TAMPA BAY - The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Bill Starkey as the 38th Lightning Community Hero of the 2016-17 season during the first period of tonight's game versus the Detroit Red Wings. Starkey, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to WEDU, Metropolitan Ministries and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay.
Starkey has worked for philanthropy in the Tampa Bay area for over 30 years, leading by example as a community leader and never expecting recognition. His community involvement includes past Chairman of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce, the Tampa Committee of One Hundred, Tampa Bay Enterprise Corporation, and the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay. Starkey also served as Tampa Port's Interim Director, per the request of then Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, and refused to accept a salary. Starkey helped increase the salaries of port-dependent jobs from $55,000 to $85,000. He has served on boards throughout Florida, including Bayfront Medical Center, University of Tampa, Florida Orchestra, USF Research Park and many more.
In an effort to raise money for the community, Starkey chaired the WEDU capital campaign and raised over $13 million. While at Eckerd's Program for Experienced Learners, Starkey volunteered to teach over 500 students between two classes - Ethics and Business Management. Starkey is a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who cares for individuals by letting them know they are loved and working to find the support they may need.
Starkey becomes the 267th Lightning Community Hero since Jeff and Penny Vinik introduced the Lightning Community Hero program in 2011-12 with a $10 million, five-season commitment to the Tampa Bay community. Through this evening's game, in total, the Lightning Foundation has granted $13.5 million to more than 300 different non-profits in the Greater Tampa Bay area. Last summer, the Vinik's announced that the community hero program will give away another $10-million over the next five seasons.