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Black Tie Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 2 years ago

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation raises $1 million for cancer care

SMHF raises more than $900,00 in record time, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast hosts a field fundraiser, and more this week.
by: Harry Sayer Staff Writer

Hospital Highlights

No bones about it, the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation’s Hospital Gala on Jan. 11 brought the numbers.  First you have the number of guests, which totaled more than 730 who quickly filled up The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota ballroom. Then, you have the sheer amount of money raised for the Sarasota Memorial Hospital’s cancer services. 250 guests helped raise more than $900,000 at the paddle raise in just 15 minutes, which is certainly no small thing. It didn’t hurt that an anonymous donor promised a $250,000 match as well. By the end of the night, SMHF had raised more than $1 million for the hospital. 

With more than 700 faces to see at the Hospital Gala on Saturday, Jan. 11, at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, it was impossible to see them all. But one face stood out in particular — former Sarasota Memorial Hospital President & CEO Gwen MacKenzie. Currently, MacKenzie and her husband, Doug, split their time between Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she works at the University of Michigan and Sarasota. Recently, MacKenzie joined the Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation Board of Trustees. Also of note, MacKenzie has traded in her signature ginger locks and is rocking a new platinum pixie. 

The very next day following the Hospital Gala, current SMH President & CEO David Verinder and his wife, Monica, jumped on a plane to New Orleans, LA. The Verinders are there to watch Louisiana State University Tigers play the Clemson Tigers in the 2020 National Championship on Monday, Jan. 13. Also there cheering on LSU is Roskamp Foundation's Megan Micale, who recently celebrated a milestone birthday, with pal Beth Green. (pic attached)

Feast Upon The Fields

It’s crucial for nonprofits to have a mission moment — a way to show how the day’s cost will lead to a community benefit — at their functions and fundraisers. The Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast had a pretty big draw at its Feast Upon The Fields event Jan 12 — it was the very ground they were standing on. More than 350 guests traveled to the Murphy Marsh, a 543-acre stretch of land within the Manatee County Myakka River watershed, for a luncheon benefiting the group’s land protection efforts. Guests had lunch specially created by chef Paul Mattison in a tented area before going on a walk to see the marsh land that is being protected. The day brought in almost $100,000. 


Dr. Larry Thompson has a new gig as a doorman. Just kidding. Thompson joked that the Ringling College Library Association's Platinum Event on Thursday, Jan. 9, at the Alfred R. Goldstein Library had him so busy socializing that he couldn't get past the front door. He said he had no idea there was a seafood station, sushi on the second floor, dumplings and ice cream bar on the terrace. Also seen at the event (See pictures on Page 8) were 2020 Town Hall Chair Ollie Johnson, 2021 Town Hall Chair Ashley Brown, Carolyn Johnson, Isabel Norton, Ali Bahaj, Dr. Ken and Mitzie Henson, Jay and Holly Logan, and newly-engaged Chet Zoltak and Penny Hill, among many others. 

A New Start

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe supporters had a few reasons to celebrate Jan. 11. Not only was it the opening night performance of "Caroline, or Change,", it was also the opening of the renovated Gerri Aaron and the Aaron Family Foundation Theatre Building. Assembled guests heard words from founder and artistic director, Nate Jacobs, executive director Julie Leach, board chair Marian Moss, and Heart & Soul capital campaign chair Doris Johnson.

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Harry Sayer is the Black Tie Reporter for the Observer. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and previously worked the Black Tie beat for the Observer newspaper in Winter Park and Maitland. You can catch him at one of Sarasota's fundraisers and shindigs. 

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