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SRQ DAILY Jan 7, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"One of the most glaring absurdities in our tax laws is that small businesses - which employ more than 3 million Floridians - face higher tax rates than the world's largest corporations."

- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota
 

[Community]  Five New Year's Resolutions for 2017 Philanthropy
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

Each one of us has the potential to impact a person, a cause, a community, and this year you can be the one to make a difference. With a new year comes the excitement of new possibilities, including the opportunity to further the ways you give back to our community that you love!

Here are five resolutions for 2017 to help you have the most impact, getting that joyous feeling from giving when it feels just right and knowing that your gifts are truly making a difference.

  1. Drive your philanthropy with your head, as well as your heart. We are grateful to live in a region where there are so many organizations doing good for the community. However, with so many inspiring stories and appeals tugging at our heartstrings, it can be hard to ensure that you are making the right choice deciding where you are directing your time, talent or treasure. Know which organizations are making a difference in the causes you care about, how they are different and whether their programs and services are really making a difference. The Giving Partner is a great resource to learn about more than 600 hundred local nonprofit organizations in our region.
  2. Engage the next generation. Recent reports have shown that the millennial generation is beginning to outspend baby boomers for the first time. While this is great for the economy, think about what it means for philanthropy. There is a new source for talent, ideas and driving change. If you have young people in your family, sharing the joy of giving or the power of volunteering can be an enriching experience that brings you closer to each other, as well as grow the culture of philanthropy. If you are a nonprofit, community or business leader, mentor a young person, think about offering internships or invite them to serve on your board to pass on your expertise and passions; odds are you will learn something new yourself.
  3. Get involved in bigger movements. For several generations, foundations stayed quiet when it came to the general public. Many think of them as just a source for grants, but as the information age has grown, we are just as much about knowledge, innovation and public awareness as we are about dollars. We are fortunate to have a network of community and private foundations here that are spearheading a number of regional initiatives, powered by smart, creative people and organizations. If you are interested in bigger and bolder things, I urge you to reach out and get involved in them. The Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading—a collaborative effort to ensure that more children in low-income families succeed in school and graduate prepared for life—is just one example. Learn more at www.gradelevelreadingsuncoast.net.
  4. Celebrate community philanthropy. Philanthropy is not exclusive, it’s for everyone. Thanks to a number of advances in technology, collective giving is more effective than ever and people are able to come together to make something “big” possible through the power of many. With donations from $5 to $5000, a number of local movements have inspired the notion that everyone can be a philanthropist, such as the Community Foundation’s Giving Challenge and Season of Sharing which have both seen millions of dollars raised from thousands of local individuals to make so much good happen right here in our community. Giving circles, when individuals come together to pool their philanthropic funds, learn from each other and ultimately make a greater impact, are growing. One of the several giving circles we have at the Community Foundation is the Masala Giving Circle, formed by a diverse group of professional African-American women with a common passion for giving back, helping others, and creating positive change in the African-American community of Sarasota and Manatee counties. I attended their holiday gathering and new member recruitment event and continue to be inspired by their smarts, organization and impact. The best part is, they have fun.
  5. Believe that no act of goodwill is too small. As we embark into the New Year, please remember that no act of kindness is ever wasted. Never lose sight of familiar acts of caring that can mean a lot—checking on your housebound neighbors, being a thoughtful driver in our season’s traffic, holding the door for a stranger, giving a friend a hug and sharing a smile.

Please join me in adopting one or more of these resolutions and enhancing our community’s already vibrant philanthropic spirit. You truly can be the one to make our community and region an even better place to live.

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

[GCBX]  Strong Building Important to Community
Mary Dougherty-Slapp

While it's hard to say goodbye to 2016, we can look forward to a new year, new leadership, new opportunities and new challenges. Each year is what you make of it, and I for one want to make 2017 one to remember.

There are so many exciting events and initiatives to look forward to in 2017. The first being the 65th annual installation and awards dinner for the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange on Feb. 1. We will say goodbye to recent chairman Paul Stehle, co-owner of Climatic Conditioning Co., and welcome incoming chairman Kevin Hicks, CEO of Gator Grading & Paving. We will also have the opportunity to hear from Senator Wilton Simpson, the Senate Majority leader and future Senate president (2020-22) on his various committee assignments, including education, tourism and economic development, among other topics.

