From special birthday celebrations to the announcement of the Firefly Gala 2017 performer, a lot happened last week...
| 3:48 p.m. November 18, 2016
A celebration decades in the making
Graci McGillicuddy celebrated a very special 75th birthday Nov. 15 at a place that is very near to her heart. McGillicuddy and three of her Delta Gamma sorority sisters visited the Child Protection Center so she could present a donation check to CPC Executive Director Douglas S. Staley.
McGillicuddy’s birthday also marked her 30th anniversary as a donor to the organization, which she got involved with after hearing the story of Shannon Nicole, an 18-month-old toddler who died from abuse in 1986. McGillicuddy was horrified by the story, and ever since, she and her husband, Dennis, have been the top donors for the organization. Much of their contributions went toward building the current facility, the Child Advocacy Center, that was completed in 2010 and dedicated to the memory of Shannon Nicole.
Staley gave McGillicuddy and her friends — Delta Gamma Foundation Executive Director Roxanne LaMuth, Foundation Ambassador Judy Barnhart and board of trustees Chairman Wilma Wilbanks, all of whom traveled to Sarasota specifically for the occasion — a special tour of the facilities.
In 2014, McGillicuddy was honored with the Catherine Stuart Schmoker Principled Leadership Award from Delta Gamma Fraternity. In celebration of the award, the Delta Gamma Foundation gave McGillicuddy $6,000 to direct toward a charity of choice, and she chose CPC. Thus began a relationship between not only McGillicuddy and CPC, but McGillicuddy’s beloved sorority and CPC.
The tour ended in a surprise birthday celebration for McGillicuddy, which included two of her favorite things: flowers and ice cream. Staley presented her with a purple orchid and a book on orchids to thank her for her three decades of support for CPC. After, the room quickly filled with CPC employees singing “Happy Birthday” and carrying tubs of ice cream for a surprise party.
A Song of Support … Community AIDS Network held its 25th anniversary celebration Nov. 17, and guests were treated to a special performance by singers Carol Sparrow and Randolph Locke.
The performance was the debut of composer Thomas Pasatieri’s “Cantata for CAN,” written specifically for the organization… Birthday Bliss … Also at the CAN event was another special Sarasotan who celebrated a birthday last week. Co-Chairwoman Carolyn Michel presented Jim Buck with a surprise birthday cake before singing him “Happy Birthday” with the crowd... Welcome to OUR House … At Wine Women & Shoes on Nov. 18, Firefly Gala Chairwoman Ariane Dart announced that this year’s performer at Forty Carrots Family Center’s other popular fundraiser will be Flo Rida. We hear he’s a wild one, so it should be a great show.