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SRQ Daily May 20, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The Family Haven Alliance did not take shape in a week or a month. Now it is viewed as a national model for helping homeless families succeed."

- Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation
 

[Arts Alliance]  Legislators Deal Setback to the Arts
Jim Shirley, jshirley@sarasotaarts.org

Sarasota’s local arts and cultural organizations (along with every cultural organization in Florida) suffered a significant decrease in critical funding from this year's legislative session. This is especially perplexing when you consider that nonprofit arts and culture organizations in Florida generate more than $3.1 billion in spending each year, support over 88,326 full-time equivalent jobs, generate $2.1 billion in household income to local residents and deliver $446.5 million in local and state government revenue. In Sarasota County alone, the nonprofit arts and cultural organizations provide over 5,000 jobs, making them one of the largest employers in the county. These same organizations also spend over $180 million each year on goods and services provided by area businesses.

In recognition of these enviable achievements, the legislature proposed a cut of almost 60 percent from the fully vetted and recommended funding levels for the Cultural and Museum Grant program. This recommendation will have a direct, devastating impact on 480 cultural institutions statewide, including 17 of Sarasota County’s largest organizations. The outcomes are simple to assess. Organizations like Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Ballet, Florida Studio Theatre and Asolo Repertory Theatre and more who qualify for $ 150,000 in grant funding are recommended to receive approximately one third of that amount. In the nonprofit arts world, it is exceptionally difficult to make up that kind of financial support in ticket sales or local sponsorships.

It is difficult to understand the legislature’s thinking in this process when you consider that every dollar granted to these organizations must be matched dollar for dollar by the organization as a stipulation of the grant requirements. Additionally, numerous studies show that every dollar invested in the cultural arts programs generates another $5 in spending by local residents, tourists and businesses. Any logical businessperson or investor would see that this represents an outstanding return on investment and would seek more of them.

As Florida continues the tremendous population growth that we are experiencing, we should be supporting programs that are financially sound and improve our quality of life and education, not cutting them. We must do a better job on the local level to help our legislators understand how important arts and culture are as an economic driver and tourism generator. Advocacy only works when we join together to generate a loud voice that says the arts do matter. Every letter and every telephone call helps. We hope you will join us in letting your voice be heard by our local legislators and to the legislative leadership in Tallahassee.

Jim Shirley is executive director for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. 

[Higher Education]  SCF a Financial Role Model
Carol Probstfeld, probstc@scf.edu

I congratulated more than 350 graduates at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, Spring commencement ceremony in early May. In our graduates’ eyes, I saw pride in their accomplishments. I hope the pride in my eyes reflected back on them.

I’m proud they chose SCF as their path to a college degree and a step forward in life. These students have so many options available to them, but I think they find something in common with our College. Most of our students work full- or part-time in order to finance their education, which is just a step toward the goals they have set for themselves. They are on a budget and if there is anything extra, it gets tucked away for a rainy day or emergency expense.

At SCF, we too save for that rainy day or emergency. We make every effort to be a financial role model for our students. The college’s income is from state budget allocations and tuition. We work hard to find efficiencies in our annual budget and set money aside in our reserve funds for future needs and emergencies. Just like our students, we save to strategically invest in our future. We are always fiscally responsible with the taxpayers’ and our students’ money.

Our savings—known as our financial reserves—are dedicated to our long-term goals for campus and program improvements, construction projects and the inevitable disaster recovery. When we discuss financial literacy with our students, we recommend saving for three to six months of expenses. By contrast, the state mandates that the college maintain 5 percent of our annual budget in reserves. That is just three weeks of operating costs for SCF. It would be irresponsible to leave our institution that financially vulnerable.

Healthy financial reserves allow us to cover the costs of improvements to our facilities without requesting additional money from the state. In the past year, we used money from financial reserves to replace the chiller plant—the facilities that provide air conditioning to buildings—on our Bradenton campus with new, high-efficiency equipment that has created impressive cost savings. We will do the same for our Venice campus next year, again without requesting additional funding from the state. We made the improvements when we needed them, creating long-term benefits for our institution.

