Tampa Bay’s Child is about helping our children, first and foremost. But it’s also about building a new and special kind of community. This is the modern version of neighbors, even strangers, stepping in to help rebuild a barn when it burns down. Tampa Bay’s Child is about making Hillsborough County the type of place where residents are bound together by more than the accident of geography.

-Deborah H. Wagner, Founder


Tampa Bay’s Child, Inc. is a grassroots, all-volunteer effort that grew out of a concern for children and the desire to build bridges among residents in our community. For decades, the founders of Tampa Bay’s Child have sponsored impoverished children overseas – and they will continue to do so, as well as support the mammoth organizations that facilitate international sponsorships. But they have long wanted a similar opportunity to sponsor children in their own community. Finding no structured programs already in place that offer local sponsorships, the founders set out to create Tampa Bay’s Child, Inc.

Tampa Bay’s Child is a non-profit corporation established under the laws of the state of Florida and determined by the Internal Revenue Service to be a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to it are deductible under section 170 of the Internal Revenue Code. The charity is registered to solicit funds under Registration # CH17446, and a copy of the official registration and financial information may be obtained from the Florida Division of Consumer Services by calling toll-free (800-435-7352). As with every charity, registration does not imply endorsement, approval, or recommendation by the state.

Tampa Bay’s Child is formally governed by a board of directors – all mothers with special knowledge of and experience relating to the needs of children in our community.

Board members include:

Deborah H. Wagner, President and Chairman
A long-time Tampa resident and lawyer by training, Ms. Wagner served for nearly a decade as an editorial writer for The St. Petersburg Times, where she wrote almost exclusively about the needs of disadvantaged children and families.

Dianne Hardin, Vice-President
Born and raised in Tampa, Ms. Hardin is a former nurse with Tampa GeneralHospital's Genesis Clinic, where she works daily with low-income pregnant women, mothers, and children.

Denise Cooper, Vice-President
Having lived on both sides of Tampa Bay, Ms. Cooper, a 20-plus-year Delta Airlines employee, is a community advocate who has worked to improve literacy in struggling families.

Pat Wood, Secretary
The mother of two with an extensive volunteer record, Ms. Wood has a working understanding of the public school system and the needs of its teachers and students.

Hildren Francis, Vice-President
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Ms. Francis is a Florida lawyer with a special interest in immigration law.

. . . . . . . . . .
arol Stefany, Technology Manager
A mother and long-time school volunteer, Ms. Stefany serves as the Computer Technology Director for St. Mary's Episcopal Day School in Tampa and, as such, is a specialist in computer installation and maintenance. We are grateful to Ms. Stefany for her extensive volunteer efforts in directing and managing Tampa Bay's Child's program to install computers in the homes of sponsored children and otherwise to ensure the access of sponsored families to today's computer technology.

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