Lakewood Ranch residents and philanthropists Joe and Barbara Najmy received the John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund in a luncheon on December 11 of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance.
The room was filled with more than 200 local business leaders, nonprofit leaders and fans of the Najmys.
The power couple is known for their humility, kindness and leadership in making significant contributions without fanfare. One or both have been active in giving and fundraising at the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch, Easterseals of Southwest Florida, State College of Florida, Jewish Family and Children’s Services, Manatee Community Foundation, and the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund.
The annual award was named for John Clarke, a man whose lifelong dedication to humanitarian ideals have perpetuated the high ethical, moral and professional standards that epitomize his life. Individuals to receive the award have made outstanding, sustained and unselfish contributions to community enrichment and whose commitment and dedication exemplify the ideal of service to the community.
David Fink of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was the chair of the Humanitarian of the Year Award Committee. Past recipients include John Clarke, Don O’Leary, Pat Neal, Lorraine and Dick Vitale, Darrell Turner, Stuart J. Roth, Bob and Billie Delaney, Lou and Ann Marie Marinaccio, Col. John W. Saputo, Robert Rosinsky, Lee Wetherington, Donald and Vanessa Baugh, Rick Fawley, John Fain and Angela Massaro-Fain and Diane Brune.
The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was established in 2000 as a component fund of Manatee Community Foundation and is governed by a volunteer Board of Advisors. The purpose of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is to enhance the quality of life in and near the Lakewood Ranch community by promoting philanthropy, responding to community needs and granting funds. Since its inception, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund has distributed over $1.3 million to local non-profits in accordance with its mission. Contributions to the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund are made by residents, corporate sponsors and through its fundraising events.