MIAMI (Oct. 30, 2019) – On Saturday, Feb. 8, the Greater Miami & The Keys Chapter of the American Red Cross will host its 2020 Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Gala at the Key West Marriott Beachside Hotel. The event was established in 1995 by the Spottswood family of Key West in gratitude of Mrs. Spottswood’s devotion to the principles of the American Red Cross.
Since its inception, the Gala has honored community members who demonstrate leadership and compassion through community service. This year, husband and wife Judy Blume and George Cooper have been named as the 2020 Humanitarians of the Year.
The enduring and inspired touch of Blume and Cooper have transformed communities near and far. The two have called Key West home for nearly 25 years.
Judy Blume is one of America’s most beloved authors and one of its most vigilant and committed anti-censorship activists. She has been a funny and knowing voice for children and adolescents for nearly five decades. Blume’s books have sold more than 85 million copies in 32 languages. She works with National Coalition Against Censorship to support teachers and librarians committed to keeping all books accessible.
Cooper, a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School and member of the Law Review, was a professor of Taxation and Civil Rights Law at Columbia University for 20 years. Active in civil rights policy and litigation in the 1960s and 1970s, and editor of textbooks on Equal Employment and Poverty Law, he spent 1979 in South Africa where he helped establish the Legal Resources Centre, an anti-apartheid legal aid program. Also a successful writer, Cooper focused on historic true crime.
Closer to home, Blume and Cooper are at the center of philanthropic life in Key West. Cooper, an independent film enthusiast, was the driving force behind the development of the nonprofit Tropic Cinema which Florida Monthly has named “Best Florida Cinema.”
Blume’s passion for books led her to become a board member of Key West Literary Seminar, a nonprofit organization that supports young writers, librarians and teachers. In 2016, she and Cooper opened Books & Books @ The Studios, a full service, nonprofit bookstore in an Old Town arts complex. Enhancing Key West’s rich literary heritage, Books & Books hosts readings, promotes local authors and encourages children to love reading. Blume and Cooper can be found most days working at the bustling bookstore.
The 2020 Spottswood Gala will be chaired by Tom Callahan, the 2019 Honoree and the volunteer executive director and founding board member of the Star of the Sea Outreach Mission (SOS) in Key West.
“We are grateful to the Key West community for its enduring support since our founding by Mrs. Spottswood in 1917,” said Deborah Koch, executive director of the chapter. “It is an incredible honor to recognize Judy and George for tremendous contributions to both the local community and beyond.”
Tickets and sponsorships are available for this signature event and can be purchased at redcross.org/SpottswoodGala or by contacting Diana Rojas at SouthFloridaRSVP@redcross.org or (305) 389-4778. Proceeds from the Spottswood Gala will benefit the work of the American Red Cross in the Florida Keys.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org/southflorida or visit us on Twitter at @SFLRedCross.
About the Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Gala:
The Spottswood family of Key West established the Florence Spottswood Humanitarian of the Year Award and Gala in 1995 to honor Mrs. Spottswood’s devotion to the principles of the American Red Cross and her determination to bring the first chapter to the citizens of the Keys in 1917. Each year, this Gala recognizes an outstanding leader in the Monroe County community. This individual possesses the qualities affirmed by the International Red Cross Movement including Humanity, Impartiality, Neutrality, Independence, Voluntary Service, Universality, and Unity.
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