Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Mary Ann Robinson

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mary Ann Robinson is a socialite who never had to work a day if she didn't want to. But all her life she's worked tirelessly to help others.

She's on the front lines of many Suncoast charities and arts organizations, using her clout to turn parties and social events into fundraisers for worthy causes.

Recently the City of Sarasota held a big celebration to pay tribute to her. "She was given the honor of a proclamation, Mary Robinson Day. She's also had the Cann Building named after her," says Ida Zita of the Designing Women Consignment Boutique.

Representatives from the many organizations she has helped packed the reception to thank her.

She doesn't just give money, she also gives her time and devotion. "Money is great to have, but it doesn't buy love and caring."

She's a big part of the success of the Designing Women Consignment Boutique, and has personally rescued abused women for SPARCC. "I would go out and tell the girls to meet, and I would take them into the safe house."

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Mary married right after college. Her husband had great success, and she volunteered, helping troubled kids.

"My husband died; I met a very, very nice man and he had a bad wife before me…good thing for me, he really liked me." That was Robbie Robinson. The two threw themselves into the community, raising money for worthy causes. "Since my husband was successful, I can take some money and build it up, come to a fashion show and party and have fun, and you're really helping people."

His death hit her hard.

"When I lost the two husbands, I thought life was over. I went into the gay community and into the black community and I found a new life, not always thinking of myself, but trying to think of others."

Mary Ann Robinson


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