TAMPA BAY – The Tampa Bay Lightning honored Graci McGillicuddy as the second Lightning Community Hero of the year during the first period of tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. McGillicuddy, who received a $50,000 donation from the Lightning Foundation and the Lightning Community Heroes program, will donate the money to the Children Protection Center.
McGillicuddy has been a powerful force for change in the lives of abused children in Sarasota for nearly 30 years. The Child Advocacy Center was built in 2011 under her leadership. In addition to her mission of preventing child abuse, McGillicuddy co-founded and is co-chair for Embracing Our Differences, which uses the arts to educate and inspire the values of diversity and inclusion. McGillicuddy and her husband have also been instrumental in the success of Florida Studio Theatre. They have seen the theatre grow from 700 subscribers to become the third largest subscription theatre in the nation.
In 2009, McGillicuddy was presented with the Florida Senate Medallion Award of Excellence for outstanding leadership and dedication in helping to keep children safe and free from abuse. The Child Advocacy Center, built under her direction, is a nationally certified state-of-the-art child abuse facility. McGillicuddy headed the capital campaign, raising more than $6-million to build the center.