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SRQ DAILY Jul 4, 2015

"Independent philanthropy has grown, and more and more people of every age and resource level are not just giving but actively participating in the organizations they deeply care about."

- Roxie Jerde, Community Foundation of Sarasota County

[From Shelli Freeland Eddie]  I Apologize For Triggering Division
Shelli Freeland Eddie

I apologize to Equality Florida, my supporters, and the entire community, for expressing my faith's views on same-sex marriage in a way that triggered, among some, feelings of division, intolerance or betrayal. That was not my intention. The Supreme Court's ruling last month legalizing marriage for same sex couples nationwide has sparked many conversations among people of faith who, like me, are grappling with how we reconcile the decision with the teachings of our faith. 

My intent with the email on June 30 was to add clarification to the Equality Florida survey I completed. The survey format did not provide me an opportunity to completely express my views on these serious topics. 

The recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision on same sex marriage represents the division in the U.S. on this issue. We need to continue to have healthy conversations about this issue. As a person of faith, I struggle with same sex marriage on religious grounds; however, this will never interfere with my duty and privilege to represent all the people of my district—ensuring fairness and their constitutional right to equal protection under the law. 

As a sworn officer of the court (attorney) and elected official, I will always defend equal protection under the law, for all citizens, which includes both the Supreme Court’s recent decision on marriage equality, along with the decision in Roe v. Wade—protecting a woman’s right to a safe and legal abortion, under the care and consultation of her physician. 

I regret that my statements have created doubt amongst some regarding my credibility and trust as an elected official, and I will continue to work diligently to serve the people in a manner that moves our city forward, and restores their confidence in my abilities as a commissioner.


Shelli Freeland Eddie is a Sarasota City Commissioner

[Community Giving]  Make Your Philanthropy Go Further
Roxie Jerde

Giving money to a cause is easy, but when you see yourself as an investor in creating good for the people, places or animals you care about, giving can become even more meaningful. Our community offers so many ways to be part of a positive outcome, especially when you view yourself as a force behind achieving results. 

As a philanthropic leader, I’m often asked by donors around the community how we determine whether or not a nonprofit or one of its programs is a good investment. The solution is simple: be proactive, do research, open up a dialogue, and ask questions.

Independent philanthropy has grown, and more and more people of every age and resource level are not just giving but actively participating in the organizations they deeply care about.

While it’s important to align your values with your dollars, it’s also important to consider if your investment is moving the needle, no matter if you have $50 or $50,000 to give.  

Here are four powerful questions you can ask nonprofit organizations when considering an initiative or program to support:

  • How are your programs and services impacting people in the short-term?
  • In the long-term, how will my dollars create positive change?
  • How do you monitor and report on success?
  • What are some specific examples of success?

Also vital in identifying whether a nonprofit is effective enough to warrant your philanthropic resources is figuring out whether the organization has strong, committed and ethical leadership, diverse funding sources, and the ability to articulate goals.

There are some great tools available to allow yourself to do your own investigating. Open to philanthropists of all shapes and sizes, The Giving Partner (http://www.thegivingpartner.org) is an online tool that provides in-depth information about more than 430 nonprofit organizations that serve Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties. Each of these nonprofits has made a commitment to transparency by sharing verified, detailed information on programmatic results, leadership, governance and financial history. Organizations can also list needs and current matching opportunities, so you can know how to get the greatest impact out of your dollars.

Even if you want to share your time or talent, The Giving Partner can help you find organizations that appeal to you and can tell you a lot about whether you might be a good fit for a volunteer, consulting or board position.

Lastly, transparency works both ways. Don’t just be a dollar sign or another name on a mailing list to a nonprofit. If you are truly viewing your donation as an investment, think of yourself as a partner and help the organization understand your aspirations and expectations for your charitable dollars, as well as the impact you want to make.

When it comes to so many things in life like thinking about what school you’re going to send your child to, what hotel you stay in for your next vacation, diversifying your investment portfolio or even smaller decisions like which new smartphone to buy, doing your homework and making an informed decision is a no-brainer. Why should it be any different with philanthropy? 

SRQ Daily columnist Roxie Jerde is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

[Chamber]  How Can We Turn Up Turnout?
Kevin Cooper, Kcooper@sarasotachamber.com

Voters in the City of Sarasota may soon be asked to consider a critical mechanism behind one of the country’s most fundamental elements: democratic elections.  On July 6, at a City Commission meeting, the agenda calls for discussion on “changing City elections to coincide with federal and state elections in even-numbered years.”  For those less familiar with the City’s process, elections are currently held during the spring in odd-numbered years.

There are a number of reasons that communities might choose to hold their elections in a pattern that differs from federal and state election cycles. In the City of Sarasota, there are many good and reasonable people with differing opinions on when elections should take place.  Regardless of the community, or the opinion, the goal should always be fundamentally rooted in maximizing voter participation.

