The Economic Club of Tampa’s Mayoral Inaugural Ball Raises $50,000 for Hillsborough Education Foundation

April 17, 2015

Local News Release

Contact: Laura Woodard, Communications Committee Chair, Mayoral Inaugural Ball & Board Member, Economic Club of Tampa

Featured Quote: “The overwhelming excitement and support for The Economic Club of Tampa’s first-ever Mayoral Ball of Tampa was demonstrated by the Sell Out crowd and $50,000 raised to benefit The Hillsborough Education Foundation.”

Dr. Sebastian “Buster” Castellano, Board Member and Co-Chair for the Economic Club of Tampa’s Mayoral Inaugural Ball


TAMPA — The Economic Club of Tampa ( announces the results from the first-ever Mayoral Inaugural Ball that was held April 2 at the David A. Straz Jr. Performing Arts Center (

All 420 Dinner Tickets SOLD OUT a month prior to the event and the $25 After Party tickets exceeded expectations. This non-partisan community event raised $50,000 to benefit the Hillsborough Education Foundation’s Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program while celebrating Mayor Buckhorn’s inauguration and all good things about Tampa.

Throughout the evening, The Economic Club of Tampa also honored former Mayors Dick Greco (1967-1974 and 1995-2003); Bob Martinez (1979-1986); Sandra Freedman (1986-1995); and Pam Iorio (2003-2011) for their leadership and vision.

Robert Miles, Board Member and Co-Chair for the Economic Club of Tampa’s Mayoral Inaugural Ball says, “This event was truly a coming together of Tampa’s community in celebrating Mayor Buckhorn and honoring the leadership of our former Mayors, while offering at risk and underserved local students with a gift of a college education.”

The Economic Club of Tampa is honored by the outpouring of community support that has allowed for 10 vocational and college scholarships for Hillsborough County students. The club will also be mentoring the students who receive the scholarships througout the coming years.

The Economic Club of Tampa has begun the planning process for the Mayoral Inaugural Ball 2019.

As guests arrived at The Mayoral Inaugural Ball, they were greeted with upbeat tunes from the Plant High School Jazz Band. The formal event kicked-off with a VIP cocktail reception inside the Morsani Silbiger Lobby that included a receiving line comprising The Commander, United States Central Command – General Lloyd J. Austin III; Governor Bob Martinez; Hillsborough County Commissioner Chair Sandy Murman; Mayor Dick Greco; Mayor Sandy Freedman; 58th Mayor of Tampa, Mayor Bob Buckhorn; The Economic Club of Tampa President, Mike Starkey. Passed hors d’oeuvres, libations and a live disc jockey made the party festive.

The VIP guests joined the sell-out crowd on the stage of Morsani Hall. The venue was decorated to portray a park setting with larger than life images of prominent Tampa landmarks projected on the back wall of the venue while a live ensemble played in the background.

The program began with the Honor Guard from the 6th Air Mobility Wing, MacDill Air Force Base Presented the Colors and the National Anthem, sung by MacDill Air Force Technical Sergeant Sonya M. Bryson, 6th Air Mobility Wing. Guests toasted all of the Mayors with Mayoral Inaugural Ball special Commemorative Private Label Bottles of Wine.

Judy Lisi, President and CEO Of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center of the Performing Arts, greeted the guests with a “Welcome to Straz!” address. A delicious skewered shrimp, roasted chicken, and asparagus dinner was served along with a festive chocolate dessert.

Each guest was given a Commemorative Program that included historic information about Tampa, a profile of each former Mayor along with their accomplishments, and a visual timeline celebrating pieces of Tampa’s History and Bright Future.

The evening continued with the official After-Party where MacDill Air Force Technical Sergeant Sonya M. Bryson, 6th Air Mobility Wing leads the crowd in singing “God Bless America.”

Sandra Murman, Hillsborough County Commission Chair read the Hillsborough County, Florida Proclamation honoring Mayor Bob Buckhorn which was followed by Mayor Buckhorn’s “Tampa! It’s Our Time!” speech.