I have to address two misconceptions that surfaced in the recent legislative session about financial reserves and foundation spending at Florida’s state and community colleges.

First, as stated above, our financial reserves are the result of strategic saving and fund a long-term plan for the maintenance and growth of our institution. Second, our SCF Foundation engages with our community to raise funds for student scholarships, construction projects and improvements and program upgrades. The college’s $374,000 investment returns almost $7 million in gifts, revenue and investment appreciations. Who wouldn’t take that return on investment? Our students directly benefit from the efforts of our Foundation and the contributions of the generous community in which we live.

The notion that SCF could be penalized in its state budget allocation for responsibly managing state funds and investing in the success of our students and community is shocking and counterintuitive. The college is asked repeatedly to behave more like private industry, to find efficiencies in its business model; we have, and those efficiencies allow us to save and invest in our future for our community.

Viewed through the lens of financial responsibility, strategic saving and savvy investing are worthy of reward, not penalty. This is the example we set for our students and graduates. Our institution is a reflection of the students who attend SCF and our graduates who serve our community. SCF is proud to be a model for those who see so much of themselves in our college.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[Argus]  Encourage Reinvestment in Sarasota
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

I am from Western New York. It is an area that was dying a slow death the entire 22 years I lived there. As you look to the southern part of Western New York, you will find a 17-mile body of water called Chautauqua Lake. On one end of the lake is a beautiful institute that has been modeled around the world for arts and education programs. On the other end is the City of Jamestown, the birthplace of Lucille Ball and home to the alternative rock band 10,000 Maniacs. Jamestown has historically been plagued with a tough economy and poverty. The actress-comedian and the band were symbols of hope to a community that was economically suffering while I grew up.  

Jamestown has mobilized and gotten together to take care of and improve their economy. They formed a nonprofit called the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation to bring an economic vision to the city. Their efforts are on-going. The Post-Journal, the local newspaper in Jamestown, published an article this week, “City Plans New Redevelopment Tax Abatement.” This is a program aimed at encouraging redevelopment in the City of Jamestown. The program is aimed at vacant buildings and those that have outstanding code violations. Taxes will be abated on a sliding scale over a period of 11 years to encourage redevelopment. Jamestown wants to beautify their community and economically grow.

As I read this article, it struck me how much we take for granted here in Sarasota. This month, the City of Sarasota put forth the erasure of mobility impact fee credits for properties that have razed buildings from a parcel, whether that removal improved the community or not. These properties have already paid or been accounted for in their impact to city facilities. This means this is really a redevelopment tax. It affects every property owner in the city, including homeowners. At the hearing, the commission sent the proposal back to the city attorney to take another look at this, and include perhaps looking at extinguishing credit for a property that has a vacancy instead of a structure removed. That’s right, a possible tax for a struggling property that a flourishing property will not have to pay.

I think about the effects on Sarasota areas that need economic help. These areas do not need obstacles to their own renaissance. Many of the residents of these areas have been there for generations and want to reinvest in their communities and see them strengthened, like Jamestown does. They stay out of love for their community and their family. This is an incentive to leave as it will cost more to invest there than to go realize their dreams elsewhere. While this may sound good to no-growthers for traffic concerns, make no mistake about it, it will hasten the economic demise of our most historic and important communities that need our attention and help the most.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[Gulf Coast]  Willing to Act on Adult Homelessness
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

Finally, some good news on a serious issue that has vexed our community for years: a realistic plan to effectively address chronic adult homelessness.

Congratulations to the commissions of both the City and the County of Sarasota. Our community has been looking for leadership that would break the logjam that halted any positive progress. Now it’s up to us—the community—to encourage the implementation of recommendations laid out in a new report accepted by both governments last month. (I encourage you to read Sarasota: Creating an Effective Homeless Crisis Response System by visiting the city’s or the county’s website or by going to ours at GulfCoastCF.org.)

