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WOW Charitable Giving Tops $100,000 in 2016

Due to the dedication of its readers, volunteers and advertisers, WOW notched an impressive achievement in 2016.

WOW made donations of over $100,000 to schools, charities and scholarship programs, including proceeds from October’s Great West Chase.

WOW Director Ken Blair, along with WOW Publisher Chris Barrett, WOW Business Manager Tracy Urso and Nathalie Kobel, who represented the race’s many volunteers, unveiled a big check to Bellamy students, faculty members and administrators on Jan. 12.

“The race was such a fabulous time,” said Dr. Theresa Seits, Bellamy’s assistant principal, who greeted the visitors from WOW. “It was awesome.”

“We’re going to tell you how much we raised,” announced Urso. “I’ve kept it secret.”

When Blair unveiled a large check for $37,000, the Bellamy community burst into applause.

Bellamy is a Title I elementary school. Located on Wilsky Boulevard just south of Linebaugh Avenue, it serves a significant percentage of underprivileged kids. The race funds will be used to promote math and reading literacy there.

The $37,000 total was the greatest thus far for the charitable event, which marked its 15th year in October. In 2016 The Great West Chase saw the greatest number of participants in its history.

The end of 2016 also brought the magazine’s traditional round of charitable donations. As a not-for-profit organization, WOW donates all funds after its expenses to schools, scholarships and local charities. Outside of the race proceeds, WOW ended the year with $68,000 in additional charitable giving.

WOW presented a $2,500 gift to Alonso Booster Club to support its efforts for a new school track and donated over $31,000 to local schools, including Lowry Elementary ($3,100), Westchase Elementary ($6,250), Lavoy Exceptional Center ($3,100), Walker Middle School ($3,750), Davidsen Middle School ($6,250), Alonso High School ($5,000) and Robinson High School’s IB program ($3,750).

In addition to distributing $20,000 in scholarships through the WOW Sylvester Scholars program in 2016, WOW also made donations to MS Cure Classic ($250), Cystic Fibrosis Foundation ($975), the JCC Community Center’s Food Bank ($1,000), the Hillsborough Education Foundation to support school supplies for needy kids ($1,000), the Boy Scouts of America’s local branch to support underprivileged Troops ($1,000), the YMCA to support memberships for poor community members ($1,500) and The Children’s Home ($1,500).

The 2016 donations helped WOW mark another significant milestone. Combined with $6,300 in in-kind donations in 2016 (totaling $56,500 in in-kind donations over the years), WOW has donated over $1 million since its founding in 1997. Local charities, community causes, public schools and scholarship programs have been its recipients.

Over its 15 year run, The Great West Chase has produced an additional $248,000 in charitable giving.

“WOW is tremendously proud of this accomplishment,” said WOW Publisher Chris Barrett. “This is what makes WOW different from other for-profit publications.”

WOW receives no financial support from any homeowner’s association or Community Development District (CDD). It pays for all of its production costs solely through its advertising.

Barrett added, “We always remind readers to help keep WOW’s charitable efforts strong by letting advertisers know they’ve seen them in WOW. Your readership and use of the magazine’s business directory has tangible benefits, ultimately accomplishing great good within Westchase and the greater Northwest Hillsborough community.”

By Chris Barrett, Publisher

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