Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

On the town

On the Town: Dillinger Foundation raises funds for scholarships

Kevin and Dr. Cynthia Johnson dance as they are summoned to show off their fashion at the Derby Day fundraiser for the Links.

Photo by James Branaman

Kevin and Dr. Cynthia Johnson dance as they are summoned to show off their fashion at the Derby Day fundraiser for the Links.


A sellout crowd raised more than $300,000 for scholarships and other services provided by the Beth Dillinger Foundation during the annual "Value Me: Prom Magic" luncheon and fashion show at the Hilton St. Petersburg Carillon Park.

The sixth annual event featured Dick Crippen as master of ceremonies and Cat Coats as fashion show moderator.

Seven participants from the PACE Center for Girls modeled fashions from Ambria's Gallery of Wearable Art in St. Petersburg; community women on the runway included Margaret Word Burnside, Veronica Cintron, Jen Holloway, Kamilah Perry, Wendy Ramirez, Laura Snell and Ann Sherman-White.

Pinellas-Pasco Public Defender Bob Dillinger and his wife, Kay, started the foundation in memory of their daughter, Beth.

Bob McIntyre, former chairman of the Pinellas Education Foundation, reported that 43 Beth Dillinger Foundation scholarships were awarded this year through the Pinellas Education Foundation Doorways program.

The Dillingers served on the event's host committee, which also included Kristi Cheatham, Cat Coats and retired Pinellas County Sheriff Jim Coats, Jay Coats, Joanna Garcia, Bobbie Shay Lee, Joanne and Bob McIntyre, Sarah Michaud, Carla Mattern and Wendy Ramirez.

In addition to providing scholarships, the foundation supports Beth's Closet and the Hope Chest, a donation system that offers clothing and other necessities to needy children at the public defender's office in Clearwater, Dade City and New Port Richey.


Sartorial selections at the Kentucky Derby often are spectacular, but Churchill Downs had competition in St. Petersburg as 250 members and guests of the St. Petersburg Chapter of the Links dressed in their finest for a Derby Day fundraiser at the Rutland-Farley estate, home of Phil and Michele Farley.

Food offerings included traditional Hot Browns and derby pie; along with mint juleps, the bar served "Linktinis," a specialty beverage reflecting the organization's colors, green and white.

And there was a Millionaire's Row cigar bar setup, reports Joy Wallace, who was in charge of recruiting corporate sponsors. Participants had play money with which to place their bets, and a couple of televisions were set up outdoors so that patrons could watch the race itself.

Cynthia Joliff-Johnson and Joyce Thornton were co-chairwomen for the event. All members of the organization, including outgoing president Dr. Mendee Ligon and incoming president Vonda Colquitt, helped to organize the party, which was a fundraiser for the Links' community projects and educational efforts.

Mea culpa

Matt Conigliaro was chairman for the American Stage Gala Under the Stars on April 26, and he is the theater company's next president, but he was not the auctioneer at the annual fundraiser. Jason Alpert of Fort Lauderdale had those duties at the event, which raised a record amount of money for the theater's artistic and educational programming.

On the Town: Dillinger Foundation raises funds for scholarships 05/11/13 [Last modified: Friday, May 10, 2013 4:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. A historic Tampa family saves a historic Tampa home built by an ancestor

    Human Interest

    The Knight family has replaced their roof and people are celebrating.

    The Peter O. Knight historical cottage, located in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood, is seen Thursday, July 20, 2017. The cottage fell into disrepair in recent years, but the Knight family stepped up with financial support to help stabilize the structure.
  2. Miami woman, 74, admits to voter fraud. Does jail await, or will she go free?

    State Roundup

    MIAMI — An 74-year-old woman pleaded guilty Monday to filling out other people's mail-in ballots while working at Miami-Dade's elections department.

    Gladys Coego
  3. In Twitter rant, Bucs' Gerald McCoy says he's unappreciated


    Gerald McCoy is feeling underappreciated again. He says somebody has crossed the line this time. He's speaking out and suggesting he might be gone "soon enough" from Tampa Bay.

    Photo Illustration RON BORRESEN   |   Photo by LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times 
Gerald McCoy may be upset that Ronde Barber said a defensive leader “has to have a huge personality’’ like Warren Sapp’s. Monday, Barber walked that back.
  4. Bigger ships carry Georgia ports to record cargo volumes

    Economic Development

    SAVANNAH, Ga. — Bigger ships arriving through an expanded Panama Canal pushed cargo volumes at Georgia's seaports to record levels in fiscal 2017, the Georgia Ports Authority announced Monday.

    The Port of Savannah moved a record 3.85 million container units in fiscal 2017, the state said, benefiting from the larger ships that can now pass through an expanded Panama Canal.
  5. Photo gallery: Nine years later, library attack victim Queena works at learning to walk again


    Slowly, Queena Phu is learning the act of walking again through exercises in locomotion, strength and balance.
    She practiced her steps once again Monday afternoon with trainer-technician Mike Lopez at the nonprofit Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center near the University of South Florida.
    Queena …

    Activity based exercise trainer George Palang, 33, and trainer technician Mike Lopez, 22, help Queena Phu during physical therapy at the Stay In Step Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Center on Monday, July 24, 2017, in Tampa, Fla.