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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Equality Florida Tampa gala nets $110,000

To Life: Celebrating 20 Years!

Gratitude, not anger or despair, was Elie Wiesel's message when Sandra Mermelstein presented him the 2012 humanitarian award named for her parents, Walter and the late Edie Loebenberg, during the Florida Holocaust Museum's annual "To Life" dinner Feb. 23.

Gratitude, said the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, for his doctor, who was in the audience; to students of history and culture; to his Auschwitz liberators; and to the museum, whose opening he attended 20 years ago.

Of today's violence and bloodshed, Wiesel said, "Silence is surely not the answer and forgetfulness is close to a crime."

Earlier, the 850 guests at Mahaffey Theater browsed buffets and an auction of local artists' work. Those who stayed heard renowned pianists Dick Hyman and Derek Smith's jazzy concert, concluding with the rousing theme from Exodus.

10th annual Glitz & Sticks

More like a neighborhood block party than dressy dinner gala, Glitz & Sticks put Tampa Bay Lightning fans on the ice — playing blackjack, air hockey and pingpong with the friendly Bolts. Abby Malone, wife of champion smiler Ryan Malone, swears the guys truly enjoy the mob of 800 guests, especially knowing they're helping raise more than $100,000 for the Lightning Foundation and Tampa General Hospital Children's Medical Center.

Team owner Jeff Vinik also invited 25 "Community Heroes" to come out to play Feb. 19 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, all recipients of the $50,000 grants announced at every home game.

Late Night Brass played as the glitzy group grazed endless sushi, shrimp, crab cakes, duck quesadillas, pasta, lamb chops, roast beef, turkey and more buffets, but saving room for dessert.

Equality Florida Tampa gala

From the crush of elected officials in the Italian Club ballroom to the rainbow lights blazing atop the SunTrust Financial Centre, Equality Florida's impact came across loud and clear Saturday night.

"We've defeated every piece of antilesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender legislation filed,'' executive director Nadine Smith told 325 LGBT and "straight allies," including 50 host committee heavy hitters.

The Tenth Concession band took a break for the awards ceremony. Keith Roberts (Voice of Equality) came up with the strategy to pass city and county human rights ordinances. Carrie West (Equality Means Business) co-founded the GaYbor District Coalition. The Tampa Bay Times (Corporate Voice of Equality) is noted for progressive editorials and employee benefits.

Between hors d'oeuvres, hugs and high fives for City Councilwoman Yvonne Yolie Capin's proposed domestic partner registry, the evening netted $110,000.


March 8: Evening of Champions benefits Academy Prep; 6:30 p.m.; tours, dinner, student entertainment; $250; (813) 248-5600.

March 9: 49th annual Chiselers Market preview party and auction; 7-9 p.m.; University of Tampa Plant Hall; $50; (813) 258-0037.

Andrea's Sip for Life wine and tapas tasting benefits Moffitt Cancer Center; 7 p.m.; Tampa Bay History Center; $100;

DeBartolo Family Foundation ninth All Star Charity Gala; 6 p.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; $300; (813) 964-8302.

GFWC Temple Terrace Woman's Club spring boutique luncheon; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Embassy Suites USF, 3705 Spectrum Drive; $35; (813) 988-4431.

March 10: Black, White & Brilliant Gala benefits Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, 400 N Ashley Drive; 8 p.m.; $75 or $125 per couple, includes membership. (813) 221-2222 or

Amy Scherzer's Diary: Equality Florida Tampa gala nets $110,000 03/01/12 [Last modified: Friday, March 2, 2012 12:49pm]
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