Heart of the Community

The Heart of the Community Gallery

Our Heart of the Community Gallery is a place where the community can honor philanthropists, non-profit organizations, and fundraisers with a picture and a short commemoration.

This gallery is a benefit of patronage for Tampa Bay Philanthropy Week and begins at the $500 level. If you would like to purchase a Heart of the Community spot, you can contact the National Philanthropy Day Committee at npdchair@afptampabay.com. All submissions should include a high resolution photo of the honoree and a short blurb no more than 250 words.


2021


Image Description: Rob Iles and Michael Paonessa. Two men standing, one in front of the other. Both are smiling. The one in front is wearing a purple and blue shirt.

Lifelong Tampa natives Michael Paonessa and his husband, Robert Iles, think of themselves as “placemakers.” Creative placemakers believe it is important to integrate arts and cultural activities into an area where people want to live, work and play.

“I’m a firm believer in the idea that ‘when you can, you should’ do things to make a difference,” said Iles. “You can’t take it with you. When we started thinking about legacy giving and the impact it can make, USF’s Graphicstudio and WUSF were always at the very top of our list.” 

At the University of South Florida, their commitment to the future takes shape as a $100,000 legacy gift to benefit USF Graphicstudio and WUSF Public Media. Added Paonessa, “Both are a natural fit.  We are longtime collectors of art, and we are lifelong listeners to WUSF and NPR!”

“The truth should be available to everyone,” adds Iles. “Listening to NPR through various administrations, I feel very strongly that NPR tells it like it is. You determine what you want to get out of it, but they’ve always done a very good job at delivering a detailed view exactly what’s happening locally, nationally and globally.”

The benefits of making a planned gift resonate deeply with Paonessa and Iles, both as placemakers and philanthropists.

“We’ve always been extremely passionate about the arts and public radio,” said Paonessa. “This is our opportunity to pay it forward and ensure the organizations we value… continue to benefit the community long after we are gone.”


Image Description: Keenan Knopke of Curlew Hills Memorial Garden. He is wearing round glasses, a grey suit, and a royal blue tie with light blue checks.

The Suncoast Hospice Foundation is pleased to honor Keenan Knopke from Curlew Hills Memorial Garden as our Philanthropist of the year.

Keenan leads the way with Curlew Hills’ community events such as annual Memorial Day & Veterans Day Services and a K-9 Memorial Event for local law enforcement.

One of the most breathtaking memorials at Curlew Hills is its magnificent 9/11 Memorial.  The one-of-a-kind memorial features twisted piece of steel “floating” in the center, 30 tons of American granite as the towers, and a bright eternal flame at its base.  Each year, Curlew Hills holds a memorial service on 9/11, which draws approximately 2000 attendees.  The event features a military flyover, guest speakers who are 9/11 survivors and live music by school choirs. 

Curlew Hills also proudly hosts the “Remembering Our Fallen” wall. This special exhibit features names and photos of the 304 Florida soldiers who died fighting the War on Terror since September 11, 2001.  Curlew Hills is one of the first to display this wall in the state of Florida. 

For the past several years, Keenan has also partnered with Empath Health to bring renowned Dr. Alan Wolfelt to speak.  Unlike other funeral homes, Curlew Hills has never charged attendants to hear the inspirational words of Dr. Wolfelt. The Dr. Wolfelt seminars continue to grow and benefit approximately 750 people each year. 

With Keenan’s commitment to Suncoast Hospice Foundation there have been several significant charitable gifts to sustain our mission of compassion through extraordinary care.


Image Description: Syd Entel smiling looking away from the camera. She is wearing black clothes with colorful strips and hummingbirds on them.

Syd Entel, founder of the Dunedin Fine Art Center (DFAC) in 1969 with the Clearwater-Dunedin Junior League, formerly Junior Service League of Dunedin, asked the City of Dunedin to use land on Michigan Blvd. From that request, the campaign to build an art center was launched.  In 1975 it came to fruition, DFAC opened in a 1,400 sq. ft. building. Throughout DFAC’s  46 years, Syd is an integral part, and today’s organization has a 40,000 sq. ft. building, and 2 ancillary buildings.

Syd founded the Sterling Society, the auxiliary group, who helps DFAC with programs and fundraising, and she created the annual Patron of the Arts Luncheon.

During Capital Campaigns for expansion, she and spouse, Dr. Irwin Entel, chaired the campaigns until 1997 and named one of the 7 galleries in honor of the Entel Family.  During the Creative Visions Campaigns from 2010 to 2020, Syd was a lead donor and named the Founders Hall.

Syd’s passion for art is seen in her business the Syd Entel Gallery in Safety Harbor. Recently she  turned 90 years old, and she has NOT slowed down; chairing an upcoming event, a High Tea with the astronaut Nicole Stott.

Syd Entel has given 53 years of her endless energy, quick thinking, and devotion to the belief that art is one of the most important aspects of life. Founder of DFAC, for her exceptional Vision in creating, building, and helping to sustain DFAC.


