Association Of Fundraising Professionals Honors Orlando Ballet Volunteers For Philanthropy, Excellence and Commitment

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Association Of Fundraising Professionals Honors Orlando Ballet Volunteers For Philanthropy, Excellence and Commitment

Association Of Fundraising Professionals Honors Orlando Ballet Volunteers For Philanthropy, Excellence and Commitment

Three long-time supporters are honored for their years of support

ORLANDO, FL – Friday, November 4, 2022 – Longtime Orlando Ballet supporters Sharon and

Marc Hagle along with Jennifer Socarras were honored Friday by the Association of Fundraising

Professionals (AFP) Central Florida Chapter at their annual National Philanthropy Day event,

citing their respective years of support for Orlando Ballet as well as numerous other Central

Florida organizations and causes.

Jennifer Socarras received the Excellence in Volunteerism Award while Sharon and Marc Hagle

received the H. Clifford Lee Lifetime Achievement Award. Socarras was also recognized when

AFP awarded the ballet with its Innovation & Excellence in Fundraising Honor for the annual

Ballet Ball, which Socarras has overseen since its inception.

Nominated by Orlando Ballet, Sharon and Marc Hagle received the prestigious H. Clifford Lee

Lifetime Achievement Award for their profound philanthropic support for a vast number of

initiatives, many of which are focused on education. The couple is well known for their

particular interest in STEAM education issues including space and science. The Hagles recently

became the first married couple to participate on a commercial space flight aboard Blue

Origin’s New Shepard NS-20 flight. In addition to their support of the Astronaut Scholarship

Foundation, Sharon Hagle established SpaceKids Global which has connected more than

100,000 youngsters to space and STEM educational experiences.

Often quiet supporters of different causes, the Hagles have been high-profile fans and

champions of Orlando Ballet with Marc Hagle serving as an advisor on the building committee

for Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre, which opened in 2020. Since 2017, Orlando Ballet has been

a proud recipient of the Marc and Sharon Hagle Scholarship Fund, which for five years has

provided scholarship funding for 72 aspiring dancers. Funding was recently extended for

another year.

The Hagles are loving stewards of the legacy of their friend Harriett Lake. As art collectors, the

Hagles commissioned a bronze sculpture of Harriett which was donated to and remains on

display at the home of Orlando Ballet. Sharon Hagle personally oversees maintaining a rotating

display in the lobby of Harriett’s beloved wardrobe, ensuring her presence is never forgotten.

Orlando Ballet Executive Director Cheryl Collins said, “Since my arrival at Orlando Ballet, Sharon

and Marc have made themselves available to assist in growing our mission, both due to their

commitment to education and in tribute to Harriett and her dreams for the ballet and our

students. Their visionary, multi-year investment and guidance have completely transformed our

scholarship program and the outcomes are incredible.”

Jennifer Socarras, who joined the Orlando Ballet Board of Directors in 2018 and who is a highly

respected philanthropist and community volunteer, was awarded the Excellence In

Volunteerism Award by AFP. Also nominated by Orlando Ballet, Jennifer is responsible for

developing and chairing the annual Ballet Ball, which has become Central Florida’s favorite goto


Jennifer is recognized for her leadership, creativity, and extraordinary planning skills as they

relate in executing this major themed event. Socarras is credited for leading the way in finding a

safe path forward so the ball could take place during the height of the pandemic. She led her

nine-member committee, ballet staff and volunteers from the theme park industry to reimagine

a new model for the Ballet Ball that would allow guests to experience a highly

thematic, one-of-a-kind, top-tier event. Each year, attendees have been awe-struck and

inspired to support Orlando Ballet as a result. Jennifer is credited for having helped to

transform Orlando Ballet’s fundraising efforts and reputation in the community.

Like her philanthropic peers, Jennifer, is highly respected for her significant philanthropic

interests, which with her husband, Raul Socarras, include leading the UPSHOT Foundation and

serving as the Presenting Sponsor for the Gold Gala President’s Circle Dinner. Along with

supporting numerous other organizations, the Socarras have generously support Orlando Ballet

through their foundation.

“What Jennifer accomplishes each and every year is nothing short of amazing,” said Collins.

“She leads with incredible grace, humility and talent. And while she is most comfortable behind

the scenes, she has a bold vision that she executes beautifully and that explains why AFP

recognized the Ballet Ball for its innovation and excellence. We are inspired by her spirit and

unwavering commitment.”

Collins added, “The ongoing and very heartfelt support we receive from individuals like the

Hagles and Jennifer are critical to us as the premier professional performing arts group in

Central Florida. The fundraising benefits are significant, but their personal commitments of

time tell the rest of the community that ballet and Orlando Ballet matter. For that, we are


About Orlando Ballet:

Founded in 1974, Orlando Ballet is Central Florida’s only fully residential professional ballet

company. Orlando Ballet produces year-round main stage productions at the Dr. Phillips Center

for the Performing Arts and Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre, featuring timeless masterpieces

and innovative contemporary world premieres, achieving the highest level of professionalism

and artistic excellence. Orlando Ballet promotes dance education through community

enrichment programs, performance lecture demonstrations, the renowned Orlando Ballet

School, and Orlando Ballet II, a second pre-professional company to train and support dancers

as they approach the start of their dance careers. For information about Orlando Ballet, please

visit our website at OrlandoBallet.org.


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