Sunday, November 19, 2017
News Roundup

Charity awards its last grants

RECOMMENDED READING


TAMPA — It was a bittersweet day for Brighter Tomorrows members as they awarded $50,000 in grants to six local agencies that deal with domestic violence.

It's the most the seven-year-old all-volunteer nonprofit organization had ever distributed at one time.

And it will be the last time it issues grants.

The nonprofit's annual Grants Award Luncheon marked its final official event. By the end of the year, the group will be dissolved.

"But your organization will live on at our place," said Mindy Murphy, executive director of the Spring, a residential facility for victims of domestic violence.

"That $10,000 grant you gave us last year paid for the elevator in our annex. You have been an integral part of our community," she told about 50 members and guests gathered Nov. 1 at Brio's at International Plaza for the luncheon and check presentations.

•••

Brighter Tomorrows was formed in September 2009 by about 16 men and women who had been part of the Daytime Spring Auxiliary.

"We wanted to help not only the Spring but thought we could help others who assisted domestic violence victims whether it be housing, programs or whatever," said Debbie Fernandez, who became the group's first president and has served as the treasurer since 2012.

"It is going to be missed but we were an older group of members; we couldn't get young members to come in and keep it going," Fernandez said.

Stephanie Hobson is the last president of the group. She addressed the guests at the beginning of the luncheon, saying the group's mission had been "increasing awareness of this problem in the community, sponsoring educational programs, and supporting certain organization that directly addressed the abused victims."

She continued from a prepared statement, "So, it began. Money was raised — over $200,000."

The group's main fundraisers were Elegant Evenings, a series of in-home concerts, and a springtime fashion show and luncheon. This year Elegant Evenings were in the planning stage when Brighter Tomorrows voted in May to dissolve by year's end.

Planning stopped.

•••

Laura Erstad who served as the grant chairwoman and oversaw the applications for the funds, distributed funds at the Nov. 1 luncheon. She called representatives from the six agencies to the front to present their checks and explain how they would use the funds.

Are You Safe executive director Tiffany Bolt also presented Brighter Tomorrows with an award as its Community Partner of the Year. Bolt said Are You Safe provides victims' social services and legal assistance through volunteer attorneys and contracted attorneys.

"If it wasn't for Brighter Tomorrows, our contract attorney position wouldn't exist," she said. "A contract attorney will work through the night to get an injunction ready for court the next morning. This organization (Brighter Tomorrows) saved lives."

Bolt said the contract attorney handled 70 cases, and her board would have to find money to keep the position. Other agencies receiving checks: the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay for trauma recovery services; Mary Lee's House for a child advocate position; Mary & Martha House for a smart table and software for ages 8 to 12; Champions for Children for its Kids on the Block puppet program to teach about child abuse and bullying.

Hobson ended the final grants award luncheon noting how far the group has come in seven years.

"People are more aware and we have come a long way," she said. "This is really, really sad but a few people can't do it all. We are sorry we can't continue — but there is always a brighter tomorrow."

Contact Lenora Lake at hillsnews@tampabay.com.

Comments
Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Sunday morning QB, playoff edition

Player of the Week | Michael Penix Jr., Tampa Bay TechPenix, a Tennessee commit, has been good all season and it seems as if he’s getting even better in the playoffs. On Friday night against Palmetto in the Class 7A region semifinals, he was too ...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

Lightning finds its game too late, loses to Islanders

TAMPA — The firepower showed up in the third period.Yanni Gourde and Ondrej Palat scored 13 seconds apart. Gourde scored again.Suddenly it was a one-goal game, and the Lightning appeared on its way to one of those comeback wins that would be remember...
Updated: 9 hours ago
No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

No. 14 UCF rolls Temple 45-19, heads to War on I-4 unbeaten

PHILADELPHIA — There were so many reasons for UCF coach Scott Frost to worry about his team’s focus. With a huge game against USF looming, playing an improving Temple team in a stadium where the empty seats outnumbered the filled ones by about a 3-1 ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

Gerald McCoy to Ndamukong Suh: ‘Let them remember us’

TAMPA — In the spring of 2010, one of the biggest debates during the week leading up to the NFL draft was which defensive tackle would be selected first: Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh or Oklahoma’s Gerald McCoy.Both figured to be highly productive NFL pla...
Updated: 10 hours ago
No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

No. 2 Miami finishes on 30-0 run, tops Virginia 44-28

MIAMI — After Miami clinched the first Atlantic Coast Conference Coastal Division crown in program history, upset the then-No. 3 team in the country, claimed one of the top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings and after many of the nat...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

Bucs’ belief in Jameis Winston has been shaken

TAMPA — Belief is the biggest attribute a quarterback can bring to his team. Belief in his talent. Belief in his commitment to winning. Belief in his ability to bring everyone together and have his voice lead the path forward.But the belief the Bucs ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

Topkin: As Rays start dealing, how far will they go?

After collecting intelligence at last week’s GM meetings, the Rays soon will launch their offseason mission of trading at least a couple of veterans to reduce payroll.The question is how far they will go — how many players they deal, and how big of n...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

Bucs-Dolphins: Things to watch in Sunday’s 1 p.m. game

TAMPA — Can the Bucs pull off back-to-back wins with a backup quarterback? Win a game on the road for the first time this season? Politely hand the unnamed trophy for the state’s worst football team back to the Dolphins?With WR Mike Evans back from h...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

Florida State routs Delaware State 77-6

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher longed for his team to play in this type of game throughout its disappointing season.After Hurricane Irma caused a three-week layoff between FSU’s first two games, forcing it to play 11 in a row to finis...
Updated: 10 hours ago