02/15/17 Human Interest
'Be Mine 2017: All You Need is Love'
A family's adoption of its third child highlighted The Children's Board Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay's annual event, which raised funds to increase awareness of foster children awaiting adoptive, forever families.
Steve Mace, 11, joined the Mace family, which includes parents, Chris and Brian Mace, Kota Mace, 17, and Erica Mace, 20, at the sold-out Feb. 9 event at Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club....
02/03/17 Human Interest
TAMPA — Just reading Danny Bernstein's hiking resume can be exhausting.
The Asheville, N.C., hike leader and outdoor writer has walked the entire 2,185 miles of the Appalachian Trail, from Georgia to Maine. She's hiked every trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, over 800 miles in all, and completed the 1,000-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail through North Carolina. Bernstein has left footprints in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire; in the Catskills, Colorado and Canadian Rockies; on the Kalalau Trail in Hawaii and throughout Europe, Australia and New Zealand....
11/04/16 Human Interest
S'Wonderful, S'Marvelous, trilled a trio of New York singers, tempting Broadway Ball guests with a Gershwin medley in anticipation of An American in Paris, the Tony Award-winning play coming to the Straz Center for the Performing Arts next month. Dining tres chic on the Morsani Hall stage Saturday, amid yellow roses and crystal chandeliers, two live auction surprises: CEO Judy Lisi found herself with a new Shih Tzu puppy, a gift from top bidders Charlene and Mardy Gordon. And auctioneer Jason Alpert sold a Zululand, South Africa safari 18 times at $3,500 each, making ball co-chairmen Jill and David Weinstein very happy. Add in pitch-perfect Patel Conservatory scholarship student appeals and proceeds topped $375,000 just as a round of After Dark partiers arrived for closing curtain drinks, dancing and dessert....
10/27/16 Human Interest
14th annual Tuxes & Tails
Mewing, pawing and panting, guests and pets sniffed out Tuxes & Tails, a mastiff-size gala for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. Saturday's boisterous crowd of 1,000-plus filled the Tampa Convention Center with an Arabian Nights dinner and parade of adoptables resulting in homes for 35 cats and dogs, quite a few celebrating with their new owners at the waterfront after-party. Honorary co-chairs Sanna Grundberg and Gayle Sierens (Sandra Porzio was unable to attend) barked up silent, live and VIP auctions, helping emcees Cynthia Smoot and Russell Rhodes of WTVT-Ch. 13 raise $300,000 for animal care....
10/18/16 Human Interest
Newsies hawking the Chicago Tribune, fedora-topped gangsters, deep dish pizza and hot dogs served on Cubs napkins —all the Windy City passions flavored the Starlight Gala, "An Evening in Chicago" benefit for the Florida Hospital Foundation. But Sunday's big score came when Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago blasted onto the Marriott Waterside stage, thrilling the nearly 900 guests with a private concert composed of 50 years of hit singles. Getting to rock a drum solo with them on "Feelin' Stronger Every Day" was a bucket list dream come true for Florida Hospital Tampa chief of staff, cardiologist Mitch O'Hara, the first guest to do so, they said....
TAMPA — Louise Lykes Ferguson, matriarch of Tampa's most prominent and enduring family, leaves a cultural legacy to parallel the Lykes Brothers' pioneer shipping and agribusiness advancements.
A major backer of downtown Tampa's performing arts center, second largest in the southeast, Mrs. Ferguson, 104, died Oct. 5 at her historic family home in Ballast Point.
Along with her husband of 44 years, attorney Chester Howell Ferguson, Mrs. Ferguson was instrumental in conceptualizing and fundraising what is now called the David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Her involvement spanned multiple mayors, starting in the mid-'60s and peaked as a co-chairwoman of the elegant, opening night Great Gala in July 1987. The center has drawn more than 10 million guests to Broadway, opera, ballet and other performances, including in Louise Lykes Ferguson Hall, named to honor her significant contributions....