We should thank report author Dr. Susan Porciau, chief operating office of the nonprofit Florida Housing Coalition, for helping our leaders reach consensus. She recommended that we build on our existing strengths. They include the Family Haven Alliance, which has made family homelessness a relatively rare and brief episode for families. We have well-established, hard-working service agencies already in place that can provide similar services to the chronic adult population. And they have become experts in coordinating their respective services, such as providing counseling, locating places to live and teaching life and financial literacy skills.

Next steps toward implementation have already begun. Both commissions have empowered their respective staffs to move forward on executing Dr. Porciau’s recommendations. Their unanimity is laudable.

We also understand that the desire for results is urgent. Our community’s patience has been taxed by this long-running issue and incremental improvements may not seem transformative. But we learned something at Gulf Coast, along with our nonprofit partners and donors, in creating the Family Haven Alliance. When it comes to this issue, you will experience great successes and occasional failure. You have to prototype, learn from mistakes and continually adjust before results can be scaled. The Family Haven Alliance did not take shape in a week or a month. Now it is viewed as a national model for helping homeless families succeed.

In examining the details of Dr. Porciau’s recommendations before accepting her report, County Commissioner Charles Hines correctly stated: “We’ve got more work to do.” Many stakeholders will have vital roles and responsibilities in designing the implementation plan. At Gulf Coast, we are optimistic and ready to do our part, in collaboration and across sectors. As Dr. Porciau suggests, the fruits of that collective effort “will lead the community to move quickly from recommendations to action, and from action to success.” And that success will improve the quality of life for everyone in our community.

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[Letter from Frank Filipanits]  Leave 'Team' Loyalties in Sports
Frank Filipanits

I was disappointed to read your SRQ Daily article "Can Dems Compete in GOP Region in ’18?,” the tone and vocabulary of which was more appropriate for the sports section than politics.

Politics and governance is more than just a game; it has real, sometimes life and death, consequences. The idea of rooting for “your team” regardless of position, qualification or competence of a particular candidate is a significant contributing factor to the complete dysfunction of our current political landscape.

Governance is a complex, multi-dimensional enterprise. It is the duty of every citizen—and particularly members of the press—to be informed, and to demand more of our representatives than just picking red or blue.

Please leave the sports metaphors in the locker room next time, and elevate the discussion to match the gravity of the stakes.

Frank Filipanits, Sarasota. 



[SCOOP]  SMH Launches Wayfinder App

Sarasota Memorial Hospital is renowned for the high-tech robots and medical devices spread across its expansive multi-tower campus. Now, it is the first hospital in the nation to deploy an innovative geomagnetic wayfinding app, powered by the Earth, to help people find their way around its 1.5 million square foot medical grounds. Unlike GPS systems, that rely on satellite signals and do not work indoors, the “SMH Wayfinder” app uses the digital compass and sensors inside smartphones by communicating with the magnetic footprint found inside buildings to help people pinpoint their exact location indoors so users may easily find their way to their destination. The app is available for immediate download from Apple and Android stores. 

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare

[SCOOP ]  12th Annual Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week

The 12th annual Savor Sarasota Restaurant Week returns June 1 – 14  with over 79 restaurants on board to participate. Hosted by Visit Sarasota County (VSC), this much-anticipated culinary celebration includes many of Sarasota’s acclaimed restaurants. Guests can enjoy $32 pre-set three-course dinner menus and multi course lunch menus for just $16, allowing visitors a chance to sample eclectic offerings of Sarasota’s diverse cuisine. Participating restaurants to date include a mix of annual favorites and eleven restaurants are new to the 2017 program. Also new at this years event, is a mobile app to help diners plan their eating adventures.  Savor Sarasota App is the newest way to learn easily accessible information on participating Savor Sarasota Restaurants, and includes a “favorites” feature that encourages users to create their own list of Savor Restaurants they’d like to check out.  

