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SRQ Daily Apr 1, 2017

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The money raised at these events is critical to providing aid to students and to enhance facilities on each of our campuses. Philanthropy is very important aspect to the long-term financial well-being of any college or university and critical to students in need."

- Dr. Carol Probstfeld, State College of Florida
 

[Community]  We're In This Together
Roxie Jerde, roxie@cfsarasota.org

Those who have spent any time with me know I have a favorite motto that I am often heard saying—“all of us are smarter than one of us.” The most inspirational leaders I’ve learned from in my career have always been the ones who believe in the power of collaboration and the results that happen due to working effectively together. Our community is a shining example of so many individuals and organizations that convene and work together to find innovative solutions to shared challenges.

One of our most recent pioneering collaborations is with the Suncoast Campaign for Grade-Level Reading. I’m excited to share that the national Campaign for Grade-Level Reading has once again recognized our region as a Pacesetter for leading by example to overcome barriers for literacy for children in our region. What set us apart from other communities was our commitment to supporting parent success through a two-generation approach, addressing family health factors, driving results with data, building cross-sector collaboration, prioritizing children and families in public housing and utilizing technology to make a bigger impact.

Reading proficiency by the end of third grade is a critical milestone toward high school graduation and career success because it marks the transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” National tests show that two-thirds of U.S. fourth-graders are not reading proficiently. This disturbing statistic is made even worse by the fact that more than four out of every five low-income students miss this critical milestone, and students who have not mastered reading by that time are more likely to drop out of high school and struggle throughout their lives. 

The Pacesetter honor is not only a win for our students, but also a win for our region’s models of collaboration. The success of the Suncoast Campaign is made possible thanks to a consortium of supporting partners including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Manatee Community Foundation, School District of Manatee County, School District of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation, United Way of Manatee County and the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

A part of the collaboration I recently got to enjoy personally was last month when Embracing Our Differences coordinated “Embracing Dr. Seuss’ Differences Day.” Celebrated on the birthday of Dr. Seuss, this day saw dozens of community leaders and volunteers enter more than 600 elementary school classrooms in Sarasota and Manatee counties to share their love of reading and the whimsical rhymes intertwined with important messages of Dr. Seuss books. Not only were the students engaged in fun activities and learning, many of the ones from Title 1 schools were able to take the books home for their personal libraries.   

I was delighted to spend time with a  second-grade classroom at Gocio Elementary School and read to a group of 16 students, all donned with Dr. Seuss hats. And yes, I wore one too! What I loved about our reading adventure with “Horton Hears a Who” was how inquisitive the students were and how their curiosity led to great discussion. I especially enjoyed how the students all chimed in when we got to the line that was the central theme of the book, “a person's a person no matter how small". They grasped the meaning of everyone one of us is important and matter in this world. It was great to see how they could relate this to their younger brothers and sisters. And lucky me, they even invited me back later in the semester to read another book.

As we all go about our work I hope our community and its leaders can continue to acknowledge and engage in the opportunities to work collaboratively to address the needs of our region, so that we all have better and brighter futures. Like I always say, all of us are smarter than one of us!

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

[Higher Education]  The Impact of the College Foundation
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, provided more than $1.4 million in scholarships to students in the last year. For nearly all these students, that aid was the difference between staying in college or not. That money was available for students because of the fund-raising efforts of the SCF Foundation and its Board of Directors and the very generous philanthropic community in which we live.

I’ve often shared that just $500 can be the difference between a student staying in school or giving up on their educational dream. We simply couldn’t do what we do as an institution without a group of people dedicated to raising money from alumni, community supporters and our own staff, and turning that money into opportunities for students to continue to pursue their educational path. A foundation is clearly integral to the success of the college’s mission.

I can assure every SCF donor that your money is used responsibly and for the intended purpose. We can match your philanthropic desire with the student, project or program you want to assist. The return on investment we get from our foundation is incredible—for the college’s $374,000 investment in foundation operations, the SCF Foundation returns almost $7 million in gifts, revenue and investment appreciations on an annual basis for student scholarships, program enhancements and capital projects at the college.

We recently welcomed more than 300 guests to SCF’s Bradenton Campus for one of our annual fundraising events—Avenues to the Future. In just its third year, this new annual event was a major success, and not just for the money raised for student scholarships, but also for its ability to connect our community to our college through science, music and fellowship. We live in an incredibly philanthropic region, and our recent Avenues event put that on full display as we doubled the amount we expected to raise. Thank you to all who attended and made contributions to our college.

