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SRQ DAILY Mar 19, 2016

"Our work at Gulf Coast is about legacy as much as impact; a sign of respect toward the individual donor's 'family at large,' as well as a summation of her own life's work and passions."

- Mark Pritchett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Argus]  Smart Business
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Sixteen years ago this week, my husband and I met while volunteering with foster children living in emergency shelters in Miami. Children’s issues and education have been a passion for us both since before we met. Now, years later as we live, work and raise our own children here in Sarasota County, those same issues continue to be a passion we share with each other and many others here in our community.

Last month, Dr. Larry Thompson from the Ringling College of Art and Design was the featured speaker at The Argus Foundation’s Meet the Minds luncheon. As I listened to him, I was proud to be a member of a community that is so forward thinking on the issues of education. Ringling College of Art and Design, celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, is in the midst of several major construction projects—all promising great things for our community centered on education. These projects include a new visual arts building to focus on glass blowing, digital fabrication, woodworking and more, an innovative commercial post production facility and sound stage to continue to attract the best and brightest from Hollywood to our region, and the transformation of the historic Sarasota High School building into an art museum.

Additionally, a new $3-million library will soon be available for Ringling students. Featuring a state-of-the-art and high-tech student union, with gathering places and cafes, Dr. Thompson promised, “It’s not your ‘grandfather’s library.’”

And finally, a new continuing education facility will soon sprout up on Longboat Key. This center for the arts, culture and education will be the second continuing education center on Longboat for Ringling. The newest location will provide easy access to Sarasota residents, who have an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. The statement this all makes about our community is phenomenal. It speaks to our underlying encouragement for education in Sarasota County—something The Argus Foundation has been championing for years. 

At Argus, a central focus on education will continue to support ventures like these and others. The Argus Foundation was also one of the first donors to help fund the MGT study driven by Argus board member Scott Pinkerton. That study helped the Sarasota County School Board recognize efficiencies in their system. More recently, we have focused on education through the Meet the Minds speaker series, opening up communication and forming community partnerships with groups like the Science and Environment Council, with whom we held a very successful joint meeting last year.

This emphasis on education at all levels is one of the organization’s most important focuses. It is the true backbone of any community’s success. As I reflect back on my anniversary this week, in which children’s issues brought me together with my husband, I am moved by the avid people and passionate businesses in the membership of the Argus Foundation that continue to fuel that fire for myself and so many others in this wonderful community.

Christine Robinson the executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[The Way I See It]  March Madness

I know the term March Madness refers to college basketball, but it seems to be applicable to events presently demanding our attention local, national and global.

I am reluctant to comment on the “race” to The White House but I can’t help myself after listening to a recent Republican debate. At the least it may prove therapeutic to put my limited 10 cents worth in.

This will only be the second time that I will have the privilege of casting my vote for the highest office in the land. The comment has been made that some of the contestants are behaving like middle schoolers. Surely this is disingenuous to the kids. When we are subjected to a contestant boasting about the largesse of his manliness as he pursues the office of President of The United States and his ratings continue to rise then we really do have cause for concern. Hopefully his rhetoric will improve after and if he gets the nomination.

Bad behavior was also on display at the community meeting that the City recently hosted regarding Fruitville Road going on a “diet.” Staff were subjected to inappropriate outbursts form certain members of the audience but were eventually silenced by the presentation of empirical data from City Staff and Michael Wallwork, who has over 35 years of designing and promoting roundabouts in the United States. I have no doubt that most, myself included, came to the meeting with a preconceived mindset that reducing certain sections of Fruitville Road to one lane in each direction was insane. Hopefully the conversation can continue in a more productive respectful manner as a result of this well attended and informative session.

Lots of other stuff happening in our community seems to make Sarasota the place to be in March.

Noted celebrities have come and gone during March. Chelsea Clinton, David Petraeous, Robin Roberts, Mr. Basketball Tal Brody, who is the current Goodwill Ambassador of Israel, Carl Hiaasen to name a few. Not to mention Spring Training, the snowbirds and tourists who have all contributed to a vibrancy and energy that I have not experienced in the 33 1/2 years that I have lived here. All this activity is juxtaposed with the accompanying concerns that all this bustle brings.

Sarasota is becoming a significant city and there are those among us that are slow to acknowledge this. We are fortunate to live in an area that has such a strong appeal but that has its challenges that must be addressed in a manner dissimilar to the way in which some of our presidential aspirants are suggesting at the national and global level.

On a closing note, it was a great antidote to the stresses of our daily lives to listen to Carl Hiaasen’s unique brand of self-deprecating Florida humor that he brought to Tiger Bay and reminded us that as Floridians we have a lot to be thankful for and a sense of humor goes a long way.

The way I see it March Madness is not the exclusive domain of college Basketball.

Ian Black is the founder of Ian Black Real Estate. 

[Gulf Coast]  Legacy as Much as Impact
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

Our Gulf Coast family lost a special person last week. But thanks to her generous heart and careful forethought, our community and many of its most vulnerable children gained a guardian angel.

This particular donor lived frugally. She was born of a generation and situation that molded her entire life. Given up for adoption as a child when her parents divorced, she grew up poor, working hard on a foster family’s farm. Those circumstances never left her, even as she forged a good, long life.

