Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Planned Parenthood's Annual Dinner

We got off to a rousing start last night at Planned Parenthood's Annual Dinner Celebration in the Municipal Auditorium!  The lights dimmed, the music started, and scads of young adults in hot pink t-shirts carrying signs that said "I Stand With Planned Parenthood" swarmed through the aisles up to the stage.  The crowd of 530 were on their feet and clapping along.  It was inspiring!

Co-chairs Ken and Peggy Abt welcomed everyone and pesented the Youth Courage Award to VOX (Voices for Choice) College Chapters.  The local chapters represented were Eckerd College, New College, USF St. Petersburg, USF Polytechnic/Polk State College, and USF Tampa. 

The next special honoree, Robyn Blumner, was introduced by Barbara Zdravecky, Planned Parenthood's President and CEO.  Robyn is a noted journalist and a civil liberties and labor law expert and writes a weekly column for the Tampa Bay Times.  She was quite a speaker and had several entertaining quotes.  One being, "Rick Santorum is a nut job in a sweater vest" and the G. in Susan G. Kome stands for "Gift", since their big to-do over canceling and then reinstating grants to Planned Parenthood (PP) resulted in raising huge sums of money for PP.

When Barbara made her remarks, she said PP had seen over 27,000 patients in their seven local clinics last year.  Also, that PP does more to prevent the need for abortion more than any other organization.  70% of Americans approve of PP and the challenges of the past year has been good for an increased dialog about the organization. 

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America was the keynote speaker and her words were equally inspiring and insightful.  To see her, watch Jon Stewart's Daily Show on Comedy Central show tonight (Wednesday), as she is the guest.

There can't be a review of the dinner without mentioning the huge silent auction they have every year.  The amount of items is staggering!  And don't forget the ever popular condom grab bag.  That's everyone's favorite!

Breaking News - During the cocktail hour, Phil King whispered in my ear asking me if I would like to hear some breaking news.  Of course I said, "Do tell!"  He was proud to tell me his partner, Dennis Stover, was just named Vice Chancellor of Advancement for USF.  How fabulous!  Dennis' last day at New College Foundation was yesterday and he will be starting at USF in a couple of weeks. 

Others I saw there and not photographed below were: Joy Naylor, Veronica Brady, Jocelyn Stevens, Alexandra Jupin, John Bean, Anita Holec, Cornelia Matson, Patricia and Chris Caswell, Karin Grablin, Susan Buck, Myrna Band, Gerri Aaron, Marv Albert, Monica and Dr. Richard Van Buskirk, Keith FitzGerald, Suzanne Atwell, Terry Turner, Ken Shelin, Martha Honey, Anne Bishopric Sager, Dr. Mary Elmendorf, Carolyn Johnson - PP's board chair, Marion Moss, Michael Shelton, Jeremy Lisitza, Judy Cahn, Barbara Banks, Nancy Roucher, Isabel Norton, Betty Schoenbaum and on and on.  It was quite a crowd!

Mary Anne Servian and Peggy Abt, Chair

Roxie Jerde with Barbara Zdravecky - PP's President and CEO

Deb Knowles, Kyla Weiner, and Judith Yeager

Dr. Allison Silver and Dr. Krista Toomre - my doctor!

Joan Kindred and Janet Steele

Judy Cuppy and Christine Jennings

Mindy Mast and Carol Williams

Sue Renfrew and Rita Steele

Hillary Steele and Scott Anderson

Phil King, Jane Smiley, and Dennis Stover

Bobbi Lorry and Judi Gallagher

Renee Richardson Kling and Janice Zarro

Kelley Lavin and Pam Daniel

Louise Bruderle and Helen McBean

Brock Leach, Carol Poteat-Buchanan, and Julie Leach

Marjorie Peter and Alice Rau

Lydia McIntire and Cindy Malkin

Susan Brainerd, Amb. Jeanette Hyde, and Joan Golub

The centerpiece

The dessert


  1. Dessert was strawberries on a biscuit? For this being a dinner, you surely didn't review the food! Guess you were having too much fun?

    1. The food was good! I think it was the same as last year's menu. A terrific, hearty salad, meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, with their yummy cornbread and then dessert was strawberry shortcake, the weakest part of the meal. It seemed a little dry to me, even with the whipped cream, though still pretty tasty. By the way, I love to know whom I am responding to - your name, please?