What Gives? You

Roberto Gonzalez

It’s the time of year for classy soirees, fabulous fêtes—and, of course, the Doggie Derby.

So what does a black-tie event with a silent auction have in common with a 25-yard sprint by some very vocal pooches? They both raise money for good causes.

Look at the “World of Good’’ fundraiser listings in our “On the Town” section each month, and you’ll see myriad opportunities to contribute to organizations, ranging from the Hope and Help Center of Central Florida to the Orange County Regional History Center.

But it’s not a matter of just writing a check. You get a memorable event to enjoy in return, like the Chef’s Gala, which features incredible food samplings from hundreds of local chefs and benefits Heart of Florida United Way. Or the Red Chair Affair, a fall arts benefit that features sneak peeks of the coming season. Or the Go Red for Women Luncheon, which helps the American Heart Association educate women about the risk of heart disease. Or One Night, Orlando Health’s black-tie affair that raises money for its Level One Trauma Center.

Often you’re lucky enough to see the people who are benefiting from your generosity. That’s the case with the annual Runway to Hope spring fashion show, in which children battling cancer star as models and walk the runway with celebrities. Founded by Orlando attorney Mark NeJame and his wife, Josie, the event raised more than half a million dollars last year to help children with the disease. This year’s event is May 11 at Rosen Shingle Creek and will feature Olympic gold medal gymnast Gabby Douglas and Twilight actress Ashley Greene.

But not all events require a suit or cocktail dress. The Dick Batchelor Run for the Children has become a huge event, drawing more than 2,000 runners each year to raise money for children and families in crisis. And then there’s the aforementioned Doggie Derby, where proceeds go to feed homeless students over extended school breaks. Alas, you just missed this year’s derby but can catch photos of the fun on our Facebook page and in RSVP on page 125. Check those locations often for pictures of people having fun while doing a good deed.

In our March issue, a story about the arts in Orlando included a photo of Terry Olson, Orange County’s arts and cultural affairs director, standing in front of a mural of a crowd. We were remiss in not identifying the artist and the artwork: Thomas Thorspecken created the mural “Whose Line Is It Anyway?’’ It’s on display outside the Mennello Museum of American Art.


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