Several times a month the Working Women of Tampa Bay network over dinner and drinks, at luncheons and at other events.
Often these gatherings involve much more than establishing business connections. They also offer an opportunity to focus on and learn about local charities.
“One shared belief in our organization is that raising awareness about a particular charity or non-profit organization is just as important as raising money,” said Jessica Rivelli, founder and president of the 500-member professional organization.
Raising awareness is what led Working Women to partner with 1Voice Foundation for Paint for the Cure, a fundraising event for children with cancer and their families, held tomorrow night at Painting With a Twist in South Tampa.
Originally, Working Women had planned a Painting With a Twist event as one of their networking meetings. But after learning about 1Voice’s work with pediatric cancer patients, Working Women decided to partner with the foundation for the painting event. The mission of 1Voice Foundation is to help young people with cancer maintain as normal a life as possible.
“While the first priority of all of our meetings is to network and establish relationships with other working women in the community, connecting our members with 1Voice gives them an opportunity to discover ways they can help raise awareness or donate time or money.” Rivelli said.
1Voice Foundation was established in 2008 to address how the local community can help meet the needs of families who have children with cancer. 1Voice Executive Director Mary Ann Massolio said that although there were many individual contributions to pediatric cancer research, there was no local organization set up to help families with day-to-day issues like paying bills, transportation or relocation.
Paint for the Cure is allowing 1Voice to ramp up awareness in the community and connect with businesses owners who can help make a difference, said Massolio.
“It’s not just women getting together to have a good time, it’s philanthropic and a great way to get awareness out about our organization - and about our school program,” said Massolio.
1Voice is currently planning to open a school for children with cancer to help the youngsters live their lives with as much normalcy as possible, Massolio said. The school will be the first of its kind in Tampa, and Massolio hopes it will be an example to other cities and states.
“We are very excited to be partnering with Working Women. Not only do they have a vast network of local contacts, but these are women who understand what many of these families are going through and what challenges they face,” Massolio said.
About 30 Working Women are expected to attend the Paint for the Cure event Thursday evening at Painting with a Twist. They will network, drink wine and paint 3x3 tile-sized canvasses. There’ll also be prizes and a raffle. Twenty-five percent of the event’s ticket price – along with the raffle proceeds – will support 1Voice Foundation.
Massolio said she hopes the event, the first 1Voice has shared with Working Women of Tampa Bay, will create a new relationship that leads to future partnering on events.
Tickets for Paint for the Cure are $20 and can be purchased at the door, or online at www.workingwomenoftampabay.com. The 6:30 p.m. event is open to the public, although it is for women only.
Painting With a Twist is at 2821 S. MacDill Ave. For more information about 1Voice Foundation, visit http://1voicefoundation.com.