THE INSIDER: Updates, news and happenings

Welcome to another edition of The Insider

The Insider took July off, but that doesn't mean activity stopped at the Community Foundation over the summer. Here are just a few highlights of what's been happening and what's coming up.

If you've missed previous editions of The Insider, you can catch up hereThis for-donors-only communication brings you quick, easy-to-read highlights of our activity and opportunities for you to join in. Thank you for being an inspired giver at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.


Updates on CFTB donor impact

Big Idea Grant: Civility awarded to OPEN

The third annual $50,000 Big Idea Grant, this year focused on civility, goes to the Open Partnership Education Network (OPEN), operated under University of South Florida St Petersburg. OPEN’s focus is to build a smarter, better connected community by making it easier for citizens to be inspired, educated, trained, funded and engaged in practical ways to address the issues we all face.

The Civility project will work to break barriers among neighbors to learn from one another and connect at projects and events across St Pete, including Et Cultura, a festival aligned with the concept. It will explore common ground through storytelling, art and civic diaglogue.

OPEN will add Civility to its current themes: Seeds (urban agriculture), Radical Schools (fresh takes on education), Live Well (healthy living), Future Cities (smart, inclusive communities), and Frontiers (science and research).

We are proud to be a part of this innovative project to help people come together to do more good in our community.


Update on Big Idea 2017: First tiny houses will go to homeless veterans

The Second Chance Tiny House Manufacturing Company, which got its seed money from the Big Idea Grant, broke ground last month on its first structure in St. Petersburg. The project by the Pinellas Ex-Offender Re-entry Coalition, has .

The nonprofit has leveraged the initial $50,000 Community Foundation of Tampa Bay grant into a number of partnerships, including a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The city of St. Petersburg, Pinellas County, Bon Secours Health System and others also have joined the effort.

At the groundbreaking, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman called the project "a win-win-win-win....We celebrate the innovation and innovative ideas of our friends at PERC and the faith and trust of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, which funded this project. This is the future of our city."

The video above from WFLA-Channel 8 is one of the many media stories on the project.

Tampa Bay Arts Bridge fund aims to fill 'disaster' gap in state support

When expected state support for local arts organizations was slashed by 94% this spring, the Gobioff Foundation stepped in to help. With support from the Vinik Family Foundation, the Gobioffs established the Tampa Bay Arts Bridge Fund at the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.

The fund is similar to a disaster relief fund as the arts organizations are facing catastrophic effects from the cuts in funding. The fund is off to a great start and is seeking donations from interested contributors.

The Gobioff Foundation’s initial $100,000 donation to the Tampa Bay Arts Bridge Fund was matched by The Vinik Family Foundation. Now, the goal is to mobilize the Tampa Bay community and raise the $2.49 million shortfall between the amount 32 Hillsborough and Pinellas County organizations qualified to receive from the state and the amount actually received. 

All the funds will be distributed this fall. Learn more or donate at

South Shore grant sends kids to conservation camp

Did you know that only 6 percent of kids 9 to 13 play outside? But those who do enjoy the outdoors say they have less stress, are more creative and undertand how important nature is.

The Suncoast Youth Conservation Center opened in Apollo Beach in 2017 to teach young people to value the outdoors, marine life and outdoor recreation. A $22,000 grant from through the Community Foundation's South Shore Council provided scholarships for students to attend summer camp this year.

Some of the feedback from the campers:

"This camp has taught me a lot about marine life and how to do fishing." -- Pedro

"I've learned about coral, plankton, microplastic and many more. I've gone fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding for the first time in my life." -- Jemmo

"Us kids went kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing and so much more activities. I just want to thank you so much." -- Adam



Events for CFTB donors and friends

Community Foundation of Tampa Bay-WEDU Estate & Tax Planning Continuing Education Seminar, September 27, 7:30 a.m. breakfast & networking, 8:20-11:30 a.m. sessions, WEDU Studios, Tampa. Keynote: Robert W. Dietz, CFA, Director of Wealth Strategies, Bernstein's Wealth Strategies Group, Minneapolis. Details and registration here. $75.

SVP Fast Pitch Competition, October 25, 5:30 p.m., Palladium Theatre, St. Petersburg. Details and registration here. $25-$35.


Young Professional Advisors Network formed

The first informal gathering of young professional advisors interested in networking and learning more about the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay was held July 26 at World of Beer in Tampa. A second gathering is planned for September 18 at 4th and Vine in St. Petersburg. If you would like to know more -- or know a young professional advisor who might be interested -- contact Denyve Boyle, Director of Philanthropy, at 813.609.4868. Or email her at

New board members

We welcome five new members of our Board of Trustees and new officers for the next two years: Betty Castor, Chair; Bob Mohr, Chair Elect; Bill Fries, Treasurer; Susanna Fenhagen, Secretary; and Donna Longhouse, Past Chair. Former Board Chair Patricia Douglas also returns to the board; she will chair the newly formed Greater Tampa Council. See full bios and pictures of all Board of Trustees members on our website.

Richard J. Dobkin

Mr. Dobkin served as Managing Partner of the Tampa Office of Ernst & Young from 1987 until his retirement in 2005. Since that time he has served on the boards of directors of many companies including Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, Bay Cities Bank, PBS&J Engineering and a variety of entrepreneurial companies and as Executive in Residence for the School of Accountancy at USF. He is past Chairman and a current board member of WEDU Public Broadcasting. He has also served as Chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, Museum of Science & Industry, and the Florida Venture Forum Capital Conference and as a board member of the Tampa General Hospital Foundation, United Way, Tampa Bay Partnership, Florida Orchestra and University of Tampa. Mr. Dobkin holds a Master’s of Science in Industrial Administration from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting, with honors, from Pennsylvania State University. He attended the Kellogg Executive Program at Northwestern University and is a licensed Certified Public Accountant.

Damon C. Glisson

Mr. Glisson is an Attorney in private practice located in Apollo Beach. He is Past Chair of the General Practice, Small and Solo Firm Section of the Florida Bar. He also is Past Chair of the Florida Bar’s Council of Sections, Past Chair of the Leadership Conference, Past Chair of the Practice Management Section and Past Chair of the Coordinating Committee on Technology. He has served 27 years as a Hillsborough County Civil Traffic Hearing Officer. Damon was a founding member of the Florida Bar’s Wm. Reece Smith, Jr. Leadership Academy.


Oscar J. Horton

Mr. Horton serves as Owner, Chief Executive Officer and President at Sun State International Trucks LLC. The first 25 years of Mr. Horton’s career, were spent with International Truck and Engine Corporation, advancing through various management positions to becoming vice president and general manager of its Foundry Group. Mr. Horton served as Jacksonville Branch Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. He serves as a Director at The Bank of Tampa, the University of South Florida Board of Trustees and is the former Chairperson of Academy Prep Center of Tampa Bay.

Mark Sena

Mr. Sena is president and managing partner of MediaSphere Partners, LLC, a financial advisory and business development company specializing in media and communications. Mark is president of Mars Communications Inc., a wireless broadband spectrum company. He has worked in more than 25 countries in Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean providing mergers, acquisitions and financial services to companies involved in cable TV, broadcasting radio and TV, programming, publishing and telecommunications. Mark holds M.A. and B.S. degrees from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University, where he has been on the advisory board since 1998. He has served as chairman of the international development committee at The Cable Center; advisory board member of the Institute for Research In Art; advisory council member of the Center for International Business at USF; board member and chairman of the public policy committee of Creative Tampa Bay; and advisory board member of Arte, the Latin American arts festival in Tampa Bay.


Dr. Juel Smith

Dr. Smith is the President of JUE-L Consulting Group. She received the PhD from the University of South Florida serving in several positions: University Counseling Psychologist; Founder/Executive Director, Institute on Black Life and Center for Africa; Director, Institutional Development; Founding Executive Director, Women in Leadership and Philanthropy; and adjunct faculty. International/Nationally she served on Habitat for Humanity Board; The Links, Incorporated, International Programs Director (built schools in South Africa ) and United Nations NGO Director. She is past president of Athena Society, Leadership Florida participant and served on local community boards and committees .She was inducted into the Hillsborough County Women’s Hall of Fame. She is a member of Beulah Baptist Church.

Inspired Giving podcasts

Listen to two new episodes of the Community Foundation's Inspired Giving podcast, produced in partnership with the St. Pete Catalyst. Click on the images below to reach the downloadable podcast and read highlights or the full transcripts.

In the media

Links to recent news reports related to the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay

The South Shore Community Needs Assessment findings, commissioned by the South Shore Council last year, were featured in the Florida Channel's Florida Crossroads episode on retirement in the state. The Sun City Center portion of the show is at the 23-minute mark.

4300 W St, Ste 700, Tampa, FL 33607-4157