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SRQ DAILY Aug 6, 2016

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"The stark reality is that America is losing ground and only a small percentage of our population is truly innovative."

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County

[Community]  A Life-Changing Gift
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

As I reflect back on my undergraduate college years at the University of Iowa, I realize what a special time in my life those four years were. And as I recently spent time with my nephew in St. Louis who just graduated from high school and is headed to the University of Missouri, I realize he is about to embark on a time when he’ll be put out of his comfort zone, asked to think differently, surrounded by individuals who will push him to embrace new experiences, and figure out his lifelong dreams and passions.

This brings me to one of my favorite seasons for our work at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County during the summer, when our team is hard at work processing and presenting this year’s scholarship awards. This year, thanks to our generous donors who support deserving, talented and ambitious students in our community, the Community Foundation awarded more than $1.7 million in scholarships to make educational dreams possible.

More than 402 graduating seniors from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte counties received scholarships from the Foundation ranging from $500 to $50,000. One hundred and twenty-four adult learners, returning to college or vocational school after being out of high school for a number of years, also received scholarships. Many of these adult learners are teachers, nurses or in similar professions who want to continue their professional education to ensure they can provide a better life for their families.

Much gratitude is owed to the power of passionate and thoughtful volunteers who help to make difficult choices in our rigorous scholarship process. Retired professionals, local business people and community leaders serve on committees to review and select awardees based on merit, need or both. They often hear the heartbreaking stories of the many students who rely on our financial support to go to college.

Like the one young lady who, after losing her dad to brain cancer and leaving to live with her grandmother after experiencing emotional and physical abuse from her mother, struggled to keep on top of her schoolwork and support both herself and her grandmother after a string of unfortunate events such as a house fire, illness and financial emergencies. However, thanks to her commitment and financial support of a scholarship, she is able to pursue her dream of a four-year degree.

Or the story of another young lady who was raised in Brooklyn shelters by a heroin-addicted, single mother and shared that she had “witnessed as many overdoses as snow days.” After social services relocated her to live with her grandparents in a modest home in Florida, she found it hard to completely integrate into her new life. Yet her determination and grit paved the way to a full scholarship.

There are so many stories like the ones of these young adults. However, each of them found solace in their education, worked hard to achieve good grades and volunteer service and held dreams to make a difference in this world.

The vision of donors is behind this great milestone, donors who believe in giving our bright, local students and adult learners an opportunity to empower themselves through higher education. Investing in people to further their education is one of the best investments donors can make for life long success. My heartfelt congratulations to those who are improving their lives and the lives of others by furthering their education.

Roxie Jerde is president of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[Education]  Intersection of Education, Innovation
Jennifer Vigne

I think we’d all agree that we no longer live in the Industrial Age. At an accelerating pace, our world has become more global, more digitized, more automated and more disparate than ever before. Content knowledge is rapidly losing its premier position, as evidenced by cognitive technology such as Watson the supercomputer beating two Jeopardy champions. Increasingly, being able to think critically, collaboratively, creatively and with empathy are the skills, attributes and dispositions employers are seeking in its talent workforce. In short, the innovation economy has arrived.

The United States of America, once the land of innovation, is the soil where the Wright brothers flew the first airplane in 1903. Less than one generation later, in 1969, Neil Armstrong walked on the moon—amazing progress for that time. The USA remains a highly sought-after country to immigrate to as thousands arrive to pursue the American Dream, a recipe that requires doing, inventing, creating and imagining. Throw in persistence, grit and strong character and the likelihood of living a high-quality life becomes even more probable.

Yet, the stark reality is that America is losing ground and only a small percentage of our population is truly innovative. In 2009, 51 percent of US patents were awarded to non-US companies, and in the annual rankings of the most innovative companies, the majority of the top 25 companies are located outside the United States.

Sarasota County residents are indeed fortunate to live in a community that supports education. Educating our youth goes far beyond the four walls of a classroom and our community has demonstrated time and time again its willingness to share the responsibility of developing our next generation of leaders. But have we done enough? Have we done all that we can do? Can we do better?

I believe so.