Once out on her own, she spent her entire career with a big carmaker in Michigan. She and her life partner enjoyed 60 years together, but they never had children. Because he handled their finances and the two continued to live modestly over their decades together, it was only after he passed that she understood she was indeed a very wealthy woman. But by that time, and true to her nature, she had no desire to spend any of that money on herself.

She did, however, want to help others. Her estate-planning attorney introduced her to Gulf Coast, to share what she wanted to do and learn how we might help. She chose to endow a permanent charitable fund here that supports at-risk children, particularly those in foster care, as well as mentoring programs and food for people in need.

We worked with her attorney and financial advisor to make the arrangements to her liking.

Because our donor created her fund during her lifetime, she was able to see grants made from it over the past few years. It brought her great joy to know she was helping children through some of the very difficult things she had experienced in her own childhood. Her legacy will only grow as her fund does too and continues to invest in programs that open doors to opportunity for children who otherwise might have none.

I often use this column space to share news of important initiatives that Gulf Coast Community Foundation is funding, together with our donors, to transform our region and head off emerging issues. But our work at Gulf Coast is about legacy as much as impact; a sign of respect toward the individual donor’s “family at large,” as well as a summation of her own life’s work and passions.

The donor we just lost is one of hundreds of community members who have created a fund or foundation within Gulf Coast. But she was a singular person, whom we will always remember, and whose generosity our community will forever know through the good work that continues in her good name.

Our job is to meet the generosity of donors like her with appropriate structure to nurture their hopes for future generations. She placed her trust in us, as a permanent part of this community, to ensure that her legacy would bring joy to others. We hold that responsibility as high as any, and we treasure the opportunity to facilitate our donor’s wishes.

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

[SCOOP]  Easter Seals Southwest Florida Receives Grants to Support Children and Caregivers

Easter Seals Southwest Florida received a $25,000 grant from Bank of America to fund its Children’s Therapy program. The funds will be used to provide speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy and early intervention services to children in Sarasota County whose parents are unable to afford these services. Easter Seals Southwest Florida also received a $7,000 grant from the Rotary Club of Lakewood Ranch to  support Project Rainbow, an in-home respite program that provides temporary relief for families or caregivers of children with disabilities by providing a safe environment where kids have time to be kids and parents/caregivers have time to be independent adults. 

Easter Seals Southwest Florida

[SCOOP]  La Musica Goes Prime Time

On March 31 at 9pm, La Musica At 30, the organization's anniversary video, will air on WEDU, PBS Tampa. This one-hour program delves into the history of La Musica, capturing past events and explores the organization and festival's unique qualities as seen through the eyes of the musicians, who then demonstrate these qualities in performance. Developed by producer/directors John Moffitt and Jerry Bilik and videographer Bill Wagy, this production is a gem.  Don't miss it! 

La Musica Festival

[SOON]  Autism Awareness Campaign & Event

SMART, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, has created an Autism Awareness Campaign to provide a valuable and much needed sensory aid for children with autism.  Head to the SMART Ranch at 4640 CR 675 East in Bradenton on April 23 for a day of relaxation and free refreshments and fun for the friends and families of those with autism. Activities include a local jazz and reggae band, bounce house for the kids, face painting, BBQ, and soft drinks from Burger and Beer Joint. 

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy

[KUDOS]  Gecko's Grill & Pub Receives National Restaurant Association Award

Gecko’s Grill & Pub was recently selected by the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation as a Florida Restaurant Neighbor Award winner. The Foundation will also honor Gecko’s Hospitality Group Co-owner, Michael Quillen with the Florida Cornerstone Humanitarian Award. Each year, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation recognizes outstanding restaurants around the country that go above and beyond in community service and inspire other restaurateurs to get or stay involved in their local communities. These award selections mark the fourth consecutive year that Gecko’s Owners, Michael Quillen and Mike Gowan have earned these distinctions. 

Gecko�s Grill & Pub

[SOON]  Veteran Air Donation Drive

Throughout the month of April, Veteran Air Conditioning will hold a donation drive with its clients and the general public to support Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program. All month, Veteran Air will pick up items members of the Sarasota-Manatee community no longer want or need and will transport them to Goodwill, where they will be sold in retail stores throughout the area. Veteran Air owner Kevin Henault supports Goodwill Manasota in particular for its commitment to helping veterans reintegrate into their families, jobs and communities. Items appropriate for donation include clothing, shoes, jewelry, furniture, functioning computers, household items and decor, kitchenware, books and more. Veteran Air has committed one of its 33 service vehicles to be available during business hours for pickups; community members wishing to schedule the service should call the Veteran Air offices at (941) 751-6180. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  #GetYourBlueOn!

 April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and Child Protection Center needs your help to spread the word about breaking the cycle of child abuse. Here’s what you can do: Community members: Dress in blue, have your nails done in blue, get a blue streak in your hair, put blue ribbons on your car, take a picture of your best blue and post it on your Facebook wall.  Be sure to add the hashtag - #GetYourBlueOn and #PaintSRQBlue!  CPC will see it and post it on the “Paint the Town Blue” Facebook page. Share it with your friends. Those with the most ‘Likes’ will be entered into drawings for fun prizes. Businesses:  You can create a blue window display, serve a blue plate special, offer a creative blue drink, have a blue jeans day for staff!  Be creative… do something for a day, a week, or the entire month!  Have a give-back event to CPC or just help spread awareness. Send your ideas or questions to PaintSRQBlue@cpcsarasota.org.


Child Protection Center

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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