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HomeAt Home & BeyondShow Us Your SunShine: A Lightning Community Hero

Show Us Your SunShine: A Lightning Community Hero

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Metropolitan Ministries, a local, independent nonprofit has, “provided services that alleviate suffering, promote dignity, and instill self-sufficiency for at-risk and homeless families in Tampa Bay since 1972.” And last year, Metropolitan Ministries extended its service area to include Hernando County.

In 2006, a volunteer joined the staff of Metropolitan Ministries who went on to become CEO; one who, in 2020, saw this noted, far-reaching philanthropic organization through its most challenging year.

And on Jan. 12, 2021, Metropolitan Ministries’ president and CEO Tim Marks, “was honored in tonight’s game opener by the Tampa Bay Lightning as a community hero for his noble efforts and positive impact on the Tampa Bay community.” According to a Metropolitan news release, The Lightning Community Hero program “celebrates the diversity of all that is good and great about Tampa Bay.”  The Lightning Community Heroes Program is a philanthropic initiative of the Lightning Foundation launched in 2011 by Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and his wife, Penny. She also launched the Lightning Community Hero program, which is a collaboration of the Vinik Family Foundation and the Lightning Foundation, to distribute $10 million dollars to beneficiary Heroes and non-profits throughout the Tampa Bay community over a five-year period.

In April 2016, the Vinik’s announced another five-year, $10 million pledge through the Vinik Family Foundation to assure the continuation of the Lightning Community Hero program for the next five sports seasons.

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The news release read, “Honoree Marks has devoted his life to helping at-risk and homeless families in our community. Under his 14-year leadership, the good works of Metropolitan Ministries continue to inspire the Tampa Bay region to come together and bring help and hope to those in need.”

Marks was rewarded for his good works at the Lightning opening game via an in-game video that illustrated his community achievements and was presented with a $50,000 grant to benefit Metropolitan Ministries.

“Most recently, Marks led the charge for Metropolitan Ministries’ massive, ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response initiative and the largest holiday assistance program in the organization’s history,” read the news release, “touching well over 200,000 lives.” To see Marks’ award video, visit https://youtu.be/Lqpe2ML_jKU


Metropolitan Ministries’ main campus is located at 2002 N. Florida Ave., Tampa, and the Pasco campus is located at 3214 US HWY 19, Holiday. Visit metromin.org for more information. And to honor your own community heroes and report other good news, contact Hernando Sun community reporter Megan Hussey at [email protected].


Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey
Megan Hussey is a features journalist and author who is the winner of Florida Press Association honors and a certificate of appreciation from LINCS (Family Support Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Task Force) and Sunrise Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center for her newspaper coverage of these issues. She graduated cum laude from Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., with a journalism major and English/sociology minor, and previously wrote for publications that include the Pasco editions of The Tampa Tribune and Tampa Bay Times. A native of Indiana, she lives in Florida.
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