February 18, 2020 - Diverse Perspectives on Philanthropy: A Conversation on Cross-Cultural Community Impact

  • February 18, 2020
  • 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Centre Club, 123 South Westshore Blvd, Tampa FL 33609
  • 21


Registration is closed

Diverse Perspectives on Philanthropy: A Conversation on Cross-Cultural Community Impact

Moderator: Nadine Smith, Co-Founder & CEO,

Equality Florida

Ashley Butler, Serial Entrepreneur & Community Partner

Gary Howell, Psy.D., Licensed Clinical Psychologist


Arlene Dibenigno, Managing Partner - Conversa LLC

President & CEO - Women's Conference of Florida, Inc.

Patricia Douglas

Philanthropist, Community Advocate, and Nonprofit board consultant

The pressing social and economic challenges we face as a society have never been more visible. Understanding and addressing the importance of embedding the values of inclusion, diversity, equity and access into fundraising programs and our organizations has never been more important. It is critical to the relevancy and sustainability of our industry. In this event we will discuss the influence of diverse donors and their perspectives on philanthropy, engagement, and social impact. Join us to learn more about the giving potential that exists in diverse communities. We will cover their giving motivations, behaviors, interests and how their values and traditions inform them.

Tuesday - February 18, 2020

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Doors open at 11:30 AM

Announcements & Program 11:45 AM


Thank you to our Luncheon Partner


Regular Meal & Gluten Free Meal: Red Thai Curry Chicken | Toasted Coconut & Macadamia Nut 

Vegetarian : Seasonal Ravioli | Chef’s selection of Vegetarian Ravioli  

PLEASE NOTE: Once a meal choice has been made, it CANNOT be changed the day of at the luncheon.  Food service has been extremely delayed at the past few meetings for a number of our guests due to attendees changing their meal or sending their meal back for changes.


Applied for 1 hour CFRE Credit



$25.00 for Members

$40.00 for Guests

Payments may be paid in advance or at the door.  Reservations after 12 PM on the Friday before the meeting, and walk-ins, are charged $40 at the door.  No shows will be billed. 


Interested in a Membership Orientation?

Contact Danna Bramlett, Membership Chair, at Danna.bramlett@zootampa.org.  She will schedule a Webex/Phone review of the content at your convenience.


Nadine Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, the state's largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

A former award-winning journalist turned organizer, Nadine was one of four national co-chairs of the 1993 March on Washington. She was part of the historic oval office meeting between then - President Clinton - the first such meeting between a sitting President and gay community leaders. She served on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organization, which celebrates 30 years in 2014.

She is s a Florida Chamber Foundation Trustee, board member for Green Florida and served on President Obama's National Finance Committee. In 2013, was named one of the the state's "Most Powerful and Influential Women" by the Florida Diversity Council. She was also given the League of Women Voter's Woman of Distinction Award earlier this year. She currently serves on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Florida Advisory Committee.

She lives in St. Petersburg with her wife Andrea and son Logan.


Dr. Howell is an associate professor and the director of practicum training at Florida School of Professional Psychology. He has dedicated himself to advocacy and support of the LGBT community for over 20 years now. As an undergraduate student he found himself on the front lines of HIV prevention work where he provided community workshops and volunteered at an AIDS Service Organization spanning 7,000 square miles in rural Texas.

For the past several years, he has worked to create a safe space in Tampa for LGBT individuals in need of mental health services. Over the past year, he has made a tremendous mark in his work with the transgender community by providing free group therapy to transgender and gender diverse youth as well as their parents. As an openly gay psychologist, educator, and LGBT expert, Dr. Howell strives to shed light on bullying, suicide, and homophobia where possible. He has expanded his practice, the Center for Psychological Growth, in Tampa to make an even larger presence in the LGBT community and set up a non-profit, Institute for LGBT Health and Wellbeing, with an emphasis on training, education, and LGBT research regarding health, wellness, and healthcare disparities. The ultimate goal of the nonprofit is to create a summer retreat or camp for LGBT youth and serve as a conduit for social change.

Dr. Howell is a recipient of the 2016 Florida Diversity Council’s LGBT Leader Award and was an inaugural honoree of the 2016 Tampa Bay Business Journal’s LGBT Voices. His commitment to the LGBT community began during his undergraduate years, where he advocated for HIV awareness on his college campus (Austin College). He truly lives his life according to his favorite quote: “Be the change you wish to see in the world" - Gandhi.

His passion for social justice was the inspiration for his community psychology course at FSPP and as a mentor, he has brought many students to the forefront of national leadership and advocacy efforts with APA and the Florida Psychological Association (FPA). Dr. Howell leads by example and served as an LGBT representative on the Hillsborough diversity advisory council as an inaugural member who was appointed to two terms (first as a member and ended his term as the vice-chair of the council) and has been nationally recognized as a “Guardian of Psychology” by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students Advocacy Coordinating Team.

