Community-wide Tribute Planned to Recognize and Celebrate Her Selfless and Inspiring Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Patriotism and Shower Her With “Birthday Wishes”
To honor Henrietta, Countess de Hoernle for her immense, selfless contributions to the community on her actual 100th birthday: Monday, September 24, the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller Commandery of Florida invites the community-at-large to be part of “Red, White and Boca-Blue Countess Appreciation Day”. Throughout the day, residents, visitors, nonprofits, schools and universities, businesses, and government officials and staff are encouraged to pay visual tribute to the Countess in reflection of her patriotism for the United States, her “country by choice”, by wearing red, white, and blue and wrapping trees with red, white, and blue ribbons.
“We want the efforts to be simple and far-reaching as hundreds of thousands of lives have been rescued or enriched by the Countess’s generosity and leadership role in community involvement,” noted Barbara Schmidt, founder of Spirit of Giving Network and a C100 Honorary Gala Co-Chair with Dick Schmidt and Christine Lynn who added that a philanthropic digest can be viewed on www.Countess100.org. “It is critically important the community-at-large, from the young to older generations, know of her indelible legacy and become inspired by her wisdom and ‘authentic’ giving lessons to make a difference in their communities for generations to come.”
“Our Legend, Her Legacy”
Managing her charitable work from her home since 1981 without any staff, the Countess de Hoernle has selflessly given away more than $40 million of her personal funds to local charities while serving on 16 boards of directors each year for more than 25 years, for more than 30 different charities in her lifetime. Serving as an indelible and inspiring role model of philanthropy with wisdom and grace, there are more than 40 buildings named in her honor throughout Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, New York and abroad.
Knowing what it was like to be the wife of a military veteran who fought overseas in World War II to protect the United States, she was the first private citizen in the United States that donated $1 million to the United Way’s 9/11 Fund, earmarking $100,000 to support families in Palm Beach County affected by the national tragedy. She also established the “Countess de Hoernle Relief Fund” at the United Way with an initial gift of $500,000 (and a second gift of $500,000 the following year) to support the families of deployed military sent overseas to protect and defend our country following 9/11. The latter funding was critical when Hurricane Wilma devastated parts of Palm Beach County; it enabled the United Way to work closely with commanding officers to identify and aid military families in need food, clothing and shelter; assistance in repairing damaged homes.
“Time, talent, and treasure” became her by-words as volunteer service on institutional and organizational boards, community involvement, leadership in philanthropic efforts and her commitment to the greater Palm Beach County area. Health organizations, educational facilities, scholarships, cultural programs, community singing and theater groups, abused women and children, students, veterans, first-responders, the elderly and, in particular, the desperately needy, sick and poor have all benefited from the remarkable spirit of kindness and giving that rules the life and daily work of the Countess de Hoernle, our legend as she inspires the community with her legacy.
Countess’s generosity and philanthropic philosophies include:
• “Give while you live, so you know where it goes.”
• “Giving begins at home, and this community is our home.”
• “What no money? Give your time and talent — it’s all needed!”
• “I’m proud to be an American — by choice.”
• “There is no excuse for our veterans not to receive their benefits just because they do not have a permanent address.”
The Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller Commandery of Florida
The Countess is its patroness and holder of the Grand Cross of Justice and Medal of Merit from one of the oldest orders of chivalry in existence that has raised funds to benefit the sick and the poor of the world since 1048 A.D.: the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, under Royal Charter and Constitution granted by His Late Majesty King Peter II of Yugoslavia. Countess de Hoernle’s OSJ regalia, honorary degrees from Lynn University and Northwood University, awards, plaques, shields and commemorative photographs have been loaned for permanent display curated by the Boca Raton Historical Society at the Spanish River Library in Boca Raton.
Festivities Continue In The Evening
A formal “Our Legend, Her Legacy” gala celebration will be presented by the OSJ Commandery of Florida, a not-for-profit charitable 501(c)(3), tax-exempt organization, to fulfill the Countess’s 100th birthday wish to raise money to benefit local charities. More than 700 dignitaries and community, business, and nonprofit leaders will gather at Boca West Country Club donning black or white tie, military or Scottish equivalent, tiaras, regalia, and decorations for dinner, music, multi-media tributes, reminiscing, a video retrospective and presentation of a gigantic birthday card signed by thousands from the community she has long supported. Gala Chair is Dame Isabelle K. Paul DCGSJ, Vice-Chair is Dame Alyce E. Erickson DSJ and Honorary Chairs are Christine Lynn and Barbara and Dick Schmidt. According to Dames Paul and Erickson, the gala’s program journal will be sent to the Library of Congress, and the Florida State and Boca Raton Historical Societies for inclusion in their historic archives.
To learn more about “all things Countess”; “Red, White & Boca-Blue Countess Appreciation Day” festivities; the gala, sponsorship opportunities, sending birthday wishes, and purchasing tickets, as well as updates, visit www.countess100.org and www.youtube.com/user/Countess100Gala; “Like” Countess on Facebook (www.facebook.com/countess100), and/or call Gala Chair Isabelle K. Paul (561) 391-3424.