Meredith Dropkin

vanessa fine jewlery logoThe Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, a philanthropic organization dedicated to enhancing life in and around Lakewood Ranch, is presenting the 2016 C. John A. Clarke Humanitarian of the Year Award at The Disco Ball Gala on Saturday, March 19, 2016. This year’s recipients include Donald and Vanessa Baugh, owners of Vanessa Fine Jewelry in Lakewood Ranch, and (posthumously) Richard (Rick) Fawley, who was President of Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc.

The award has been presented each year to honor individuals who have distinguished themselves through their high professional standards, unwavering ethical and moral values, and steadfast dedication to improve the quality of life for people in our community. Honorees come from a variety of backgrounds, from business executives and local entrepreneurs to those who have provided lifelong philanthropic efforts and volunteer work that inspires others.

Service to the community runs deep for Donald and Vanessa Baugh. In 1999, they established Vanessa Fine Jewelry – one of the initial businesses on Main Street in Lakewood Ranch – with a first-class product, optimism towards success and a generosity that continues to extend to the community at large. Whether in business, service or charity, the Baughs can be found in the center, leading and contributing.

Together, the Baughs support: Meals on Wheels, LWR Rotary, the American Cancer Society, LECOM, LWR High School, SMART, Manatee Educational Foundation, LWR Women’s Club, University Women’s Club, LWR Kiwanis, SPARCC, Selah Foundation, Braden River High School, Nolan Middle School, LWR Humane Society, Palm Aire Women’s Club, Tour De Cure, Boys and Girls Club, Honor Sanctuary, Manatee Chamber of Commerce, LWR Business Alliance, St. Barbara’s Church, Myakka City Foundation, Hope Foundation and Myakka Historical Foundation. The Baughs also established one of the first Founder 50 donor-advised funds with the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund. “It is my belief that you give back to the community,” said Vanessa Baugh, who currently serves as a Manatee County commissioner. “You cannot lead a community unless you have served that community.”

Renowned as a master architect and a top-echelon civic leader, Rick Fawley’s commitment to the community through various organizations impacted thousands of lives and was an inspiration to many. For these efforts, Fawley was recognized by the American Institute of Architects as a “Citizen Architect,” which is awarded to those who use insights, talents, training and experience to contribute meaningfully to the quality of life in the community.

A board member of Goodwill for over 20 years, Fawley was selected as one of four to receive the Goodwill Ambassador of the Year Award for 2015. In 2014 he was the recipient of the Kent C. Schulz Distinguished Alumni Award, Leadership Manatee’s top alumni recognition. He also served on boards with the Manatee Education Foundation, Art Center Manatee, was treasurer of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund, Bradenton Economic Development Corporation and was a Chairman of USF Brunch on the Bay. He was a member of LWR Business Alliance, Sarasota Economic Development Corporation, Manatee County Economic Development, Bradenton’s Downtown Development Association, and the Manatee County Schools Foundation, and co-chaired Imagine Manatee from 2002 to 2003. Fawley will receive the honor posthumously.

About the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund

The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was created as a charitable fund under the larger umbrella of the Manatee Community Foundation. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life in and near Lakewood Ranch by promoting philanthropy, connecting the charitable interests of donors with the ongoing needs of the community, and granting funds. For more information, visit or call 941.556.5448.

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