A core concern some have with moving City elections in line with federal and state cycles is that City items would then be shuffled further down the ballot than they would otherwise appear currently. In effect, a ballot is laid out in a specific order that would triage City items below a number of other offices (e.g., President). This concern is typically referred to as ‘down ballot fall-off.’ The theory is that the longer a ballot gets, the less likely someone is to move all the way through it. Therefore, voter participation in City elections could suffer because City items would effectively get lost at the bottom of a ballot.

In the City’s 2015 runoff election, overall voter turnout was 18.7 percent.  Granted, some voters would only find charter amendments on their ballot, but participation wasn’t too far off from previous elections.  For the 2013 general and runoff elections, where two elections are sometimes needed to elect a Commissioner, voter turnout was 17.34 percent and 19.97 percent respectively. In 2011, turnout was 17.78 percent and 14.81 percent respectively. 

During the 2014 statewide general election, the City of North Port had two Commission races on the ballot. While battling for attention amidst an election for Governor, and the roughly 17 other items that appeared on the ballot ahead of them, voter participation in the North Port specific races was over 42 percent. 

During that same election, the City of Venice had one Council seat up for election. The City of Venice was likewise afflicted with the laundry list of other ballot items that appeared before it.  That contest saw a voter turnout of over 54 percent.  Interestingly, in 2011, an odd-numbered year, the last time that same seat was contested, and where it was one of only two items on the ballot, the turnout was 23.74 percent.

While local municipalities differ in many respects, particularly in the makeup of their electorate, there is no city-specific variable that could reasonably explain the drastic difference in voter participation across elections. 

During the process of discourse on the topic, the public should be aware that this ‘down ballot fall-off’ concern does not appear to be validated by any local, factual data. The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce leadership believes that, ultimately, the question of whether or not to move the City’s elections should be posed to the electorate on a ballot at referendum…. perhaps one coinciding with a federal and state election cycle during an even-numbered year. 

SRQ Daily Columnist Kevin Cooper is the vice president for Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[Robert's Rules]  Engineering Inspiration
Robert Davie

Something that inspired me at the show is what they do with water features. They have engineered everything to the last millimeter of the metal. They use things like black anodized aluminum that is absolutely so perfect that one edge is the same as the other edge, and they set in place to where three water troughs will spill into each other. It looks like pools of glass mirrors. It doesn’t look natural, and doesn’t pretend to look natural. These things are contrived and engineered because somebody is creating a non-natural water feature to become a focal feature. Whenever you take time to engineer that, you come up with a breathtaking water feature and arrangement.

Sophisticated displays of this nature take a great deal of planning, and of course money. You are inspired by these pieces at the show and things like this are expensive. Whenever you do have somebody that wants this level of creativity, it takes money, time, effort and engineering. I try to say, ‘How can I incorporate something like this into a project without all of the time and money.’ I really enjoy a project where I can incorporate some of these features and inspiration.

It is the garden show of the world. You go to this show for ideas, and also to extrapolate, ‘How did they do this? How did they engineer this? How is it even physically possible” Is it practical so it can be lasting?’ You ask yourself all those questions, and if there  is a way to adapt a partial concept and make it work on my project. 

Robert Davie is the founder of Robert Davie Landscaping

[TODAY]  A Sky Ablaze

This 4th of July, grab your friends and families, beach chairs, picnic basket and sparklers and head to Marina Jack to watch as the skies over Sarasota Bay are emblazoned with a million sparkling lights. The 8th Annual Bayfront Fireworks, part of the 30th Annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival, is a longstanding local tradition not to be missed. One of the region’s largest pyrotechnic shows, the festivities begin at 9 pm featuring Zambelli Fireworks. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack, O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill and Island Park. Proceeds from the event will benefit SunCoast Charities for Children.  

Marina Jack's

[SCOOP]  Beachfront Bliss

It’s official, there’s a new resort slated to open in Longboat Key called the Zota Beach Resort. Located on the former Hilton property on Gulf of Mexico Drive, the 187 room beachfront property will open its doors in 2016. The resort will feature a brand new 84-room tower in addiction to 103 completely renovated rooms with an impressive modern design. In addition to the new living spaces, a sleek new lobby, a sun-drenched pool area, a stylish restaurant and wine bar, and a state-of-the-art meeting space will round out the offerings at this exclusive location in one of the most highly sought after oceanfront destinations in the country. Why Zota? “We wanted the name of the resort to reflect something unique and indigenous to the destination,” said Roy Padgett, General Manager of the resort. “Zota” is believed to be a native word meaning blue waters and “Zara” is thought to be a reference to Sahara-like sands, and thus Longboat Key and the surrounding area became know as “Zara Zota” or “Sahara by the blue waters.” In creating the logo, the company wanted to “reflect the relaxed ambiance of the new resort and the Longboat Key lifestyle.” Within the logo, you can see the color palette of the island lifestyle with the sandy beaches, the ocean surf, and the varying hues of emerald and aqua green that the Gulf of Mexico is renowned for, all of which come together as a beautiful representation of island elegance and relaxation.  

Southwest Florida Collection- Zota Beach Resort

[SCOOP]  Big Dogs Need Love Too!