Image Description: Five people in blue PPE and a doctor in green scrubs and a white lab coat testing new camera technology and looking at a monitor.

There is no better example of how the actions of a few can impact so many than the story of the Philanthropic Women of St. Joseph’s (PWSJ). When longtime volunteers Elaine Shimberg and Donna Jordan decided to create a network of community-minded women who wanted to change and save lives in the Tampa Bay community, they may not have imagined their labor of love would grow to over 170 members and become the force behind nearly $2,000,000 in donations to benefit the thousands of women, children, and families who come to St. Joseph’s Hospitals for help. But twelve years later, there is no doubt as to the success of their endeavor. 

Not only have they been the impetus behind hundreds of projects which continually improve the level of patient care we provide – most recently the life-saving Monarch Robotic-Assisted Bronchoscopy technology – but the difference they make in the lives of St. Joe’s team has been immeasurable, particularly during the challenges of the pandemic. As our medical professionals were taking care of everyone else, the PWSJ was taking care of them, giving 93 grants to health care workers who experienced a COVID-related crisis and feeding 5,000 meals to team members on the day and night shift when they were too busy to leave the nursing floors. 

As the PWSJ carries on without Elaine, who passed away earlier this year, they are committed to furthering her legacy under Donna’s extraordinary leadership and continue to be an inspiration to us all. 


2020


Since 2013, Joe Calinski has been an advocate and volunteer who has helped thousands of children and adults served by United Way Suncoast’s mission and community-based programs.  Joe has generously contributed over 1,000 hours of service over the past seven years. He has provided strong leadership for many volunteer opportunities, including the Urban Agriculture and Foundation for Food and Agriculture Farm project, where Joe assisted Sugg Middle School students to hydroponically plant 350 strawberry plants. (Hydroponics is a form of gardening that uses no soil, but instead grows plants in a solution of water and nutrients).

United Way Suncoast is grateful for the passion that Joe has for our community. Joe and the committed volunteers like him play a critical role in our work to improve the lives of everyone in our community, bringing skills, creativity and, most importantly, a heart for helping others.

Our United Way Suncoast mission is to provide leadership that improves lives and creates lasting community change by mobilizing the caring people of our communities to give, advocate, and volunteer. Together with our volunteers, we are creating opportunities today to change lives tomorrow. United We Rise, United We Win!

Caption: Joe Calinski, United Way Suncoast volunteer, pictured here with Jessica Maxon-Berrier, Community Engagement & Volunteer Associate

Image Description: A woman with light skin with her hair pulled back and sunglasses on smiling. She is taking a selfie with a man with light skin wearing a hat that says, “Live United.” He is wearing a blue shirt that says, “Who am I? I am a hand raiser. I am a game changer.”


Caption: A woman receiving a birthday-in-a-box delivery from Suncoast Hospice.

Image Description: A woman with light skin and light brown hair wearing a pink crown, black glasses, a face mask, and a red and pink dress. She is holding a rolled up blanket. Next to her is a man with light skin and light brown hair wearing a face shield, glasses, a face mask, a blue button down shirt and jeans. He is holding a phone in one hand and a cake box in the other.

COVID-19 caused the closure of Suncoast PACE program’s Adult Day Center in March leaving the program’s participants isolated from other PACE participants and regular activities.

Suncoast PACE is a member of Empath Health, an integrated network of care providing services for those diagnosed with a chronic or advanced illnesses or dealing with grief.

Volunteer Coordinator Traci Sutton created Party in a Box to connect PACE participants with the program, volunteers and most importantly, be celebrated on their special day. Sutton interviews each participant beforehand about their life and what they love in order to customize the party experience.

An Empath Health volunteer, like Bob Estes shown here, makes the special delivery and brings along fellow teen volunteers who join the party through a video call so they can sing Happy Birthday and wish them well.

Each birthday party recipient receives a custom-designed birthday cake, a homemade birthday card and hand tied fleece blanket made by our teen volunteers, a crown or tiara, flowers and balloons. Safety of the participant and volunteers is of the utmost importance with all necessary precautions taken and recommended levels of PPE (personal protective equipment) is worn.


Kick the tires and pop the hood, but first gauge the heart. That’s how Scott Fink succeeds in business, community service and philanthropy.

Striving for the best keeps the CEO of Fink Automotive Group revved up to operate six dealerships, including Hyundai of New Port Richey, the brand’s highest volume showroom in the nation.

This Tampa business man with a long history of philanthropy recently deepened his commitment to the community by providing a seven-figure family naming gift for the lobby of the new patient tower at St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Scott Fink, a member of the board of trustees of St. Joseph’s Hospitals Foundation, and his wife Kathy announced their commitment amid the global pandemic knowing that the hospital would need additional support to care for the influx of COVID-19 patients. The Fink Family Lobby is the showcase of a $126 patient bed tower expansion which features 90 private patient rooms.

