Burnside, Fodiman named MONOPOLY® Night Co-Chairs

   Little did those who live and work in the Tampa Bay area realize what an enormous impact Aaron Fodiman would have when he landed here in 1983 and purchased Clearwater’s Kapok Tree Restaurant chain.

   The once famous restaurant is no longer around, but Aaron and his wife Margaret Word Burnside certainly are. They have placed their footprints firmly in our community and you have to look no further than to the must-read Tampa Bay Magazine, which they created in 1986. It has received both the Dunedin and Clearwater Chamber’s Medium Business of the Year awards plus Opera Tampa’s Corporate Partner of the Year award and is the official magazine of Opera Tampa.

   Over 350,000 read every issue, but this is not about the magazine, or Aaron’s witty, often provocative columns, or Margaret’s insightful essays on Tampa Bay history, happenings and fashion. No, this is really about Aaron and Margaret –– how they have made life better for so many in the Tampa Bay area.

   It’s only fitting that they’ve been chosen honorary co-chairs for the 17th annual MONOPOLY® Night fundraiser to be held Saturday, May 13th at Belleair Country Club. The popular event benefits Charity Works and has raised more than $1,047,300 since its inception.

   “Honoring them is long overdue,” said Charity Works CEO Chris Renfrow. “Their years of dedicated community service and support to charities are awesome. Margaret and Aaron are true-life examples of our organization’s mission, ‘Helping Those Who Help Others.’ ”

   Margaret, a Clearwater native, and Aaron are co-publishers/editors of the magazine they started more than 30 years ago. She ‘s been a professional model, a fashion and special events coordinator, and director of marketing for two international manufacturing companies. She has also taught modeling and etiquette classes for department stores, Pinellas County schools and various organizations. She is a regular guest on Great Day Tampa Bay for CBS-TV’s Channel 10 News.

   Margaret received her bachelor’s degree from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, and majored in journalism and advertising in graduate school at the University of Florida. She is an alumna of Leadership Pinellas and a sustainer of the Junior League of Clearwater/Dunedin.

   She has received awards from the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce, the Dunedin Historical Society, Melitta Bentz, the Hilton and St. Petersburg College’s Women on the Way.

   She has served on a myriad of boards such as Stephens College Alumnae in the Tampa Bay area, the Long Center’s original steering committee, Ruth Eckerd Hall’s original advisory board and the founding committee of Clearwater Jazz Holiday. She has also served on the boards of UPARC Foundation (now the Arc Tampa Bay), Junior League, Leadership Pinellas, the Dunedin Fine Art Center, the Florida Orchestra, the Mahaffey Theater and the Dunedin Council of organizations, where she was the first female president.

   Can you picture Aaron Fodiman as an attorney? He was one for 18 years in Washington D.C. and if he had not walked away from that profession, it’s doubtful he’d ever have made it to Tampa Bay.

   He was born and raised in Stamford, Connecticut, received his undergraduate degree from Tulane University, a law degree from New York Law School and a master’s in business administration from New York University. After practicing law for those 18 years, he became president of Popeye’s Famous Fried Chicken.

   He’s been president of the Pinellas County Restaurant Association, a member of the board of directors of the Florida Restaurant Association, chairman of the Pinellas County Arts Council, a board member of the Tampa Museum of Art, president of the Dunedin Fine Art Center, president of the Bay Ballet Theater, chairman of the Clearwater Arts Foundation, a member of the Advisory Board of the Florida Orchestra and a founder of Leadership Tampa Bay.

   If Tampa Bay Magazine is a must-read for folks in the area, so are his two books: Life is Not an Illusion, It Just Looks That Way, and Happy Thoughts for a Happy Life. They are both collections of essays concerning his observations on the human condition, which he goes to great lengths to discuss in his magazine columns.

   Aaron has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Restaurant and Hospitality Rating Bureau and the Friends of the Arts Award from both the Pinellas County and Tampa Bay Arts Councils.

   Margaret and Aaron are the founders of the Tampa Bay Food and Wine Society, founding members of the Armed Forces Military Museum in Largo and have received the Community Builders and Dreamers Award from the Universal Music Day organization, as well as the Founders’ award from the Dunedin Fine Art Center’s Sterling Society. They have been inducted into the Hall of Honor of the Krewe of Venus and been awarded the Community Award by the National Society of Arts and Letters and the History-Makers Award from the St. Petersburg Museum of History.

   Contact Charity Works at 727.447.2064 to discuss your participation in this year’s MONOPOLY® Night fundraiser.