Meet the Honorees
Alexander W. Dreyfoos - 2019 Honoree
Inventor, investor, philanthropist and much, more more. A true Renaissance Man for the ages, Dreyfoos has contributed to the tapestry of Palm Beach County in large part due to his interest and curiosity in so many areas.
Dreyfoos founded Photo Electronics Corporation (PEC) in 1963, with George W. Mergens, to address problems in color print reproduction. They developed their groundbreaking Video Color Negative Analyzer (VCNA) in Dreyfoos’ Port Chester, New York basement, then set up a factory in a former church in Connecticut. The VCNA was marketed worldwide by Eastman Kodak Company. Dreyfoos moved PEC to Florida in 1969, and in 1970 a motion-picture version of the VCNA earned an Academy Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Whether in electronics, broadcasting, the biosciences or culture, his vision has always been clear, his commitment unwavering. He was the force behind the creation of the Kravis as a performing arts center, the growth of the Dreyfoos School of the Arts, one of the premier magnet school in the country, the advancement of the sciences as the future industry in Palm Beach County with his involvement with the Scripps and Max Planck research institutions. The Cultural Council for the county was established by him – and has made the area the leading cultural center for the arts in the state.
Dreyfoos is an exceptional individual of diverse tastes and interests, filled with an enthusiasm for life and the heart to share with his community.
Hildegarde E. Mahoney - 2018 Honoree
Hildegarde "Hillie" Mahoney is a co-founder and chairman of The Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute in Cambridge, MA. and The David Mahoney Institute of Brain Initiatives in Washington, D.C., as well as a Trustee of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, a Director of the Charles A. Dana Foundation and a former director of The Neurosciences Institute of New York, now located in La Jolla, CA.
Mrs. Mahoney is also a Life Trustee on the National Board of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America, is on the Honorary Board of the Boys’ Club of New York where she served as President from 1976 – 1980. In Palm Beach, she is on the Board of The Hospice Foundation of Palm Beach Island, The Preservation Foundation of Palm Beach and is co-founder and Chairman of DanceSport Academy Inc. In 1982, Mrs. Mahoney was honored with the Bronze Keystone Award from the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and that same year received the “Woman of Distinction Award” from Birmingham Southern College in Birmingham, Alabama, where in 1987 she was given an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree. In 1992 she received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut and in 1998, was given the “Woman of Distinction” Award from the Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Florida. In addition, she was honored by the American Ireland Fund in 2005 for her many contributions to the community and in May of 2015 she received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor. In 2008 she was the executive producer of a documentary entitled "Journey Interrupted" and recently completed a book with the same title, about her family’s and her life in Japan during WW II.
William ‘Bill’ Koch- 2016 Honoree
William ‘Bill’ Koch – founder and Chief Executive Office of Oxbow Carbon LLC. Ranked as one of the 25 most generous individuals in the United States by The Journal of Philanthropy in 2011, Mr. Koch may be best-remembered for his mission to help less fortunate children receive a quality education.
Mr. Koch’s dream began as a child when he learned that a local Quanah businessman had financed his father's college education at MIT. Over the years, Mr. Koch has contributed money, time and energy to help individuals, teachers and classrooms get the needed support. He has donated musical instruments and tutoring help to disadvantaged children in Palm Beach County; computers and software for children with learning disabilities, and funds for science programs around the world. For students with a keen interest in art, the Kochs regularly open their home to hundreds of students annually. Access to one of the country’s finest private art collections is a priceless opportunity to future artists, collectors and patrons.
Oxbridge Academy, a private high school in West Palm Beach, was founded by Mr. Koch. With a donation of $60 million, one of Koch’s greatest satisfaction was seeing the doors open in 2011. Nearly 80 percent of the students at Oxbridge receive some form of financial assistance. One of the key components to the school’s outstanding curriculum is to be found in the faculty – individuals whose enthusiasm for learning have made this new institution a remarkable addition to the community at large.
Meet the Team
Troy Devine (1980-2013) was the founder of the Palm Beach Foundation and art director for projects. He was a recognized innovator, an accomplished business leader, art director and photographer.
Olympia and Troy have been residents of Palm Beach for more than twenty years. They were the official producers and public relations firm for the Palm Beach Centennial, helping it become one of the largest events the town has ever seen. This event gave birth to the need for an historical coffee table book – one which would highlight the unique families and organizations who have made a difference. They are recognized for their philanthropy and expertise in new business development - with more than 3,000 projects produced in Palm Beach County.
Olympia Devine, President continues their spirit of innovation and passion for the town of Palm Beach as Executive Director for the Foundation and acts as creative director of projects.
Rik Vandejen, Director/Treasurer is a dedicated professional with a strong sense of community. He is also a true USA hero – with four years of military service to include the front lines of Desert Storm as a MOS Tanker (M1 Abrams). Rik has had a successful fifteen year career as an accountant, and six years as a CPA. However, unlike the general stereotype of what one might expect from an accountant - he has also had a diverse and creative background that includes: actor and model with great support for community charities along the way. Rik hails from Biloxi, Mississippi and moved to Palm Beach County after a brief stint in Seattle. The shift from west to east coast was for many of the reasons that make Palm Beach County a great place to live – great weather, scenery, and of course people who work hard to make a difference.
Student Leaders in the Mentor Program
This program is to mentor students towards a better creative-to-business awareness, whilst also providing a project work opportunity.
At the Four Arts Library, Palm Beach - 2019 Book signing.
L-R student,Hope Smith, Author Olympia Devine and student George Velez.
Hope Smith: Creative Organizer & Project Researcher
Acts as the lead student assisting with the organization of the Foundation Mentor Student Program. Hope Smith recently graduated Suma Cum Laude from the International Baccalaureate Program at G-Star School of the Arts. She received recognition for her involvement in the National Honor Society and her devotion to film studies. Hope was also the recipient of the IB award for excellence in character as well as the G-Star legacy award. This enabled her to gain the opportunity to attend the University of Florida in the fall and pursue the telecommunication major. Her most prized experience has been that with the Palm Beach Foundation, which she has been a part of for four years now.
“Being part of the Foundation Mentor Program has been life changing and enabled my intellectual growth, whilst acquiring adaptive skills to the business world. I have had the unique opportunity of exploring different career paths and believe that I now enter the next chapter of my life better prepared. But more importantly I value my growth as a person.
I will now share the skills I have learned with other students as their mentor.”
George Velez: Project Logisitics & Event Assistant
"I have been with The Palm Beach Foundation for three years. Throughout my time being a part of the Student Mentor Program I have gained a vast amount of experience in the events industry. I am currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in Tourism, Event, and Recreation Management. This program has taught me specifically how to create, plan, and organize an event from start to finish. I now understand more than ever the amount of time and diligence required to successfully put on an event. I believe the experiences I have gained throughout my time in this program are one-of-a-kind and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to be a part of something creative and meaningful."