It’s time to create a unified movement, a strong coalition of parents, teachers, mentors and employers that goes far beyond what we are each doing independently. With great admiration of the work already being accomplished, let’s build upon those successes to reimagine the nexus where education and innovation meet. Sarasota County can become the model of innovation education. We can accomplish this by our willingness to take a collective risk, accept failure as part of the iteration process and, with dogged determination, put our children’s best interest at heart.

If you want to see all children become innovative for life, please get involved. The opportunities are boundless and I look forward to hearing from you. 

Jennifer Vigne is executive director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[Chamber]  Giving Business A Voice For Over 400 Years
Amy Farrington

The idea of businesses working together in a collaborative way to protect and promote commerce began hundreds of years ago in Europe. The actual term “chamber of commerce” was first documented in 1599 in Marseille, France. This early organization established a collective group that represented common business interests to establish policies to govern trade and to support the economy.

The New York Chamber of Commerce, formed in 1768 when the state was still a British colony, is the oldest chamber in the United States. New York tradesmen organized to fight the Stamp Tax Act and enjoyed the benefit of a unified effort. In 1773, a newly created Boston Chamber of Commerce protested against the tax placed on tea by the British—also known as the Boston Tea Party. Within a century, there were 40 local chambers of commerce in the US.

In 1911, President William Howard Taft addressed the need of a “central organization in touch with associations and chambers of commerce throughout the country and able to keep purely American interests in a closer touch with different phases of commercial affairs.” By this time, there were almost 2,000 business groups in the US with a combined income of over $6.5 million. In 1912, a group of 700 delegates from business and trade organizations came together to form that central organization in what is now the US Chamber of Commerce.

The US Chamber’s first referendum in 1913 focused on whether there should be a Plan for a National Budget for the federal government. Soon thereafter, the Chamber went on to support a Federal Reserve System and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission. By 1920, membership rose to over 13,000 individuals, corporations and firms.

The US Chamber of Commerce is now the world’s largest business federation representing more than 3 million businesses throughout the country as well as state and local chambers of commerce. While many of those members are large Fortune 500 firms, 96 percent are businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Throughout the United States today, there are over 5,000 chambers of commerce.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce began in 1916 as the Florida Cattle Tick Eradication Committee. During these early times, the cattle tick threatened Florida’s economy and the agricultural leaders realized the power in numbers and the strength of a unified voice. Since then, Florida’s population has grown from almost 1 million to more than 20 million. If Florida were a separate country today, its economy would rank 18th largest in the world. Throughout that history, the Florida Chamber has remained focused on encouraging a business friendly climate that strengthens job creation and supports a diversified economy.

Locally, Sarasota in 1911 created the Board of Trade with 37 members. In 1921, the Board of Trade reorganized to the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce and moved into its first home on Sixth Street. Early efforts focused on mosquito control, better roads, improved utilities, attracting industry and growing the tourism industry. Almost 100 years has passed since that reorganization, yet we continue to focus on many of the same core business interests today. We continue to maximize our members’ success, the community’s competitiveness and the area’s economic strength.

Amy Farrington is vice president of Public Policy and Sarasota Tomorrow Initiatives for the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. 

[From Nancy Dubin]  A Vote For Our Children's Future
Nancy Dubin

May I share a few observations about School Board Member Caroline Zucker? As a former school principal first at Tuttle Elementary and then at Laurel Nokomis School, my experience with Caroline Zucker has been completely positive. She is supportive, enthusiastic, approachable and is able to connect with kids and teachers instantly. Whenever we had events at school where students’ science projects, art work, character awards or other such events were on display, Board members and district officials would be invited. Guess who always found time to attend and support our students? You bet, Caroline Zucker. She is a true advocate for our A-rated school district and always shows her support by showing up.

Caroline Zucker is also a good steward of our taxpayer and district resources. When she visited campus and we walked through classrooms, Caroline questioned the impact of every expenditure the district had made, from building upgrades to the newest technology, wanting to know what impact these initiatives were having on student learning. I felt I could speak directly and honestly with Caroline and have concerns understood by an experienced partner in education.

