On Friday, April 22nd, friends and supporters of CFY gathered at the Sheraton Sand Key for Banquet on the Beach, CFY’s annual fundraiser and a special celebration of the organization’s 50 year anniversary.
CFY was officially chartered as a nonprofit organization by the State of Florida in February of 1972, but had been playing an active role in the community organizing youth athletic programming for 6 years prior. The 50th anniversary celebration was an opportunity to pay homage to the growth of the organization, transitioning from the role of organizer to funder and facilitator in recent years while expanding beyond Clearwater’s city limits to serve youth across Pinellas County.
Keeping with the “golden” anniversary theme, the evening’s program, emceed by Fox 13’s Walter Allen, featured awards presented to Pinellas County local Olympic gold medalists, Nicole Hailsett, recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Sports Award, and Bobby Finke as the Frederick E. Fisher Champion for Youth. Finke provided a video acceptance, as he was en route to USA Nationals to qualify for the World Championships next year in Budapest the night of the event. Mr. Fisher, a founder of CFY still active today, was present at the event and received spontaneous standing ovation from the some 200 guests as current CFY Chair, Fred Miller, acknowledged his commitment and lasting vision.
Tracy West, President of Copperheads Charities and Tournament Director of the Valspar Championship, received the J. Warren Hughes Humanitarian Award on behalf of the Copperheads, who expect to invest over $2 million into the community in 2022.
Beyond the honored guests, the event was highlighted by an impressive display of seafood on ice, land and sea paella stations, and more culinary delights curated by the Sheraton Sand Key as guests mingled through sunset on Clearwater’s trademark powder white sands.
Banquet on the Beach is a new adaptation of CFY’s legacy “Celebrity Banquet”, by which it was last named in late February of 2020. As the overall landscape of special events underwent major forced overhauls due to the global pandemic, CFY’s Banquet Committee made the intentional decision to transition from the ballroom to the beach in the spring of 2021 in order to maintain connections with donors and share developments of the organization in a socially conscious way.
Supporters can expect Banquet on the Beach to return each spring as CFY’s principal annual fundraiser supporting the mission of elevating the youth of Pinellas County through access to skill building programs where children of all backgrounds can learn, play, and grow together. For more information on partnering with CFY, click here