Today honoring National Philanthropy Day, David Finkel was presented with the Spirit of Giving Award by The Association of Fundraising Professionals, Suncoast Chapter.

The award is presented to an individual, group or family that has recognized a charitable need and developed a unique approach to advancing philanthropy in the community. The recipient exemplifies the spirit of giving above and beyond.

David Finkel embodies the spirit of giving above and beyond. He invests his time, talent and treasure with multiple organizations and devotes his whole self to advancing these organizations. He is a passionate advocate for those in need. It is not just by making a decision in a board room, but by actually getting his hands dirty and doing the work himself. Dave leads by example, inspires others to join him and not just talk the talk, but walk the walk!

Dave first visited Trinity Cafe, more than 7 years ago, after he met our team at a lunch and learn event for another nonprofit. Dave commits his time with great enthusiasm to Trinity Cafe, a charitable restaurant for those in need. Every Friday he dons an apron, greets guests as they arrive. He happily serves each person and joins them at the table for, in his words, “a fine meal.” He is a great communicator with a knack for building trust and suggesting resources. Dave is not a “one and done” giver, he is in for the long haul.

One particular guest, Doug, slips quietly onto the grounds each morning after the chef opens the gate, a piece of cardboard and a FEMA blanket tucked under his arm, his only possessions. Doug is rugged looking with a grizzled beard and unkempt hair tucked under a dirty ball cap. His clothes haven’t seen a washing machine in a long, long time. He’s a creature of habit; he always sits at table seven. Dave, also a creature of cultivated habits, hosts table seven most Fridays and has gotten to know Doug personally. Dave frequently goes above and beyond for guests like Doug, purchasing a few McDonald’s gift cards and anonymously giving them to our team to distribute.

Dave also sees the significant community gaps that exist for those struggling with homelessness and poverty. He has committed to utilizing his philanthropy to helping with critical needs for those who need a small hand up, like a guest Wendy, who secured a job and was having difficulty affording the $4 daily bus pass until her first pay check arrived. Dave anonymously purchased a monthly unlimited pass to help Wendy overcome this barrier.

Dave has reached out to several nonprofits like Trinity Cafe, including Tampa Crossroads, Love, Inc., the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, and others, to ensure as critical needs like this arise, his giving is available to help. This is just one example of how Dave’s giving and service go above and beyond. Dave serves several local nonprofit organizations with his time, talent and treasure, and he’s a bold and passionate advocate for each one of them, introducing and building connections, sharing his leadership in giving and service and encouraging others to do the same.

Without fanfare, Dave powerfully makes a difference in the lives of many, by his dedicated commitment to do good works in his community. If charities could clone Dave Finkel, I’d recommend it.

Mandy Cloninger
Executive Director, Trinity Cafe