Kolter|Kast Construction’s Havana Nights Charity Poker Tournament raises over $1.5 million in one night 


Staff report

The stakes to play in the Havana Nights Charity Poker Tournament were high, but players didn’t have to feel bad about spending money.

That’s because every dollar donated went to support Delray’s Achievement Centers for Children & Families and 16 other grassroots charities.

The Kolter Group and KAST Construction biennial poker tournament raised somewhere between $1.5 million and $1.6 million this year. The two businesses underwrite the entire event so every dollar donated benefits the selected charities directly.

Donning guayaberas, over 150 poker players filled the Cathedral Room at the Boca Resort & Club last month for the tournament. Before the games began, players enjoyed beverages, food, entertainment and a live cigar roller.

The first poker tournament was held in 2012. CEO of the Kolter Group Bobby Julien was serving on the board of the Achievement Centers at the time. He wanted to come up with a charity event different from a gala, something that people in the real estate and construction industries would be interested in.

“I came up with the concept in 2012 because I was sensing that people were getting tired of all the black-tie galas and we wanted to do something memorable, so we created a charity poker tournament and made it spectacular,” said Bobby Julien, CEO of Kolter Group and longtime supporter of Achievement Centers for Children and Families.  “The real pay-off comes when we get to see the charitable results from what we raised.”

The first tournament raised about $500,000 and solely benefited the Achievement Centers.

As the event has grown, so has its impact. The second event brought in just under $1 million, the third $1 million and the final tab of the fourth event is still being tallied but it is the best one yet.

“It’s a great event for us to give back,” Julien said.

Michael Neal CEO of KAST Construction agreed.

“Our goal is to leave every community where we do business a better place than it was before we got there,” he said.

The event makes donations to nonprofits in locations where both companies do business throughout the Southeast including Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas.

“The level of sponsor support for this year’s event completely exceeded our hopes. Collectively, from small business owners to large corporations, the impact the sponsors have made in our area is significant,” stated Stephanie Seibel, CEO of Achievement Centers for Children & Families, “The vision for this event truly comes from the leadership at Kolter|Kast Construction. Their commitment to making a difference in the community is evident not only by underwriting the entire event, but through the efforts they and their teams put into raising sponsorship funds.”