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SRQ Daily Aug 8, 2017

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"Everyone understands that we have a good group of volunteers and a good system in place. This was just an unfortunate occurrence."

- Caprill Hembree, Southside Elementary PTO

[Nonprofit]  Alleged PTO Theft Shows Need for Safeguards
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

A parent-teacher organization in Sarasota says it will review its safety precautions following accusations one of its volunteers stole more than $7,000. “We’re just assuring all of our donors we will take every precaution to reasonably safeguard funds,” says Caprill Hembree, president of the Southside Elementary Parent Teacher Organization.

Sarasota police say Tiffani Donovan, 48, stole checks made out to the PTO and deposited them in her own personal bank accounts, Police arrested Donovan last week on 11 counts of Uttering a Forged Check and one count of Scheme to Defraud. Police say between July 4 and Dec. 17, 11 checks totaling $7,325 made payable to the PTO and endorsed by Donovan were deposited into Donovan’s personal account.

Donovan’s LinkedIn page identified her as director of Advertising Print and Digital for Sarasota Magazine, though that page can no longer be viewed. Calls to Donovan’s voicemail at Sarasota Magazine and to her home were not returned. Publisher Kelley Lavin informed SRQ that Donovan was no longer employed by Sarasota Magazine.

Experts say embezzlement by volunteers has grown as a problem for nonprofits over the past decade. Robert Benton, a partner at Washington, D.C. law firm Wiley Rein, noted a Washington Post investigation that showed more than 1,000 nonprofits between 2008 and 2012 reported “significant diversion of assets” in their IRS-required 990 financial disclosure forms. “The best answer is for nonprofits to adopt as sophisticated a set of financial controls as is reasonable for an entity of their size and their budget,” he told SRQ. At a minimum, that should include having different people who process requests for checks and who write them and requiring multiple signatures for checks exceeding certain monetary thresholds.

Since the arrest last week, Sarasota County School District officials say Donovan has been blocked from its volunteer list and will no longer be able to volunteer at any school in the district, pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation. District officials stressed the funds in question were not school district funds, but funds for the independent PTO.

“Nonprofits in their rush to do good, which they do a lot of, sometimes assume people trying to help them do good are honest, and that’s oftentimes a bad assumption.” Benton said. He recommended any small nonprofit work with a local accountant to make sure appropriate protections guard the organization from embezzlement.

Hembree said the Southside PTO became alerted to a potential theft by other donors and followed up on facts immediately. After an internal investigation discovered a problem, Hembree said the organization went to police. But she’s unsure what could have been done to prevent abuse in advance of a situation unfolding. “We have a really good system in place, but when someone is going to take advantage of the system, someone will take advantage,” she said. “We do plan to put in some more checks and balances, and we already have a lot of communication with our volunteers.” 

[Daily Shop]  A Tower of Tulips
Shelby Schwartz, shelbys@srqme.com

A ceramic tower lined with blossom shaped spouts, the tulipiere turns any tabletop into a vertical flower garden. Found in Malbi Décor—specializing in handmade Italian goods—the origin of this decorative vessel dates back to the beginning of 17th century Europe. Formerly used to show off wealth, the structure presented tulips, crocus and hyacinth, then considered luxuries from Asia. Designed to hold one bulb per spout, each flower’s stem daintily rests on the lip of its opening, allowing petals to fully emerge with a pop of color. The trend of presenting floral extravagance diminished at the end of the 17th century but the tulipeiere remained as an interesting piece of home décor, serving as a perfect conversation piece and beautifully displaying an array of vibrant flowers. Enjoy for $440. 

Photo by Shelby Schwartz.

Malbi Décor, 127 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-953-3113.

