The Beth Dillinger Foundation is one lucky nonprofit. They are the 6th charity to be selected by the St. Petersburg Glitter Queens as the benefactor of their Annual Royal Ball in September.
The Glitter Queens started as a collection of parent volunteers who codified their successful school fundraising model to benefit small, local nonprofits supporting women and children.
Thus far they have raised almost a quarter million dollars for local charities.
“I was very, very honored and thrilled that they picked us,” says Kay Dillinger, co-founder of the foundation. “We feed, clothe and educate kids in need and young adults with Ready For Life.”
Their concern with at risk youth began about 20 years ago when Bob Dillinger, the Public Defender for the Sixth Judicial Circuit, told Kay he was tired of looking at children with dead eyes. He worked to improve their care within the system.
When their daughter Beth Dillinger died in 2006, they created the foundation in her name to provide additional help. “She was the girl everybody wanted tobe,”saysKay. “She was kind, sweet and beautiful.”
They started with Beth’s Closet providing clothes for students at PACE Center for girls in Pinellas County. “It’s for girls that are at risk of dropping out of school,” says Kay. “They get extensive counseling and extensive tutoring.” She says many have been abused.
They operate Beth’s Corner at Ready For Life which assists youth aging out of the foster care system, and Hope Chest closets in three Public Defender’s Offices.
About four years ago Bob asked Kay if she real- ized there were 7,000 chronically hungry kids here. She thought he meant state-wide but it was just
Pinellas County. They expanded their work to include feeding hungry kids and today Nourish to Flourish provides 1,100 food packets for elementary students each Friday for the weekend.
They also partner with the Pinellas Education Foundation and have provided 192 scholarships to graduating seniors who otherwise would not be able to continue on.
“I am terribly grateful to this community for embracing the foundation and allowing it to grow; it’s a gift to me,” says Kay. “It is a big deal what the Glitter Queens are doing; they are giving me this gift to help these kids in Beth’s name.”
The Annual Royal Ball is Sept. 16 at the St. Petersburg Marriott Clearwater, 12600 Roosevelt Blvd N. Go to www.stpeteglitterqueens.org for more information.