Smart Business

Guest Correspondence

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.

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