Bob Miles and Dr. Sebastian “Buster” Castellano, Co-Chairs of the Mayoral Inaugural Ball then presented a check in the amount of $50,000 to Phillip Jones, President and Duane Johnson, Board Chair of The Hillsborough Education Foundation in support of the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program. These dollars will be matched dollar for dollar by the state and dedicated to provide college scholarships to high achieving at-risk students in grades 8 -10 in Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Mayor Buckhorn, in celebration of this historic occasion, made the first cut of this celebratory cake especially created by DATZ Bakery for this occasion. The evening progressed outside on the RiverWalk with a festive Fireworks display. The evening ended with the crowd dancing the night away to the The Dr. C Band.

Thank you to our premier sponsors for this first-ever Mayoral Inaugural Ball presented by the Economic Club of Tampa:

  • David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts
  • The Tampa Tribune/
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Hannah’s Floral & Design
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • com
  • Italiano Insurance
  • DATZ Deli


Other community sponsors included:

  • Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce
  • Smith & Associates Real Estate
  • United Healthcare
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Tampa Bay Rays
  • Toni Everett Realty
  • Regions Bank
  • Helios Education Foundation
  • Port of Tampa Bay
  • Iron Workers Local #397
  • Tampa International Airport
  • Datz
  • Italiano Insurance Services, Inc.
  • com
  • Straz Center for the Performing Arts
  • Tampa Tribune &
  • GE Capital
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal
  • Hannah’s Floral & Events
  • Clearview Communications and Public Relations
  • Tally Vickory with Tally Ho Photos
  • Lindell Investments
  • Sebastian Castellano, DDS
  • Vichara Technologies
  • Tampa Bay Trust
  • Tampa Electric Company
  • Home Association
  • Atlantic American Opp. Fund
  • Extensive Enterprises Media
  • Tampa Bay Builders Association
  • Hillsborough Education Fund
  • HCI Group Inc.
  • Tampa Bay Lightning / Strategic Property Partners
  • Harvard Jolly Architecture
  • JP Morgan Chase
  • Warren Averett Asset Management


About The Economic Club of Tampa

The Economic Club of Tampa includes an exclusive yet diverse group of business, professional, and community thought leaders who share a vital interest in our local, state, national, and global economies. Each week, immediately following lunch, nationally recognized industry leaders, politicians, and thought leaders offer their perspectives on a variety of economic topics and pertinent issues. The club works to identify and assist upcoming leaders as the torch passes from one generation to the next. For more information, visit

About the Hillsborough Education Foundation

The Hillsborough Education Foundation (HEF) provides educational resources and financial assistance to help give every Hillsborough County Public School student the opportunity to achieve personal success. Regardless of background, family structure or economic status, HEF believes every student can reach his or her potential through public education. We work in partnership with the community to bring critical resources that are not funded by normal tax revenues to help students succeed in their academic and personal achievements through scholarships, mentoring, dropout prevention programs, free school supplies, classroom grants and recognition for education professionals. For more information on how you can donate and get involved visit

About the Take Stock in Children (TSIC) Scholarship Program

The Hillsborough Education Foundation provides deserving low-income students the opportunity to escape the cycle of poverty through our TSIC scholarship program. We offer our students college scholarships, caring volunteer mentors and hope for a better life. Our multi-year commitment providing comprehensive services starts in middle school, continues through high school and includes transition into college. Take Stock in Children Scholarships are matched dollar for dollar by the Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College Foundation. Our goal is to continue to reduce the high school drop-out rate in Hillsborough County Public Schools and to increase the number of students who finish college and successfully enter the workforce. For more information visit

Presentation of a $50,000 donation from The Economic Club of Tampa’s Mayoral Inaugural Ball to The Hillsborough Education Foundation for the Take Stock In Children Scholarship and Mentoring Program. Pictured are: Mayor Bob Buckhorn, President Phillip Jones of The Hillsborough Education Foundation, Sandra Murman Chair of the Hillsborough County Commission, Bob Miles the Co-Chair of the Mayoral Inaugural Ball, President Mike Starkey of The Economic Club of Tampa, Dr. Sebastian “Buster” Castellano the Co-Chair of the Mayoral Inaugural Ball.



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