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

Published June 4 2018
Updated June 7 2018

Wishmaker’s Ball

If rocking out to Joan Jett & the Blackhearts was their wish, guests at the Wishmaker’s Ball must have been beyond thrilled. The Rock & Roll Hall of Famers made the May 12 gala a personal concert for 400 supporters of Make-A-Wish Southern Florida who raised $325,000 or 40 future wishes after meeting Emily Barley who lives with cystic fibrosis. Emily’s wish, to go on a safari in South Africa with her family, was a life-changer, she told donors bidding on auction items to fund more experiences for critically-ill children.

Hottest new auction package at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay that evening: Dinner at in-the-works Stovall House and brunch at Oxford Exchange for 10 guests. The Tampa Bay chapter has fulfilled 5,800 wishes since 1994, and the black-tie crowd is already making their wish list for next year’s band.

Power Plate Leadership Luncheon

Lauren Dungy, author, teacher, mother of 10, foster parent and wife of a Super Bowl-winning coach, gained a new title, Power of Giving Paragon, from the Ryan Nece Foundation at its third annual Power Plate Leadership luncheon. Ryan Nece started the student service program in 2013 to turn teens into community leaders by arranging volunteer experiences that expose them to a range of social issues at a young age so that they will be ready to step up and do their part to make the world a better place.

Dungy’s words and lifestyle resonated with the kids and 300 guests to help the foundation raise $35,000 during the May 3 benefit at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.

Junior League of Tampa

Every month finds the Junior League of Tampa busy improving the community, but May was especially hectic. The annual Luminaries awards, presented with partner WEDU, went to DACCO chief Mary Lynn Ulrey, civic volunteer and League past-president Rosemary Henderson and attorney Terrell Sessums during a May 11 luncheon at the Bryan Glazer Family JCC.

A few days later, the league’s annual dinner celebrated 33-plus training and other events, 50,000 volunteer hours and seven awards, including Provisional of the Year Alyssa Beene; Active of the Year Mychael Sumby; Committee of the Year Holiday Gift Market and Martha Ferman’s Spirit Jenny Mitchell-Spencer. They saved the most prestigious for last, naming Barbara Ryals the Sustainer of the Year. Ryals has served as past president and in nine board positions, "a born leader" whose daughter Courtney completed requirements to become an Active member that night.

Seniors in Service

How fitting that Seniors in Service chose the beautifully aging Tampa Theatre for their May 24 fundraiser, the documentary, The Longest Game, about 87-year-old Vermonters Hal, Charlie and Maurie and other friends "in the last tier of life" playing paddle tennis every day for exercise and razzing each other for socialization. The rules for the game of life were clear: Laugh, move, love.

About 150 supporters gathered before the film for drinks and hors d’oeuvres by Eve Catering, Jerk Hut and the Columbia Restaurant, then stayed afterwards for a Q & A led by director of marketing and development Robin Ingles with film producer Elizabeth Yng-Wong and restaurateur Richard "I don’t believe in retirement" Gonzmart. The evening raised $44,000, said Ingles, noting Seniors in Service clocked more than 200,000 volunteer hours last year.