YMK Gasparilla debutante ball
Royal duties kept Gasparilla King J. Rex Farrior III and Queen Elly Straske busy welcoming 37 debutantes Thanksgiving Eve, but pirate emcees John Giordano and Capt. Christopher Lykes ran a tight ship and Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla's Debutante Ball actually ended early. Pirate fathers or sponsors wore white-tie and tails to walk the white runway with the white-gowned, white-gloved young women witnessed by 750 guests at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
That was not the only grand entrance for the debs. An hour later they floated down the Straz Center grand staircase with their escorts into the Late Ball, then laced up white Converse high-tops to join family and friends dancing to DJ Mike Gruden till 2 a.m.
National Philanthropy Day luncheon
The ancient Greeks gave us the word philanthropy meaning "love of humankind," which fits all the Philanthropy Day honorees recognized by the Suncoast Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals at the annual luncheon Nov. 15 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC. President Sara Leonard and Community Foundation of Tampa Bay veep Beverly McLain "celebrated solutions" from the charitable sector that improve life for all. One example: the Answered Prayer Project provided the centerpieces, Welcome Home Pillows, made and sold by homeless women.
The 2017 awardees are Lynn Pippenger, Philanthropist of the Year; Barbara Curts, the Gayle Sierens Volunteer of the Year; David Finkel, Spirit of Philanthropy and Sally Campbell, Youth in Philanthropy winner and the founder of Sallybrating with a Cause. American Cancer Society's associate board of ambassadors earned the service organization honor; Skanska USA and Siracusa Staffing & Leasing earned the business distinction. Big-time congratulations go to the Tampa Bay History Center's Grant Martin, recipient of the J. Lloyd Horton Lifetime Achievement Award for raising $150 million for universities, museums, social and health organizations.
With a smattering of start-ups, brews and bands, the Sustany Foundation's 10th annual Sustainable Buzz entertained and educated 700 supporters sipping and sampling at the Straz Center on Nov. 16. Too many restaurants to name, but I'll just say Ry Ry's chicken and waffles had the long-est line. The line-up of ambitious entrepreneurs included Just Grow aquarium-fed terrariums; Just Hydrate organic coffee, Liz Anthony's Protein Bites, Sassy Girls Salsa and LeAnn's Cheesecake in a Jar.
Foundation president Andrea Cheney announced a new partnership with the Coalition of Community Gardens to provide $600 matching grants as "starter kits" for groups or individuals ready to start digging. The concept offers "everything we need, land, water, sunshine and passion," said Cheney.
UACDC Art in the Park...After Dark Gala
Sarah Combs, University Area Community Development Corporation executive director turned a ribbon cutting into sixth annual Art in the Park…After Dark Gala, inviting guests to celebrate the opening of the University Area Park Pavilion while enjoying martinis and cigars, dinner by Carmel Kitchen and a dessert and candy bar.
Rod Carter, WFLA-TV 8 and Great 38 anchor, emceed Nov. 3 as Prodigy Cultural Arts students, ages 5 to 17, sang, danced, displayed artwork and performed spoken word poetry. A sculpture by Junior Polo and other professional artists with help by several USF area residents was unveiled at the gala. It will be permanently installed at nearby Harvest Hope Park. Gala proceeds will fund more visual and performing arts programs for kids at-risk in the area surrounding the University of South Florida's Tampa campus.