Imagination: A Gala
Like well-dressed toys jumbling into a three-floor sandbox, Glazer Children's Museum playmates explored Imagination, a roving cocktail gala with bars and canapes tucked into exhibits throughout. The 700 grown-ups found sushi in the Water's Journey, crostini on mini grocery shelves and charcuterie near the SmalLab. Salt Block Catering Co. also had fun with S'mores, cookies and milk, liquid nitrogen ice cream and carnival treats.
Shanna and Bryan Glazer, expecting their first child this month, co-chaired the 14th annual gala Sept. 9 "in the very spot where we met," he said, announcing a $200,000 match of the auction proceeds with his sister Darcie Glazer Kassewitz. Auctioneer Jason Alpert started off with a $300 stack of lottery tickets donated by the gala committee, quickly handed over to Josh Marks for an $1,100 bid. Three VIP sports packages to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Manchester United and the 2017 Super Bowl added up to $62,000 and a donor appeal pushed net proceeds up to $500,000. A video featuring CEO Jen Stancil celebrated the museum's Top 10 rank in the nation before the dance floor filled to the music of Frequency.
Art of Helping Children
"Just do it," Tampa Bay Rays president Brian Auld urged potential "Bigs" considering mentoring one of the "Littles" on Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay's waiting list. The former board chairman shared the Auld family's experiences at the 18th annual Art of Helping Children, a Jungle Book gala where a porcupine, anteater and macaw were among the 700 guests.
Somewhat reluctantly, Auld inherited the microphone Saturday from longtime supporter Rod Broadrick, who earned a standing ovation at the black-tie dinner at the Hilton Tampa Downtown. Auld offered Rays' suite tickets to $5,000-and-up donors, plus a $25,000 matching gift from the Rays' ownership. Then Corey Dylan, a former Big Sister, and Greg Benjamin auctioned five packages, and gala proceeds soared to $400,000, enough to support 266 matches for a year.
Teaching Tools luncheon
Oak Park Elementary third-grader Jelani Robinson's enthusiastic speech showed everyone at the annual Teaching Tools luncheon how students succeed with the right school supplies. The future orator shared the spotlight with honoree Sue House, originator of a Gift for Teaching, now known as the Teaching Tools store operated by the Hillsborough Education Foundation.
"Sue's legacy has benefitted thousands of teachers and students," said HEF board member Corey Neil, presenting her the inaugural "Sue House Champion for Teaching Tools" award Sept. 8 at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.
Special guest Justin Wolff, founder and Chief Giving Officer of Yoobi, explained his concept of donating one item to a school for every item purchased "amplifies impact without spending a penny more." The name, Yoobi, evolved from "You can be anything with the right tools," said Wolff. Yoobi has donated $19 million of supplies to help 2 million kids, including more than 80,000 to Title I schools in Tampa. Cindy Helton, executive director of the Suncoast Credit Union Foundation, announced a $25,000 matching grant to fund even more teaching tools.