Avenues to the Future, along with Evening Under the Stars on our Venice Campus in April, represent the two major fundraising events SCF holds each year. The money raised at these events is critical to providing aid to students and to enhance facilities on each of our campuses. Philanthropy is very important aspect to the long-term financial well-being of any college or university and critical to students in need. Our foundation does the hard work of raising money, cultivating and building donor relationships and keeping alumni engaged with our institution. It’s hard and sometimes thankless work that not only directly impacts the success of our students and graduates, but helps the college contribute to creating an educated and thriving community.

The Florida House of Representatives Appropriations Committee recently conducted a study of the foundations of Florida’s public universities and state colleges. I welcome transparency in all matters that concern the use of public funds, and at SCF, we were very open with our submission to the committee. Reflecting on the committee meeting gave me an even greater appreciation for our foundation and its board of directors.

We can do great things to assist our students when we can match the energy and creativity of our foundation with the philanthropic nature of our community. The return on that investment pays off over and over again.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[Letter from Kate Lowman]  STOP!'s Proposals Clear and Straightforward
Kate Lowman

The new buzzwords from STOP!‘s opponents are “disinformation” and “misleading.”  In the March 28 SRQ Daily, Ken Shelin went so far as to say STOP!’s leaders are “lying.” That’s a big word, so let’s hold for a minute while we figure out exactly who is doing what.
STOP! says we need public hearings when large new buildings are approved, something we do not have for our downtown. Ken Shelin says this is misleading because people already have input when changes to the City Zoning Code and other documents are discussed. True, but those opportunities were in the past and involved abstract issues and complex documents. People do not have input now—and it is the specifics of a new building in a particular location, and how it impacts the neighbors, that calls for a public hearing. Either Ken does not understand what STOP! is talking about, or maybe—he is trying to mislead?
Ken Shelin says STOP! is misleading the public about improving traffic issues because this is a problem that can’t be solved. STOP! has never said we can solve our traffic woes. We have said the City needs better traffic studies and more accurate data. We have said the City should look at the problem city-wide, not just on a project-by-project basis. And we have said the City should update fee schedules and methodologies to create funding for traffic improvement goals.  Doesn’t Ken understand that even intractable problems like traffic should still be worked on, that we can’t afford to just ignore this problem? Or is he being, misleading?
Ken Shelin has also accused STOP! of numerous other faults, many of them completely irrelevant to our goals and objectives, and far too numerous to address in a single letter to the editor. At one presentation I attended, he actually argued that STOP! is un-American. Last time I checked, advocating for a citizen’s right to speak in a public hearing before his or her elected officials was about as American as you can get.
I like to be careful with my words.  So I will stick to the comment that Ken Shelin is being very misleading.  To find out more about STOP!’s goals, please go to our website at www.ForQualityProgress.com.
Kate Lowman, on  behalf of the STOP! Steering Committee. 

[From Marjorie Broughton]  Meals on Wheels Effective at Helping Seniors
Marjorie Broughton

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney recently proposed eliminating a number of federal programs, including the Community Services Block Grant and the Community Development Block Grant, which help fund programs like Meals on Wheels, a 64-year-old organization that provides a nutritious meal, safety check and friendly visits to people in need, including the elderly, mentally and physically disabled and veterans.

In his announcement, Mulvaney scoffed specifically at Meals on Wheels, saying: “We're not going to spend [money] on programs that cannot show that they actually deliver the promises that we’ve made to people.” Doing away with Meals on Wheels, he said, would “show compassion.”

This is insulting and patently false. As the executive director of Meals on Wheels of Sarasota, I see firsthand how profoundly the program impacts the community.

Contrary to Mr. Mulvaney’s ludicrous assertions, Meals on Wheels does make a difference, it does have critical results, and taking away food and human contact from vulnerable people most certainly does not “show compassion.”

In our community alone, Sarasota’s Meals on Wheels annually serves more than 160,000 meals to homebound seniors, veterans, disabled people, individuals recovering from surgery or coping with a serious illness and even children. In most cases, the one meal they receive from us is all they will eat that day. In short: we provide the sustenance that keeps them alive.

We think saving a life is a great “result.” How about you?

Leola is a Sarasota resident whose life depends on Meals on Wheels. She lives on Social Security, disability checks, and is undergoing chemotherapy and dialysis treatments. She is mentally and physically exhausted. Six days a week, cheery volunteers deliver meals to her home, offering her a respite from her burdens. Besides nourishing her body and soul, the free meals allow her to pay her bills so she can continue living at home, which numerous studies have cited as a factor for increased wellbeing.

