The Junior League of Indian River County announced Jerusha Stewart, executive director of the Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival (VBWFF), a 501(c)(3) organization,as the Civic/Non-Profit Professional Woman of the Year for 2019.
During a ceremonious midmorning soiree at the Oak Harbor Clubhouse in Vero Beach on Wednesday, April 24, Stewart was honored for her commitment to connecting artists with audiences in order to support local causes, including mental health awareness.
“I’m grateful to be recognized for doing what I love — working with remarkably brilliant people and having more fun than I ever thought possible!” Stewart said. “The Vero Beach Wine + Film Festival is fueling trailblazers and talented contributors who have a phenomenally positive impact on this community.”
The VBWFF, presented by Vero Beach Outlets and hailed as “The New Summer Sundance” by HuffPost, will be held June 6–9 in support of the Suncoast Mental Health Center. With more than 250 volunteers electrifying the fest, now in its fourth year, the organization’s community profile has elevated exponentially, garnering 2.3 media impressions the first year.
“Jerusha was named the winner of her category, Civic/Non-Profit Professional Woman of the Year, because it was such a gracious decision as the leader of a non-profit to support another non-profit in our county,” said Susan Aguirre, Junior League of Indian River County VP of fund development and chair of Woman of the Year.
Nominated by their peers, Woman of the Year candidates “demonstrate high ethical standards,” have a strong sense of community responsibility, and have contributed outstandingly to Indian River County, according to the Junior League website.
Nominees in the Civic/Non-Profit Professional category are especially set apart by the nature of their philanthropy.
“Last year was my first time attending the festival and it blew me away; I was amazed,” said Brittany Beatty, Junior League of Indian River County VP of communications. “It left an unparalleled impression on me and it’s awe-inspiring that Jerusha imagined and actualized a cultural festival of this magnitude.”
In addition to screening more than 100 independent films from 12 countries around the globe, including Academy-Award winners and world premieres, this year debuts Devour! Vero Beach Chefs and Shorts, a five-course food extravaganza prepared by celebrity chefs, such as James Beard-recognized culinary genius Norm Van Aken.
Also joining the revelry will be the “Wild and Scenic Film Festival on Tour” with a slate of environmental and adventure picks, and “CINEMA COUTURE,” a curated collection of award-winning fashion films, including the makeup maestro bio: “LARGER THAN LIFE: The Kevyn Aucoin Story.”
For more information or to purchase festival passes, visit VBWFF.com.