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SRQ DAILY Nov 25, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Tax reform should reduce tax liability for ALICE families, not harm the ability of social service and educational institutions to positively impact their lives."

- Mireya Eavey, United Way Suncoast

[Under The Hood]  Celebrate Small Business Saturday
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

With the trials of family holidays and the terrors of chain stores on Black Friday behind us, locally-owned retailers hope to Gulf Coast shoppers find good reason to venture into brick-and-mortar shops on today, Small Business Saturday. While there may not be a line of people camped out in front of any storefronts, the chance to find gifts that aren’t advertised in national circulars offers plenty of reason to trek into places only found in this market.

“Nothing is more special than getting a jewelry box from a downtown jeweler, who knows you and knows you face from around downtown, or to walk into a place like Panache and [the sales person] knows your personal style or can buy with your style in mind,”” says Laura Kresl, marketing coordinator for the Sarasota Downtown Merchants Association. The business organization’s website right now heavily promotes Small Business Saturday, an answer to mall-based rush on Black Friday and to e-retailer’s efforts on Cyber Monday. The merchants’ site spotlights local businesses welcoming customers today and everyday downtown.

American Express has been running a Shop Small countdown to the start of Small Business Saturday. And in addition to directing customers to businesses participating in the campaign, you can also find substantial data on the economic impact of keeping your dollars in local cash registers. American Express notes that 2.4 million small businesses operate in Florida, and as of 2014, those businesses employed 42.8 percent of the workforce in the Sunshine State.

And local business leaders say the economic figures represent just part of the equation. Heather Kasten, executive director of the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, says that everyone who enjoys the vibrant small down feeling when you walk down Main Street Lakewood Ranch should remember that’s only possible because of the locally owned businesses filling storefronts there. “It’s hometown Americana,” she says, “and what goes along with that is all the small business owners, especially in this world where it is so easy to point, click and ship.”

And of course, many shop owners don’t so much mind is consumers shop online, so long as they buy in town. Kresl, owner of Sarasota-based marketing firm Pro It Out, says merchants realize 80 percent of shoppers today look for goods online before going to the storefront, but when it’s time to see a product in real life, why not check it out at a mom-and-pop store? And when you go to those shops, you just might see something that never popped up in a search on Amazon.

Plus, it beats the madness of a Walmart on Thanksgiving evening. While the mega-brand stores see elbow-to-elbow traffic, the crowds coming to area downtowns remain robust but sane. Why not go somewhere that you can enjoy the weather outside, grab a coffee at Pastry Art and head to find a rare book only available at the stacks of Parker’s Books?

Certainly, the Gulf Coast reaps benefits both in job creation and in an attractive quality of life by having vital and sustainable commerce in its many active downtown areas. Shopping local today does something to keep the region’s character thriving while also getting some things checked off the holiday shopping list.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

[Education]  An Attitude of Gratitude
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

With the Thanksgiving holiday upon us, we are prompted to reflect on the things we are most grateful for in our lives. Personally, I am most grateful for my family and friends, as well as my health. I am also thankful for the vibrant Ringling College community—the students, faculty, staff and community members who comprise my daily environment, and who surely keep me on my toes as president.

What I like most about gratitude is its reciprocal nature. It makes me feel good to share it; it makes people feel good when they receive it. Gratitude, in the end, is an act of mindfulness as well as kindness. And this level of awareness is something we strive to uphold at Ringling. In the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday, we recently hosted a special event dedicated to sharing our appreciation with the general community—our 2nd Annual Ringling College Gives Thanks Day. And let me tell you, the Ringling College community—especially our students—showed up in full force to give thanks.

On Nov. 10, we had over 700 members of our internal community come together over lunch in the College’s Diane Roskamp Exhibition Hall to express their gratitude by writing thank you notes and recording video messages to our donors. During those few hours, over 1,000 notes and words of kindness were captured and distributed to trustees, donors, community partners and alumni both near and far. The entire Hall was teeming with joy and gratitude.

So, why is this important? We at Ringling College are very aware that we would not be the institution we are today without the generous support of our donors. After all, it is they who make the difference in enhancing our students’ ability to learn and grow throughout their academic journey. From the scholarships young people receive to make it possible for them to attend Ringling, to the materials and equipment they use in the studios and labs, to the buildings in which they study, nearly every facet of their experience at the College is provided through some element of donor support. And it is important for us to convey to our students the importance of philanthropy and how it benefits them so that they become more aware and hopefully inspire their own giving spirit so they can pay it forward.

