With a sellout crowd of 216 people in attendance, Board President Mark Clark thanked everyone for their support of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund's Soirée at the Ranch on Thursday at the Lakewood Ranch Country Club.
Then, with a huge smile, Clark made an announcement.
"It is time to take this to the next level," Clark said. "Historically, our organization has granted one time a year. Beginning next year, we are going to grant quarterly."
Clark said the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is budgeting to pay out twice as much in grants as it has in the past few years, which would be over $100,000.
"We also are going to make a very big announcement Jan. 1," Clark said.
The event also honored the 2023 C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian recipient, Ted Lindenberg, who received the award for his work in organizing and leading the Books for Kids program through the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch.
"All this feels like a dream," said Lindenberg, who thanked all the volunteers over the past nine years who have made Books for Kids possible.
Lindenberg was presented by the award by Lakewood Ranch Community Fund Executive Director Adrienne Bookhamer.
"We could not have made a better choice," Bookhamer said of Lindenberg. "It is incredible how much he has done for the community."
Bookhamer also called the event, which featured silent and live auctions, a sit-down dinner, wine, live music and dancing, a "great opportunity to showcase what the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is able to do with the help of the community."