Jorgie Franks (right) holding the Honorary Mayor of Brandon plaque, which now bears her name. With her are former honorary mayors Dawn Marshall (left) and Lisa Rodriguez. (Photo credit: Linda Chion.)

Jorgie Franks in her successful race for Honorary Mayor of Brandon collected close to $15,000 for area nonprofits, which she distributed at a celebration at The Regent in Riverview in July.

There, days after the Greater Brandon Fourth of July, Franks handed out checks to the nonprofits she selected to benefit from her charity race. The Community Roundtable, founded more than 60 years ago as the Roundtable Charities of Greater Brandon, runs both the parade and the mayor’s race.

In testament to that tradition, Franks at The Regent held a plaque that bears engraved markers for each of the town’s honorary mayors, starting with the first three to earn the honor, Nat Storms (1959-60), followed by Eva Yonconish and Dick Stowers, the namesake of the elementary school in Lithia. Franks’ engraving is the last one to fit on the plaque of 60 names, which includes Melissa Haskins (2018-19), and before her, Sue Burkett, Chuck Burgess, Michelle Hernandez and Liz Brewer.

The candidate who, from June 1 through 8 a.m. on July 4, collects the most fundraising dollars earns the title. Franks ran her race unopposed, as did the two mayors during the coronavirus pandemic, Melissa Canfield (2021-22) and Dawn Marshall (2020-21).

Franks raised $14,650, of which 15 percent was automatically earmarked for the roundtable itself, which received $2,197.50. Also receiving checks are Family Promise of Hillsborough County, a charity that works with the homeless, and Women Centered 4 Success, a nonprofit dedicated to helping women through difficult seasons in their lives. Each of the two charities received 26.5 percent of the proceeds, amounting to $3,882.25 apiece.

The third charity to benefit, Kiwanis Club of Greater Brandon, received the 10 percent set aside, as required, for the candidate’s sponsoring nonprofit ($1,465), plus a check for 22 percent of the proceeds ($3,223). Franks is a board member and past president of this Kiwanis club, which was founded in 1960.

“If you’ve seen those bumper stickers that say, ‘My Kid is a Terrific Kid,’ that is Kiwanis,” Franks said. “If you’ve heard of Key Club, that is Kiwanis.”

With its deep history, weekly meetings and featured speakers, Franks added, “Kiwanis motivates you to really want to be involved.”

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