Score $3 million for Moffitt Cancer Center when retired NFL coach Don Shula announced a $1.5 million matching grant at the Magnolia Ball for patient care, education and research. Moffitt's national advisory board chairman Bob Griese ran the play-by-play as his former coach and fellow board member visited via video Saturday. Immediately, verbal pledges from among the 800 guests matched Shula's donation, including $125,000 from Liz Smith and $50,000 from Pam and Les Muma.
That sent the black-tie crowd dancing in the end zone, feeling the Power of Love as they sang along with Huey Lewis & the News at A La Carte Event Pavilion.
The $1,000 tickets to attend the elegant gala created by Corina Wian Event Designs added to the tally. So did high auction bids, such as $8,000 for a Labrador puppy from Todd Aidman and $6,750 for a New York Yankees package from Magnolia Ball co-chairs Bob and Lorraine Dutkowsky.
Longtime Moffitt foundation supporters Ted and Marty Couch missed their first Magnolia Ball in 20 years. You can bet April 18 is circled on next year's calendar.
Night at the Copa
Spinning roulette wheels, salsa dancers, clacking dominoes, squawking chickens — all that and more made Night at the Copa a lively benefit for the Foundation of Caring sponsored by the Florida Medical Clinic. Delite Entertainment created the hubbub April 26 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre for 400 partygoers dancing to the Freddy Montes band, playing blackjack, puffing hand-rolled cigars and dining on Cuban specialities made by Puff n' Stuff using volunteer Michael Gari's family recipes.
The foundation funds grants and encourages employees at its 38 physician-owned clinics to volunteer at 40-plus nonprofits, said CEO Joe Delatorre.
Joshua House Foundation Circle of Friends
Under a "ribbon" tent revealing a starry sky, 100 friends of the Joshua House Foundation enjoyed La Dolce Vita at Lori and Mike Kosloske's residence in Avila, dining pondside on Mise en Place's roast tenderloin and lobster-wild mushroom cannelloni amid K4 Event Productions decor April 26.
But "the good life" party theme doesn't translate for the abused and neglected children residing at the shelter. Guests were gratified to learn how well some of the kids are progressing. They were thrilled to hear from executive director DeDe Grundel that the $50,000 raised that night will pay for modifications to one of the group homes to accommodate medically fragile children who currently must be assigned to nursing homes.