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SRQ Daily Jan 14, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Who wins these low-turnout, local contests depends on which candidates can not just grab the attention of the city's major blocs, but also inspire genuine enthusiasm."

- Jacob Ogles, Under The Hood
 

[Politics]  Expect Emotional Battle for Sarasota Commission
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

With a slate set for the Sarasota City Commission race, it’s clear what values and loyalties will be tested in this election. Experienced pols and active volunteers share a ballot with newcomers and long-time critics of City Hall. Messages of standing up for citizens against government go head-to-head with the desire for effective cooperation and building of consensus.

With qualification closed Friday, the final list of candidates includes: Tahiti Park neighborhood leader Jennifer Ahearn-Koch; former Sarasota Mayor Fredd "Glossie" Atkins; former prosecutor Hagen Brody; incumbent Commissioner Susan Chapman; Planning Board member Patrick Gannon; Gulf Business Systems owner Martin Hyde; pedestrian safety advocate Mikael Sandstrom; and retired stockbroker Matt Sperling. All run on one ballot, with voters able to select two candidates. Should no one win a majority on March 14, which is most likely, the top three candidates advance to a May 9 runoff, where two will win seats. Here’s my breakdown of forces at play and issues at stake.

Partisanship. The big story in district elections two years ago was the sudden dominance of the Democratic party in city contests. Registration long favored Team Blue within city limits but the involvement of the party varies year to year. But in 2015, two appointed Republican incumbents gave reason for the party’s involvement. Here, five of eight candidates, including incumbent Chapman, have a D on their registration, so expect the party to chill leading into March. Will lone GOPer Hyde get a boost from his party? It’s likely, and it will help in the first election, but the ID hurts him in May. If parties don’t consider this race a priority, other matters will dominate.

Discontent. From a seemingly eternal lift station project to a lack of improvement of the visible homeless situation, plenty of criticism will be lobbed at City Hall. Could that hurt incumbent Chapman? Yes, but Chapman’s supporters always liked her raucous fights with City Hall. Yet, she’s also been brought into the crossfire of city critics with a recent critique of speeding paramedics. Outsiders like Sperling, Brody, Sandstrom and Hyde—Hyde and Sperling in particular bring a Trump-esque sharpness to critiques of City Hall—can spin a toss-the-bums narrative, as can first-time candidates with some board involvement like Gannon and Ahearn-Koch, who have a tougher needle to thread with city critics but can also appeal to those who like to see qualifications.

Development. Bulldozers are back moving earth and boosting construction. Also rising? Concerns about uncontrolled growth. Arrival of The Vue inspired groups like STOP!; it’s hard to tell now if that’s just rebranding of the constant neighborhood presence in local politics or if widespread concern makes this a true anti-growth year. Atkins, who failed to win a November county election but won the city, could win votes on both sides with this as someone who challenged development countywide, but he also was on the commission when the Duany plan was approved. If there is anti-growth sentiment, that’s good for Ahearn-Koch and Chapman. Of course, if simple neighborhood politics are the true core of this, Gannon’s involvement with the downtown condo association gives him some bounce as well. And for those who like seeing sudden job activity downtown, Gannon seems more poised to win those pro-business supporters.

Of course, all of this oversimplifies a race destined to be complicated and dynamic. Who wins these low-turnout, local contests depends on which candidates can not just grab the attention of the city’s major blocs, but also inspire genuine enthusiasm. As important as issues will be at forums and in media pieces, it’s charisma and the ability to build trust that will determine the make-up of the board next year.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ Media Group. 

[From Gabriel Hament]  An Evaluative Framework for Strategic Donors
Gabriel Hament

“To give away money is an easy matter and in any man's power. But to decide to whom to give it and how large and when, and for what purpose and how, is neither in every man's power nor an easy matter.” – Aristotle, 4th century BC

The contribution of a large financial gift to a nonprofit organization or community foundation represents a significant milestone in a donor’s life. This transfer of wealth, from the donor to the balance sheet of a recipient institution, is often made possible by a lifetime of cumulative personal financial decisions on the part of the donor. For many, this means 30-40 years of diligent saving and prudent investing.

If a donor chooses to contribute a gift without imposing restrictions, the assets may be deposited into an unrestricted endowment fund. The endowment fund may have been established with the objective of supplying the organization with a perpetual stream of funds to support ongoing operations or special projects, deemed appropriate by board members and the executive team. Typically, this fund is governed by an investment policy statement that codifies how the endowment assets may be managed, how performance is tracked and benchmarked, the process by which investment managers are selected and monitored, and other procedures associated with the management of donor capital. Oftentimes, nonprofit endowments are operated efficiently and conservatively, so that over an entire market cycle and net of fees, the endowment generates returns that match or exceed the relevant benchmarks. This would be an ideal scenario and attractive to current and prospective donors.

In an effort to encourage philanthropists to apply the same level of scrutiny to their philanthropic “investments” as they do to their personal investments, I compiled a set of criteria prospective donors can reference when allocating charitable dollars.

Investment Management and Custody

  • How will donor assets be invested to satisfy the perpetual mandate enumerated in the gift agreement?
  • Does the organization maintain a separation between the investment management function and the custodial function?
  • 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?

Fee Structure

  • How much is the organization paying in fees associated with the management, administration and custody of the assets?
  • How does this fee structure compare to organizations with similarly sized endowments?
  • Is each fee separately determined and paired with a service so that each service provided may be evaluated independently?

