TAMPA BAY, Florida (via Ronald McDonald House Charities Communications) - Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay is pleased to announce that Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik has been selected to receive the 2014 Award of Excellence. The presentation will take place at the 15th annual Storybook Ball "Madagascar" on Saturday, May 17 at the Tampa Convention Center. This award pays tribute to outstanding role models who give of their time to charitable causes. Vinik, along with his wife, Penny, made an impact in the Tampa Bay community in 2011 by pledging more than $10 million to be donated through the Lightning Foundation over five years to the Lightning Community Heroes program. The Heroes program honors a local hero and a representative charity with $50,000 at all of the team’s 41 home games each season. The organization also committed 4,000 hours of community service each season through its employee volunteer program, C.H.A.R.G.E. (Contributing Hours Across our Region through our Generous Employees), and has directly touched local non-profits, including the Florida Aquarium.
This year's gala, presented by MetLife, will be held for the first time ever at the Tampa Convention Center. According to event coordinator Ashley Johnson, “This venue enables us to expand to meet the growing popularity of this event, while continuing to offer a spectacular look inside the popular children’s movie through fantastic décor and themed elements.”
"The Storybook Ball has become a highlight in our community, raising significant funds to support our four Ronald McDonald Houses" explains CEO Janice Davis. "Our ball features fine dining and dancing and a variety of exclusive silent and live auction packages using the latest technology in electronic bidding. All of our guests look forward to this favored event of the year!” Davis remarks, “We are thankful to our individual and corporate sponsors who help make this gala such a big success. We hope this year will be another sellout event.”
The support of our community through sponsorships and the donation of creative and high end items for our silent auction are of utmost importance for this event's success. This year an array of items will have guests digging deep into their pockets for fabulous jewels, unique sports memorabilia and impressive travel packages.
The Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay provides a safe and affordable "home-away-from-home" for families with children receiving medical treatment at bay area hospitals. The four area Houses provide comfort and care to 2,000 families annually, having served more than 46,000 families since opening its doors in 1980. It is the cornerstone program of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay.