Two women's groups, the United Way Women's Initiative and the Toledo Chapter of The Links, Inc., joined forces to present "Building a Future for the Polly Fox Academy," a luncheon Sept. 27 at the Wyndham Hotel downtown. Stacks of books, pencils, notebooks, and apples were the table centerpieces for the tasty grilled salmon salad lunch planned by Kim Danes and her committee.
But it didn't take long to get down to business. Johnetta McCollough, Links president; Cindy Dana, Women's Initiative chairman; Joan Durgin, academy board president, and event chairmen Sara Jane DeHoff and Laneta Goings ran the show, but it was guest speaker Donna James of Columbus, who drew the attention of the some 450 guests when she spoke from her heart in a speech entitled, "I Am the Face of Polly Fox Academy." The Toledo school, dedicated to helping pregnant and parenting girls finish high school, is what Mrs. James missed in her life when she needed it most.
"I was one of them. I didn't have this when I was a teen, even though my mom and grandma were nurturing. But if I had, I could have been president of the U.S., not that I wanted it," she said. Mrs. James made it clear that she was not glorifying being a teen mom, but "it's not the falling down, it's the getting up and continuing" that matters most.
Mrs. James is a corporate board member of Coca Cola Enterprises and Limited Brands, a former president of Nationwide Strategic Investments, and former chief administrative officer and executive vice president of Nationwide Insurance and Financial Services. She now is managing director of Lardon & Associates LCC, a business development firm.
Mrs. James received a standing ovation and a donation in her name to the academy.
So far the event has netted $30,000, and donations are still coming in.
THE UNITED Way had another event for a group of contributors: The second annual "Community Building Event: Coming Together To Change Lives" was attended by a group of realtors, builders, bankers, title agents, and others connected with the home building/selling industry. Presented by Fifth Third Bank, Hylant Group, and Owens Corning, the dinner was Sept. 21 at Gladieux Meadows. Guests chatted over cocktails as they shopped the silent auction. Dinner at red-covered tables centered with white flowers and buckeye candies was followed by a live auction with Jack Amlin and Jon Overmyer as the barkers.
But the real draw was guest speaker Archie Griffin, former Ohio State University football standout and two-time Heisman Trophy winner. He spoke about "paying forward" good works, a lesson Mr. Griffin learned from Woody Hayes that means, "There is a force that connects all of us and everything we send to the lives of others comes back in one form or another."
Chairmen Lance Tyo and Kevin Smith reported a net of more than $50,000 for the 2006 United Way campaign, said Bill Kitson, United Way president and CEO.
THERE'S still time to view the 2006 Amateur Photography Contest finalists' work at Schedel Arboretum & Gardens in Elmore, Ohio. The show, sponsored by Time Warner Cable, American Frame of Maumee, and the Schedel Foundation, runs through Oct. 15.
Curator Douglas Ricci of Oak Harbor gathered 94 entries from Ohio, North Carolina, Michigan, and Indiana, then Gil Gonzales of the Hayes Presidential Center in Fremont and Janet Hudson of Hudson Studio in Lambertville, chose the top 25 photographs, which received merit awards; $600 in cash prizes was presented to those photographers with the top five photographs. Vincent Capozziello of Genoa received a Special Merit Award and $50; Janet Gawle of Temperance received the Best Black and White Award and $150; Lois Anne Bowlus of Pemberville received the Best Color Award and $150, and Veronica Pearce of Elmore received the Best of Show Award and $250.
THERE'S a lot happening this month on the fun fund-raiser scene. The scoop was shared at a few kick-off parties:
•"Blast for the Past: A Preservation Party Promoting the Heritage of Maumee" was a few weeks ago at the Maumee Indoor Theater in celebration of the 10th annual Historic Maumee Home Tour Saturday. For information, call 419-893-1994.
w The American Cancer Society Cattle Baron's Ball, "Dustin' Off the Denim," is slated for Oct. 14 at the Lucas County Rec Center. The news was released last month during a VIP party at the Toledo Club that included a roundup of what's on the range for the ball, including mechanical bull rides, gaming, auctions, grazing, and a performance by award-winning country vocalist Ronnie Milsap. This year's honorary chairmen are Mike and Carol Anderson. Call 888-227-6446.
w The Leaders of the Pack, organizers of the Toledo Humane Society's 18th annual FurBall slated for Oct. 14 at Inverness Club, "barked" up a storm when they gathered last month in the home of Debbie and John Johnson to go over details and to start selling tickets. Call 419-482-7101.
w The Country Garden Club's Trunk show at Carranor Club is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, with lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.
w Adopt America Network's dinner auction is 6 p.m. Oct. 13 at the Stranahan Great Hall. For tickets call 419-893-5756.
Note to readers: If I don't know, I can't go. If you have a party or a charitable event, please put me on your invitation list. Thanks!