Splashing into Change

June 2022
Written By: 
Sam Ikner
Photographs by: 
Kara Stovall Photography

Tara Grinna and Welvista have partnered to increase accessibility to health care in South Carolina

(Left) Noel and David Stone; (Right) Peggy McMaster, Julie Nierstedt and Kathy Konduros.

This past March, Tara Grinna of Tara Grinna Swimwear and Juanita Wright, CEO of Welvista, hosted the SPLASH Charity Gala to support Welvista’s mission to make healthcare and medical services affordable to all South Carolinians. We were lucky enough to interview the organizer of the event, Tara Grinna. 

“I met Juanita Wright on the evening of the opening of our Charleston store. She came down from Columbia to talk to me about another project. We had lunch together the next day… and she began to explain her passion for Welvista. I was immediately impressed by the life-saving impact that Welvista has on our state,” Grinna says. 

Wright and Grinna became fast friends, sharing ideas and exchanging visits to each other’s home to talk about the ways they could help Welvista’s vision of a happier and healthier South Carolina become reality. 

“I was eventually invited to join the board of directors," says Grinna. "My service to the board has been primarily to assist in the promotion of the cause… My goal is to make sure everyone in South Carolina knows what Welvista does for so many people!” 

Due to COVID-19, the SPLASH event was postponed for two years. However, this just increased Grinna’s resolve to make this show the “most talked about event of the year for the Grand Strand.” Grinna notes that without her dedicated team of volunteers, the show wouldn’t have been nearly as successful in its fundraising goals.  “Our wonderful team of volunteers made it possible for this inaugural event to be one of the largest sponsored events that the Grand Strand has seen to date, securing over $150,000 in sponsorship before we even opened the doors to the show," she says. "After all was said and done, we raised approximately a quarter million dollars for Welvista!” 

With such great success during the first event, Grinna notes that SPLASH 2023 is a definite. “I’m convinced we can be even bigger and better next year,” Grinna says. 

The show took the audience on a journey, with the opening act featuring dancers from the Coastal Ballet Theatre. Afterwards, Tara Grinna Swimwear put on a runway show for the first time in many years, featuring the Tara Grinna Spring/Summer 2022 and Cruise 2023 collections. Over 180 styled looks were produced for the show, which Grinna notes as one of the biggest challenges the team overcame. 

“After not producing shows for a few years now, getting back into the project was fun and exciting," says Grinna.  "Locally, we do not have access to all of the things we have in Miami [where former shows were produced], so I had to seek out and purchase some items that would ordinarily be readily available.”  For Grinna and Welvista, there are some fun projects in the near future. Grinna’s dream is to expand into an annual event that can be held in other cities across South Carolina. 

“Once a show like this is organized, it’s easy to pick up and take it to other locations,” Grinna notes.  “I would like to thank everyone who has made it possible to live my dream,” Grinna says. “Firstly, I would like to thank my family, my team, the retail stylists, the staff at the manufacturing facility, and all of those on our Italian team who allow us to provide quality and luxury to our loyal clients all year long!” 

For more information and to see what’s in store for SPLASH 2023, visit welvista.org