updated 5/9/2011 4:48:04 PM ET 2011-05-09T20:48:04

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., May 9, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- BankAtlantic, Florida's Most Convenient Bank, announced today that it is pleased to partner with the Children's Services Council of Broward County (the "CSC") in support of the upcoming Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation® Fort Lauderdale on June 2, 2011.

Broward and South Palm Beach County's hottest chefs, restaurants, and mixologists will gather for the city's premier culinary benefit to offer their specialties and to cook up support for the nationwide fight against childhood hunger in America. The delectable event is planned for Thursday, June 2, 2011 from 7:00 p.m. through 10:00 p.m. at the Broward County Convention Center. A VIP reception will begin at 6:00 p.m. and includes early admission with access to Chefs, a vintner's reception, a catered dining area, gift bags, and exclusive wines.

Taste of the Nation Fort Lauderdale will raise critical funds needed to support Share Our Strength's efforts to end childhood hunger in America. Local beneficiaries are the South Florida Hunger Coalition; Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Inc., Boca Raton; and Feeding South Florida. The Broward and South Palm Beach event has raised over $2 million over the past 19 years.

The 2011 edition of the event is a celebration marking the Broward and South Palm Beach Taste of the Nation's 20th Anniversary. It will recognize its "Platinum Chefs," the great local culinarians who have shown strong commitment to Share Our Strength, long-term participation in Taste of the Nation, and dedication to the goal of eliminating childhood hunger in our area. There will be over 45 of the area's top chefs and restaurants participating, as well as a variety of excellent wines and spirits poured to complement the cuisine.  

"We are very excited to feature an abundance of delicious dishes in a fantastic party atmosphere and a truly spectacular live auction," says Chairwoman Kelly Murphy. "Moreover, as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary, we will also honor our Platinum Chefs. They have been extremely big hearted and generous with their time and talents over the years, some almost since the inception of the event."

"Among the most stalwart supporters who will be honored are Oliver Saucy- Café Maxx; Christopher Nealon- Aruba Beach Café; Bryce Statham - Blue Moon Fish Co.; Allen Susser - Chef Allen's Burger Bar and Chef Allen's To Go at the Fort Lauderdale Airport; Angelo Elia - Casa D'Angelo; Dean James Max - 3030 Ocean; Andre Bienvenu- Joe's Stone Crab; Johnny Vinczencz - Johnny V's; Ralph Pagano – STK at the Gansevoort, Holger Struett – Chops Lobster Bar; Susie Stallings – Susies' Scrumptious and the Broward County Convention Center with support from Chef Jamie MacDonald," Murphy said.

In addition to fabulous food and drinks, Taste of the Nation will feature exciting live and silent auctions with once in a lifetime items, including rare and boutique wine lots, wine dinners, and exotic vacations. Hell's Kitchen star and Taste of the Nation Platinum Chef Ralph Pagano will be the Auctioneer.  Masters of Ceremony are Paul Castronovo & Young Ron Brewer of the BIG 105.9 FM.

Share Our Strength's Taste of the Nation Fort Lauderdale is nationally sponsored by American Express, Sysco, Food Network, Brown-Forman and S.Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, and is locally sponsored by Lincoln, Whole Foods Market, and other generous individuals and businesses.  One hundred percent of ticket sales help ensure no kid in America grows up hungry.

General Admission tickets are $90.00.  The VIP Reception, offering a pre-event party with an opportunity to meet the chefs and savor hors d'oeuvres, champagne and upscale wines, reserved seating, and a gift bag, is available at $200.00 per person, which includes general admission. For tickets and information, please visit www.strengthflorida.org .

For further information, please call Carla Marsh at 561-368-4421or email cmarshpr@earthlink.net .

About Share Our Strength®: Share Our Strength® is a national nonprofit that is ending childhood hunger in America. Share Our Strength connects children with the nutritious food they need to lead healthy, active lives. Through its No Kid Hungry® Campaign, Share Our Strength is ending childhood hunger in America by 2015.

About No Kid Hungry- Florida: The Florida Partnership to End Childhood Hunger is an initiative of Share Our Strength and a local non-profit, Florida Impact, with additional support from the Food Research and Action Center and MGT of America. The initiative also includes a broad spectrum of business, nonprofit, religious, community and political leaders. Grace Nelson, wife of U.S. Senator Bill Nelson, has been named Honorary Chair. Through the Florida Partnership's Ten-Point Plan, Share Our Strength hopes to build a stronger, healthier, better educated, and more productive Florida by ensuring that all children in the state are surrounded by nutritious food—wherever they may live, learn, play, or pray.

For further information about Share Our Strength®- Florida, the No Kid Hungry® Campaign, or to get involved, please visit: www.strengthflorida.org

About the Children's Services Council of Broward County: The Children's Services Council of Broward County (the "CSC") focus is Broward's children. Created by the voters in September, 2000 we provide leadership, advocacy, and funding for services for and on behalf of children. Over 100 CSC programs are delivered by "provider" agencies that have clearly defined goals and outcomes and are regularly monitored for quality and performance. The CSC funds programs that have been proven to work. On average, the CSC gets less than 2 cents of every dollar paid in property taxes, which fund a wide variety of programs designed to help children lead a healthy, safe and productive life. And that, of course, makes a difference for all residents of Broward County. For additional information, please visit www.cscbroward.org

About BankAtlantic:

BankAtlantic, Florida's Most Convenient Bank, is one of the largest financial institutions headquartered in Florida. Via its broad network of community branches and conveniently located ATMs, BankAtlantic provides a full line of personal, small business and commercial banking products and services. BankAtlantic is open 7 days a week and offers extended weekday hours, Online Banking & Bill Pay, a 7-Day Customer Service Center, Change Exchange coin counters, as well as retail and business checking accounts. Member FDIC.

BankAtlantic Bancorp (NYSE:BBX) is a bank holding company and the parent company of BankAtlantic. For further information, please visit: www.BankAtlanticBancorp.com

The BankAtlantic logo is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=8906

Except for historical information contained herein, the matters discussed in this press release contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act"), and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), that involve substantial risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially from those contemplated, expressed, or implied by the forward-looking statements contained herein. The Company cautions that the foregoing factors are not exclusive.

CONTACT: CSC Broward Media contact:
         Andrew Leone
         (954) 377-1119
         Email: aleone@cscbroward.org

         BankAtlantic Contact Info:
         Sharon Lyn, V.P. Media Relations:
         954-940-6383
         Email:  CorpComm@BankAtlanticBancorp.com
         
         BankAtlantic Bancorp, Inc. Contact Info:
         Leo Hinkley, Investor and Media Relations Officer
         954-940-5300
         Email: InvestorRelations@BankAtlanticBancorp.com

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