We fear that this proposed budget cut would leave millions of people like Leola in dire situations. For 2.4 million Americans, Meals on Wheels makes the difference between continuing to live in their homes—where they want to be—rather than moving to a nursing home.

Our effort benefits everyone. Enabling people to remain at home averts costly healthcare expenses incurred through Medicare and Medicaid. By preventing and expediting recovery from illness, injury and surgery, Meals on Wheels organizations across America reduce unnecessary visits to the emergency room, admissions and readmits to hospitals, and premature placement in nursing homes. This saves all taxpayers significant money. Current studies show that spending one day in a hospital (or six days in a nursing home) costs more than providing one person a daily meal for an entire year.

We encourage our friends in the community to do two things for Meals on Wheels if you believe our mission of providing a nutritious meal to our neighbors in need has merit. First, help us raise funds so that we can continue to meet our mission by vising www.mealsonwheelssarasota.com/donate. Second, contact Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Vern Buchanan. Let them hear your voice. Please share your stories about why Meals on Wheels programs are crucial.

Currently, one in six seniors in Florida contends with food insecurity, meaning they do not know when their next meal will be. The average life expectancy is rising, as is the cost of living, which will have ramifications in the years to come.

Now, more than ever, Meals on Wheels needs financial support to meet the needs of a fast-growing senior population.

Marjorie Broughton is executive director of Meals on Wheels of Sarasota. 

[From Gabriel Hament]  A Double Shot of Reality
Gabriel Hament

In a nuanced, and sometimes perplexing, election year, many are left scratching their heads—what effect do our City Commissioners really have on our daily lives. Believe it or not, who we potentially elect to serve at that Commission table will very often have a much greater impact on the future of this region than any tweet or edict coming out of the Oval Office.

A case in point: two years ago along North Tamiami Trail, on a plot of land overgrown with weeds, which now sits a defunct Mexican restaurant, El Pescado, the development of a new Starbucks was proposed. What an excellent proposal for this commercially-zoned property! A 2-acre stretch of “The North Trail” would be revitalized with a 2,000 square foot café, complete with outdoor seating and sufficient surface parking. Local firms and trades people would benefit from the design and construction. Fifteen students of Ringling or New College or USF Sarasota-Manatee would have part-time jobs to pay for books and tuition. And the city would benefit from additional economic activity and an expanded tax base and perhaps inspire the badly needed capital investment along “The North Trail.”

What’s not to love! Right? 

Until along came current city commission candidate and nearby Tahiti Park resident Jennifer Ahearn-Koch, who, with a wave of her finger, canceled this opportunity. After one year of riding the “public input” merry-go- round of endless traffic studies, back-and- forth with FDOT, and conversations amongst city officials, current STOP! committee leader Koch and the property developer, Starbucks threw in the towel and moved on to a more welcoming city. The marginal addition of vehicular activity generated by a coffee shop was just too much to swallow. The land now lies dormant; “The North Trail” continues to languish; local companies missed out on work; and 15 college students are denied a part-time gig. Mission accomplished. With Koch, a theoretical Democrat, at the commission table and Tahiti Park just down the road, one can only imagine the reception the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization will receive when the rubber hits the pavement.

This is only one example of several of why I would argue the Sarasota County Democratic Party should more thoroughly vet candidates who come knocking on their door for money, endorsements and volunteer labor. Elections have real consequences. Party donors and volunteers deserve to know whether party-backed candidates do indeed have the progressive bona fides of a real advocate for working people who have bravely taken a chance on Sarasota. The scar is still visible two years later from the events surrounding Shelli Freeland Eddie, the Democratic Party, Equality Florida and Ruth’s List. Reality can bite, like a sugarless double shot from “The North Trail” Starbucks that never was. 

Gabriel Hament, Sarasota. 



[Film]  SRQ Backlot Covers Sarasota Film Festival

The Sarasota Film Festival kicked off last night with a screening of Rory Kennedy's Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton and a party that spilled out of the Sarasota Opera House into the streets. Check out SRQ's coverage at SRQBacklot.com all week long. 

