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Garnet Society

The Garnet Society is a prestigious group of philanthropic individuals who understand the importance of early child-hood development and life long learning.  They are advocates for literacy and the arts.

It is their contribution of $1,000 or more annually, that enables WXEL to continue its over 30 year tradition of providing quality educational and entertaining programming to our local community, allowing us to air over 50 hours a week of PBSKIDS Educational programming.


WXEL is entering into a new and exciting phase in it's history as we continue to serve the local community of South Florida from Miami to the Treasure Coast.

We thank all of you for all of your support and hope that you will join us as we move forward with great anticipation for a “season of excellence” and bright future for your local Public Television station.

If you missed any of the exciting 2011-2012 season events, we hope that you will join us in the 2012/2013 season. Mark your calendars and Save the Date for our 10th Annual multi-national award-winning “Women with Wings and Wisdom” Luncheon, which will be held on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 at The world re-known Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. 

I promise you will be sorry if you miss this season’s luncheon and other exciting by invitation only events at the studio and places of interest within our local area.

If you wish to receive a sponsorship package or any other information regarding the 2012-2013 season please feel free to call me at 561-364-4402. 

Thank you for your support of this vital community resource.



Debra M. Tornaben
Vice President of Development

Debra has been in Palm Beach for over 20 years.  She served as the Campaign Associate Director for The Salvation Army in Palm Beach County, As The Event and PR Director at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club, and as the Palm Beach Director of Development for Edward Villella’s Miami City Ballet. She hosted and interviewed numerous celebrities including Pavarotti, Ben Vereen, Arlene Dahl, Roberta Peters, Vic Damone, Dr. Nicholas Perricone, Suzy Orman, Lilly Pulitzer and others.  She has served on numerous Boards over the past years raising millions of dollars for local non-profit organizations.

She has a passion for life-long learning, literacy, preservation of the arts and children’s causes. Her dedication to the community is truly satisfied within the auspices of one organization- WXEL Television.  

Helping to preserve this community treasure is a natural for Debra as she was raised on PBS shows like: Mr. Rogers Neighborhood” and “Sesame Street” and over the years she and her husband have raised there two children on the same wonderful programming.

Debra is proud to announce that The Garnet Society received its second NETA Award for it's annual “Women with Wings ad Wisdom" luncheon.  Debra began this luncheon 10 years ago together with The Palm Beach Community Leadership Committee and WXEL staff. The event has received national recognition for excellence in all areas. She says that the support of the community is what makes this event a true success.

Join the WXEL Garnet Society and be part of their annual exciting national award-winning events for members and their friends and help to keep Public Television alive for the next generation in our neighborhood…



Ellen Huxley-Laffer
Assistant Director of the Garnet Society

Ellen Huxley-Laffer has been with WXEL since 2002. She is the Assistant Director of the Garnet Society working with philanthropic individuals to ensure the preservation of the arts, education and culture in the Palm Beaches.

Working with Garnet Society members on special events such as WXEL’s fashion shows, silent auctions and luncheons at Donald J. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club and The Mirasol Country Club; “Keeping the Legends Alive” events honoring legendary performers such as Vic Damone and Ben Vereen, and continuing her efforts in the development of WXEL’s presence in the Palm Beaches and on the Treasure Coast keep her very busy with community activities. As Assistant Director of the Garnet Society Ellen was instrumental in helping to raise over $3.5M for WXEL.  She is a member of the Palms West Chamber of Commerce.

Ellen is Co-Producer of WXEL’s locally produced show Debra!!!, highlighting celebrities and places of interest in our community. Debra!!! guests have included: Arlene Dahl, Vic Damone, James Patterson, Luciano Pavarotti, Regis Philbin, Donald J. Trump, Ben Vereen, Edward Villella, Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Connie Francis and Florida's Governor Rick Scott.

Prior to joining WXEL Ellen worked for Food for the Poor, Inc. an international humanitarian aid organization providing food, housing, medical services and education to “the poorest of the poor” in third world countries.

Originally from New York, Ellen and her husband Randy own, race and breed harness horses in South Florida.


For more information about these events or  joining the WXEL Garnet Society,
please contact us here.