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SRQ DAILY Dec 31, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"January is knocking and with it comes a season filled with hope, excitement, and newfound vigor to make the coming year the best year ever."

- Jennifer Vigne, Education Foundation of Sarasota County
 

[Education]  An Inspirational January in Education
Jennifer Vigne, jvigne@edfoundationsrq.org

“And now we welcome the New Year. Full of things that have never been.” -Rainer Maria Rilke

Symbolically, each New Year brings us a clean slate with the opportunity to create our future, strive for aspirational resolutions and blaze new frontiers. It is a season filled with hope, excitement and newfound vigor to make the coming year the best year ever.

January 2017 is also a signature month when the Education Foundation of Sarasota County showcases the inspirational and impressive talents of Sarasota County students.

Beginning Friday, January 13, until Monday, January 16, over 300 pieces of high school student artwork will be on public display in the Roskamp Exhibition Hall at Ringling College Art and Design. These student pieces include drawings, paintings, electronic media, photography, mixed media, sculpture and printmaking. Following the public exhibit, the artwork is judged by an esteemed group of qualified judges and the Top 25 pieces are selected. The juried arts competition is highly competitive and students dedicate countless hours to refine their work in the hopes of placing in the Education Foundation’s CreateSRQ Top 25.

On Tuesday, January 17, the Education Foundation hosts middle and high school students at the annual STEMSmart Summit held at Suncoast Technical College. At this half day morning event that was originally launched by Gulf Coast Community Foundation, students compete in group-based projects with VEX robotics, math and health quiz bowls, 3D CAD design and digital art design just to name a few. Watching these students in action as they create, innovate and collaborate in time compressed competitions will surely provide a dose of hope for our future.

Because the STEMSmart Summit attracts an enthusiastic and curious crowd, the Education Foundation in partnership with Sarasota County Schools is excited to bring the middle school and high school science fair entries to the STEM Summit at the STC campus on that same day. These innovative projects dive deep in topics such as animal, plant, biomedical and cellular sciences along with environmental engineering, math and computational sciences, physics and intelligent machines. With funding from the Education Foundation, these burgeoning scientists will then go to the state Intel competition to compete for a possible national invitation. When Sarasota County students showcase their innovations on a state or national stage, they raise the profile of our entire area.

On Tuesday, January 24, the elementary students’ creative science projects will be judged at the Education Foundation’s STEM Fair. All 3rd-5th grade school-winning projects will be on display at Robarts Arena for a public expo from 5-7:30pm and we invite our community to come see the seedlings of inspiration from the most budding young scientists. A county-wide awards ceremony is held later in May to recognize the accomplishments of our inquisitive youth.

The Education Foundation also invites you to a public viewing of the e-documentary Most Likely to Succeed scheduled for Thursday, January 26, from 5:30-7:30pm at USF Selby Auditorium. This e-documentary will introduce innovations in education and provoke us to discuss how we can reimagine education in our local community. Reservations are required for this free event.

The month of January wraps up for us with the first Academic Olympics match on January 31. Academic Olympics encourages academically talented high school students to be recognized for their hard work in all subject matters. These students become a part of a team, which bolsters the five C’s: competence, confidence, connections, character and caring. At the heart of their Academic Olympics experience, students’ self-esteem flourishes. The Education Foundation is proud to support this long-standing academic tradition thanks to our generous supporters. Because of their generosity, the Education Foundation will be able to send a Sarasota county all-star team to the state competition at Disney in April.

January is knocking and with it comes a season filled with hope, excitement, and newfound vigor to make the coming year the best year ever. Come see for yourself how impressive our students really are and it just might inspire you to achieve your aspirational New Year’s resolutions after all.

Jennifer Vigne is president of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County. 

[The Detail]  Protecting a Precious Commodity
Cathy Antunes, cathycantunes@gmail.com

The holidays are a time of year to celebrate and count our blessings, and a time to pause and reflect. We are blessed with beautiful beaches which provide a rich quality of life and tourism. The new year is shaping up to be one of pivotal decisions for one of our most valued beaches, Siesta Key. Proposed Benderson development plans at Stickney Point and 41 will impact Siesta’s south bridge traffic. The County’s decision to vacate Beach Road along Siesta’s shoreline is being challenged. Plans to dredge Big Pass raises questions about the impact on Siesta Key’s quartz sand shoreline. Most recently, a developer effort is emerging to make it easier to build large hotels (100 rooms or more) on Siesta Key. What will the future hold for our beloved beach town?

In the background, receiving relatively little attention, Siesta Key residents experienced an unpleasant surprise during September’s Hurricane Hermine. During the storm, county officials announced wastewater facilities were experiencing higher-than-usual volumes.

Stormwater put pressure on our sewage infrastructure. Siesta’s Key’s wastewater treatment facility found it couldn’t keep pace with the influx. Partially treated wastewater was released into the Grand Canal on Siesta Key to avoid an uncontrolled raw sewage spill. That effluent was neither disinfected nor denitrified. While County residents were alerted that facilities had reached capacity and warned to avoid draining stormwater which could be contaminated, Siesta Key residents were not alerted about effluent discharge into the Grand Canal.

