ZooTampa was the perfect backdrop for A Kid’s Place “Arabian Nights Fostering Hope Black Tie Gala Presented by Homes by WestBay!
Guests looked stunning as they entered the cocktail hour, sponsored by The McNichols Company, and learned some fun facts about some of ZooTampa’s most colorful McCaw’s and slithering snakes thanks to Jeff and Kim Anderson, our Animal Encounter Sponsor. Longtime and new supporters sipped on Bubbles, sponsored by The Mook Family, while bidding on over 80 different items at the silent auction, sponsored by Florida Executive Reality Hope Foundation. The antipasto display was delicious and the Signature Drinks sponsored by Sharp General Contractors, was a fun and festive way to round out the cocktail hour!
Belly dancers led the way into the pavilion where guests were transported to a Moroccan Marketplace with flying carpets in the “sky”. During dinner, the 2021 Dottie Berger MacKinnon Guardian Angel award was awarded to Betsy Moriarty, Birthday Bunch Founder, who has been bringing festive birthday parties to the children staying at A Kid’s Place since we opened our doors in 2009!
Auctioneer Joe Girvan turned up the heat as guests crossed their fingers to win a $2,500 Shopping Spree at Gold and Diamond Source during the Heads or Tails game, and engaged in some friendly competition during a the live auction of unique trips and experiences, including a VIP Behind the Scenes Tour of ZooTampa.
Karen Esparanza, a former resident of AKP inspired guests with her story of hardship and triumph. “A Kid’s Place was the first place where I learned unconditional love”. Not a dry eye was left in the room as she shared special memories and her journey to becoming an advocate and voice to other children in foster care. She inspired guests, and because of the generosity of the Tampa Bay Community, we exceeded our expectations and netted over $500,000 to provide future programming and projects for our continuously growing and expanding campus.
Guests finished off the night with some fun in the photo-booth sponsored by Quality Distribution, lit up some cigars, sponsored by Krista and Art Schultz, and danced the night away with the Shawn Brown Band thanks to the sponsorship from The Kearney Companies.
A special thanks to our Fabulous Gala Planning Committee and our amazing sponsors, guests, vendors and volunteers! You are all a special part of our village and together we made a difference in the lives of abused, neglected, and abandoned children from all over the greater Tampa Bay area.