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Amy Scherzer's Diary: Weekly Wrap-Up of the Tampa Social Scene

AMY SCHERZER | Times Megan Kelly, left, Brittany Cohill and Ken Koon sport red sunglasses for donating to the Go Red for Women luncheon sponsored by the American Heart Association on May 19 at the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza.
AMY SCHERZER | Times Megan Kelly, left, Brittany Cohill and Ken Koon sport red sunglasses for donating to the Go Red for Women luncheon sponsored by the American Heart Association on May 19 at the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza.
Published Jun. 8, 2017

Go Red for Women Luncheon

Heart disease ends a woman's life every 80 seconds, said Go Red for Women campaign chairman Connor Lewis joining emcee Allison Kropff of WTSP-Ch. 10 and 300-plus red-dressed guests at the American Heart Association's annual luncheon May 19 at the Renaissance Hotel International Plaza. Stroke and heart attack survivors Christi DePrisco, Lauren Evanovich, Yolande Petit-Homme and her caregiver/daughter Jen and 30 other women shared their medical miracles and subsequent lifestyle changes via video. Go Red 2018 chairwoman Linda Simmons set two goals: to move next year's luncheon to "heart month," a.k.a February, and to raise $1 million for research and education. She gets a healthy boost from Circle of Red chairwoman Renee Vaughn who nearly doubled the number of $1,000-and-up annual donors to 77 in her two-year term.

Ryan Nece Foundation Power Point Leadership Luncheon

Auto magnate and philanthropist Frank Morsani was an ideal choice to share his wisdom at the Ryan Nece Foundation Power Plate Leadership Luncheon. Guests included seven former Tampa Bay Buccaneer players, several teen Power of Giving program participants and parents like Dr. Amanda Smith who spoke of the hundreds of hours her daughter and other students have volunteered at Trinity Cafe, Metropolitan Ministries and other bay area charities on their path to becoming future community leaders.

Fork Fight

One in four local kids goes hungry every day, a statistic that would be even bigger without Fork Fight, an annual $300-ticket collaboration of a dozen chefs on behalf of Feeding Tampa Bay which provides 40 million meals a year to hardworking yet food-insecure people. The 450 dinner guests know they will be well fed for the cause, said emcee Topher Morrison, as waiters served foie gras ganache, pork belly and porcini spaghetti pie, Colorado rack of lamb and Taleggio panna cotta May 16, each course paired with just the right wine.

Mise en Place co-owner Maryann Ferenc grew emotional explaining that the chefs' custom gourmet experiences she auctioned that night will fund 2.5 million meals. Her top sale: Haven, Bern's and Epicurean Hotel Chef Chad Johnson's dining package sold twice for $12,000 each.

13th annual Art of Giving

Who ya gonna call? United Way Suncoast called on Ghostbusters star Ernie Hudson to address donors enjoying taco and pasta bars, prime rib, craft beer and wine tastings and dancing to Blonde Ambition at the Art of Giving, the May 19 auction party to support Youth Education Initiatives. The actor told his life story with warmth and humor, posed for selfies and signed autographs, thanking the 550 guests for inspiring him at "one of the most fun auctions I've ever seen.

Auctioneer Jason Alpert got enthusiastic bids on five designer purses, international trips and dinners with Jameis Winston and Titus O'Neill, helping the event net nearly $100,000. Like last year, Victoria Henrich donated $10,000, but added her pledge to personally work with jobseekers to develop specific workforce skills.

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