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On the Town04.04.08

On the townSt. Petersburg social events: Gala fuels charities for children


Jeff Fortune and Barbara and Bob Anders, who founded Academy Prep St. Petersburg in the 1990s, were honored as "Great Friends to Kids" at an awards luncheon at St. Petersburg's Great Explorations, the Children's Museum.

Betty Castor, who has had numerous public service and educational roles and who received the award in 2007, made the presentation, which also recognized Academy Prep Foundation executive director Ben Fisher. The Anderses were unable to attend.

Museum executive director and CEO David Penn imparted a wealth of news, listing a number of awards Great Explorations has received.

In an emotional presentation, he spoke publicly for the first time about abuse he endured as a boy and the opportunities that arose for him through museums, starting with the Museum of Science in Boston.

State Rep. Bill Heller, who has been chairman of the board of trustees since 2003, and his wife, Jeanne, have made a donation of $100,000 for the Early Learning Center at the museum, which will bear their name.

Tracy and Jared Samon were co-chairs of the event.


Foot, back and hand massages for weary volunteers were the highlight of "Pamper Your Spirits," a first-time event for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast Guild.

The showcase at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club featured a buffet lunch and featured more than 30 vendors ranging from clothing and jewelry vendors to decorators and health food purveyors.

Brandi Winans and Sparky Paradis were co-chairwomen of the fundraiser for the Peg Nunn Scholarship Fund.

Special recognition went to busy presidents of numerous Tampa Bay area charitable organizations, including Debbie Barnes, Karol Bullard, Roseanna Costa, Pat LaMonde, Sandy Moss, Nora Pearson, Sally Poynter, Rebecca Stewart, Prescella Wallace and Connie Whitehead.


"Celebrate Springtime," the annual luncheon, fashion show and card party of the St. Petersburg Women's Chamber of Commerce, is a spring tradition.

This year it benefited the St. Petersburg Little Theatre, the Salvation Army's Sallie House residence for children, and West Coast Early Steps, a program of the Children's Home Society.

Clothing was from Ambria's Gallery of Wearable Art and Talbots.

WTVT-Ch. 13 news anchor Mark Wilson was master of ceremonies for the fundraiser, which took place at the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Evelyn Wilty led the event committee, and Teresa Wittstruck is president of the women's chamber.

Shuttle buses moved patrons through barricaded streets to the waterfront atrium lobby of the Mahaffey Theater at the Progress Energy Center for the Arts for the Michael Andretti Foundation Gala held in connection with the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg.

The evening was a chance to mix and mingle with some of the drivers.

Lots of guests wanted their photos taken with Danica Patrick, and I'm pretty sure I recognized Marco Andretti, Tony Kanaan and Hideki Mutoh.

Energetic bidding on some of the auction items fueled the party, which netted $150,000 to be divided among All Children's Hospital Pediatric Trauma Center, Bayfront Baby Place and the Mayor's Mentors and More, all charities benefiting youngsters in the community.

On the townSt. Petersburg social events: Gala fuels charities for children 04/12/08 [Last modified: Monday, April 14, 2008 11:49am]
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