Going back to when you first started with your organization to now, what has been your proudest personal accomplishment?
"Dave and I started working with Children’s Home Society at the State level, before it became local, as Philanthropic supporters. They asked David to put on a fundraiser in the Ft. Lauderdale area and then we got more involved and had an event at our home. At the time, there was a Hollywood auxiliary not the Intercoastal Division, and it grew from there. Children’s Home Society built the home down here in Ft. Lauderdale, which originally started out as a trailer. This was all about 14 years ago. Founded in 1989, they moved into the home about 1994. Our first Ball was 1990."
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
"If someone asks me to participate, I will do it. There are differences; I will lend my name and time to an organization that I believe in, like Women In Distress, which I support with my contributions and attendance. That gives me great satisfaction."
You are out in the public arena quite often; who is the most interesting person you have ever met?
"Too many to name. With the work that David did over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet several Presidents and their wives, well-known sports figures, actors and many more and each one has contributed something."
What is your idea of a perfect vacation?
"When I get on my boat and go where I want to go. I just went on a cruise with six women and it was great! We are still speaking and when that happens, I know it has been a perfect vacation. I golf with friends. A perfect vacation is when you can do your thing."
How do you relax?
"Golf, read a book. Go to Columbus, Ohio to visit family or they come to my home for Christmas."
What are three things that are always in your refrigerator?
"Apples, bagels and cream cheese, and eggbeaters."
What can we personally do to make things better for future generations?
"What do you say to a man/woman other than be ready to take on the future? What you do, how you earn a living, learning to multi-task, and, for a women feel and know that you can take care of yourself!"
Do you have a fashion addiction?
"Shoes and purses"
If there were a movie being made about your life, what actor/actress would best play you and Dave?
Actress: Helen Mirren
Actor: Tom Hanks
What is the greatest problem we are facing in this country today?
What can make you laugh?
"Just about anything. A smile gets you more than a frown any day of the week."
What are your greatest strengths?
"Upper Body (she laughs). Organization, good at getting to the bottom line, good sense of humor." When something has to be done, she rolls up her sleeves and gets the job done, said good friend and supporter Pam Masters.
About I. Lorraine Thomas
I. Lorraine Thomas is a woman that has dedicated her life to the less fortunate and has helped hundreds of children and families through financial support, generosity of time and experience. Widow to Dave Thomas (original founder and owner of Wendy’s International), Lorraine has continued her and her late husband’s legacy of philanthropy and she is well known throughout the South Florida community for her generosity and good-natured spirit.
For the Intercoastal Division of Children’s Home Society of Florida, Lorraine has been an integral part of the division’s success. She is an Honorary Board Member, Ball Chair, one of the founding members of the CHS East Broward Auxiliary. She has spearheaded fundraising initiatives that have amounted to over 5 million dollars for the organization. In 1993, Lorraine and Dave chaired a capital campaign raising 3.2 million dollars. Through their outstanding efforts and contributions through this campaign, the I. Lorraine Thomas Children’s Emergency Home and Family Support Center was built, providing a safe haven for twenty abused and neglected children and headquarters for ten other quality family and children service programs.
Lorraine currently serves on the board of many local non-profits and is a member of the Children's Home Society of Florida Foundation (CHS), Opera Guild, Florida Philharmonic, and Women in Distress, H.A.N.D.Y., Cystic Fibrosis, Hospice and the Gold Circle of Nova Southeastern University. Lorraine is also active in the Royal Dames of the American Cancer Society, P.A.W.S., and the University of Florida Bull Gators.
Do to her many years of service to non-profit work; Lorraine has also been a recipient of numerous awards. In 2002, she received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the NSU School of Psychology. In 2003, she was awarded the Association of Fund Raising Professionals Outstanding Philanthropist of the Year Award. Lorraine also gave a generous gift to the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship and lent her name to the R. David Thomas and I. Lorraine Thomas Dean’s Suite of the facility. However it’s not the fame or formal recognition that motivates Lorraine to help others it’s because she is “doing the right thing,” which are words that both she and Dave have lived by for years. She is a woman who has truly earned her place among the First Families of Philanthropy.
This year, for her many years of service, dedication and love for the Children’s Home Society, Intercoastal Division, she will be recognized with the highest honor CHS bestows on an individual. She will received the R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year award, named after her late husband, R. David Thomas.
The Child Advocate of the Year Awards recognizes individuals and groups who have made a significant impact toward improving the lives of homeless, neglected and abused children throughout Florida. They have not only given their time, talent and financial resources; they have set a standard of excellence toward ensuring a better world for future generations. It was Mr. Thomas’ hope that the award will serve as a catalyst to inspire others to improve opportunities for Florida’s children. One recipient is selected annually from each of the Society’s 14 divisions.
Furthermore, the award is being renamed by Children's Home Society of Florida to honor Lorraine’s commitment and contributions to the agency. Starting in 2008, the award will be named the Children's Home Society of Florida, I. Lorraine & R. David Thomas Child Advocate of the Year Award. CHS’s CEO/President Dave Bundy will present the award, to Lorraine at the East Broward Auxiliary 17th Annual Black Tie Ball on October 20, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Pier 66.
Lorraine currently lives in Fort Lauderdale, FL and is a mother to five and grandmother to seventeen. Lorraine’s life revolves around her children, family, friends and she fills her days with fun and laughter; and in between, Lorraine certainly spends much of her time supporting the charitable causes in which she wholeheartedly believes.