Tampa, Fla. – The University Area Community Development Corporation (CDC) raised nearly $90,000 at its Brand New Day Gala held at the University Area Community Center on Friday, Sept. 23.
Money raised will go toward the creation of a seven acre community park on 20th street, north of Fletcher. When completed, the park will include a community garden, tilapia fish farm, learning kitchen, hiking trail, playground and sports field.
“We are so grateful to our supporters who have brought us much closer to our goal of providing a beautiful and practical park for this community, which we know will be an important improvement toward the health and well-being of those who live here,” said Sarah Combs, University Area CDC CEO.
About 400 people attended the gala, enjoying a fashion show by Prodigy students, a silent auction, dinner by Catering by the Family and a spectacular dessert bar headed by Kim Bolton – and live entertainment by Fred Johnson, James Crumbly, Shalyah Fearing and her siblings and Prodigy students. The evening culminated in dancing to music provided by Ultimate Entertainment.
Honorary hosts were Kenny Leon, Jennifer Thompson, Eugenie Bondurant, Paul Wilborn, D.T. Terry, Vincent Jackson, Kim Burns Cummings, Fred Johnson, Ericka Dunlap and Victor and Angela Crist.
Special guest Tony Award® winning director Kenny Leon surprised the crowd with an impromptu and powerful speech about the importance of supporting the community. He introduced his two tables of friends and family, who live in Tampa, including his mother and brother. In addition, he purchased a tile for the brick campaign and posed for countless photos throughout the evening.
More than $20,000 was earned from the sale of engraved bricks and tiles, as this Donor Circle campaign was launched at the gala, which was chaired by T.J. Couch. Twelve people bought bricks of $250 each to be engraved with the names of community members.
UACDC provides support for thousands of Tampa residents through youth programs, adult education and resource assistance. Its primary mission is the redevelopment and sustainability of the at-risk areas surrounding University of South Florida’s Tampa campus. For more information about UACDC, a 501(c)(3) public/private partnership, call 813.558.5212 or visit www.uacdc.org.