Ronald McDonald House Charities added Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny, to its prestigious roster of Award of Excellence honorees Saturday at the annual Storybook Ball, this year styled after Madagascar. "Other than at a playoff game, there's no place I'd rather be tonight," Vinik said, selecting RMHC's Care Mobile to receive the $50,000 honorarium.
Busch Gardens sent several animals as well as lively costumed penguins and lemurs from its Madagascar show to the Tampa Convention Center, along with an admission ticket for all 640 guests. Entertainment continued all night with Event Show Production's stiltwalkers and dancers in feathered feline spandex before Southtown Fever rocked the immense ballroom.
Don Germaise raised the auction bar, getting a $35,500 bid for a week in the British West Indies aboard the 115-foot, 10-passenger El Jefe yacht from Blake and Tate Casper. A week in a 16-bedroom Loire Valley chateau sold twice for $10,000: once to the Viniks and once to Ben and Carrie Royster. Jarrett Preston and Veturia Colquett's donation of yacht and chateau boosted gala proceeds to the highest in 15 years, said Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay executive director Janice Davis.
Pride and Passion
Fall in love, Pride & Passion revelers, with the Tampa Museum of Art and anyone you choose. Co-chairmen Kevin Reder and Rick Scherer encouraged chic and playful wedding attire for Saturday's kickoff to Gay Pride month and annual museum fundraiser. Botanica International's Ian Prosser titivated the terrace with white lounge groupings dotted with Tiffany blue linens. Timpano Italian Chophouse supplied buffets of mussels, prawns and lettuce wraps; Piquant enticed with lush desserts. DJ Papi paused for purple-robed gospel singers, who led three wedding-gowned and tuxedoed LGBT couples down the stairs and out to the cheering throng.
The galleries are open, director Todd Smith reminded the 800 guests who are all members now, as each party ticket includes a one-year museum membership.
Hillsborough Education Foundation's 25th anniversary celebration
A DeLorean parked out front, clips from the classic flick Back to the Future and throwback thanks from three teachers and a former student revved up the Hillsborough Education Foundation's 25th anniversary celebration May 16 at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Former Gov. Bob Martinez and former state Education Commissioner Betty Castor invited guests to look back to the legislation they created that changed thousands of futures by providing prepaid tuition, grants, supplies and an environmental center.
The foundation has raised $94 million since its inception, said president Phil Jones. Plus $525,000 in the last quarter, board chairman Duane Johnson said while honoring the top fundraising team led by 25-year board member Mary Sue Rothenberg.