United Way Suncoast's Art of Giving
On the runway: fashions by designer Rami Kashou, nattily narrated by Lifetime's Project Runway co-host and mentor Tim Gunn at United Way Suncoast's 10th anniversary Art of Giving dinner April 4.
Near the tarmac: live music and buffets by Air Culinaire, PDQ and Timpone's at Peter O. Knight Airport. Hangar acoustics were a challenge but Gunn and emcee Rod Carter, WFLA-Ch. 8 anchor, expressed endless admiration for United Way services. Gunn made it personal during the Q&A session and live auction, including inviting Martin and Nancy Koch for lunch during the New York trip they bought for $6,600. Funds raised provide Summer Care early literacy and financial education classes for working families, said CEO Diana Baker, who plans to retire later this year.
Tampa General Hospital's 17th 'Moments in Time' gala
Everybody's favorite Fab Four provided the playlist and '60s-style flashback for the 17th Moments in Time Gala: Come Together, a Tribute to the Beatles. Groovy Tampa General Hospital Foundation guests knew all the words and sang along Saturday when the Black Honkeys band rocked all the classics. ConceptBAIT designers tricked out the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay ballroom in psychedelic Sgt. Pepper colors, topped with a huge yellow submarine over the dance floor. Iconic John, Paul, George and Ringo headshots in neon hues lit up the room all the way to a Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds casino lounge. Auction bids and raffle tickets support the hospital's Fund for the Future.
Tampa Bay Heart Ball
The best moments were unscripted at the Tampa Bay Heart Ball, like Raymond James CEO Tom James jumping onstage to sing with Billy Dean and the SongStar band at the American Heart Association's $500 per ticket black-tie affair.
And Jan Khorsandian's shriek when she won the drawing for a Mini Cooper donated by Larry Morgan of MINI of Wesley Chapel. Minutes earlier, her grandson, congenital heart defect survivor Kaden Khorsandian, 6, captivated the crowd at A La Carte Event Pavilion, starting an "Open your Heart" appeal with $50,000 each from Chris Sullivan and Tom Pepin.
Pepin's $2,000 for a red sofa opened the auction Saturday, representing the Red Sofa Story Tour where people sit to talk about heart health risks. Don and Jan DeFosset were delighted to get the Gargiulo Vineyard trip to Napa Valley for $14,000, helping net proceeds near $860,000.