Devin Pappas’ Philanthropic Work Unites, Uplifts Community

by | Sep 13, 2023 | Community, Culture of Caring | 0 comments

Longtime Harbor Bluffs resident Devin Pappas helps create a culture of caring that encourages others to give by increasing awareness and connectivity for lasting community impact.

Devin Pappas, a longtime Harbor Bluffs resident, is a shining example of the true meaning of philanthropy through her incredible ability to bring the community together and motivate change that uplifts those around her. Devin helps create a culture of caring that encourages others to give by increasing awareness and connectivity for lasting community impact.

Devin has significantly impacted Pinellas County during the 12 years she has lived here. In 2015, she chaired the first RCS Grand Gala, one of her first projects in this area. Her retail management background helped deliver success, resulting in the event raising over $200,000. Conceived as a one-time fundraiser, the gala has scaled into an annual event that has raised over $1 million to address hunger, housing, and abuse.

Throughout 2023, PCF will share stories from local government, higher education, and private businesses that inspire you to lead in caring and empathetic ways. Philanthropy, in all forms, is generosity, and we want to celebrate the examples surrounding us in Pinellas County. In whichever culture you work or lead, be a voice to build or refine it with kindness. #CultureOfCaring

In 2017, Devin founded the Raising Relief Foundation, a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization focused on fundraising to benefit charitable agencies meeting the most critical needs in our region. Under Raising Relief, the Denim and Diamonds committee sought to improve charity galas’ outcomes by adding financial benefits for nonprofits and fun for attendees by inviting them to wear denim instead of expensive formal attire. The inaugural event took place at the Belleair Country Club and raised net proceeds of $68,000. Over the past five years, the event has grown and raised more than $1.2 million for local nonprofits addressing critical human services needs, families in crisis, and supporting the historical footprint of Pinellas County. A few of the nonprofit organizations that benefit from the gala include Top Buttons, which inspires confidence in young women; Hero to A Child, which supports children and families impacted by abuse and neglect; Bridging Freedom, which combats sex-trafficking of minors; and Heritage Village, which preserves the history of Pinellas County.
Raising Relief – Filling the GAP for Our Community
Denim & Diamonds

When PCF asked Devin how she accomplished so much, she responded that it comes naturally to her. Since she was little, she has been networking, bringing people together, and helping others. She hopes her action inspires people to get into philanthropy however they feel comfortable. Devin believes the most significant barrier to giving is simply a lack of awareness. “People want to do right, and they want to give, and they want to donate, and they want to help; they just don’t know how.” It’s common for people to equate philanthropy with writing a check, but Devin urges everyone to open their minds to understand philanthropy better. She believes the best way to get people involved is by giving them a path, saying, “It’s about communicating. You have to spend time with people and let them know how they can help.” That also means letting volunteers know they are appreciated and that every little bit, even hanging up flyers or collecting canned food, is valuable.

Devin Pappas at a fundraising party with friends.

Philanthropy and support are tenants of her upcoming program, Help Inspire Men (HIM). The HIM program will include the Pathways to Business Fundamentals curriculum Devin developed, support, resources, fellowship, and mentorship to men in our communities. Men need to know it’s OK not to be OK, and our communities need to provide safe spaces for support and resources. Highlighting healthy alternatives for managing stress and outlining pathways for collaboration and community impact are components of the program that have worked well for female audiences. Devin is passionate about achieving similar results with male participants. Business acumen must balance with a fuller picture of a community’s needs and opportunities for individual contributions.

Devin excels in outlining a path, enhancing knowledge, and bringing people closer through civic engagement. One of her biggest successes was creating Stroll Harbor Bluffs magazine, a platform to showcase local stores, organizations, and business owners, and building community and connections.

Throughout all of Devin’s enterprises, fundraisers, and events, she has never worked alone. When it comes to philanthropy, the importance of connection can never be understated. She explains, “I’ve always believed in teams; I’ve always believed you can’t do it yourself. I’m not afraid to ask my husband or my friends for help. We need to do this together; not one person can do it.” Devin’s life shows us that when people come together within a culture of caring, it builds a strong, resilient, and prosperous community.

PCF appreciates Devin and the Raising Relief team for sharing their culture of caring with us. Their commitment to philanthropy and service is absolutely inspiring.

Create a Culture of Caring

If your organization is ready to create a more caring culture, Coleen Chaney will be happy to assist you with options.