By Stephen Flanagan Jackson
The South Shore area is blessed with an overflowing cornucopia of “do-good” organizations and “do-gooders.” Simultaneously, this unique geographic niche in southeast Hillsborough County is replete with interesting and talented individuals — some born and raised here, and some transplanted by choice or circumstances.
The phrase “do-good” is used here with all due respect and sincerity, not a sarcastic or cynical term used to describe a group or an individual who is self-seeking and self-glorifying, because we all know they also exist.
In this specific case, the epitome of “do-good” is embodied in the American Ideals Foundation and its founder Robert Moffa, a musician and artist originally from New Jersey, who has lived in the Ruskin-Sun City Center area since 1976. American Ideals Foundation serves as a “Bridge to Humanity,” providing assistance, training and support right here in Hillsborough County as well as all over Florida and the world.
This Saturday, the general public has the opportunity to help the AIF (American Ideals Foundation) continue its wide-ranging, international altruistic work by coming out to enjoy an old-fashioned country-style auction with food, fun and great prices on a wide array of over 1,000 donated items.
The beneficiaries of this Saturday’s AIF auction are the Military Veterans and First Responders. The auction is at the rambling estate of Robert Moffa, AIF founder and lead organizer, at 1414 33rd St., just off I-75 between Sun City Center and Ruskin at the corner of 33rd Street and 14th Avenue. Check in time is from 9 to 10 a.m., and the fast-paced auction runs from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. A food truck will be on site and cash, checks or credit cards will be accepted for such items as furniture, antiques, tools, jewelry, building supplies, lawn tools, leather sofas, an RV refrigerator, clothing lots and much, much more. The public is urged to bring their own chairs and sit in the shade to support this worthy cause with their presence and their check, cash or credit card. The AIF is a 501(c)3 nonprofit so anyone making a successful bid or making a donation is eligible for a tax deduction.
American Ideals Foundation is the brainchild of Moffa, an accomplished and renowned composer and pianist, a musician of special works who specializes in writing romantic, contemporary music for life legacies, humanity, historical works and special world and local events.
Inspired by his passion for the pursuit and securement of liberty since the early 1960s, Moffa established AIF in 1982 to recognize and honor visionaries, philanthropists, pioneers and social problem-solvers who have changed the way America supports its less fortunate and supports its national defenders: Military members and first responders.
According to Moffa, the AIF serves as a nonprofit, liberty-spirited, arts-in-action organization that honors the principles of hard work, dedication to duty, love of country and love of family.
Moffa points out that the AIF has created community arts councils to ensure cultural development. He said all such events are free to the public and include a variety of artistic productions, such as music, paintings, poetry, dance, theater and sculpture. These foundation events provide entertainment and fundraising events.
Along with Moffa, other AIF board members are his wife Marcie Moffa, chief financial officer; Mary Crumbly, president; retired and service disabled U.S. Army SSG Lyle Allen; SFC Archie Sanders; and Donna Gavin Ashley, creator of Aunt Don’s Butterfly Garden.
The AIF, according to Moffa, is comprised of several divisions, each with a specific target beneficiary group and each with different service programs. The one common thread, said Moffa, is that they all have a positive impact on the lives of the individuals served and on humanity. In fact, Moffa likes to refer to the various programs as the Bridge to Humanity, followed by a phrase specifying the particular program, such as Housing/Job Training, or the Medical Arts, or the Power of the Arts, or Our Children, or Our Military Heroes.
Moffa sums up, saying, “The American Ideals Foundation has consistently preserved and honored the American ideals of freedom, and expressed mankind’s quest for the life that liberty offers.”