Savor Sarasota

[KUDOS]  Goodwill Manasota Receives 2017 GII Center of Excellence Award

During the recent Goodwill Industries International (GII) spring conference in Houston, Goodwill Manasota was honored with one of three 2017 GII Center of Excellence awards, in the midsize organization category. The Center of Excellence awards enable Goodwill member organizations to be recognized as leaders in family strengthening, to foster continuous improvement, to increase Goodwill’s capacity to serve individuals, families and communities and to promote the replication of effective practices. Goodwill Manasota received the award for its Job Connection program, which offers free career services, financial literacy services, offering classes covering budgeting and debt reduction by providing tools and resources so participants can make sound financial decisions and the Veterans Services Program, which helps veterans to reintegrate into their families, communities and jobs. These programs demonstrate the investment the Goodwill is making to advance career navigation, financial capability and inclusion as well as equitable access for both the people they serve and employ.


 

Goodwill Manasota

[KUDOS ]  Queen Of The Air Dolly Jacobs Awarded Voice Of Sarasota

Co–founder of the Circus Arts Conservatory (CAC), Dolly Jacobs was honored with the Voice of Sarasota Award from Visit Sarasota County at the organisation’s National Travel & Tourism Week Awards Luncheon last week. Upon learning she had been chosen for this award Jacobs expressed, “I was blown away, literally speechless. But the more I’ve gotten my arms around it, the more I’ve realized it’s not all about me, but about our industry and I accept it on behalf of all the greats before me that paved the way for the rest of us”. The CAC is proud to share  their performances, training and outreach within the community in order to preserve the legacy of the circus arts and appreciative of Dolly for all that she does for the circus arts and Sarasota.


 

Circus Arts Conservatory

[SCOOP]  Vineyard And Vines Joins Mall At UTC

Vineyard Vines and its signature pink whale will join the lineup at The Mall at University Town Center this fall.The brand’s first Sarasota location will offer signature neckwear, a variety of lifestyle clothing as well as accessories for men, women and children. A brand best known for its whimsical neckties and smiling pink whale logo, vineyard vines was founded in 1998 by brothers Shep & Ian Murray. Products are sold in over 600 specialty and department stores worldwide, more than 90 freestanding stores, through a seasonal catalog and online.The 3,451 sq. ft. store will be located on the center’s upper level near Grand Court.


 

Mall At UTC

[KUDOS ]  Training The Next Generation Of Skilled Workers

Several Booker Middle School students are now one step closer to fulfilling their dreams of becoming Certified Nursing Assistants. The class of 11 newly pinned nursing assistants is the second cohort to graduate from the CareerEdge and United Way Suncoast Booker Middle School Resource Center’s CNA program. The program was implemented to assist families in becoming financially stable and self sufficient, create access to career-laddering opportunities and begin a new chapter in their lives. The graduates participated in a CNA job fair prior to the graduation ceremony to network and potentially gain full-time employment down the road. Many of the students are hoping to continue their education to become Registered Nurses or Licensed Practical Nurses.  

United Way Suncoast

[SCOOP ]  Macy's And The YMCA Are Sending Kids To Summer Camp

For the first time, Macy’s and the YMCA unite for a give back program that will help send kids to summer camp. From May 19-21, customers can give $3 at the register at  the Macy’s Westfield at Southgate Mall store or on Macy’s website to help send kids to camp. Donations will support the YMCA’s camp scholarship program, which ensures all kids, especially those who otherwise can’t afford to attend, have a camp experience. Youth programs at the YMCA focus on nurturing the potential of children and helping them grow in spirit, mind and body. Camps encourage fun and friendship as well as provide the opportunity for young people to build self-esteem, develop interpersonal skills and make lasting memories. 

Macy's

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Where The Votes Are , May 23, 7:30am-9:00am

Join SRQ Media and Senior Editor Jacob Ogles on Tuesday May 23rd from 7:30am-9:00am at SRQ Studios for a precinct-by-precinct analysis of the May 9 Municipal Election featuring highlights and key findings. $5 cover includes a morning spread of coffee and mouth watering donuts courtesy of FiveO Donut Co. Please rsvp to rsvp@srqme.com at your earliest convenience.

SRQ Studios , 331 S. Pineapple Ave, Sarasota 34236

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Jacob Ogles. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising, please contact Ashley Ryan at 941-365-7702 x211 or at her contact page. To unsubscribe, please click here.

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