He has given countless hours of his time to fighting LGBT causes at the local, state, and national levels. He has provided and continues to provide pro bono services to survivors of the Pulse nightclub shooting. He spoke before the Tampa City Council on the need for banning conversion (reparative) therapy for LGBT individuals, a ban that was approved unanimously. He is currently the APA Division 44 (LGBT) president-elect and will assume the presidency in August. He recently ended his term as the Florida diversity delegate to the APA Practice Leadership Conference, where he served as the 2018 diversity delegate liaison-elect and the 2019 diversity liaison and diversity subcommittee chair for the APA Committee of State Leaders.

He takes a team of graduate students and psychologists each year to ride in the SmartRide to support HIV/AIDS services in Florida. They ride 165 miles from Miami to Key West each November, and 100% of the monies raised goes back to Florida HIV/AIDS organizations. They have raised nearly $40,000 as a team since beginning the ride in 2012. He is co-chair of the Equality Florida Tampa Gala Steering Committee as well, where he volunteers his time to raise money to fight for issues of equality in the LGBT community of Florida.


Ashley Butler is a Serial Entrepreneur. Her passion is to build successful businesses from the ground up and to utilize the resources received from her business endeavors to give back to her local community.She has a Bachelor's Degree from the University of South Florida in Communication with a concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication class of 2012.

Born and raised in Tampa, FL she accredits her local community and her love of continuous self education with her success.She is a Past President of the BNI Dealmakers chapter where she continuously serves on the leadership team. Ashley is a board member of Kitchen Table Literary Arts, and a Founding member of the USF’s Black Leadership Network. Through Black Leadership network at USF she hopes to reciprocate the blessings. Every year she hosts Car Care Clinics at her automotive repair shop to empower, educate, and inspire the community. Since 2007 she has donated over 1000 backpacks to local schools in need through her annual Back 2 School Drive.

While in her undergrad at USF Ashley began her entrepreneurial ventures in the telecom, vendoring and drycleaning industries. As the COO of Mango Cleaners in Seffner Fl Ashley built her foundation. Utilizing the operations and leadership skills and financial gains from Mango Cleaners and USF Ashley bought into the Ice Cold Air Franchise in 2006. Over the past 13.5 years Ashley has owned and operated 3 different Ice Cold Air locations and maintains ownership of the location on South Dale Mabry since 2007. In 2017 Ashley along with her partner Adrien and friend Keenan began Unique Otto a vehicle management company. In 2019 Adrien and Ashley made the addition of Beaches and Books a short term rental property to their portfolio becoming AirBnb super hosts twice in less than 10 months. Creating outstanding customer and employee experiences are Ashley’s top priorities in business.

Ashley specializes in thinking outside of the box, fundraising, business growth while operating on meager budgets, business organization, and developing meaningful business relationships. Ashley is a lover of non-fiction books, especially books on mindset and business. One of her favorite books is The Four Agreements by Miguel Ruiz.

She is a mother to Darian, a junior at Middleton High School and very active in the lives of her nieces and nephews. When she is not serving her community she can be found in the audience of various football, wrestling, or choral performances.



Arlene has been a vital, trusted adviser on political campaigns, policy development, grassroots outreach, and ballot initiatives for more than two decades. She has conducted public outreach for three separate Florida governors and their administrations and has influenced presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional campaigns within Florida, Michigan, Puerto Rico, Texas, and Washington, D.C. Her work transcends beyond the political realm into non-profit, digital media, and traditional media landscapes, with a special talent for organizing and managing high-level events and corporate communications. 


Throughout her career, Arlene has consistently witnessed women at a standstill: struggling to rise in the ranks of leadership in male-dominated industries; hesitant to accept prestigious roles, such as a governor-appointed seat on a board of directors; wary of their own ability to make a difference. As a result, Arlene’s passion to help break down the barriers to success for women blossomed. By founding the Women’s Conference of Florida, she hopes to inspire and encourage women across the state to unabashedly reach their true potential.


Patricia Douglas - Philanthropist, Community Advocate, and Nonprofit board consultant

Patricia Douglas is an experienced nonprofit board member and a passionate advocate for nonprofit governance and the promotion of philanthropy and community engagement. Her strengths include leadership, organization, strategic planning, grant making/analysis, research/development, managerial skills, effective governance, vision, and public speaking.  Patricia has been involved with nonprofits since she moved to Tampa in 1987, and after her retirement from a successful legal career in 2004, she focused her time and energy into studying board governance and continuing to volunteer.

Patricia earned a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin School of Law in 1987 and chose Tampa as her home. She practiced commercial and construction litigation at the Tampa firm of Bush Ross where she successfully defended design professionals in large multi party construction litigation cases throughout Florida.  Patricia taught CE courses for design professionals advising on contract drafting and negotiation. Patricia also specialized in Appellate and Franchise Law, representing Dunkin’ Donuts until her retirement in 2004. At Bush Ross, Patricia became a shareholder in the firm in 1993 and also served as Recruiting Partner. In October 2015, Patricia completed the Harvard Business School Executive Education Program, Governing for Nonprofit Excellence.


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