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GALVESTON ISLAND, TEXAS (March 2018.)  Gina Spagnola will be honored as the recipient of the prestigious 27th Annual Leonora Kempner Thompson Community Enrichment Award,  Saturday, March 17th at The Grand 1894 Opera House.  Sponsored by, and benefiting Galveston’s Grand 1894 Opera House, this event begins at 7pm and will include a cocktail reception, dinner on stage, and an award presentation at The Grand, 2020 Postoffice Street.  Honorary Co-chairs for this year’s event are Janice and Vic Pierson.

 The Community Enrichment Award originated from a desire on the part of the Trustees of the Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund to honor Leonora Kempner (Nonie) Thompson on the occasion of her retirement as chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Kempner Fund.  She had served on the Board as a Trustee and Secretary/Treasurer for thirty-four years and then for four years as Chairman, succeeding her brother, Harris L. Kempner.

Because of Ms. Thompson's active participation, dedication, and commitment to her community, the Trustees of the Kempner Fund voted to designate a contribution to The Grand 1894 Opera House to be used as the nucleus of a revolving fund to assist in underwriting an annual special event to raise funds for the organization's many vital programs and operations.

In 1992, The Grand’s Board of Directors chose to establish an annual event to honor an individual or individuals who had contributed to the enrichment of the community in the spirit of Leonora Kempner Thompson.  They voted to name the annual award in her honor and selected her as the first recipient.

Past recipients of the award, in addition to Mrs. Thompson, are Cynthia and George Mitchell, Edna and Bill Levin, Mrs. Frances Moody Newman, Mr. Shearn Moody, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Moody, Sr.; Dennis Miller, Lyda Ann Quinn Thomas, Susan and Johnny Walker, Ruth Kempner, Diane and Marion Duzich, Paige and Tilman Fertitta, Pat and Fred Burns, Maureen and Larry Patton, Margaret and Jim Earthman, Mary Ann and Jack Stobo, Gerry and Gene Hornstein and Lynn  and Armin Cantini, Brenda Levy Hutchings, Harris L. Kempner, Jr. and Hetta Towler Kempner – “Shrub and Peaches”, E. Burke Evans,  Mary Ellen and Chuck Doyle, Cindy and John L. Sullivan and Susanne and Gerald Sullivan, Susan Lipnick Lynch and Robert L.K. Lynch, Drs. Sharon and Ben Raimer,  The Honorable Craig Eiland, Janice and Victor Pierson, Francisco "Paco" Vargas, B.J.  and Buddy Herz.

"It goes without saying…  Gina Spagnola is, indeed, the epitome of what this Community enrichment Award is all about. This exemplary individual has  given generously and tirelessly, and has shared her endless talents, enthusiasm and love for this community in so many positive ways!  How fortunate Galveston is to have her as the President of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce and how fortunate we are at The Grand to have the opportunity to honor her,” stated Maureen Patton, Executive Director of The Grand 1894 Opera House.

Spagnola has served as president of the Galveston Regional Chamber of Commerce since 2003 and oversees almost 900 businesses with the commitment to fulfill the Chamber's mission to "promote and  advocate for business and community development." Currently she serves on numerous local boards and committees - including as president of the Salvation Army's Galveston County Women's Auxiliary, Chair - Galveston ISD's Educational Foundation Board of Directors,  Park Board of Trustee's Tourism Development Advisory Committee,  Board of Directors, The Grand 1894 Opera House;  Galveston Economic Development Partnership ( GEDP) Executive Board,  the City of Galveston's Industrial Development Corporation Committee, the National Lemonade Day Board of Directors, and as well,  Spagnola is the County Director for Lemonade Day Galveston County.

This black tie event is open to the public. To request an invitation, purchase tickets, or for more information, call The Grand at 409.765.1894 or 800.821.1894.  The Grand is located at 2020 Postoffice Street in the Cultural Arts District in historic downtown Galveston.  The Grand 1894 Opera House is recognized as “the official Opera House of the State of Texas.” All major credit cards accepted.

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