The Parks Foundation of Broward County is a dynamic, driven, and dedicated non-profit organization that is passionately committed to improving the lives of everyone in the community. As the volunteering and fundraising arm of the Broward County Parks and Recreation Division, the Foundation is on a mission to support and enhance the well-being of residents, visitors, and businesses in Broward County through the incredible assets available in the county’s parks system. With a focus on capital projects, educational initiatives, cultural events, and recreational programs, the Foundation is dedicated to investing in the future of the community and creating a better, more vibrant, and more connected place for all.
To support & enhance the wellbeing of Broward County’s residents, visitors and businesses through the assets available in our county parks system, including its precious green spaces.
President, Goldsmith Resources, a boutique marketing agency representing global manufacturers in N. America & European markets and generating more than $1B retail sales through collaborative long-term partnerships. This template has also proven a successful for the Broward Parks Foundation in creating and building upon mutually rewarding partnerships between corporate for-profit, non-profit entities alike and governmental entities as well. MBA University of Miami; UF Undergraduate Horticultural Therapy & UF Florida Master Naturalist & UF Florida Master Gardener.
Thomas Oates is a third generation Floridian who enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife, Jennifer and three elementary aged children. Mr. Oates is an attorney by trade, and Florida natural and cultural history enthusiast in his spare time. He recognizes the importance of creating meaningful opportunities for people to get outdoors and experience natural areas. An outspoken advocate for Everglades Restoration, Oates has an intimate knowledge of our regions’ federal parks including Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve. Oates’ top three Broward Parks include Fern Forest Nature Center, Secret Woods Nature Center and Highlands Scrub Natural Area. His other community service includes his appointment to the 17th Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission, past president of the Broward County Bar Association and volunteer judge for the Broward County Youthful Offender Teen Court program.
Senator Eleanor Sobel is a passionate public servant with core values of education, community, and improving lives. She has dedicated her career to promoting parks, open spaces, and community programs to protect citizen health. Her 24 years of public service include positions as Hollywood City Commissioner, Florida State Representative, member of the Broward School Board, and Florida State Senator. Senator Sobel has a post-graduate education from Harvard Kennedy School and the CDC in Atlanta, as well as two Master of Arts degrees from Columbia and City University of New York. She is a proud member of the Parks Foundation and has received numerous awards for her contributions to organizations such as the Cancer Society and National Council of Jewish Women. Senator Sobel encourages community participation to make Broward County a better place to live and recreate.
Sheila Rose, AICP, is the Deputy City Manager for the City of Coconut Creek, also known as the “Butterfly Capital of the World.” With over 20 years of experience, she is a certified land planner who has expertise in environmental planning, urban design, and transportation planning. Ms. Rose is a member of several professional organizations including the American Planning Association and the United States Green Building Council. She holds a professional degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Cincinnati and is an ICMA Credential Manager. In addition to her professional work, Ms. Rose is also the founding president of SOS Children’s Village, the national umbrella organization of SOS, USA.
Alex Lazowick is the third-generation family leader at KEITH, a firm specializing in providing quality land development and design solutions in South Florida. With over a decade of experience in civil engineering design, Alex has been instrumental in designing water, sewer, and drainage systems, roadway design, permitting, and construction administration services for land development, transportation, and aviation projects. He emphasizes teamwork and quick problem-solving to deliver successful results in the most efficient manner. Alex also actively participates in community organizations, serving as a board member for the Parkland Planning and Zoning Board and the Parks Foundation of Broward County.
Dirk is the CEO of Frank H. Furman, Inc., an Acrisure Agency Partner and is responsible for overseeing production of 12 commercial insurance sales staff and 60 support staff at the headquarters in Pompano Beach. Dirk is a pillar of the South Florida Community. Dirk bas been in the insurance business for 36 years and is well respected statewide among his peers. In addition to maintaining a close relationship with his own clients; he manages the Agency’s finances, sales production and operations. Dirk has a very close affiliation with the insurance companies the Agency partners with to protect our clients. Dirk’s core values that guide the Furman Agency is to build client trust while consistently delivering meaningful significance to the clients.
Timothy L. Bryant, PE is the Director of External Affairs for Florida Power & Light Company (FPL), the third-largest electric utility in the United States, serving nearly half of Florida’s population. Bryant has a proven track record in the electric utility sector and leverages his interpersonal skills and technical knowledge to develop and execute regional strategies. FPL’s parent company, NextEra Energy, is a clean energy company that is widely recognized for its sustainability, ethics, and diversity efforts. In addition to his role at FPL, Bryant serves on numerous boards and is a former commissioned officer in the U.S. Army National Guard. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and is a graduate of Baker University’s MBA program.
Carlton Gillespie is a lifelong Broward County resident, born and raised in Pompano Beach. A graduate of Florida State University, Mr. Gillespie is currently a Business Development Specialist at KCI Technologies Inc. an engineering firm that offers land surveying, landscape architecture, civil and transportation engineering services to municipalities and private clients throughout the state of Florida. Now living in Oakland Park, Mr. Gillespie is proud to see his work manifest in engineering projects that directly impact and improve the communities he lives in. That’s also true of his work with the Broward County Parks Foundation. As a board member of the foundation since 2019 Mr. Gillespie relishes the opportunity to help the parks system in Broward County provide all its benefits to the residents of Broward County. Having a robust and active parks system in Broward County is of fundamental importance.
County oversees the nonprofit umbrella organization charged with planning, coordinating, monitoring, providing, and funding programs designed to meet the needs of Broward seniors. Charlotte believes parks are a wonderful resource for seniors and is committed to connecting our senior community to our parks system. She is involved with a variety of other organizations dedicated to helping seniors and serves as the Vice Chair of the Center for Workforce Inclusion; Vice Chair and Technology committee Chair of the Florida State Association of Area Agencies on Aging; is the Florida representative for the USAging Technology Task Force; Chairs the Broward County Dementia Care and Cure Initiative Task Force, and is Vice Chair of the Transportation for the Disadvantaged Local Coordinating Board. Ms. Mather-Taylor obtained her Master’s in Business Administration from Nova Southeastern University and her BA from the University of Florida.
Ryan Thieme is an Associate Vice President, Financial Advisor and a founding member of the Kahng Thieme Group at Morgan Stanley, he holds both CFP® and ChFC® designations. Ryan advises a range of clients from across the nation, including retirees from publicly traded companies, corporate executives, real estate developers, business owners interested in selling their business and divorcees needing assistance in managing their settlement. He builds close relationships with his clients, and finds it rewarding to see them achieve their goals. Transparency, loyalty and a pursuit of excellence are important to him. When he’s away from the office, Ryan loves playing with his Doberman Pinscher, Ava, and his Rottweiler, Moana. Other favorite activities include basketball, mountain biking, and scuba diving, along with mentoring individuals as a coach for the Dale Carnegie Leadership Training program. He is also passionate about bettering the Broward County Parks System for the benefit of its residents.