TAMPA — Suffice it to say, most people live their entire lives without making an indelible mark in the communities in which they live.
Thirty-two-year-old Jamie Klingman is the exception in more ways than one.
The Tampa resident was salutatorian of Tampa Bay Tech’s class of 2000 and just two years later earned a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Florida.
In the years since, she’s founded six successful business ventures and secured her license as a Realtor.
Klingman’s numerous charitable contributions to Tampa Bay area nonprofit organizations are equally impressive.
She is or has been a board member and/or president and an event chairwoman for eight of the 15 charitable groups in which she’s involved.
She personally raised more than $50,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was named Outstanding New Agustina for the Krewe of Agustina de Aragon in 2008 and received the 2011 Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce’s Ann Simmons Award for her service in the community as a nonresident.
And while Klingman says awards and accolades are never a motivating factor for her time and dedication to the organizations she serves, she’s not at all reluctant to share the joy that came from the recognition she recently received during the Tampa Bay Lightning’s home game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Team owner Jeff Vinik honored Klingman as a Lightning Community Hero and presented her with a $50,000 check.
The grant is from the Lightning Foundation launched by Vinik and his wife, Penny, in 2011 with a goal of distributing $10 million over five years to selected Tampa Bay area residents who’ve made significant contributions to the community.
“It was a huge honor, incredibly humbling and a great opportunity to highlight some great organizations,” Klingman said.
That is because Klingman, who is the program’s 26th recipient, donated $40,000 to the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay, a 24/7 resource for people dealing with sexual abuse, domestic violence, financial distress, substance abuse, suicidal thoughts and other emotional or situational problems.
The remaining $10,000 of the grant has been allocated to two other nonprofit organizations: Athletes Who Care, a nonprofit group Klingman founded that is made up of endurance athletes and business professionals who raise money primarily for cancer patients and research; and to Learning is for Everyone’s Community Innovation Center at the John F. Germany Library in downtown Tampa, aimed at helping people of all ages learn or hone their abilities in a variety of skills. Klingman is a member of the organization’s board.
While Klingman is thrilled to be involved in such a multitude of organizations that benefit the community, she holds a special place in her heart for the Crisis Center.
“I feel incredibly lucky to be able to help people because I don’t like people to be in distress,” she said.
In addition to being on the nonprofit group’s executive board, Klingman serves as chairwoman of its Women in Action membership committee. She is also a member of the Crisis Center’s development committee and both its legacy and sustaining societies.
“I don’t know when she sleeps. Jamie is like 10 volunteers in one,” said Sandy McLaughlin, the Crisis Center’s associate vice president of development and the person who nominated Klingman.
McLaughlin said the grant money the Crisis Center received will be used to help pay for counseling and support services. A portion also has been earmarked for the training and coaching expenses associated with the organization’s involvement in crises situations within Pasco County schools.
In addition, some of the money will be spent on the organization’s annual Take Back the Night event that puts faces on many of the 350 rape victims who’ve received help from the Crisis Center.
“We need to spread the word and this grant will help us educate the public about what we do and the services we offer,” McLaughlin said. “Forty thousand dollars is huge and we really appreciate it.”
Cheri Donohue, a former executive director of the Greater Temple Terrace Chamber of Commerce of which Klingman also is chairwoman, said there is no one more deserving of the Lightning honor than Klingman.
“It comes as no surprise to those that know her,” Donohue said. “She’s so professional, so focused, but she also knows how to have fun.”
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]