our diverse communities.  At the very top of the list of conveners is a single first name that is recognized and respected by all.  The first name is “Alberto.”  When Alberto calls, you answer, and you get involved, because you know that it is important, and the likelihood of success is high.  No other name is needed,” says Cesar L. Alvarez, Sr. Chairman of Greenberg Traurig.

The 17th Annual Beacon Awards would not be possible without the support of generous sponsors including Presenting Sponsors Greenberg Traurig, Philip & Patricia Frost, The Related Group, The Miami Herald, Capital Bank, Florida Blue, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Dosal Tobacco, Bank of America, Florida Power & Light, Baptist Health South Florida, American Airlines and many more.

For more information about the 17th Annual Beacon Awards or to purchase a table or tickets for this event please call (305) 579-1300 or visit