Amy Scherzer’s Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

Published May 7 2018
Updated May 11 2018

United Way Suncoast Art of Giving

ABC-TV journalist John Quiñones, host and creator of What Would You Do,? included himself as a youngster as "exactly the kind of person that United Way is helping." The proud son of a Mexican-American migrant picker and custodian celebrated the power of education with United Way Suncoast supporters at Journeys, the annual Art of Giving benefit, relating his hardships and the lack of respect continuing today. "We should be building bridges, not walls," he told donors dining at Armature Works on May 4. The attendees later cheered on the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Game 4 overtime win and danced to Blonde Ambition at the after-party.

"You can’t go five minutes in any direction without running into a family that is struggling," said board chairman Eric Bailey as the Power of the Purse auction began. Top bids for designer handbags and vacation packages will add to the $30 million previously invested in Youth Education Initiatives. "There is so much to be proud of," said CEO Suzanne McCormick, especially the unification of services in five counties.

Tampa Chamber of Commerce Women of Influence Luncheon

Congrats Colleen Chappel, CEO of ChappellRoberts, who happened to be traveling in Sicily when the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce named her the 2018 Woman of Influence, recipient of the Dottie Berger Mac-Kinnon Award. She would have liked meeting guest speaker Linda Alvarado, CEO of Alvarado Construction, who broke the "concrete ceiling" in an industry where everyone assumed her Denver business was run by her father or husband and "that I was the cleaning lady," she told the annual luncheon April 26 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Hard hat harassment was a given, but brains beat brawn, and now she has offices in four states.

Growing up with five brothers and a terrific sense of humor helped, too. An example: "I just hope the next Babe Ruth is a babe named Ruth," quipped the co-owner of the Colorado Rockies, the first Hispanic — male or female — to own a major league baseball team.

for Children

Joanne and Cy Spurlino always prefer their philanthropy to be off the radar but who can say no to Liz Kennedy, who asked everyone at the annual Champions for Children luncheon to stand if they had been affected by the couple’s donations. Representatives of Metropolitan Ministries, the American Red Cross, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the YMCA, ZooTampa at Lowry Park, the Florida Aquarium, United Way Suncoast — nearly everyone in the room was on their feet April 25 at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.

"You have no idea the impact you have had," said Kennedy, noting their modesty, humility and preference for anonymity as she presented the fourth Cornelia Corbett Child Advocacy Award, named for the longtime volunteer.

Executive director Amy Haile suggested many ways — "time, money and love" — to help the agency teach parenting skills to handle stresses that interfere with healthy development.

5th annual
Island Paws

In four fast years, the annual Island Paws party started by Nancy Newman for the Humane Society of Tampa Bay outgrew her Davis Islands home, this year moving to the Tampa Garden Club where 300-plus pet lovers enjoyed Cuban specialities from Olympia Catering with mojitos and cigars on the breezy Bayshore front lawn. Busch Gardens entertainers and DJ Arthur Lastra made the furry benefit even more fun April 20, and by night’s end seven puppies went home with new owners.