What is Tropical Nights

Tropical Nights is your way to help those affected by autism living in South Florida. It is a fundraiser benefiting the programs, services and research initiatives of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD).  This signature fundraising event celebrates the impactful work of UM-NSU CARD with a festive celebration designed to raise autism awareness while entertaining our guests with fine food, drinks, music, dancing, and acknowledging the tireless efforts of important community partners. Tropical Nights will be held on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at the beautiful InterContinental Miami Hotel. Over the years, UM-NSU CARD has provided awareness and acceptance in our community. At Tropical Nights we celebrate our community and help raise critical funds so that we can continue to provide services at no cost to families. Currently, 1 in 44 children are being diagnosed with autism. The funds raised through Tropical Nights allows us to continue to expand our services to meet the ever-growing needs of the autism community.

The overwhelming success of Tropical Nights over the past 18 years has allowed UM-NSU CARD to maintain its services during times of tremendous constituency growth.  For this, we are extremely grateful to our supportive community and generous donors.  Funds raised at Tropical Nights help support our valuable programs and services, all of which are provided at no direct cost to families.  Some of these programs include:  Support groups for all family members, employment boot camps, surf and summer camps, social skills activity groups for teens, community outreach events and so much more!

This year we are especially honored to celebrate the Mneimneh Family at Tropical Nights. The Mneimneh Family has made significant and lasting contributions to our community and especially to UM-NSU CARD. They have inspired leadership, generosity, and service to our community. By graciously telling their story, Zach and Chirine set out to plant seeds of hope encouraging others to support awareness, acceptance, and advocacy. Guided by his family, their eldest son Waleed was inspired to carry out this mission and created Ace for Autism, a tennis fundraiser, in honor of his brother Tarek and all the siblings of children diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorders.

Our featured artist for the evening is Chris Aviles, a 24-year-old artist diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Born in Miami, FL, Chris was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. He taught himself to draw at a young age and enjoys creating animated characters, using colored pencils as his medium. We are excited to share his art with you at Tropical Nights!

Please join us in honoring the Mneimneh Family, celebrating the continued impact of UM-NSU CARD on our community, and joining together to embrace the unique neurodiversity that allows our community to shine.

We look forward to celebrating Tropical Nights with you!