INAUGURAL TENNIS ON THE GREEN, “FOR THE LOVE OF CHILDREN’S CANCER CENTER” SERVES AN ACE!
MEDIA CONTACT: VIKKI KAISER
Inaugural Tennis on the Green, “For the Love of Children’s Cancer Center” Serves an Ace!
Close to $150,000.00 raised from this event will directly benefit local children who have battled pediatric cancer or a chronic blood disorder by providing college scholarships and educational initiatives through the Panera Bread Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Program.
TAMPA, May 21, 2021- In a modern twist on the iconic 1973 “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match, Kevin Ricci, owner of Covelli Family LP, a Franchisee of Panera Bread, versed Julie Garfield, former Division 1 player and Tampa Yacht Club Champion, at the inaugural Tennis on the Green “For the Love of Children’s Cancer Center” event held May 14, 2021. The fundraiser proved to be a hit raising close to $150,000.00 which will directly benefit the Children’s Cancer Center through the Panera Bread Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Program
Leigh Spann, WFLA Storm Team 8 meteorologist, emceed the event which kicked off with a racquet spin by 3 children from the Children’s Cancer Center. The match proved to be entertaining as a sold-out crowd of 350 watched it live on a large outdoor screen on the 18th hole of Palma Ceia Golf & Country Club or courtside in a VIP viewing area.
While the match ended in a one point win by Garfield, Ricci was smiling from ear to ear. “The kids are the real winners today” said Ricci. “The money raised from this event will directly impact their futures by providing educational support and college scholarships. Words cannot express how much it means to my wife (Kerry) & I that we are able to pay it forward to these courageous children who have already gone through so much”.
After the match, a short program followed where 2019 Top Panera Bread Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Recipient, Cheyenne Heflin, shared how she triumphed over a cancer diagnosis, endured a leg amputation, and recently became a graduate of the University of Florida. Heflin spoke about the importance of the scholarship and how it has changed her life.
Following the presentation, guests enjoyed live entertainment, a silent auction, food stations and more amidst a backdrop of white hydrangeas, swaying palm trees and glimmering lights. “It was a spectacular evening embodying the spirit of the mission” said Patty O’Leary, executive director of the Children’s Cancer Center. “We have so much gratitude for Kevin and Kerry and their ongoing efforts to bring the Tampa Bay community together to make an immediate difference in the lives of local children battling cancer and life threatening blood disorders”.
Since its inception, the Panera Bread Knead for Knowledge Scholarship Program has awarded over $455,000.00 in college scholarships to local children who have battled childhood cancer or a chronic blood disorder. Additionally, a hands-on educational program called S.A.I.L. (Students Achieving through Interactive Learning) is offered bi-monthly to bridge any emotional or educational gaps caused by their treatment or illness. For more information visit www.childrenscancercenter.org. For future sponsorship and ticket opportunities, follow the event on Instagram (@tennisonthegreen).
About Covelli Enterprises/Covelli Family Limited Partnership
Covelli Family Limited Partnership (CFLP) is an entity of Covelli Enterprises, the largest franchisee of Panera Bread. The late Albert M. Covelli founded Covelli Enterprises 62 years ago and established CFLP in 1998. CFLP is owned by Covelli’s daughter and son-in-law, Annette & Gavin Ford; and grandson Kevin Ricci. Together, they operate 62 of the 300 Panera Bread locations encompassed under the Covelli umbrella which is ranked one of the top 10 restaurant franchisees in the country. CFLP employs close to 4,500 people in the Greater Tampa Bay & Orlando area. As a leader in the fast casual segment, they are known for setting consumer trends and elevating industry standards. In 2020, CFLP donated $8.4 million in unsold bread and bakery product to local food pantries and shelters through their Day-End Dough-Nation™ program. Additionally, the franchise supports local non-profit charities through their Operation Dough-Nation® formalized giving program consisting of Community Breadbox™ cash collections, in-kind donations, sponsorships and proceeds from cause-marketing campaigns. For six consecutive years, the company was a finalist in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Corporate Philanthropy Awards receiving honors including the Judges Choice Award, 1st Place in the 501+ Employees Category and being named the overall Benefactor of the Year. Other accolades include being a Top 5 Category Winner in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s “Best in the Biz” Reader’s Choice Awards five years in a row and also receiving recognition as one of the of top restaurant companies. In recent years, Kevin Ricci was named one of Tampa’s 10 Leading People who will play a distinct and crucial role in the city’s growth by TAMPA magazine. For more information about CFLP, visit paneraflorida.com.
About Panera Bread
Thirty years ago, at a time when quick service meant low quality, Panera set out to challenge this expectation. We believed that food that was good and that you could feel good about, served in a warm and welcoming environment by people who cared, could bring out the best in all of us. To us, that is food as it should be and that is why we exist. So, we began with a simple commitment: to bake bread fresh every day in our bakery-cafes. No short cuts, just bakers with simple ingredients and hot ovens. Each night, any unsold bread and baked goods were shared with neighbors in need. These traditions carry on today, as we have continued to find ways to be an ally for wellness to our guests’ convenience. With investments in technology and operations, we now offer new ways to enjoy your Panera favorites – like mobile ordering and Rapid Pick-Up® for to-go orders and delivery – all designed to make things easier for our guests. As of April 27, 2021, there were 2,118 bakery-cafes in 48 states and in Ontario, Canada, operating under the Panera Bread® or Saint Louis Bread Co® names. For more information, visit panerabread.com or find us on Twitter (@panerabread), Facebook (facebook.com/panerabread) or Instagram (@panerabread).
About the Children’s Cancer Center
For over 45 years, the Children’s Cancer Center has served the local community. With the help of incredible donors and sponsors, the Children’s Cancer Center continues to provide educational, emotional, and financial assistance through over 24 programs to meet the immediate needs of families with children battling cancer or chronic blood disorders. While other organizations are committed to finding a cure for tomorrow, the Children’s Cancer Center is committed to helping the children and their families cope today. Please visit childrenscancercenter.org for more information.