The Glitter Queens were shining Sept. 29 at their sixth annual Royal Ball, which raised thousands of dollars for the Beth Dillinger Foundation. Guests wearing colorful swirls, daisies and go-go boots to go with the "mod '60s" theme packed the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater for the event hosted by a group of 31 women who pick a different recipient of the party's proceeds every year.
Bob Dillinger, Pinellas-Pasco public defender, and his wife, Kay, started the Beth Dillinger Foundation in 2007 in honor of their daughter Beth, who died at age 32. The nonprofit supports children in need by providing food, clothing and scholarships through five different programs.
Several of Beth Dillinger's high school friends, including Bobbie Lee and Christina Xenakis, dressed as Pan Am flight attendants complete with blue dresses, white gloves, carry-on bags with the Pan Am logo and handed bags of peanuts to other guests.
The Glitter Queens started with five women six years ago and has raised more than $250,000 through its various parties.
The 2017 Glitter Queens are: Mary Alice Bolline, Lynda Booker, Janet Carroll, Veronica Dunn, Holli Hudson, Therese Johnson, Sandra Kearney, Teresa Kocer, April La Cava, Laura Liebel, Karen Malkiewicz, Rebecca Malowany, Kelly Lee McFrederick, Terri McNally, Myra McShane, Meg Milligan, Bev Mogelnicki, Maria Morrow, Karen Park, Lisa Parsons, Vicki Peksens, Dee Perconti, Melissa Pinnick, Sheila Reilly, Joy Rudnicki, Joyce Shanahan, Pat Smoot, Carla Theophille, Leslie Trevathan-Ritch, Kathy Turcotte and Mary Lynn Wilkins.
Supporters of Alpha House gathered at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort & Golf Club to raise money and awareness for the facility that provides housing and services to homeless pregnant women and teens and new mothers and infants. Alpha stands for acceptance, life, purpose, hope and accomplishment.
The Butterfly Ball fundraiser honored the "significant six" described as people who have demonstrated a unique kindness, care, concern and genuine compassion for their community. The honorees included Mark Sforzini, artistic and executive director for the St. Petersburg Opera; Mary Jane Park, former editor at the Tampa Bay Times and executive director of the Warehouse Arts District Foundation; Beverly Yepes, board member of Resurrection House; Susan Mittermayr, founding partner at Sabal Trust and a chair of the board for the YMCA; Kay Dillinger, president of the Beth Dillinger Foundation and Bob Dillinger, Pinellas-Pasco public defender.
Cheryl Sanchez and Sue Brett headed the "flutter committee" that organized the fundraiser.
It's fitting that Come Together played as guests filed into Ruth Eckerd Hall's Beatles-themed fundraiser. Hundreds of people came together to support the performing arts center's outreach to 35,000 students a year in the theater and at 20 schools.
The gala, named "All You Need is Love" celebrated the upcoming show, Rain, A Tribute to the Beatles and another concert starring Ringo Starr. The main stage featured entertainment— from performers dressed as the Fab Four to young students of Ruth Eckerd Hall's Marcia P. Hoffman School of the Arts.
"I'm going to be upstaged by children all night," said Frank Hibbard, vice chairman of the board of the theater, when he took the stage to welcome guests to the fundraiser, which had been rescheduled because of Hurricane Irma. "If you ever have a party do not invite Irma. She's a terrible party crasher."
The organizing committee was chaired by Susan Benjamin.
Funds raised at the event will go toward a new program called Teach the Teachers, according to Jana Jones, chairman of the REH board and Zev Buffman, president and CEO of the performing arts center. Research shows students who are involved in the arts are less likely to get into disciplinary trouble and more likely to strive for goals.