Seven residents were awarded the YMCA Golden Heart award on May 13 at Michael’s On East.
The phrase “heart of gold” could be ascribed to a number of Sarasota philanthropists — so many that the Sarasota YMCA decided to create a new event in their honor.
Many of Sarasota’s most generous philanthropists gathered on May 13 at Michael’s On East for the Golden Hearts Awards: A Celebration of Philanthropy. Sandy and Vern Buchanan, Betsy Kane-Hartnett, Graci and Dennis McGillicuddy, Louis Robison and Dick Vitale were honored for their years of service to Sarasota as public servants, nonprofit founders and philanthropists. By making a positive impact on the Sarasota community, these individuals represent the YMCA character values of “caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.”
The evening began with drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the atrium, where guests watched a glass blowing demonstration, posed at the photo booth and got caricature portraits done.
Afterwards, they headed into the twinkling ballroom, which was covered in white drapes and adorned with ornate rose centerpieces. As they ate their salads, guests were introduced to a modified version of a game that is atypical for black tie events: heads or tails. This time, however, there was no coin involved. All guests were asked to stand and to pick heads or tails, which they demonstrated by bringing their hands to their head or their tailbone. As the emcee called out the winning side conjured by his phone app, the losers sat down and the game narrowed down to two guests left standing. This duo faced off for the ultimate black-tie prize: champagne.
A paddle raise and live auction followed, which included everything from a seven-night European river cruise to a private jet experience and tour of Washington D.C.
Guests ended the night on the dance floor to the sounds of The Jam Band.
Proceeds from the event went towards the Sarasota YMCA, which serves more than 50,000 residents annually.
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