SRQ Backlot

[KUDOS]  Orioles Spring Training Attendance Ranks Second Highest In Club History

With the March 30th crowd of 6,900 for this season’s Spring Training finale at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles have drawn a total of 119,742 fans for 17 home games in Sarasota, the second-highest spring attendance in club history behind only the 120,455 total set in 2013. Since moving Major League operations to Sarasota, 885,055 fans have enjoyed Orioles Spring Training baseball at Ed Smith Stadium and have had six consecutive sellouts from March 16 to March 27, helping the club to finish among the best in attendance in the Grapefruit League this spring. The Orioles ranked third highest in ballpark capacity percentage at 94% and on average, the club welcomed 7,044 people per game. 

Baltimore Orioles

[SCOOP]  CareerEdge Internship Roundtable

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative will host an informational internship roundtable for local employers and educators on Tuesday, April 11th at its United Way Suncoast office. Employers will have an opportunity to learn about CareerEdge’s Internship Reimbursement Program, made possible through a grant from the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, that provides employers with up to $1,500 per intern if they are paid a minimum of $10/hour. The program, which targets high growth sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, IT, financial services, transportation, and the construction trades, incents employers to provide experiential learning to students in order to help develop local talent and support their workforce needs. Participants will learn how to implement an intern program within their organizations through peer sharing by an employer panel made up of FCCI, Sun Hydraulics and SouthTech who will share internship process and structure suggestions, as well as lessons learned in their programs.   

CareerEdge

[SCOOP]  Once Upon a Circus

Sailor Circus, known worldwide as “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth,” will delight audiences with its 68th annual spring performance Once Upon a Circus, centered around fairy tales and timeless stories coming to life. The show will feature new acts and other acts that have not been performed for several years including the aerial cradle, shoot thru ladder and low casting. The youth circus artists range from ages 8 to 18 and have been practicing their routines for months. Once Upon a Circus is an ambitious production that uses over 800 costumes and music from many beloved animated classics, including Cinderella, Fantasia and Beauty and the Beast. The lessons learned in fairy tales parallel those learned throughout the circus training process, extending beyond the storybooks and into the arena. 

Circus Arts Conservatory

[SCOOP]  Financial Literacy Month

National Financial Literacy Month, recognized in the month of April in the United States in an effort to highlight the importance of financial literacy and teach Americans to establish and maintain healthy financial habits. For the past 15 years, Goodwill Manasota has been committed to promoting financial literacy and ensuring that individuals living at or below the poverty level have the tools they need to effectively manage their money. The classes offered by Goodwill Manasota offer tools, resources and tips to help participants to successfully manage their personal finances and transition from poverty to economic independence. Topics range from credit counseling and using online banking to understanding consumer credit. The coursework was developed in collaboration with area banking institutions. In 2016, thanks to Goodwill, 325 individuals participated in financial education classes, 257 participated in budgeting classes, and 32 completed the Home Buyers Education program, after which five team members were pre-approved for a mortgage.  

Goodwill Manasota

[KUDOS ]  YMCA Honors Representative Vern Buchanan

YMCA of the USA, the national resource office for America’s 2,700 YMCAs, honored Representative Vern Buchanan for his support of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act through his leadership on the House Ways, Means Committee, House Diabetes Caucus, and for his leadership on the Family First Prevention Services Act. Laura Gilbert, President and CEO of the Sarasota YMCA, presented Representative Buchanan the award in Washington, D.C. Laura Gilbert, President and CEO of the Sarasota YMCA, presented Representative Buchanan the award in Washington, D.C. “We’re fortunate to have Representative Buchanan as such an advocate for chronic disease prevention programs such as diabetes and for his continual support of foster care programs and services,” said Gilbert. 

Sarasota YMCA

[SCOOP]  Gift Made To Sarasota Orchestra Facility Planning

The Sarasota Orchestra announced a leadership gift to underwrite enhanced planning activities for a new concert hall made by long-time Orchestra patron and philanthropist Ernest Kretzmer, in loving memory of Alisa Kretzmer. The donation will be utilized to fund the planning process of a permanent home for the Sarasota Orchestra. The Sarasota Orchestra’s Facility Task Force is actively working in parallel with the Bayfront 20:20 and Sarasota Bay Planning Organization (SBPO) initiatives. Last year, the Orchestra briefed Orchestra and community stakeholders on the results of a needs analysis and market study. “The Phase 1 Facility Needs Assessment documented the urgency for a dedicated facility for the Orchestra to enhance schedule, availability and flexibility, more rehearsals in the performance space, improved acoustics, and additional space for education programs and staff,” said Anne Folsom Smith, Chair of the Orchestra Board.  

Sarasota Orchestra

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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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