Junior League of Tampa awards
"The gloves are off ... but the pearls can stay on," said Lee Lowry, passing the Junior League of Tampa's presidency to Lynette Russell and singling out creating the Abolish Human Trafficking campaign as the highlight of her tenure. The largest league in the state — nearly 1,900 "smart, busy, fun, opinionated women" — is embarking on its 89th year.
Honorees at the May 14 awards dinner included Sustainer of the Year Robin Gonzalez; Active of the Year Michelle Repplinger; and Inspiring Leader of the Year Jenny Spencer. The Martha Ferman Spirit Award went to Suzanne Brownstein while the public relations and marketing committee she led was honored for "unprecedented branding and social media."
Event chairwoman Tracie Domino designed a Girls Night Out with a bruschetta bar, open bar and a gelato cart at A La Carte Event Pavilion. Surveying the chic crowd chatting on white leather lounges and around bistro tables, Domino quipped, "I told the band, we're 230 women, no slow songs."
Capture the Moment at FMoPA
A young committee, energetic dance band and picture-perfect auction packages invigorated the Florida Museum of Photographic Arts' cocktail party, Capture the Moment.
"The crowd really loosened up this year," said former director Jane Simon, now head of procurement at Feeding America Tampa Bay.
Guests sampled Capital Grille hors d'oeuvres and danced to the Smoking Jackets on May 10 at the Rivergate Tower cube building. DJ Brian Taylor took over at 11 p.m. Photogenic little black dresses were everywhere, as seen on Jenifer Elliott, Joanne Milani, Cathy Clayton and Judy Tampa, who wore her own design.
Co-chairwoman Carol Gaynor arranged several scenic vacation homestays for auction bidders — an apartment in New York City, a home in the Ouray Mountains of Colorado, off the coast of southern Maine — helping the event net $9,000.
LaLa Mansion Secret Supper Club
Lisa DeBartolo, Don Miggs and Jim Henning cooked up the LaLa Mansion Super Secret Supper Club after seeing too many charities expending too many resources for too little return. "They work a whole year to raise what our dinners can do in four hours," Henning said. "And we have a ton of fun doing it."
Starting with a champagne tasting May 15, Miggs and DeBartolo hosted the first 16 guests to RSVP at their Palma Ceia home. The cost was $700 per person, plus lots of cash for raffles, games and dares.
Crowdsourcing at its finest, Jay Mize, Cassie and Jake Greatens, Michael Malatin, Enrique Crespo, Lisa Yob, Scott Shear, Ryan Nece, Willa Ford, Nikki DeBartolo, Chad Chronister and a few others each got one minute to pitch a grass roots charity to receive the party windfall.
Puff n' Stuff served up an elegant clam bake and it was game on: $20 to spin a challenge wheel or $50 to buy out of the task it landed on. Gifts such as a Proenza Schouler handbag and Katy Perry concert tickets were bought and swapped. Two people paid $300 to go into the wine cellar and grab any bottle, with the lights off.
About 10:30 p.m., with $19,000 in the kitty, Lisa DeBartolo drew the Jackson in Action 83 Foundation, which serves military families. Mize, on behalf of Tampa Bay Bucs receiver Vincent Jackson, kept $10,000 and generously gave $1,000 to each of the other nine contenders.
Wheels of Success
Jeweler-community philanthropist Julie Weintraub was named No. 1 Fan by Wheels of Success for helping get working people on the road to employment at the eighth annual R.A.C.E. (Recognition & Appreciation of Our Champions Event). State Farm, GTE Financial and MacDonald Training Center also received Hub Cap awards for their support. Dinner speaker Larry Morgan of the Morgan Auto Group shared his insights April 11 at A La Carte Event Pavilion as nine families received keys to their own cars. Two others were unable to attend.
Mini slot car races, a text-and-drive simulator and a photo booth entertained the 300 guests as they raised $67,000, enough to distribute at least 20 more cars.