Best Charity Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 1999 - Poverello Center
Although many bigger charities have much bigger coffers, there's none nobler than Poverello. (The name is an Italian diminutive for "poor little one.") Every dollar raised by this AIDS relief organization, run by volunteers and Fr. William F. Collins, the unassuming but tireless Franciscan priest who started it in 1987, goes directly toward feeding and otherwise assisting people living with HIV. The agency runs a food bank and a fitness center for its more than 6000 clients, as well as a thrift store open to the public. When he's not visiting homes or hospitals or performing memorial services, "Father Bill" can often be seen rubbing elbows with drag queens and strippers as he makes the rounds of fundraising events at the many local gay bars that support his work.