Performance Monitoring

  • What process is in place to monitor the performance of the organization’s endowment?
  • Are donors kept apprised of the performance of the endowment pool on a monthly or quarterly basis?
  • If the performance of the investment pool routinely fails to meet prescribed benchmarks, what action is taken? For how many quarters may performance of the investment pool fail to meet or exceed the benchmark until action is taken?
  • Is the performance of illiquid investments (Level III assets) reported separately from the performance of marketable assets (Level I assets and Level II assets)?
  • Are donors offered the option of “opting out” of a pool that contains Level III assets?

Due Diligence

  • How does the organization select investment managers?
  • Are all qualified firms invited to participate in the selection process?
  • What is the process for drafting requests for proposals for investment management and administrative services?
  • When the organization issues an RFP for investment management and administrative services, are commercial banking services bundled with investment management and administrative services? Additionally, in the RFP, if banking services are bundled with investment management and administrative services, are firms that specialize in investment management disqualified from consideration by the investment committee or board of directors?
  • Are background checks undertaken on the individuals and firm principals managing the organization’s assets?
  • Has/have the firm(s) and/or the individual registered representatives managing the assets of the organization been the recipient of customer complaint(s) that resulted in fines or citations levied/issued by a regulatory agency?

Governance

  • Is an Investment Policy Statement on file, to which donors, board members, and executive team members can refer?
  • Is the title of the organization’s endowment funds held by a local community foundation? Does the organization’s board of directors retain full control over how these funds are invested and distributed? Is the distribution of funds to the organization from the endowment held at the community foundation dependent upon approval from the executives and/or board of the community foundation?
  • If a board member, a board member’s family member, or family member of an executive employed by the organization provides financial services to the organization, is a “recusal rule” or a “no conflict of interest rule” upheld by the executive team, board of directors and associated committees.

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

 



[SCOOP]  CFAS Presents: Architecture in the Public Realm

The Center for Architecture Sarasota presents a first-hand look at how public architecture helps define our community’s values. The exhibit explores urban design and showcases the work of fourteen of Sarasota’s leading architects. Visitors can view detailed designs and tune in with weekly Gallery Talks, where these architects provide insights into Sarasota's built environment through discussions about their work. An opening reception will be held for the exhibitors and the public on January 13 from 5:30pm–7:30pm, free of charge. 

Center for Architecture Sarasota

[SCOOP]  La Musica International Chamber Music Festival

The critically acclaimed La Musica International Chamber Music Festival celebrates 31 seasons this year, with events running from April 1–12. The four performances will be held at the Sarasota Opera House and bring musical talents from around the world. The 2017 festival will also feature the popular Musical Chefs Interactive Dinner hosted by Phil Mancini at Michael’s Wine Cellar on April 7, during which La Musica artists take turns leading guests in cooking demonstrations to prepare the evening's meal. Subscriptions to all four concerts are $150 and single tickets for $40. Visit lamusicafestival.org for performance tickets, rehearsal schedule and passes and Musical Chefs tickets. 

La Musica

[KUDOS]  SMH Ranked America's #1 Safety Net Hospital for Hip & Knee Replacement

Sarasota Memorial Hospital was ranked America’s highest performing safety net hospital for total hip and knee replacements in 2016, according to an assessment by Modern Healthcare. SMH received the highest score in both clinical areas based on a review of inpatient data collected from all hospitals from 2012 to 2014 by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS). Modern Healthcare analyzed a subset of that publicly reported data for the nation’s safety net hospitals (defined as those providing at least 0.1 percent of the nation’s charity care). It published the top five highest performers in the nation, with Sarasota Memorial ranked number one.   

Sarasota Memorial Hospital

[KUDOS]  Music Compound Celebrates One-Year Anniversary

Music Compound is ringing in the New Year and celebrating one year of business. The school recently opened and now occupies a 6,500 square foot space including its very own concert and event venue known as Studio 32. “I’m so pleased with how good Music Compound has done in its short year of life,” says Jenny Alday Townsend, President/Owner of Music Compound. Throughout 2016, Music Compound continuously worked to provide a positive impact on the community and hosted several events for various nonprofits as well as donating more than $5,000 in gift certificates to students. 

Music Compound

[SCOOP]  BE COOL School Challenge

Braden River High School senior and Goodwill Youth Ambassador Brianna Moss understands not only the life-changing impact Goodwill Manasota has on the lives of community members, but also how she and other teenagers can contribute and make a difference. Moss is spearheading the BE COOL School Challenge, an effort to collect unwanted, gently used items at area high schools that can then be sold in Goodwill retail stores. Goodwill will provide to participating schools donation boxes that can be painted or decorated any way the students want. Students will then promote and hold the donation drive, collecting items such as clothing, shoes and books through April 21. Schools interested in participating are asked to contact Donna Evans at donna.evans@gimi.org. 

Goodwill Manasota

[SCOOP]  Gulf Coast Community Foundation Scholarship Applications

The online application for Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s 2017–2018 scholarship program is now available. Through its annual scholarship program, Gulf Coast assists students of all ages in pursuing higher education at an accredited college, university, or technical school. Last year, the foundation awarded 451 scholarships totaling nearly $545,000 to deserving local students. Visit GulfCoastCF.org/scholarships to review scholarship requirements, find answers to frequently asked questions, and complete the application. The deadline to apply is 11:59pm on Monday, March 6.  

Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[SCOOP]  Girl Scout Senior Pet Awareness Day

Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida Troop #568 is hosting a Senior Pet Awareness Day at the Humane Society of Sarasota County on Saturday, January 21, from noon to 2:00pm in pursuit of a Bronze Award, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve by making a lasting impact on their community. The five members of Troop #568 will arrive in uniform with hand-crafted poster boards about the benefits of adopting a senior pet and will actively engage potential adopters with their prepared items and even decorate senior pets' kennels. Complete details can be found at www.hssc.org/girlscoutstroop568/   

Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida

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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