Supporters of Sunrise

Individuals who are committed and have contributed to our cause

Supporters of Sunrise

Individuals who are committed and have contributed to our cause

Click on a name for contributions

Dorothy W. Adside

Dorothy W. Adside was a proud parent of a son receiving services from Sunrise and was also a founding and long-standing member of the Sunrise Board of Directors. Dorothy was a former Miami-Dade Public Schools educator and administrator and was passionate about ensuring that children and young adults with disabilities received the public-school education they deserve. Her service to Sunrise and tireless advocacy efforts were inspirational and will never be forgotten.

Edwin Cosby

Edwin Cosby joined the Sunrise Board of Directors in 1999 and faithfully served until his unfortunate passing in 2007. Ed was dedicated to the financial stability of the organization and was a valuable member of the Finance and Audit Committee. He became one of the first members of the board to commit to planned giving, also known as a legacy gift, which was a way for him to continue to support Sunrise and its mission even after his passing.

Michael J. Hart

Michael J. Hart held numerous positions during his 36-year career at Sunrise. Michael acted as project manager, provided operational oversight and assistance, and was always the first to volunteer for whatever was needed. Michael’s attention to detail and historical knowledge made him a valuable resource to the organization and he could often be looked to for guidance or advice by staff at any level, or by the Board of Directors.

Marcella Henry

For over forty years Marcella Henry passionately devoted her career to supporting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She pioneered the creation of Sunrise's first compliance department, setting a standard for excellence and integrity within our organization. Guided by her inspiring slogan, “Do the right thing,” Marcella ensured that we uphold the highest standards of care and compliance, fostering a culture of safety, ethics, and compassion.

Leslie W. Leech, Jr.

Les W. Leech, Jr. served Sunrise for more than forty years as the President and Chief Executive Officer. During his tenure Sunrise grew significantly, and throughout the course of his career his efforts impacted the lives of thousands of families and people with disabilities. Les considered staff and the volunteer board members equally deserving of credit for Sunrise’s accomplishments. Les viewed the spirit of service to others, despite the risk, as his greatest legacy to those who follow.

Rick Neubauer

Capt. Rick Neubauer created Sunrise’s most well-known and successful fundraising event, “The Great Sunrise Balloon Race”. For more than twenty-five years, this airline pilot, private pilot and aeronaut served as Balloonmeister of an event which became synonymous with Sunrise Community. Capt. Rick was instrumental in raising community awareness for the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and the services that Sunrise provides.

Daniel J. O'Connell, EdD

Daniel J. O’Connell, prior to joining the Sunrise Emeritus Board, served on the Sunrise Board of Directors for over 18 years. As Chair of the Governance Committee, Dan helped lead the creation of term limits for the Executive Committee, established a recruiting and nomination process for Board members, and revised the Board orientation process. During his tenure Dan played an active role in making sure that the board remained vital and functioned effectively and efficiently.

The Rice Family

David L. Rice was instrumental in the formation of Sunrise’s first Board of Directors, and his advocacy efforts brought community awareness to the needs of children and adults with developmental disabilities. David’s son, Stephen T. Rice, continued the legacy of support and advocacy, serving for over 38 years as a member of the board and also as Board Chair. Sunrise is indebted to the Rice family for their dedicated service and their key roles in Sunrise’s history.

The Sonderling Family

Egmont and Frosene Sonderling became supporters of Sunrise as the organization struggled to secure the funding necessary to provide services desperately needed in south Florida. Their philanthropic efforts brought community awareness to Sunrise and inspired others to give. Egmond showed the same spirit of determination toward Sunrise as he did toward his own very successful business ventures, and their generosity improved the lives of many people served.

Jose E. Souto, Sr.

Jose E. Souto, Sr. was not only the parent of a son who received services from Sunrise, but he also served on Sunrise’s Board of Directors for over 20 years. Jose has been a strong financial supporter that is largely responsible for the success of Sunrise’s major annual fundraisers. Jose has also provided advisement to the Sunrise Foundation, which through interest earned is committed to creating new and innovative programs not otherwise funded by Medicaid.

George L. Spelios, DDS

Dr. George L. Spelios was one of the original community volunteer leaders of Sunrise. He was a stable force for over forty years as Chairman of the Board of Directors. His positive and pioneering approach toward working with the senior staff, community leaders and governmental agencies provided the opportunity to inspire others through his dedication. Dr. Spelios was committed to Sunrise, and to improving the lives of people with developmental disabilities.

Geraldine & Otis Tucker

Geraldine and Otis Tucker, parents of a son with developmental disabilities receiving service from Sunrise, were motivated by love to give to Sunrise consistently for over 30 years. In addition to their generous donations and financial contributions, the spirit of volunteering was paramount as evidenced by the countless number of hours they dedicated to Sunrise. Sunrise will remain forever grateful to Geraldine and Otis for inspiring many others who followed their example.

James G. Weeks, PhD

James G. Weeks had served as Vice President and Corporate Secretary and Treasurer for the majority of his 40+ years with Sunrise. He was responsible for the early start-up and oversight of several of the operations and played an integral role in many of the organization’s acquisitions. In addition to his involvement in business development, Jim has provided oversight to corporate Finance, Risk Management and IT. Despite retiring from his full-time status in December of 2016, Jim has remained committed to the Sunrise mission and still serves as a Vice President.

The Weiss Family

The Weiss family, led by Jay and Mary Beth Weiss, were all advocates in the true sense of the word. Adopting a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities into their family was only the beginning. Their compassion for this vulnerable population led to an appreciation of Sunrise’s programs and services, while their financial contributions helped Sunrise expand and grow. The generosity of the Weiss family spanning more than twenty-five years was invaluable to Sunrise.

Kathryn Wood Whitaker

Kathryn W. Whitaker was Vice President of Administration toward the end of her career at Sunrise that spanned 41 years. Having served in a number of roles throughout her career, Kathy was well known by all and her contributions to Sunrise were immeasurable. Her loyalty and legendary devotion to Sunrise and its mission were incomparable. Kathy’s legacy is not forgotten by Sunrise, especially those that worked closely with her throughout her storied career.