Get to Know Bunny Bastian, Community Leader and Philanthropist
1. Why is giving back important to you?
Giving has always been a part of my life. I learned it from observing my family when I was growing up. It seemed to be something that must be done, as surely as paying the rent. How could I ever change the ideals and values that I inherited from my family?
2. How did you get involved with the Humane Society?
This seems to be a natural thing to do for me since I have always had pets in my life. When I was a baby, I had an alley cat that we called “Bullets” because he was so tough and he let me squeeze him to pieces. Later on, my family always had at least one dog, if not more. Some of them just came to our doorstep and became part of our family. It breaks my heart to know that there are so many homeless animals in our community, but the Humane Society of Greater Miami does a fantastic job of finding forever homes for so many of them, and when the animals are at the Humane Society’s Soffer and Fine Adoption Center, they receive incredible care and lots of love.
3. Why do you feel animal charities are important?
Today, animal charities are necessary because there are just not enough homes for all the orphaned and abandoned animals in our community. The lifesaving work of animal charities is so important because these animals need to be fed, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and cared for until a family to call their own can be found. In addition, people need to be educated about the importance of responsible pet ownership and spay/neuter programs.
5. What can guests expect from the 2015 Pawpurrazzi event?
The 2015 Pawpurrazzi event will bring people and their dogs together for a super fun time. This year the dogs are going on a “Camera Safari” and will have a blast at Jungle Island, where the event will be held. There is great camaraderie at this event, something about going out with your dog and helping a charity at the same time, that makes going to this event a magical experience. Guests are often dressed in a Miami chic kind of way, and have matching outfits with their four-legged children. The highlight of the evening takes place when the dogs and their owners walk the red carpet; it is a show-stopping experience. You never know what to expect from the dogs or the humans!
6. What other causes do you support?
I support many other worthwhile causes including the American Red Cross, Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart, Brickell Avenue Literary Society, Beaux Arts, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Camillus House, Archdiocese of Miami, Jackson Memorial Foundation and Miami Project to Cure Paralysis, just to name a few.
7. As a D.C. native, what made you come to South Florida?
My husband, Jim, and I lived in Washington, D.C., for years, where my husband opened his own law firm. He was very fortunate in that his firm was retained by a number of small airlines as well as other clients. In a few years one of his clients asked him to become a partner in his airline. He then began to spend a day or two each week in Florida. When his partner decided to retire, Jim purchased his interest and became sole owner. Soon he was spending more time in Miami than in D.C., so we decided to move. I loved my job at the Labor Department but left to become one of the vice presidents in our air cargo company.
8. What do you like most about South Florida?
I love the warm weather that Florida offers. The first year I was here I marveled that I could sit by the swimming pool in shorts and write Christmas cards! I also love the fact that Miami is a city of diversity and is brimming with activities of all sorts — making it a world-class metropolis.
9. Where do you like to travel?
I have been most fortunate to have travelled all over the world. Our air cargo business took us to some very different places. We traveled extensively and had many unique and fascinating experiences with heads of states at interesting venues. From Uganda, Mozambique and South Africa to Papua New Guinea and Alaska, our business took us throughout Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas.
Now, I travel with my kids and grandkids on cruises and visit different cities on the stopovers. We have been on Mediterranean cruises, Baltic Sea cruises, cruised the Greek Isles, Alaska, and the Caribbean Sea. Next summer we are going to Asia on Royal Caribbean’s “Quantum of the Seas.” I am first and foremost a family person. My life revolves around my four children and eight grandchildren. Three of my children live nearby and very often during the day they drop in to say hello and visit unannounced. I love it!
Pawpurrazzi Event to Benefit Humane Society of Greater Miami
Join the Humane Society of Greater Miami for their Safari-themed 2015 Pawpurrazzi event. The celebration will include a delicious sit down dinner, music, a silent auction and several other fun activities for all guests. Funds raised at the event will go toward the support of more than 400 homeless and abandoned animals being cared for by the Humane Society.
When: Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 at 7 p.m.
Where: Jungle Island
Ticket Prices are $550, $750, $1000 and $2,000 per person. Dogs are special guests!
For more information on this year’s Pawpurrazzi event, contact Laurie Hoffman at 305.749.1815 or Laurie@HumaneSocietyMiami.org.