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Grande Dames Tea raises $35,575 for PACE

April 21, 2014
Special to the Reporter ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

PACE Center for Girls of Lee County raised $35,575 at the Sixth Annual Grande Dames Tea April 4 at the Broadway Palm in Fort Myers.

Barbara Brown of Fort Myers, Sarah Sciple of Matlacha, and Margaret Sirianni of Fort Myers were honored for their roles in Southwest Florida history and their decades of service and helping others. Mei-Mei Chan, News-Press Media Group president and publisher, once again served as mistress of ceremonies.

Chair of the event was Cheryl Komnick with Deanna Hansen serving as co-chair. Both are members of the PACE Lee Board of Directors.

Article Photos

PACE Board Chair Sandy Stilwell and Executive Director Meg Geltner. PHOTO PROVIDED.

"These three outstanding women come from varied backgrounds and offered some insightful advice for the audience and the PACE girls," Komnick said.

"Our theme of The Wisdom of Age Honoring the Female Spirit was so appropriate because each of these women has much to share from their own life's journey," Hansen said.

This is the sixth year of the historic Grande Dames Tea. Previous honorees have included philanthropists Berne Davis, Eleanore Kleist and Barbara B. Mann in 2009; Jeanne Bochette, Helen Hendry and Veronica Shoemaker in 2010; Myra Daniels, Kathleen Nealon and Mimi Straub in 2011; Michel Doherty, Mavis Stinson Miller and Anna "Boots" Tolles in 2012; and Thelma Hodges, Helen O'Rourke McClary and Ettie Francis Walsh in 2013.

The Grande Dames Tea was originated by PACE Center for Girls of Lee County to honor women who have played major roles in Southwest Florida history through decades of service, philanthropy, and helping others.

The agenda for the tea included interaction between the PACE girls and the three Grande Dames, in a question and answer format.

White House Black Market was the title sponsor of the Grande Dames Tea. Other major sponsors were the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre and Edison National Bank, along with media sponsors Grandeur Magazine and The News-Press Media Group.

PACE is a Florida-based, non-profit organization and the only statewide prevention program for adolescent at-risk girls in the nation. Its mission is to provide girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. In the past year, the Lee County program provided 116 girls with education, counseling, training, and advocacy.

For more information about PACE, call 425-2366 or visit



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