Our annual signature event, Art of Giving, is returning to its inspirational, mission-based roots with its theme, "Illuminate the Way." Amid a night of delectable delicacies and drinks, silent and live auctions, and meeting-and-mingling with some of Sarasota and Tampa Bay's philanthropic leaders, the highlight is sure to be keynote speaker, Wes Moore. You may have seen Wes as a guest on a myriad of television programs, seen him speak at a prior engagement or read one of his three best-selling books. Or you may not yet have heard of him. Moore will captivate you with his inspiring story and insights on what it takes to make a difference for a child. Moore grew up in inner-city Baltimore, Maryland. The opportunities to tumble down a dangerous path were ever-present - and Moore almost did just that - but through the care and intervention of others, he was set down a different path; one that led to educational success, financial stability and national acclaim. A series of faithful mentors coupled with the transformative power of education helped Mr. Moore walk a path of success. At the same time, another peer in the same neighborhood, sharing the same exact name, walked a different path: One that led to a life sentence in prison for felony murder. Moore's message is simple: Had it not been for the presence of committed support networks, he could've been the other Wes Moore. But instead, he's the Wes Moore he is because of the power of education, early literacy, and mentoring, which perfectly aligns with United Way Suncoast's work in helping put children on the path to graduation - strongly supported by Art of Giving proceeds. Moore's message of how decisions become destiny is powerful, as well as his personal story and eye-opening look into the importance of education, mentoring and helping our children believe they can achieve more. It's a story covered in his debut book, The Other Wes Moore, an instant New York Times best-seller, which Moore will personally autograph for guests during an exclusive book signing at Art of Giving. Moore’s latest book, The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters, was released in January and has steadfastly accrued accolades. Presented by Bank of America, United Way Suncoast’s Art of Giving benefits our Early Literacy Initiative which provides children with in- and out-of-school supports so they can overcome barriers and stay on track to graduate. Individual tickets and table sponsorships are still available but space is limited so act quickly to reserve your spot. Please visit www.unitedwaysuncoast.org/artofgiving to learn more and purchase tickets.
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