When cleaning up after the hurricane, a Siesta resident noticed what appeared to be fecal matter attached to her dock. She was quoted by a local paper: “I don’t know how, morally, they can go home and sleep at night knowing that we’re all living here and using the water as normal.”

Traffic issues are easier to see. The congestion at Stickney Point and US 41 and the increase in accidents at the intersection has sparked concern about how Benderson Development’s proposal will impact the NW corner of the intersection. Many assume that Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has veto power over what may be built there, because US 41 is a state road. But FDOT has no control over local development decisions. FDOT is calling for coordination efforts with the County, saying it’s “vital” due to safety issues: “Crashes have increased on average 30 percent per year with an astonishing 175 percent total increase between 2010 and 2014.”

There will always be calls for more growth on Siesta Key. There will always be pressure to privatize the beach by those who live next to it, to the detriment of an economy that depends on visitors. When it comes to growth, our infrastructure deserves more attention. At buildout, do we have the capacity to protect our waterways? At buildout, will our roads work to provide safe transportation? What will all this cost? For a healthy, prosperous future, these issues require specific answers now, not when it’s too late to put the development genie back in the bottle.

Cathy Antunes serves on the board of Sarasota Citizens for Responsible Government. 

[From Gabriel Hament]  Donor-Advised Funds Grow Popular
Gabriel Hament

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.”– Archilochus, 7th century BC
In 1953, philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin published an essay in which he described and sorted the world’s greatest thinkers into two categories: Hedgehogs and Foxes. Hedgehogs are those individuals “who relate everything to a single central vision, one system,” and Foxes are those who draw upon a wide array of experiences and ideas, oftentimes unrelated and disconnected, in the pursuit of understanding the human condition.

In the world of investing, risk is defined as the chance of a permanent and realized loss of capital. For nonprofits, risk can be characterized as the probability that the assets of the organization (programming revenue, donors’ financial gifts, interest from an endowment) will not match liabilities (staff compensation, delivery of services to disadvantaged community members, facility upkeep). This overarching conceptualization of risk for nonprofits falls under the Hedgehog’s column.

Within the independent nonprofit sector, funding streams historically have consisted of a balanced blend of numerous low-dollar and mid-range donors and a concentrated bundle of larger, six- and seven-figure donors.
Across the nation, the composition of donors contributing to charities is experiencing a dramatic change. Traditionally, the independent sector has modeled its development efforts to mirror the structure of a pyramid: low-dollar donors ($25-$250) form the base of the pyramid; mid-range contributors ($500-10,000), who may give on a recurring basis, are the pyramid’s torso; and major donors and planned legacy gifts ($25,000-$1 million-plus) are at the top of the pyramid. Charities have relied upon a diverse stream of low-dollar and mid-range donors who supply, oftentimes at a monthly or annual cadence, a steady and reliable flow of dollars to fund the ongoing programmatic and operational needs of the organization. But the donor landscape has changed and the source of funds has shifted away from broad-based low-dollar giving to an environment characterized by mega-gifts from a narrow pool of high-income earners. Chuck Collins, Helen Flannery and Josh Hoxie of the Institute for Policy Studies have released a 35-page report, “Gilded Giving: Top-Heavy Philanthropy in an Age of Extreme Inequality,” on this trend in philanthropy that has been gaining momentum since the early 2000s. Here are some highlights:

  • · “From 2003 to 2013, itemized charitable contributions from people making $500,000 or more—roughly the top 1 percent of income earners in the United States—increased by 57 percent. And itemized contributions from people making $10 million or more increased by almost double that rate—104 percent—over the same period.”
  • · “From 2003 to 2013, while itemized charitable deductions from donors making $100,000 or more increased by 40 percent, itemized charitable deductions from donors making less than $100,000 declined by 34 percent.”

Donor-advised funds have grown in popularity amongst high-income earners as a vehicle for warehousing and distributing funds to qualified nonprofits.

  • · “Among the nation’s 400 biggest charities, giving to donor-advised funds increased steadily from two percent of total giving in 1991 to 18 percent in 2015… From just 2010 to 2014, the amount of assets held in donor-advised funds more than doubled, from $33.6 billion to $70.7 billion.”
  • · “For example, mid-size foundations, with assets from $10 million to $50 million, distributed 11.0 percent of their assets” while “The median pay-out rate of donor-advised funds for tax year 2012,” as reported in a study by Paul Arnsberger, a statistician at the Internal Revenue Service “… was just 7.2 percent.”
  • · In addition he found that “nearly 22 percent of the sponsoring organizations reported no grants made from their DAF accounts.”[7]

At face value, this meteoric increase in dollars flowing to DAFs can be viewed as a positive trend; but unlike private foundations, who must meet an IRS-mandated payout policy of 5 percent of net asset value, DAFs (and public community foundations) are not bound by an annual payout requirement. So, although DAFs are awash in cash, a vast majority of those dollars are lying fallow, collecting interest and dividends and incurring administrative and investment management fees.
The twin trends of low payout ratios, coupled with the documented increase in infrequent but large gifts, underscore the need for nonprofits to sustainably diversify their revenue streams.
Depending on the financial position of the organization, an endowment may have been established from which funds can be drawn on a prearranged basis to support the ongoing operations of the organization. With legacy-level gifts supplying an ever-growing share of a charity’s income, development officers and board members must uphold a standard of care similar to the level of diligence one would apply in the management of one’s own personal assets. This is known as the “prudent man” rule.

