By: Sharon Aron Baron
To reward their hard work volunteering after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Coral Springs resident, CEO, and lottery winner Miguel Pilgram treated them to a Dolphins game in his private suite.
The three students from the Boys & Girls Club were given the first class treatment thanks to their efforts in collecting donations and packing boxes to help those who were impacted by the storms in St. Thomas. With their help, 40 boxes were packed and shipped to the Virgin Islands.
Pilgram gives back to the Boys & Girls Clubs because they were an integral part of his youth. “I have such fond memories of my childhood and the local organizations like the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Club that taught me how to swim,” he said.
Back in April of 2010, Pilgram picked the winning numbers winning $52 million in the Florida Lottery. He chose the one-time, lump-sum payment for his winnings in the amount of $29,244,436.00. The quick pick ticket was purchased in North Bay Village where he found out he was the winner when he stopped by the store.
“When they told me I was a winner I thought I had won $52,000. It took me a few minutes to realize the jackpot was $52 million.” he told the Florida Lottery.
Pilgram is part of a Navy family and began his career in the military serving as a Petty Officer in the US Navy in Desert Storm, where his sister also served. His father is a Vietnam veteran and his brother served in the Navy as well. Pilgram said that the idea of discipline and service to something greater than himself is in his DNA and happily works 12 or more hours a day, serves the community, and enjoys seeing his vision and brand come to life.
After the Navy, he put his knowledge to use working security in the casinos in the US and Asia, however, he missed the travel the Navy allowed him, so he jumped at the chance to work abroad for Star Cruises. In 2002, Star Cruises purchased Norwegian Cruise Lines and Pilgram was tapped to assist in the handover of the global security/surveillance program. He worked for NCL for a decade, becoming second in command of Global Security and Surveillance in 2007.
After winning the lottery, Pilgram formed The Pilgram Group which began renovating commercial, residential and maritime real estate, mostly in the Fort Lauderdale area. Over the past few years, TPG has established a lifestyle brand that spans from eateries to executive suites. Now he’s investing in the Sistrunk and downtown areas of Fort Lauderdale where he opened the Pilgram Group Executive Suites with high-end amenities and a new restaurant in 2018. Another restaurant is in the works in downtown Fort Lauderdale is for a “fast casual” restaurant that will house a jazz lounge featuring both indoor and terrace seating, a bar menu, and a wide range of jazz styles.
Pilgram’s community support mirrors his personal interests. He doesn’t just give money, he believes in getting involved. “Writing checks is certainly part of it, but I love to become personally involved with the organizations that I support, and gladly give as much of my time as I can.”