At this critical time, diversity and inclusion could not be more important:
CLEARWATER – On April 21 at 6:00 p.m. at the Maestro’s Cafe – Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Community Tampa Bay will host its annual fundraiser,
Transformations, honoring Brian Auld, President of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Molly Auld, long-time Community Tampa Bay volunteer and Board Chair of Project Prosper; Machelle Maner, Vice President of Community Development for Wells Fargo; and Ana Gomez, Florida State University student and ANYTOWN graduate with a Silver Medallion Award. The Silver Medallion award recognizes community leaders who champion diversity and advance inclusion in our schools, workplaces and broader community.
“Every day, Community Tampa Bay engages in the day-to-day work of dismantling stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination one relationship at a time,” said Jennifer Yeagley Russell, the organization’s Executive Director. “Islamophobia, racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, anti-Semitism and the like are not new, but they are cacophonous right now, reaching a scary fever pitch, both on the national stage and in our local communities. Recognizing community leaders who, like Community Tampa Bay, prioritize diversity, use their influence to promote inclusion and interrupt prejudice and discrimination in the ways they can is critical. We cannot do this work alone, and we deeply appreciate the commitment and support of our Silver Medallion Award honorees.”
Brian and Molly Auld moved to the region a decade ago, when Brian Auld joined the Tampa Bay Rays as Senior Vice President of Business Operations. Now the President of the Rays, Auld has been instrumental in establishing and promoting a culture of community service, diversity and inclusion with events such as the Breaking Barriers Jackie Robinson Celebration, Pride Night and the honoring of Roberto Clemente during Hispanic Heritage Month. Additionally, under his leadership, the Rays were recognized by the Secretary of Labor for their progressive paid parental leave benefits and were one of only three professional sports teams to sign the Marriage Equality Amicus Brief.
Molly Auld has championed diversity and equity as a Community Tampa Bay volunteer for over five years and as the Chair of the Board of Directors for Project Prosper, a non-profit designed to help immigrants receive microloans and learn about the U.S. financial system. Auld has served at five ANYTOWN sessions, each of which required 30 hours of intensive training and over 80 hours of comprehensive programming about aspects of identity and diversity. Additionally, her work with Project Prosper resulted in over 1,300 hours of financial education and five small no-interest loans for recent immigrants in the past year, growing the organization from 79 individual classes the year before to 96 classes in 2015.
“We are honored to be selected for a Silver Medallion award by Community Tampa Bay. We are both deeply committed to promoting inclusion, diversity and engagement in our community and are continually inspired by the work Community Tampa Bay does on a daily basis with respect to these issues. We are hopeful that this year’s Transformations event will help to increase the visibility of not only this incredible organization, but also the ever present need for more just inclusion in our community,” said Molly Auld.
The Silver Medallion Award will also be presented to Machelle Maner, Vice President of Community Development for Wells Fargo. In her role at Wells Fargo, Maner is focused on the strategic development of public/private partnerships, the expansion of lending opportunities for affordable housing and advising on investments in local non-profit organizations. She is a Diversity Practitioner and serves on various Boards, including the Black Business Initiative Fund and the Minority Enterprise Development Corporation. A graduate of both Leadership Tampa and Leadership Tampa Bay, Maner is also the Past President of the Board of the Tampa Club, where she was the first African-American woman in that role. Of being honored with the Silver Medallion Award, Maner said, “I am honored to be recognized by an organization that is making such an impact in the lives of the youth throughout our community. I believe that diversity and inclusion together are critical to creating sustainable communities.”
Ana Gomez, Florida State University student and 2011 graduate of Community Tampa Bay’s ANYTOWN program will also be honored with the Silver Medallion Award. While attending Leto High School in Tampa, Gomez was one of six young people in Hillsborough County to win a 2013 Youth Excellence & Achievement (YEA!) Award and was honored with the 2012 Tampa/Hillsborough Human Rights Council – Youth Leadership Award for her community work and activism. She was also featured in the PBS/WEDU documentary Project: Shattered Silence and was the keynote speaker at Starting Right, Now’s 2015 annual luncheon. Gomez is currently a junior at Florida State University (FSU), where she is majoring in Political Science with a goal to hold public office. She is Political Director of the FSU College Democrats, and in 2015, she was selected to be the Women’s Caucus Chairperson of the state of Florida’s College Democrats.
In addition to the Silver Medallion Awards, Transformations, which is sponsored in part by Nielsen, BB&T and Wells Fargo, will feature entertainment that captures the spirit of Community Tampa Bay’s mission, including spoken word poetry performed by nationally recognized artists Dennis Amadeus and Liz “Kali” Prisley. Attendees will also have the opportunity to hear from youth, volunteers, donors and others who have been transformed by the work of Community Tampa Bay. Tickets for the event are $50 through April 16 and can be purchased at www.tinyurl.com/Transformations2016.
The mission of Community Tampa Bay (CTB) is to cultivate inclusive leaders to change communities through dialogue and cross-cultural interactions. CTB’s vision a community free from all forms of discrimination. Each year, CTB serves more than 1,400 youth, young adults and adults, empowering them with practical tools to help end discrimination in their schools, workplaces and the broader community. The organization’s programs have been presented at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, featured in The Atlantic online and recognized as a Best Practice in diversity education by the US Department of Education. Research showing the effectiveness of Community Tampa Bay’s ANYTOWN program as a relevant community-based practice for reducing discrimination was published in March 2016 in the American Psychological Association’s textbook, The Cost of Racism for People of Color.