Dream Keepers Ball
Liz Kennedy and a junior league committee dreamed up the Child Abuse Council in 1976, beginning with parenting education in a trailer parked behind Tampa General Hospital. In three months Paul D'agostino was executive director, expanding programs to keep children safe and thriving. Re-named Champions for Children and led by Brian McEwen since 2012, the agency celebrated "40 Years of Keeping the Dream" at the second Dream Keepers Ball on Saturday. Dining at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay, 200 guests viewed videos of kids and parents helped through the decades, tuned to the music of each era. They bid on auction offerings to continue the dream for 40,000 people a year. Lucky Michael Shimberg won the drawing for a week's stay at Ron and Sherry Sacino's villa in San Sano, Italy.
Equality Florida Tampa Gala
Congratulations to Tech Data executive John Tonnison whose efforts to help his employer create a "diverse, safe and welcoming" workplace for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees earned him the 2017 Voice for Equality award at the annual Equality Florida Tampa gala.
Hot 101.5 FM deejay Miguel Fuller emceed Feb. 25 and Paul Wilborn and Blue Roses got the dance floor bopping at TPepin's Hospitality Centre. Performing as Miss Daytona Continental Elite 2017, drag queen Amy DeMilo sang a mix of her favorites and Aaron Berger auctioned six artworks, boosting the gala proceeds over $300,000.
Also honored that night: Ariel Zavala for starting Alonso High's Gay-Straight Alliance to support other transgender students and Scott Moore whose countless volunteer hours were recognized with the Charlie Hounchell Spirit of Service & Leadership award.
League of Women Voters Lifetime Achievement Awards
Calling former Fla. Sen. Arthenia Joyner's life a "chronicle of the struggle for equal justice," the Hillsborough County League of Women Voters presented its 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award to the county's first black female attorney. "Mentor, sister, fierce defender... and the wind beneath the wings of hundreds," is how Deborah Austin introduced her March 1 at the Doubletree by Hilton.
A 25-year role in the restoration of our aquatic ecosystem earned Holly Greening, executive director of the Tampa Bay Estuary Program the 2017 Sydney & Thalia Potter Civic Leadership Award. The "ecological pioneer" always knew she wanted to be a marine scientist or a mermaid, said her colleague Rick Garrity, who received the same award last year.
Athletes and their supporters (get it?) huddled at Athletes + Causes' annual sponsor party, circulating between a sports memorabilia auction and tailgate fare Feb. 24 at the Tampa Museum of Art. The host organization, which manages non-profit foundations for professional athletes, will share the proceeds with four charities, said CEO Rob Canton, naming the Ryan Callahan Foundation, Lance McCullers Foundation, Sonya Bryson Voices of Hope and NowUp.