Scene & Heard: Keep Your Eye on The People Showing up for Micheles's Parties.
Who knew Michele Eddy was such a political kingmaker? Back in August, she threw a political fundraiser for Congressional hopeful Chauncey Goss at her riverfront home with Congressman Paul Ryan as guest of honor. Just about two weeks later, Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced Ryan as his running mate. Ryan and Goss are best of friends from their days working together in Washington, D.C. Message to all: Keep your eye on the people showing up for Michele’s parties.
All i can say is that former NBC-2 anchor Len Jennings got what he deserved. My co-anchor Lindsay Logue and I decided that Len needed a proper send-off before starting his new job in Kansas City. And the people who showed up at our May bash at Vino de Notte at the Hotel Indigo in downtown Fort Myers said it all. Within the industry, TV anchors from all four local stations, including Lois Thome and Chris Cifatte from WINK, Patrick Nolan from FOX and Lynne Bui from ABC, turned out to show their affection and respect for Len. During the past 10 years, Len had worked at three of the four stations. And in acknowledgement of all the good deeds he performed here, representatives from many local charities—including Meals on Wheels, Community Cooperative Ministries and Southwest Florida Community Foundation—joined the festivities. Kansas City, you’re getting quite a newsman and quite a guy.
And speaking of my former co-anchors … Craig Wolf is launching a new career. He’s getting into the real estate business, hoping to use his vast contacts and deep roots in Southwest Florida to sell homes in Fort Myers with the Royal Shell team. Good luck, my friend.
What A Boost
So how about that anonymous $20 million matching gift to help build a Children’s Hospital in Southwest Florida? It’s a huge boost toward the $250 million needed to construct the facility on Lee Memorial’s Health Park campus. This challenge grant will match dollar for dollar any cash, sponsorships and pledges over five years—and represents the largest single gift of its kind in Southwest Florida. Maybe we’ll learn the identity of the donor when the hospital gets its official name. Thanks, Anonymous, in the meantime.
Now for a very earthy side of fundraising. And this is for the Children’s Hospital, too. The South Florida Mud Run is coming to the Red Neck Yacht Club Jan. 12 and 13—with participants racing 5Ks through obstacles, mud and gravel. The organizers, husband and wife Dustin Edwards and Stefanie Ink, were looking for a unique, family-friendly way to raise money for the Children’s Hospital and thought this was the perfect fit. “Both of our children were NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) babies there, and we wanted to do something to help build the towers,” Stefanie says. Mud runs have become increasingly popular around the country. Clean up for a good cause by getting down and dirty? Sounds like a plan to me. Happy slogging, runners.
Climb For Dollars
Talk about dedication to a cause. Glen Schwesinger is stepping up in a very dramatic way to raise money for the Shelter for Abused Women & Children. Glen, a trustee for the Shelter, will spend eight days this February climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. He’s counting on his rugged journey to pull in mountains of cash from his supporters.
Honorary chair Sandy Stilwell, a vision in her white dress, danced on stage with the Blues Brothers band to welcome the crowd. A Robert Rauschenberg print sold for a whopping $40,000. Yes, it was time for the annual Arts for ACT Arts Auction in August at Harborside Event Center in downtown Fort Myers—and the offerings were good. More than 65 works of art, including pieces by Rauschenberg and Daryl Pottorf, were auctioned off, raising more than $130,000 for the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center. Beautiful.
More art news: Beginning this month, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation will host an ongoing open house of local juried art the first Friday of every month. Visitors will discover, on display or for sale, the work of local artists like Jacke McCurdy and Ellen Sheppard, along with dozens of others. Some of the proceeds of each sale will go to Fund for the Arts Southwest Florida.“This community has the great fortune of being the home to many incredible artists whose work has shaped both Southwest Florida and the nation,” says Sarah Owen, CEO of the SFCF. “We are thrilled that our offices will host a collection that honors this tradition.”
Hot party no. 1. Incurably romantic Elliott Singer threw a surprise 60th birthday party for his wife, Retta, at the Bay Colony Club that was done with a fine hand and keen feel for Retta’s grand passions. There was the pink décor. The cupcakes in the shape of designer shoes (made at the shop of one of the guests, Shelly Stayer, owner of Grace and Shelly’s Cupcakes). The exquisite wines from the Domaine Serene Vineyard (with its owners and part-time Naples residents Grace and Ken Evanstad in attendance). Elliott had the delicious food served up to the 50 guests at one huge table and imported a Motown band to set the tone for all. If you’ve got to be surprised, a bash like this is definitely the way to go.
Hot party no. 2. Kathleen Wolter, along with Love That Dress! chair Kendra Sutton, threw a cool collection party in August at Kathleen’s home in the Gulf Harbor Country Club. Well-heeled ladies from far and wide brought their gently used dresses and in return enjoyed cocktails and fabulous sushi from Blu, all to benefit the PACE Center for Girls. Look for more on the Love That Dress! event in my next column.