Pillar of Palm Beach

“I love Palm beach for being the small town it is, and anything I can do to keep that feeling of home, I will do.” —Danny Ponton

Danny Ponton has been affecting the good nature of Palm Beach since 1982, when the charming 22-year-old took control of Club Colette from Aldo Gucci in a daring, smiling act of salesmanship. He spoke of bringing back the nostalgic feel of the intimate nightclub and wed it to Gucci’s Northern Italian Cuisine. Gucci, no fool he, jumped at the opportunity, and Club Colette became the hot new darling of Palm Beach’s nightlife. Danny had been wintering in Palm Beach since he was a child, and from the beginning, he intuitively understood not just the culinary needs of Palm Beachers, but what made them happy: gracious hospitality and the feeling that as guests they are meant to be comfortable—that they are appreciated and wanted.

Dr. Aldo Gucci and Danny Ponton at Club Colette in 1982.

Ever since Danny Ponton re-opened Club Colette, the iconic private dining club has set the scene for countless philanthropic events. Millions of dollars have been raised for many causes, ranging from health care to the plight of the homeless, education, the arts, and beyond.

Frances Willey and Frannie Scaife, circa 1997.

Following a delicate surgery to remove a meningioma brain tumor, he founded the eponymous Daniel E. Ponton Fund for the Neurosciences in 2006. With a three-pronged mission to expand research, improve patient care, and provide global health care for those fiscally challenged, it has had extraordinary positive results. In addition, Danny works tirelessly to support local charities benefiting the Palm Beach community.

Bob Leidy, Head Coconut, in 1996.

Each year going forward, the Daniel E. Ponton Excellence in Community Leadership Award will honor individuals who give selflessly and inspire others to do so as well.

Legendary author Dominick Dunne with Danny Ponton in 2002.

“Dan is beloved within our community, and his many deep and abiding friendships here and beyond are practically legend,” says Ambassador Nancy Brinker, co-founder of the Promise Fund. “Dan’s dedication and support of many local and global humanitarian causes, along with his mission to bring quality healthcare to others, aligns seamlessly with ours. We hope this award, created in his honor, will inspire others to do the same.”

Lesly Smith and Grace Meigher

Quest strolls down memory lane, illustrating four decades of this unique “melting pot” of Palm Beach society through the inclusive and welcoming prism of Danny Ponton’s Club Colette.

Wilbur and Hilary Ross