National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon
Congratulations, Philanthropist of the Year Dr. Zena Lansky, who was saluted by a record-setting crowd of 600 during the National Philanthropy Day awards luncheon at A La Carte Event Pavilion on Nov. 16. Five organizations nominated the surgeon for financing her arts and sciences passions, said Beverley McLain, vice president of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which sponsored the ceremony for the Florida Suncoast chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.
As she has for two decades, WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor Gayle Sierens announced finalists in six other categories, including the award named for her. Kay Dillinger is the 2011 Gayle Sierens Volunteer, nominated by PACE Center for Girls for creatively mentoring teens at risk. She dedicated the award to her late daughter, Beth.
Dan Gura, vice president of development at the University of Tampa, earned the J. Lloyd Horton Lifetime Achievement Award.
Phosphate processor Mosaic won Corporation of the Year for supporting numerous nonprofits, especially the Florida Aquarium and Audubon of Florida.
University of Tampa's Peace Volunteer Center was the Service Organization of the Year. Phillies Florida was the Small Business of the Year. The Children's Home Society of Florida's Silver Coffee Committee won the Spirit award. Berkeley Prep sophomore Jacob Rice, who founded Shoe Giver at age 10, earned the title Youth Philanthropist, nominated by Metropolitan Ministries for giving away 1,300 pairs of children's shoes.
Red Cross Angels Silver Coffee
Red Cross Angels winged their way to their annual Silver Coffee on Nov. 14 at the home of Barbara and Les Ryals. Past auxiliary presidents — including Beverly Austin, Alvie Whitaker, Angie Ferlita, and Susan Grady — served coffee and mostly homemade treats. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn stopped by to salute the dedicated troops.
President Denise Chavez reminded everyone about the gingerbread house decorating brunch coming up Dec. 10. Sally Hill collected dues and peddled T-shirts and cookbooks.
Back to the future? To guests admiring her Sunset Park home, Barbara said that buying it two years ago was serendipitous. It seems that 23 years ago, when Haven and Charles Poe lived there, they hosted an engagement party for the young Ryals couple.
Meals on Wheels
Think there's no such thing as a free lunch? Well, consider this one. The Columbia Restaurant picked up the tab for 100 guests lunching Nov. 9 with Meals on Wheels volunteers Celia Ferman and daughters Laura Farrior and Janice Straske at the Tampa Bay History Center. The influential trio invited friends to join them in supporting the weekday meal program for homebound folks and seniors from Westchase to Ybor City to Lutz. Drivers deliver 650 meals a day, all made in the agency's kitchen.
"With no government grants in our 36-year history," added agency director Steve King.
During lunch, Powerstories Theatre presented the true story of an elderly lady whose driver reported her illness to her out-of-town family. Yes, lunch was free, but Ann Pittman's appeal resulted in a whopping $55,000 to expand services.
WUSF hosts 'Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!' broadcast benefit
Peter Sagal, host of the National Public Radio quiz show Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!, appeared to enjoy taping the "oddly informative" weekly broadcast at the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts almost as much as the 2,600 news junkies who bought tickets to watch him Nov. 17. Sagal and panelists Roy Blunt Jr., Faith Sallie and Adam Felber spouted one-liners, groaners and puns, turning ticket sales into $36,500 for WUSF.
The laughs kept coming at the cast party, where sponsors and patrons met Sagal, straight man Carl Kasell and NPR execs outside at the parfait dessert bar.