In 2016, Sarasota County adopted an updated Comp Plan, which is something to be proud of and beneficial for the future of the community. This year, Sarasota County will be looking into the Unified Development Code and land development regulations—a process that will take place over the next 18 months. I encourage business and community leaders to get involved as the County reviews these regulations.

Soon, a search for a new Manatee County Administrator will begin to replace Ed Hunzeker. These are big shoes to fill. It will be important to identify the right person for the position that will continue his good work. I hope the business community pays attention as this process unfolds.

Another major upcoming milestone is the City of Sarasota Commissioner election this March 14. This will be an exciting time for Sarasota, the second largest city and the urban center in Sarasota County, and a time for our voices to be heard.

Of course, strengthening the Sarasota County community through the business community and in collaboration with the Sarasota Coalition of Business Associations (COBA) is a top priority. It’s an umbrella organization that allows business organizations like The Argus Foundation, The Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance, home builders and others to speak with one voice with a unified focus on the issues important to the business community in Sarasota County. Collaboration is key to successful community building. We may not always agree, but it's important to keep the lines of communication open and keep talking to each other openly, honestly and positively.

A strong building industry is important to any community because of the economic benefits and the number of jobs that the industry helps create. These hardworking men and women that fill these jobs are a part of the fabric of this community—working, playing and living here. This is an industry that gives back to its community regularly and significantly.

As we embark on 2017, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange looks forward to providing guidance when needed, operating under our philosophy of working with others and helping our members succeed and grow—professionally and personally. This success has become the foundation for the continued development of our organization, and we aim to make it a success for the cities and counties we love.

Mary Dougherty-Slapp is executive diretcor of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. 

[From Vern Buchanan]  Optimistic About 2017
Rep. Vern Buchanan

Our vibrant communities in Southwest Florida are home to people from all walks of life, including seniors, small business owners, farmers, veterans and first responders who put their lives on the line to protect us. 

We all share a desire for a strong economy, a secure retirement and a safe homeland. I’m going to work to achieve those goals in 2017 and help fulfill America's amazing potential.

We are at a critical crossroads that will shape our nation for decades to come. I plan to continue fighting for the interests of our region, our state and our country.

With more than 223,000 individuals receiving Social Security payments, Florida’s 16th congressional district, which I represent, is home to the second-highest number of Social Security beneficiaries in the country—and there are also nearly 220,000 Medicare recipients in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Unless Congress acts, the trust funds from which these benefits are paid will be insolvent in less than 20 years.

We cannot allow that to happen. Seniors have worked their whole lives with the promise of a safe retirement and need to know these programs will be there for them during their golden years. 

I am committed to protecting and preserving Medicare and Social Security, as they can literally be the difference between life and death for our friends and neighbors.

I am also focused on growing our economy and creating jobs. 

Reforming our outdated tax code will help small businesses create good-paying jobs for Floridians. The tax code is longer than the King James Bible and is so complex that even a former IRS commissioner admitted that he could not prepare his own tax return.

One of the most glaring absurdities in our tax laws is that small businesses—which employ more than 3 million Floridians—face higher tax rates than the world’s largest corporations. My Main Street Fairness Act will fix that. Lowering the tax burden on these job creators will allow them to invest in their businesses so they expand, grow and hire even more people.

I also plan to introduce legislation that would make it less costly to start a new business, as well as legislation that makes it more affordable for small businesses to offer retirement benefits to their workers. 

We also have to ensure the safety of Americans by strengthening our porous borders and vetting systems so we don’t come under attack again. That’s why I will be re-introducing my Social Media Screening for Terrorists Act, which directs the secretary of Homeland Security to vet all public records, including Facebook and other forms of social media, before admitting foreign travelers and visa applicants into the country.

I plan to hit the ground running when the new Congress convenes in January. In addition to the proposals I’ve outlined, I plan to introduce legislation to aid orange growers struggling with citrus greening, increase penalties for cop killers, prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption and stop our growing debt by ensuring that the government lives within its means. 

I will also continue my efforts to make sure the Department of Veterans Affairs implements my Veterans Identification Card Act so veterans receive their identification cards in 2017. The bill was signed into law by President Obama and it’s time that the administration got these cards out the door. These cards will help reduce the threat of identity theft that veterans currently face.

On Jan. 3, 2017, Washington started a new chapter, and I am ready to fight for the people of Southwest Florida.

Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key, represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. 



[KUDOS ]  CPC Receives $5,000 Grant

The Harold C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation awarded Child Protection Center’s Personal Safety and Community Awareness Program (PSCA) $5,000 to provide primary prevention and educational programs on child maltreatment throughout the community.  The ultimate goal of this multifaceted program is to eliminate child abuse through educational programs for children, parents and community members. Workshops are designed to introduce children to basic personal safety information, promote pro–social behaviors and teach self–protective skills, all of which reduce a child’s vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.  Strategies to effectively respond to threats of physical or sexual abuse, abduction, bullying, harassment or dangers online are taught during these lessons. 

Child Protection Center

[SCOOP ]  Violins of Hope

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota–Manatee and the Mazur Family Fund are bringing violin–maker Amnon Weinstein and 16 of his violins salvaged from the Holocaust to the area from February 1–16 for numerous performances and community events. Weinstein has dedicated his life to locating and restoring violins that were played by Jewish musicians during the Holocaust so that they can give voice to the voiceless, their owners and the millions who perished at the hands of the Nazis. Events will feature live music from members of the Sarasota Orchestra, alumni from the Perlman Music Program and State College of Florida’s Presidential String Quartet. “This is an extraordinary opportunity to hear these violins played and to experience the stories behind them,” says Howard Tevlowitz, Executive Director of JFSM.  

Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

[SCOOP ]  SMH HealthFit Earns Florida's 1st Medical Fitness Facility Certification

As millions of people embark on their 2017 New Year’s Resolutions, Sarasota Memorial’s HealthFit recently achieved one of its own. HealthFit, Powered by Sarasota Memorial became a Certified Medical Fitness Facility this past December, a resolution set by Sarasota Memorial last year and testament to the medically sound prevention and rehabilitation programs the health system offers at its medically oriented fitness center on Clark Road. The certification, which is effective for three years, is the nation’s only quality designation for medically integrated fitness centers. It is awarded sparingly by the not-for-profit Medical Fitness Association (MFA) to facilities that demonstrate the highest standards for quality and safety.  

Sarasota Memorial Healthcare

[SCOOP ]  TSA Pre-Check Enrollment

Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport will host a second TSA pre-check enrollment event from February 13–17. The temporary enrollment center will be located at the west end of the airline ticket counters. TSA pre-check saves time and stress and allows passengers to fly through security without having to remove their shoes, laptops, liquids, belts and light jackets. People interested in applying need to schedule an appointment at identogo.com/tsa-precheck and fill out the form after clicking the “Apply Now” button.  

TSA Pre Check

[SCOOP ]  Parenting the Montessori Way

To start off the New Year, NewGate Montessori IB will be offering a series of talks for parents and other caregivers on creating home environments that are closely aligned with the prepared environments at school. These sessions will take a look at discipline, conflict resolution, problem solving, supporting the needs of family members, consequences and encouragement. These talks are open to anyone interested and will take place at NewGate’s Ashton Road campus from 9:15am–10:30am on various dates throughout the year. The next session is currently scheduled for January 17.  

NewGate Montessori

[SCOOP ]  Winter White Out

Since snow is a rare sight in Florida, the Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) has its own plans for bringing winter white cheer to Sarasota by discounting the price of shelter pets with a white coat or markings by 25% from January 1–15. HSSC’s adoption fee includes a comprehensive medical exam, vaccinations, spay or neutering, deworming, micro–chipping and a free first exam at the Animal Clinic of the Humane Society of Sarasota County. Help HSSC dress Sarasota in winter white by adopting a shelter pet with a white coat or markings today. Visit www.hssc.org/adoption to see all available pets.  

Humane Society of Sarasota County

[SCOOP ]  Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica

The New Year at Selby Gardens kicks off with the return of the Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica. The showcase of these hand–carved masks created by the Native Americans of Boruca, Costa Rica is open to the public daily starting January 8–28 at the historic Payne Mansion’s Museum of Botany and the Arts. A free lecture will be held on January 11 with the founders of Lucuma Designs, the importer who works with the artists, to discuss the role of fair trade in protecting natural areas and ancestral traditions. The artists will also lead a one-time class on January 9 sharing the skills applied in the painting of the masks. All participants will have the opportunity to paint an authentic rainforest-inspired mask of their own.  

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

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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