Every morning, I pull on my walking shoes and head out the door of my home in Tarpon Springs, a tiny, close-knit community near Clearwater Florida. I wave hello to my neighbor, who waves back and greets me in Greek, and walk to the quiet sanctuary of the Shrine of St. Michael where I sit and breathe in the incense – a peaceful start to a busy day, and then continue on to town for a pastry and a cup of thick, rich, dark Greek coffee. I know everyone in town by name, and most of them have known me since childhood.
Being a part of a community like this is a privilege, and not one I take for granted. I might say the same for the larger community of Tampa Bay, which has embraced me and helped me build my business into the success it is today. Giving back through philanthropy (like my support for Joshua House and dozens of other local charities) is one step I take towards supporting my city. But I also work daily to strengthen and develop the local economy by bringing together business owners, powerful people, movers and shakers, and helping them see the value in working together – and with non-profit organizations – to build their enterprises.
Being a community leader doesn’t always mean running for political office – for me, it means everything from helping a new college grad land his first job, to organizing relief efforts after a hurricane, to teaching business owners how to partner for mutual benefit. All of these actions, big and small, result in improving and building my community. See my Philanthropy page for more details on how I work with charities.
Tammy in the Community
I have always felt a strong sense of responsibility to give back to the community that has supported me throughout my life. When hurricane Andrew came through, laying waste to so many homes and families, I felt pulled to help in the ways I could. Using my previous experience from owning an international shipping company, I knew how to arrange for a truck to transport donated necessities to those in need, and before I knew it, I was focusing on publicizing the need for donations also. In short order, I was able to organize the collection of a full truckload of much-needed items and deliver them to Andrew’s victims. I continue to think of ways to benefit my local community both by taking part in more than twenty charities, and by finding independent ways to positively impact foundations that help our city thrive.
In the past few years I have devoted my Birthday to benefit select local charities. Now in its fourth year, Tammy Levent’s Annual Birthday Bash has grown to over 400 guests, all of whom come to both celebrate with me, and join me in supporting Joshua House – a safe haven for abused, abandoned, and neglected children. Joshua House is a cause very close to my heart, and I feel privileged to be able to put together an event that helps them. But my annual party also serves the small business owners in my community, because many of them come to network over TammyTinis, forming partnerships and relationships that strengthen everyone. Last year we raised more money for Joshua House than expected, and this year we hope to aim for an even higher mark. However, Joshua House is not the only local charity for which I give my support.
I am also involved with Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, USF Women in Philanthropy, The American Cancer Society, Mental Healthcare, Inc. Foundation, The National Network of Ending Domestic Violence, The Tampa Crisis Center, The Academies for Educational Excellence, and the Young Women’s Leadership Symposium, All Children’s Hospital, Tampa Bay Beautification, Tampa Feeding America, Hands Across the Bay, One in a Million, Bacchus Charity, Girl Scouts of America, Ruth Eckerd Hall and the arts, among many more.