Imagination, A Gala
From devil crab lollipops to virtual reality games, "Imagination, A Gala" entertained and educated Glazer Children's Museum guests as per the mission, and on a weeknight no less, no thanks to Hurricane Irma, which bumped the cocktail bash to Sept. 28.
Instead of baskets of "stuff," a Dream It, Be It silent auction offered cool career days parents bought for their kids, such as a Bay News 9 anchor or a Clearwater Marine Aquarium biologist or a museum CEO like Jennifer Stancil.
A "bucket list" live auction featured a Manchester United soccer trip with a child walk-on as team mascot, sold twice for $13,500 each. The Super Bowl 52 package nabbed a $26,000 bid. Flying to a Bucs game on the team plane, plus hotel stay and VIP tickets, sold twice for $5,000 each, all donated by Shanna and Bryan Glazer and Joel and Darcie Glazer Kassewitz, who then doubled down with a $100,00 match. Stancil announced gala proceeds will help provide a premium membership to all Lee Elementary students, parents and faculty whose historic school burned down last month.
Everything was just beachy at the 26th annual "Feastival" tasting party with 40 restaurants, caterers and beverage vendors dishing out support for the Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women. VIPs received five-star resort treatment: Ocean Prime seafood delicacies such as ahi cones and lobster rolls by Chef Adam Polisei, beach tunes from Poly Essence and craft beer from four local distilleries. Beach swag bags came loaded with a towel, T-shirt and more, donated by Time Customer Service.
The 1,000 guests surfed through the A La Carte Event Pavilion ballroom on Sept. 21, probably at the venue's last event before a national homebuilder takes over the waterfront property. Emcee Michael Clayton, host of WTSP-Ch. 10's Great Day Tampa Bay, induced the hungry crowd to dance to the Chello Hollyday band as chairwoman Amanda Stevens and committee raised $100,000 for the female-empowering nonprofit agency. Best treat of the feast: Chocolate D'Moura's iconic Brazilian brigadeiro made by Carolina Moura and Cléia Maria de Jesus.
Art on the Boulevard
Longtime chairman of the University of Tampa fine art department and professor emeritus Joe Testa-Secca, 91, returned to campus for the first time since his 1990 retirement as the honored guest at Art on the Boulevard, hosted by Friends of the Scarfone/Hartley Gallery. His avid collectors surrounded the still-working artist at the Sept. 23 cocktail party celebrating the gallery's 40th anniversary. Alumni and faculty exhibited their work as well, including Gilbert DeMeza, Kendra Frorup and Jack King.
A silent auction of original artwork donated by many prominent artists was a win-win: raising funds and expanding buyers' collections. A gallery membership came with every guest ticket. With two tickets, they took home a print by UT Department of Art and Design chair Chris Valle.
Teaching Tools luncheon
Retired elementary school teacher Melissa Schumacher clocked nearly 3,000 volunteer hours in the last 10 years, including thrice-weekly in the Teaching Tools store, which gave out $2.6 million in free supplies last school year. For such dedication, the Hillsborough Education Foundation presented her the 2017 Sue House Champion award, named for the former board member and forever education advocate.
Guests at the 11th annual Teaching Tools Luncheon heard from Hillsborough County superintendent Jeff Eakins, as well as Burney Elementary fifth-grader Mikaiah Walker and her teacher, Tina Cook, who used donated supplies to create school posters promoting respect. Brothers Giovany and Gian Giron, students in the foundation's Take Stock in Children scholarship and mentoring program, inspired donors at the Sept. 19 benefit at the Hilton Tampa Downtown to raise more than $138,000.