Without a doubt, a little gratitude goes a long way. So, I encourage all of us to take a moment to give thanks for both the big and the small things. It is this attitude of gratitude that creates the kind of change in the world that lasts long beyond the holidays.

If you would like a firsthand look at Ringling College Gives Thanks Day, please click here (video).

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design. 

[]  The Importance of Charitable Giving
Mireya Eavey

The holiday season means the start of charitable giving for many families. Giving to your community is a selfless act, and one of the most personal things you can do. By giving to a local social service agency, cultural or educational institution, or your place of worship, you are serving others and improving our collective quality of life.

Charitable giving also reduces your family’s tax bill. About 1.8 million taxpayers in Florida take the charitable deduction, which allows a tax payer to reduce their tax burden in exchange for donating to charity. Nationwide, 31 million take the charitable deduction. But, Congress is taking steps to reduce the use of the charitable deduction, and create a $13 billion loss for charities and non-profits nationwide.

The House tax bill that passed last week includes a provision to increase the standard deduction to $24,000 for couples, which on its face sounds reasonable. However, without changes, it would be devastating to nonprofits in our community. Doubling the standard deduction would reduce the number of filers who itemize their taxes, and decimate an incentive for charitable giving. In considering the impact of this change, Indiana University found that charitable giving would drop by $13 billion, out of $390 billion given nationwide in 2016.

There are families who need real tax relief. We see them every day as part of United Way’s work with ALICE families: Asset Limited, Income Constrained and Employed. They are struggling to afford the regular expenses necessary for their family to be successful. Tax reform should reduce tax liability for ALICE families, not harm the ability of social service and educational institutions to positively impact their lives.

We want tax reform to help working families by making the charitable deduction universal to all taxpayers. This would allow the standard deduction to increase, but maintain the tax benefit that you receive by donating to charities. Expanding the charitable deduction to all taxpayers could result in an additional $4.8 billion for charities and nonprofits, since more filers could seek to gain the tax benefit of charitable contributions.

In the face of government budget cuts, charities and non-profits are being asked to step up to the plate and do more for more people. The loss of $13 billion Florida taxpayers claimed in charitable deductions would only erode our ability to serve our communities.

There are several ways to reduce the tax burden on working families. From Sen. Marco Rubio’s idea to increase and improve the Child Tax Credit, to bipartisan efforts to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit, Congress has options to ensure the tax code treats ALICE families fairly. Making the charitable deduction universal promotes charitable giving and protects nonprofits, and the ALICE families we serve, from the harmful effects of a possible doubled standard deduction.

Mireya Eavey is Sarasota Area president for United Way Suncoast. 

[Best Of SRQ Local]  Cast Your Vote For Best Local Art Gallery!

With so many outta sight artists living and working in the area, it’s only fitting that galleries compete to show their work, staging exhibitions and designing spaces to showcase the talent of one our greatest cultural resources.“While the gallery is full of amazing pieces, what makes them the best is the owners. David & Tre are hands-on and provide excellent service to all of their clients,” said Michael Voigt of 2017’s Best Art Gallery, State of the Arts Gallery. Art is something that can change lives and with our region’s rich artistic background, there are plenty of galleries to go to around. Which one stands out to you? Click below to share your favorite in SRQ Magazine's 2018 Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition. 

Vote Here!

[SCOOP]  Evelyn & Arthur to Support Childrens Healthy Pantry

Continuing its dedication to philanthropy and helping those in less fortunate situations, Evelyn & Arthur, will be collecting healthy snacks and bottled water for kids on behalf of the Children’s Healthy Pantry from December 1-15. The food will be distributed to local Title 1 schools in Sarasota and Manatee counties. In addition to the food drive, Evelyn & Arthur will be fully stocked with holiday merchandise not only help you feel festive, but to help you get some of that holiday shopping done while doing your good deed. As special thanks, shoppers who donate food will receive 10 percent off one item priced $75 or higher.”The healthy snacks and bottled water provided by Children’s Healthy Pantry not only help satisfy kids’ hunger afterschool, but they also help with behavior and learning during school hours since students are better able to focus on their studies when their brains have healthy fuel,” said Adrianne Weissman, president of Evelyn & Arthur.  

