Argus Impact

Guest Correspondence

Almost a decade ago, my son was the beneficiary of services provided by The Florida Center for Early Childhood. The nationally accredited nonprofit provides an array of comprehensive therapeutic services, clinical interventions, prevention and early education programming for children and families. It received its start in the late 1980s by generous donations from what is now called Suncoast Charities for Children. Dedicated community businessmen, including Ron Foxworthy, Hollis Tucker, John Stafford, Cal Erb and the late Gene Whipp, turned a passion for powerboat racing and helping children into more than $14 million and 73,000 square feet of donated facilities for similar services across Southwest Florida. The organization rents these spaces to area nonprofits for next to nothing, enabling precious programming dollars to be spent on children like my son. When we sought services for my son, there was a large void in the availability of children’s therapeutic services, particularly in South County, that was being filled by The Florida Center as a result of the work of Suncoast Charities.

Many of the original philanthropic founders of Suncoast Charities for Children are the same leaders who founded The Argus Foundation – an organization where I have the privilege of serving as its executive director. At the time I was seeking help for my son, I knew little about the life-changing assistance provided by the Florida Center and how Suncoast Charities supported them. These services came at a time when my family was in need. Who would have known that one day I would have the honor of working for an organization started by the original benefactors of Suncoast Charities for Children?

When Argus formed in 1983, its original mission was inspired by anti-business sentiment beginning to emerge from government in Sarasota. Despite the anti-business climate, the philanthropic spirit of our founders expanded along with the Argus membership. Most consider their philanthropic role in our community a responsibility. A responsibility that is directly related to our quality of life. Generations of children, like my son, would be left behind if it were not for this purposeful private sector investment in a public need.  

I am humbled every day by our members’ dedication to leaving a lasting legacy in our community—all based on a foundation of giving laid long ago. We are beginning to share some of those stories in our Argus Impact initiative through blogs, social media and online, but I think it is critical to consider how this legacy will carry on.

I am fortunate to work among some of the best, brightest and most successful business leaders in our region who understand that our quality of life here is directly related to our community’s spirit of giving.  As we begin to welcome a new generation of membership to our organization and to leadership roles throughout our community, I would encourage all to look to our successful and generous leaders who came before us, and their philanthropic commitment to quality of life, to carry us forward for the future. #ArgusImpact

Christine Robinson is the executive director of The Argus Foundation.

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