Traditionally, Wednesday nights in July in Southwest Florida are quiet and uneventful. However, Wednesday July 22 was an exception as SS Hookers restaurant transformed into scenes from the movies Grease and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, an episode of Saturday Night Live, an 80’s reunion, a masquerade ball, summer picnic and more – all in the name of raising dollars to support the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Presented by Investors’ Security Trust, the Celebrity Chef Wine Dinner included a delicious meal paired with wine and served by celebrity waiters including Gina Birch, Greg Blurton, Brittany Cohill, Max Dean, Heather Fitzenhagen, Dorothy Fitzgerald, Scott Kashman, Vickie Pitbladdo, Dawn Sullivan, Ryan VanHorn and Rob Wilson.
The fundraiser was supported by Impact Initiative of SWFL, a group of local professionals and community leaders dedicated to creating a broad community awareness of the services offered by Lee Memorial Health System. During the event, Impact Initiative raised more than $75,000 for the new Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Inspired by the support of the Impact Initiative community, SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc. matched the donation with an additional $75,000 pledge, bringing the total to $150,000.
“The evening at SS Hookers was a fun and hugely successful event. It’s wonderful to see so many people come together and blend their personal and professional passions to support the new Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida,” said Greg Blurton, Vice-President of Development and Strategy at Investors’ Security Trust and an Impact Initiative member. “In addition to raising funds, both Impact Initiative members and SWFL Children’s Charities continue to raise awareness of the growing health care needs within the region. The matching gift is not only an investment in a cause they care about, but it’s an investment in the health of our community.”
“This is a perfect example of the impact that a group of caring and committed individuals can make when they come together for a great cause,” said Sandy Stilwell, CEO of Stilwell Enterprises & Restaurant Group and owner of SS Hookers, a member of Impact Initiative and co-chair of the 2016 Southwest Florida Wine & Food Festival.
The SWFL Children’s Charities Inc.’s annual signature fundraiser, the Southwest Florida Wine & Food Fest, has raised nearly $15 million over the past seven years, making it the most successful fundraising event in Lee County and one of the top-grossing wine fests in the country. Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida is the primary beneficiary of the event, which also lends support to programs at Florida SouthWestern State College and Florida Gulf Coast University. For more information, visit www.swflwinefest.org.