It was a romantic sea of red at the annual Valentine at the Ritz Gala, benefiting the Gamma Xi Boulé Foundation.
Co-Chairs Vincent Foderingham and Randall Morgan Jr., along with Sire Archon Gregory Matthews and his wife, Archousa Lorraine Matthews, welcomed guests to the sold-out fundraising event. “Our first Valentine at the Ritz in 2016 was a huge success with over $100,000 raised to benefit the young people of our community who are anxious to take the next step toward a life of success and personal fulfillment.” said Foderingham and Morgan. “And we are here tonight to continue that mission.”
As dinner, Mayor Shelli Freeland Eddie presented a proclamation from the City of Sarasota as well as a Key to the City to the Gamma Xi Boulé Foundation. "This is an evening of special importance and worthy of the recognition of the citizens of the City of Sarasota," said Freeland Eddie.
Then it was time for the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe's "Soul Crooners" to take the stage. The room was filled with dancing and singing as they performed hit after hit. Spotted on the dance floor were Rachel Shelley, James and Dr. Diana Greene, ​Steven and Lisa High, Danielle Jones, Jerry and Marjorie Long, Jon Newman, Ann Z. Leventhal, Bruce and Eleanor Ballard, Klayton and Ellen Sparks, Angela and Dr. Eddy Regnier, Shelley and Sy Goldblatt and the Hon. Charles Williams and Jacqueline Woods.
Affliliated with the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, the foundation was founded in 2001 with the mission of encouraging excellence in education and providing youth development programs for underserved youth in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

1. The Soul Crooners take to the stage at the Valentine at the Ritz Gala.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY WENDY DEWHURST-CLARK