“If ever there was a time in history, when our community should come together to support our healthcare institutions, this is it,” said Scott Fink. “St. Joseph’s Hospitals are a pillar of our community and we are proud to play a part in supporting those on the frontlines.”

Married in 1990, the Finks are parents of five. The two youngest attend Berkeley Preparatory School where Scott sits on the board of trustees. He also lends his leadership to the boards of the Tampa Bay Partnership and Metropolitan Ministries.

For the Fink family bumper sticker, we propose: Driven to Care.

Caption: Scott and Kathy Fink
Image Description: Two people in formal attire standing against a step and repeat background with candy and a graphic that says, “Heroes Ball.” On the left is a woman with light skin, blonde hair and light colored eyes wearing a black strapless dress. On the right is a man with light skin and blonde hair wearing a black suit with a black tie and white shirt. Both are smiling.


Caption: Cynthia Faulhaber, a WUSF supporter.
Image Description: A woman with light-brown/gray hair, light skin, and blue eyes. She is wearing dark tortoiseshell glasses and a white shirt with thin red stripes.

For nearly 20 years, the dulcet radio waves produced by WUSF Public Media have been Cynthia Faulhaber’s constant companion.

“Look up loyalty in the dictionary, and you’ll see Cynthia’s picture,” said Scott Nolan, senior director of development for WUSF and a long-time friend of Faulhaber. “Three campaigns on two stations every year, we can always count on her participation.”

Faulhaber’s philanthropy has focused on helping abused, abandoned and neglected

children. As a Guardian ad Litem, she stood as a powerful voice for vulnerable children in the community. She has also worked extensively with the Suncoast Voices for Children to provide for the unmet needs of children in Pinellas and Pasco counties. At Suncoast Voices, she served as a member of the board, the Request Committee and eventually president of the board and acting executive director. Through her devoted service, the organization has bloomed, significantly advancing its impact on the community.

“If I see a way to help, I want to do it,” Faulhaber said, humbly describing her philanthropic philosophy. “It’s that simple – seeing and responding to a need.”

In response to recent funding shortages, Faulhaber has stepped up in a big way by joining the WUSF Public Media Leadership Society.

“The Leadership Society is comprised of WUSF’s most generous supporters,” said Nolan. “In a time when society is experiencing the decline of journalism, public radio is growing and thriving thanks to support from our incredible Leadership Society donors like Cynthia Faulhaber.”


The Courtyard by Marriott St. Petersburg Downtown, part of Marriott International, a Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals partner since 1983, took an unprecedented step to make sure families undergoing treatment at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital were not separated during prolonged illnesses. The hotel partnered with our Foundation by heavily discounting its room rates at a time when corporations are also in financial distress. “It was our pleasure and privilege to host the many families displaced during their difficult times. They became a part of our family as we hopefully provided them with a “home away from home” as well as a listening ear, “said Kathy Cablish, general manager for the Courtyard by Marriott St Petersburg Downtown. The result of this generosity was the ability to provide more than 100 families with 1,206 discounted nights from April 2020 thru September 2020.

In their 37 years supporting Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Marriott International associates from throughout the west coast of Florida and their generous guests have raised $3.2 million for the hospital’s greatest needs and priorities.  Donations are raised one dollar at a time through events like a golf tournament, softball tournament, Torch Relay and various on property campaigns like Root Beer Float Day and their breakfast campaign.

Photo Caption: Everyday heroes, aka associates representing Tampa Bay Area Marriott International properties, at the conclusion of a Torch Relay event at Tampa Marriott Water Street.  Torch Relay is just one of the many ways Marriott International associates and guests raise donations for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

Image Description: A large group of people under a blow up finish line. They are wearing various super hero shirts and finisher medals. They are using silly comic book themed photo booth props.


Image Description: Two male Lions Club members standing inside next to a filing cabinet. One Lion is taller than the other and both are wearing bright yellow Lions Club vests. The two Lions pictured are Lion Waid Tribiano and Lion Blaine Russell of the Seminole Lions Club.

The Seminole Lions Foundation has truly shown their philanthropic leadership throughout 2020. The Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research was experiencing a significant decrease in operating funds for three months while elective surgeries were on hold in Florida. All employees took a 25% pay cut at that time and several employees were laid off or furloughed as a result of the pandemic losses.

The Lions Eye Institute Foundation began a campaign to help fill the revenue gap called the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The Seminole Lions Club decided that this was a perfect opportunity to rally their fellow philanthropists with a leadership matching gift of $25,000.00 toward the COVID-19 Emergency Fund. That gift was met and exceeded!

To date, the Lions Eye Institute Foundation has raised over $116,000.00 in support of the COVID-19 Emergency Fund allowing Lions Eye Institute for Transplant and Research to resume normal operations, bring back furloughed employees, and boost staff back up to their previous pay levels. None of this would have been possible without the leadership of Lion Blain Russell, Lion Waid Tribiano, and the rest of their fellow Lions of the Seminole Lions Club.

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