From the sale of his Coconut Grove residence — a transaction that closed Wednesday, the chairman and CEO of Related Group, Jorge M. Pérez, has announced a donation of $33 million for The Miami Foundation.
It’s the largest donation The Miami Foundation has ever received and is among the most significant humanitarian gifts in city history.
In a statement, Pérez said: “It is our honor and privilege to support The Miami Foundation, an organization which has long shared our commitment to building a more prosperous and resilient Miami. Our entire family looks forward to seeing how this gift will benefit individuals, families and businesses across the region, and, hopefully, how it inspires others to seize the moment and help build a better future for the city.”
In an interview, Adolfo Henriques, vice chair of Related Group, said that while Pérez, 71, has signed The Giving Pledge that commits him to giving away his assets upon his passing, the longtime philanthropist wants to make an impact in his lifetime.
Henriques said: “Everybody has their own unique feeling and desire with what to do with what they have built. This is a way for someone to show they are thankful in a way that improves the world over time. And to share what they have been able to accomplish in a way that is meaningful for others.”
Henriques added: “Pérez, who recently purchased a condo in the Park Grove complex, did not want to simply leave the 10,000-square-foot waterfront estate, known as “Villa Cristina,” unoccupied for most of the year. Pérez ultimately decided to put it up for sale and give away whatever amount the buyer purchased it for. It was listed in July for $33 million.”
The buyer, who has not been disclosed, is thrilled with the outcome, Henriques said.
The Miami Foundation will use the funds to support four of Pérez’s passions: arts and culture; education; and social justice. He previously has donated a total of $40 million to establish the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
The exact destinations for the new funds are still being discussed — but the need is immense, given the upheavals Miami is experiencing, said Miami Foundation President and CEO Rebecca Fishman Lipsey.
In an interview, she said: “If ever there were a time to donate a home, this is the moment.”
This is not the first time Pérez has worked with The Miami Foundation. He served on the foundation’s board from 1991 to 1996, and was instrumental in guiding the foundation’s Hurricane Andrew relief efforts.
In 2015, the Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation was established at The Miami Foundation. Among the programs the Pérez Foundation has helped launch is CreARTE, designed to expand residents’ access to the arts and make Miami a global hub for artistic excellence.
Pérez is also a lead partner in other Miami Foundation initiatives, like its Give Miami Day annual pledge drive and its new Racial Equity Fund. He has granted funds for the foundation’s COVID-related and Surfside relief programs.
More than $19 million has been distributed through Pérez’s partnership with the foundation.
Henriques said: “He has the intent of making sure all the money he is contributing gets invested. And I keep using that word — this is not just buying a table at a gala. This is about investing and doing something that would otherwise not happen for positive change.”