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Donations to Steinbrenner-supported charities flow after family's request

TAMPA — Several local organizations supported by the late George Steinbrenner have seen a spike in donations after his family requested that charitable gifts be made in lieu of flowers.

In a statement released a few days after Steinbrenner's death July 10, his family asked the public to give to Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay, the Gold Shield Foundation of Tampa, the Special Operations Warrior Foundation in Tampa, the Silver Shield Foundation in New York, and Boys & Girls Clubs in New York.

The three Tampa-based charities say they have each received thousands of dollars since the request.

That's a huge success, especially considering the economic downturn, said Lisa Richardson, vice president of development for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay.

"Any creative ways that families can support programs … we are so grateful to be the recipient of that," Richardson said. "What they've done for us is immeasurable."

Steinbrenner's financial support of the charity over 30 years likely reached into the millions of dollars, Richardson said.

She noted that even in death, he inspired others to give.

Joe Voskerichian, executive director of the Gold Shield Foundation of Tampa, which gives scholarships to families of officers killed in the line of duty, said the generosity comes at a good time. Two Tampa police officers were gunned down just a week and a half before Steinbrenner died.

Those donations, which have been coming in from all over the country, will live on for years, Voskerichian said. The four children of Officer David Curtis are all younger than 9.

It was a similar story from the Special Operation Warrior Foundation, which provides scholarships and counseling to survivors of special operations personnel who die in duty.

Dozens of donors have given thousands of dollars in the past few weeks, said Lisa Henson, a public relations assistant.

A public memorial for Steinbrenner remains in the works. Sources close to the family said a date and place for the event have not been determined.

Reach Kim Wilmath at kwilmath@sptimes.com or (813) 661-2442.

Donations to Steinbrenner-supported charities flow after family's request 07/27/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 7:00am]
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