I am proud of the accomplishments our district has been able to make as a result of the referendum funding our community has provided our schools. Under trusted leadership from School Board members such as Caroline Zucker, we have been able to offer great programs for our students: extra class time, counselors, specialists in reading, science and math, technology, art and music. Our students benefit greatly from the foresight and generosity of Sarasota county taxpayers. Thank you. I am proud to be part of the effort and proud to know that our efforts have been recognized by the state. We are one of three A districts in Florida.

Nancy Dubin is former principal of Tuttle Elementary and Laurel Nokomis School. 

[SCOOP ]  4-Paw Drive

The Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) offers all makes and models of certified, pre-owned cats. HSSC’s standard 4-Paw Drive is ideal for indoor and outdoor conditions. Other standard features include: built-in GPS microchipping, multi-point health inspection, purr-antee spay and neuter coverage and a free “tune up” at the brand-new Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Redefine the feline of luxury with HSSC’s certified, pre-owned cats. Test love one today.  

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[KUDOS ]  Lee-En Chung Meets Billie Jean King

On a recent business trip to New York, Lee-En Chung, SRQ Women in Business Leadership Circle member and founder of Sarasota-based Ivy Ventures, Inc., visited the historic West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, NY as a spectator of World Team Tennis. While there, Lee-En met USTA Chair, CEO and President, Katrina Adams and tennis phenomenon Billie Jean King, who coincidentally won all of her US Open matches at Forest Hills.  

[KUDOS ]  USFSM Veterans Center

USF Sarasota-Manatee recently opened the new Military and Veterans Success Center. The center will enable USFSM student veterans to explore benefits and scholarship programs while providing a venue for counseling and meetings, or simply to socialize in. “Something like this is important for USFSM,” says Veterans Services Administrator Todd Hughes, who moved to the center from Student Services. “For the campus to be able to support those who gave so much for our freedom, it’s a small sacrifice to pay on our part.”   

USF Sarasota Manatee

[SCOOP ]  Tuition-Free Plumbing Program

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, has partnered with Suncoast Technical College (STC) to offer a tuition-free eight month Plumbing Technology certification program beginning September 8 with both classroom and on-the-job training. While the focus is on young adults, the program is open to students of any age. Once they complete the program, graduates will be able to enter apprenticeships with local employers leading to plumbing jobs with average wages of $54,000 a year, according to the National Association of Home Builders.  

CareerEdge Funders

[SCOOP ]  JPan's 2nd Location Now Open

Sushi lovers rejoice! JPan restaurant has opened a second location in University Park's District at UTC. Featuring all of your favorite JPan rolls and the new Benderson specialty roll the new location is a must-do for sushi aficionados. For a refreshing twist on your sushi-paired sake, try the special Mona Sake. Join Daniel Dokko, head chef and owner, for JPan's grand opening on Saturday, August 13 at 7pm. Jpan Sushi Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30am–2pm, 5pm–9:30pm, Fri:11:30am–2pm, 5pm–10pm, Sat: 5pm-10pm.


JPan Restaurant

[KUDOS ]  Good Deeds at the CAC

The Sailor Circus Academy hosts more than 120 students each day in a rigorous after-school circus arts training program. Jeff Barg of IT leader CISCO and Nathan Bogan of World Wide Technology nominated Circus Arts Conservatory for a Meraki Gift of wireless networking equipment for the arena and dressing rooms. CISO and WWT’s generous system donation allows world class international circus instructors to interact with the Sailor Circus staff and student performers, encourages patrons to post live updates on social media during performances and provides enhanced levels of internet security for students to complete their educational responsibilities.  

Circus Arts Conservatory

[SCOOP ]  2016 Child Hunger Summit

Don’t miss the 2016 Child Hunger Summit. The startling costs of child hunger will be presented by nationally recognized authorities, including Florida Surgeon General Celeste Philip, and speakers from the Pew Charitable Trusts and the American Association of Pediatrics. Attendees will gain new knowledge on innovative school programs, insight into child hunger screening and awareness of how collaboration leads to improved responses to child obesity, under-nutrition and other poverty related health conditions.  

All Faiths Food Bank

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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