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I take a break from spreading mulch at Bay Pines.

My body was sore but my spirits soared after spending the day at Bay Pines Veterans Healthcare Clinic last month. I joined more than 200 HandsOn Tampa Bay (HOT) volunteers who spruced up the grounds, read to the veterans, painted park benches and signs, washed and counted wheelchairs, and cleaned up the coast line. HandsOn Tampa Bay is United Way’s volunteer program and at Bay Pines, we signed up 37 new volunteers. They’ll join the 2,100 HOT volunteers who give their time every year to local non-profits working to improve our community.  We could not do our jobs as well without our volunteers.

 How about Tim Gunn! The host of Project Runway was the guest speaker at Art of Giving, our fund-raising gala that raises money for Summer Care, our program that provides safe, nurturing summer child care for children of working families. Tim’s charm and warmth took over the room at A La Carte Pavilion as he dispensed fashion advice to the 630 who attended. He also dispensed a large donation to Summer Care. Our Women’s Leadership team is responsible for Art of Giving and thanks to their efforts, we netted $130,000, and had a lot of fun doing it.

Parents face tough choices when school gets out. It  costs approximately $1,000 for one child to attend day care where he or she can keep learning all summer, and many working families face the unacceptable options of quitting their jobs to care for their children or hoping they’ll be ok on their own. To our generous Art of Giving sponsors, especially founding corporate sponsor Bank of America; companies who donated auction items and in-kind services; those who bought tickets or tables, bid on the silent and live auctions, and made financial pledges; that sound you heard was a sigh of relief from 130 families.

 


 

Diana Baker, President & CEO

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