Evelyn & Arthur

[SCOOP]  Flad and Gilbane to Build Laurel Road SMH Campus

The Sarasota County Public Hospital Board selected Flad Architects and Gilbane Building Company to design and construct its new $225 million 65-acre hospital campus in Venice. The Hospital Board’s unanimous vote clears the way for SMH staff to begin working with the firms on pre-construction and design plans for the new hospital campus. SMH’s Laurel Road campus includes a 315,000-square foot, 90-bed acute care hospital with a 20-bed observation unit and 25-room Emergency Care Center. The new hospital will include surgical suites, an operating room for medically necessary C-sections; cardiac catheterization lab; endoscopy suite, respiratory services, chemotherapy services, rehabilitation services, radiology services, a laboratory, pharmacy, outpatient services and a medical office building. Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration granted preliminary approval of SMH’s CON application last year, but the project was delayed after surrounding hospitals challenged the state's decision. Once it obtains its CON, SMH estimates it will take about three years to build the campus. It expects to treat up to 5,000 patients and 850 obstetrical patients in its first year. 

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[SCOOP]  Selah Vie Boutique's New Location

Selah Vie Boutique has a new location in downtown Sarasota. Come check it out at 1853 Fruitville Road,  Wednesday through Saturday from 11am-4pm. There will be new vendors, survivor art, almost-new designer brands, re-purposed furniture and more. As the start of the Selah Freedom Village, this location is the best yet. Serving as an awareness hub in the community, all proceeds benefit Selah Freedom programs for survivors. 

Selah Freedom

[KUDOS]  Keep The Dream Alive Benefit

Residents of Aviva, A Campus for Senior Life were the big winners, as more than 300 guests showed their support for quality continuing care for seniors during the Jewish Housing Council Foundation’s 7th Annual Keep the Dream Alive benefit on November 13. The event supported JHCF’s Benevolent Care Program, which provides resources to ensure that qualified Aviva residents are able to remain in their homes even after they have exhausted their savings. While thousands of dollars were raised throughout the evening, it was a special matching gift of $30,000 from the Stone Foundation that highlighted the gathering. “We are deeply grateful to the Stone Foundation for their generosity and to everyone else who contributed to making this such a special night for the Jewish Housing Council Foundation and residents of Aviva,” said Vice President of Philanthropy Scott Anderson.  

Aviva Senior Life

[KUDOS]  Education Foundation Grants over $60,000 to Sarasota County Schools

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County has granted over $60,000 in funding for Sarasota County Schools to support its Middle School College and Career Readiness Project. This funding provides over 6,300 students in eight middle schools  The Naviance College & Career Readiness Curriculum to develop skills and college knowledge needed to reach their postsecondary goals, and AchieveWORKS assessments, providing a comprehensive profile of each student’s strengths. This grant was made possible thanks to generous donations from the Koski Family Foundation and the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation. Every Sarasota County Middle School student will receive 25 minutes of Career Readiness instruction each week and will have access to 17 career lessons annually including a pre- and post-test assessment tool.  Students will also be able to explore their career interests through 3000 videos created by students on various career opportunities through a Naviance platform entitled, RoadTrip Nation. 

Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[SCOOP]  SRQ Offers Shade Parking To Public At Long Term Parking Rates

In anticipation of the holiday season, the Sarasota Manatee Airport Authority has lowered the rate on the airport’s newly constructed shaded parking lot. During the holidays, guests can utilize the shaded lot for the same price as long-term parking (daily maximum $12.00).  The new lot, which provides shaded parking for about 300 vehicles is located on the east side of the terminal and is within easy walking distance. Signage to covered parking on Airport Circle directs you to the lot which is automated and only accepts credit cards as payment where you take a ticket when entering and use a credit card when exiting. 

SRQ Airport

[SCOOP]  Pines of Sarasota Hosts Wit and Wisdom of Aging Luncheon

Pines of Sarasota Foundation will hold its annual Wit and Wisdom of Aging Luncheon on November 29 to benefit Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community. Three hundred guests are expected to hear a panel of local luminaries including Nate Jacobs, Lori White and Matt Walsh, with moderator Ray Collins, of ABC7. With humor and honesty, panelists will discuss the joys and challenges of aging and share the path they’ve taken to this stage of their lives. Proceeds from the luncheon help Pines of Sarasota Foundation support the exceptional and compassionate care provided to each patient and resident at Pines of Sarasota Rehabilitation and Senior Care Community—including those who have outlived their financial resources. 

Pines of Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. 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. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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