Some dogs need a little extra help getting adopted so the Humane Society of Sarasota County has reduced adoption fees for these special canines. All of July, adoption fees are only $40 for dogs over 40lbs. Adoption fees include a comprehensive medical exam, vaccinations, spay or neutering, deworming and micro-chipping. “Many shelter dogs get overlooked because of their size, especially those over 40lbs.”, said Christen Benson, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. “But that just means there is more to love! Our large dogs tend to have longer stays and our staff and volunteers get to really know them as a result. We can use that knowledge to successfully match these dogs with loving and lasting homes.” Make a shelter dog’s dream of finding a home come true and adopt today! 

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[SOON]  Iron Chef- Gecko's Edition

Join Gecko’s Grill and Pub to celebrate the culinary creativity of your favorite Gecko’s Chefs during the Annual Gecko’s Iron Chef Challenge.  From July 20 – August 23, each of our six Gecko’s will participate in a weekly special Iron Chef Menu, designing delectable and inventive fare, along with some of your tried & true Gecko’s favorites with a creative twist.  Suggested wine or craft beer pairings complete the Challenge.  You can enjoy sampling what the Gecko’s Kitchens have up their Chef Jacket sleeves & our Chefs flex a little culinary muscle and compete against each other for their guests’ favor and a grand prize.  Whichever Iron Chef Special Menu is the favorite of our Gecko’s guests for the week, wins the Iron Chef Title for that week, with one Grand Iron Chef named after the knives have been cleaned and put away in August. Come enjoy as the Gecko’s chefs fire up their kitchens, and be prepared for a whirlwind of flavor and fun! 

Gecko's Grill and Pub

[SCOOP]  Say "I Do" at the Blues

To kick off the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival, Realize Bradenton, the producing force behind the festival, and the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau are unveiling a national "Say I Do at the Blues" contest. The winning couple, who must be U.S. or Canadian residents, 21 years or older and live outside of the state of Florida, will be married on stage at the 2015 Bradenton Blues Festival on December 5, and be showered with a total prize package valued at $6,200. The package includes vouchers for round-trip airfare, a four-night stay on Anna Maria Island, four VIP tickets to the festival, a full wedding ceremony with cake and bouquet, a wedding photographer, gift certificates for nail and hair treatments, gift certificates to Bradenton-area restaurants, a winery tour, and certificates for area cruises and recreational opportunities To enter, couples must submit a video explaining why they want to be married at the Bradenton Blues Festival. All video submissions must be no more than 2 minutes in length. Entries must be received by Monday, September 14, by 5 p.m. EST. The winning couple will be notified on September 24. For Blues Festival spectators, last year’s festival was at capacity, so organizers are stressing the importance of buying your tickets in advance so make sure to do so for the chance to see an all-star blues lineup! 

Realize Bradenton- Blues Wedding

[SCOOP]  July at Michael's

Michael’s on East is staying busy in the month of July! From now through the end of the month, you can take a Greek Epicurean Adventure for dinner or lunch that delivers the traditional flavors and spices of the eastern Mediterranean. The restaurant will be open on Independence Day for a night of celebration, and on the same day, you can experience Michael’s cuisine catered at Selby Gardens’ All American Barbecue. In regards to philanthropy, every Monday through the end of September, Michael’s on East will be donating a percentage of the restaurant’s beverage sales to the Children’s Healthy Pantry. You also have a chance to enjoy events at Michael’s Wine Cellar for a $10 admission fee during the July Open House Wine Tasting on July 11 or the or the July Whiskey Club Tasting on July 14. Head on over today and celebrate July with Michael’s on East.  

Michael's on East

[SOON]  Operation Kindness

On Monday, July 6th, Cafe L' Europe is proudly hosting the charity Operation Kindness for a benefit evening. It is all part of the "Community Mondays" program recently launched by the restaurant’s General Manager, Rob McLaughlin, at the historic forty-two year old restaurant on St. Armand's Circle. Over fifty Operation Kindness Volunteers will come together to dine, socialize, and promote the organization's services all while receiving a portion of their check being donated back to them by Cafe L'Europe. Joann Forch, President of Operation Kindness, states that this wonderful charity helps veterans injured, or otherwise impaired to reenter civilian life. The evening will be enhanced by the presence of a K9 for Warriors service dog, highlighting their contribution in the physical and emotional rehabilitation of our struggling veteran women and men. 

Cafe L'Europe

[SOON]  Adopt-a-Palooza

In need of a loyal best friend? Look no further, because the Manatee County Animal Services is hosting the first Pet Adopt-a-Palooza! There will be over 100 adoption ready pets to choose from. These pets come from a wide variety of places but each and every single one of them is looking for a place to call home. There will be rescue groups, specialty retailers, training demos and speakers, and an “ask a vet” booth so that you can get all the information you need about pet adoption. There will also be license tags for sale, on site vaccines, and microchipping for the animals. Make your way over to the Bradenton Area Convention Center on the afternoons of August 1st and 2nd and find your new best friend.  

Manatee County Animal Services

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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