  • · How will donor assets be invested to satisfy the perpetual mandate enumerated in the gift agreement?
  • · What process is in place to monitor the performance of the organization’s endowment? If the performance of the investment pool routinely fails to meet prescribed benchmarks, what action can be taken?
  • · How much is the organization paying in fees associated with the management, administration, and custody of the assets?
  • · Does the financial institution managing the endowment assets also retain custody of the assets?
  • · Does the endowment contain illiquid investments, funds-of-funds with multi-layered fee structures, securities denominated in foreign currencies, private equity, venture capital, or hedge funds with multi-year lock-out periods?

These are questions high-dollar donors may ask when considering a major gift.

Gabriel Hament is an investment advisor representative with Cumberland Advisors in Sarasota.

  



[KUDOS ]  Trip of a Lifetime

Denny Yoder, President of Yoder homes will be embarking on a journey of a lifetime this January and February.  He will be joining close friends on a portion of their 14 month long trip around the world via the World ARC Sailing Club. Denny will start his sailing excursion at Cape Town on January 7 and sail 1,700 miles to St. Helena Island–a planned trip of 13 days.  After 3 days at St. Helena he will sail to Salvador, Brazil, a 1,900 mile trip expected to take 15 days. Denny says, living in Florida, weather experts are constantly discussing the weather patterns forming off the coast of Africa.  How ironic, the trip he will be making travels right through the area of focus during the non–hurricane season. During this time of year their biggest concern may be no wind he says.  

Yoder Homes

[KUDOS ]  Coldwell CARES

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate’s CARES program, presented a $700 donation to Goodwill Manasota’s Veterans Services Program to help returning servicemen and women reintegrate back into their families, communities and jobs. “Each year, our Veterans Services Program helps many veterans and members of the community through outreach and education. We are grateful to the individuals, organizations and businesses that honor our veterans by supporting our crucial programs and services,” said CJ Bannister, Director of the Veteran’s Services Program. Since its inception, Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate CARES has raised more than $4.2 million for local non-for-profit charities and programs throughout Florida.  

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP ]  Adopt While You Shop

Meet adorable and adoptable shelter pets from the Humane Society of Sarasota County while shopping at Westfield Sarasota Square on select Saturdays from 11:00am–2:00pm. Staff will be onsite to answer all your questions about these furry felines and precious pooches looking for their forever homes.  For a full list of upcoming Adopt While You Shop dates, visit www.hssc.org

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[SCOOP]  Embracing Our Differences WEDU Award Finalist

Embracing Our Differences has been selected as a finalist for WEDU’s prestigious Nonprofit Organization of the Year award. It is the only nonprofit in the Sarasota-Manatee region to receive this recognition. The other finalists include Glazer Children’s Museum of Tampa, Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc., Tampa Hillsborough Action Plan, Inc. and the Youth and Family Services Alternatives – Heart Gallery of Tampa Bay. The organization also received a nomination for WEDU’s “Be More Knowledgeable” award for its long-running high school Coexistence Club and docent program. This award acknowledges cultural organizations that offer a mentorship program aimed at improving specific aspects of community life. Winners will be announced at a luncheon on February 23 in Tampa. 

Embracing Our Differences

[KUDOS]  Pines of Sarasota Receives Grants

Pines of Sarasota Foundation received generous gifts from local foundations, funds and businesses in support of their 253 residents campus-wide in the assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care units. Five thousand dollars was received from the Margaret McCartney & R. Parks Williams Foundation for needed nursing equipment such as vital sign monitors, specialized lifts, bariatric beds and specialized mattresses for comfort and care. Designing Daughters of Sarasota granted them $4,146 for classroom furniture for the Pines of Sarasota’s Child Care and Learning Center early education classrooms. The Evalyn Sadlier Jones child–care and learning facilities for infants and toddlers up to age five, has been an important part of Pines of Sarasota for more than 20 years.  

Pines of Sarasota

[SCOOP]  USFSM Honors Program Expands

 

 USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Honor’s Program, launched in 2009 to challenge students is seeing a spike in applications for the spring term with more than 26 students seeking formal entry. Typically, about a dozen apply to the program. Honors Program Coordinator Dr. Melissa Sloan attributes the wave of interest to a push by her and other faculty to spotlight the program. This past fall, professors urged top students to apply and dozens attended an information session at Selby Auditorium. The average GPA of interested students was 3.76. The program is open to high-achieving juniors in any academic major, but is limited to 15 students yearly. Applications are due mid-fall for the cohort that begins the following spring. Last year, five students were accepted. 

USF Sarasota-Manatee

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: 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. 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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