10/11/16 Human Interest
USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy
Hailing author Elaine Shimberg and political trailblazer Betty Castor for leading "boldly, authentically and fearlessly," USF president Judy Genshaft opened the USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy Fall Symposium Luncheon on Oct. 6 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Community leader and philanthropist Shimberg has written 26 books on medical and family topics. Castor's firsts include female Hillsborough County Commissioner, Florida senate president pro tempore; Florida Commissioner of education and USF president....
10/06/16 Human Interest
Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars
Ten contestants practiced for months at the Hip Hop Dance Studio, and wow, did it pay off at Tampa Bay's Dancing with the Stars competition. "Our best ever," said Julie Weintraub, dancing on the stage after dinner with a crush of supporters while the $1 votes and judges' ballots were counted at Saturday's charity dance-off at TPepin's Hospitality Centre....
09/28/16 Human Interest
CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture
Norma Kamali would have been surrounded by lifelong devotees of her iconic styles at Tampa Museum of Art's glam benefit CITY: Fashion + Art + Culture, a night for sipping champagne, eyeing her fall ready-to-wear collection and the conclusion of her first museum exhibition.
Instead, Kamali appeared via video, apologizing for missing her flight to Tampa Saturday and letting her latest work speak for itself. Swimwear to slinky jersey dresses — with safety pin details and graffiti prints — popped in black, white, charcoal and cherry red in the runway show staged by Patty Soltis and Elaine Sweeney of STYLEdge....
09/22/16 Human Interest
FARA Energy Ball
Friendship, optimism and support synergized the FARA Energy Ball, the eighth hosted by Paul and Suzanne Avery, and again uniting business associates, medical researchers and philanthropic friends to raise nearly $2 million for the Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance and the University of South Florida Ataxia Research Center. The gala has funded more than $10 million to find a cure for the rare, degenerative neuromuscular disorder since 2009....
09/16/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Smile, says Penny Rogo, sometimes a hundred times a day, always (almost) receiving a big grin right back.
Multiply those smiles by 40 years and that's a lot of happy faces looking at the tall redhead capturing the scene as MamaRazzi Foto. Rogo photographs ribbon cuttings, award ceremonies, conventions and "lots and lots of charity events, three or four a week from September to January, about 80 or 90 a year."...
09/14/16 Human Interest
Imagination: A Gala
Like well-dressed toys jumbling into a three-floor sandbox, Glazer Children's Museum playmates explored Imagination, a roving cocktail gala with bars and canapes tucked into exhibits throughout. The 700 grown-ups found sushi in the Water's Journey, crostini on mini grocery shelves and charcuterie near the SmalLab. Salt Block Catering Co. also had fun with S'mores, cookies and milk, liquid nitrogen ice cream and carnival treats....
09/09/16 Human Interest
Showmanship — spontaneous, sincere but carefully scripted — keeps guests entertained and feeling charitable.
"We're putting on a show," said Jason Alpert, a fundraising consultant and auctioneer booked at 65 events a year. "I want people to leave saying, 'Man, that was memorable.' They remember something like a 100-foot-long red carpet leading to a woman on stilts wearing a huge red dress that holds glasses of Champagne."...
09/09/16 Human Interest
TAMPA — Andre "Andy" Brouillard and Julie Juteau share a French-Canadian heritage, fluency in French and a desire to make sure a guest's biggest concern is finding the guy passing the tray of stuffed mushrooms.
"Air conditioning working? Bathroom sparkling? Room set and ready?"
All other worries fall on us, said Brouillard, 63, general manager of TPepin's Hospitality Centre in east Tampa....
09/09/16 Human Interest
Clink those glasses and enjoy helping arts, education and human services organizations strengthen the Tampa Bay community. Our annual Hillsborough Social Calendar offers a host of opportunities for donors, volunteers and advocates to get involved. And be sure to look for the weekly Diary in the Tampa Tribune edition of the Tampa Bay Times to catch the latest news, updates and philanthropic trends observed on the local social scene. Amy Scherzer, Tampa Bay Times...