[Expansion]  CareerEdge Extends Reach with St. Petersburg Nonprofit

Sarasota-based CareerEdge and the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg have formed a strategic partnership to address the training and development needs for differently abled Pinellas County residents. CareerEdge has hired Jennifer Evans of Meraki Strategic Group to lead this initiative. Through community and employer collaboration, gaps of service will be identified and then addressed. This partnership is intended to bring CareerEdge’s workforce development expertise to uncover, address and resolve some of the complex barriers to employment that exist for differently abled Pinellas County residents. This will result in better service, customized training, increased job placement and financial stability for the target population, decreasing unemployment in Pinellas County. This work is allowing CareerEdge to further extend its reach of service to help lead more individuals out of poverty and onto successful pathways for sustainability. CareerEdge is a partnership of business, government and philanthropic organizations that leverages public and private dollars to provide opportunities for better jobs and wages in Manatee and Sarasota counties. 


[Recognition]  Sarasota Procurement Division Earns Award

The City of Sarasota Purchasing Division was awarded the 2017 Annual Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award from the National Procurement Institute. This professional achievement recognizes national best practices in the field of procurement. The City of Sarasota is one of just 24 recipients in Florida and one of 68 cities in the United States and Canada to be honored with this accolade known to purchasing professionals as the 'pinnacle of procurement.’ The Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award is bestowed to government and nonprofit organizations that earn a high score based on standardized criteria, including outstanding performance with e-procurement, productivity, professionalism, leadership and innovation. This recognition encourages continual development and improvement with procurement. The City's Purchasing Division facilitates formal solicitations (bids, requests for proposal, invitations to negotiation) purchase orders (for everything from construction services to office supplies to professional services) and purchase card transactions. This is the third consecutive year the Purchasing Division has been recognized with the Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award. 

City of Sarasota

[Community]  Children First Offers Back-to-School Screening Event

Children First, Inc., the exclusive nonprofit Head Start and Early Head Start provider for Sarasota County, is gearing up for the upcoming school year with an Orientation/Open House event today at Children First’s Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center. During the events, health screenings will be provided to all enrolled children in attendance. The Venice Lions Club, the Ear Research Foundation and other individuals in the healthcare field will be volunteering their time and services to provide screenings to ensure at-risk children are healthy and ready to learn. The majority of the children attending Children First come from households with incomes at or below the federal poverty guidelines, and may not have access to quality healthcare. These screenings further the organization’s mission of strengthening children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health and well-being. Firefighters will be showing off one of their trucks, representatives from Easter Seals will also be on hand to share information on language and literacy topics, and a representative from Sarasota County government will discuss energy conservation strategies. Parents will also have the opportunity to meet their child’s teachers, speak with their Family Advocates, and take part in fun activities during the open house. 

Children First Inc.

[TODAY]  THEATER: Zombie Prom , July 28 – August 12

Set in the atomic 1950s at Enrico Fermi High, where a zany, tyrannical principal lays down the law, a pretty senior has fallen for the class bad boy. Family pressure forces her to end the romance, and he charges off on his motorcycle to the nuclear waste dump. He returns a glowing zombie still determined to take her to the prom. Directed by Brad Wages.

Venice Theater , 140 W. Tampa Ave., Venice

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Claudia Ryan – drawings , June 12 – August 11

Abstract drawings and prints by Claudia Ryan will be featured in the college’s new gallery at the Basch Visual Arts Center.  Ryan’s works on paper are densely layered and threaded with color, creating a map for a journey that becomes the viewer's own.

Lois & David Stulberg Gallery, 2700 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Jeffery A. Cornwell , June 12 – September 22

Featuring paintings by Ringling College Fine Arts alumnus Jeffery Cornwell. Showing across the United States in galleries and alternative spaces, Cornwell draws inspiration from the natural environment and the relationship of sky to land.

Patricia Thompson Gallery , 2700 N. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Arsenic and Old Lace , August 9 – August 20, 7:30pm and 2pm

Directed by Joseph Kesselring, Arsenic and Old Lace is about two charming and innocent old ladies running a boarding house for "acceptable" gentlemen roomers. Single tickets are $18.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts, 838 N Tamiami Tr.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Power Hour Lunch , August 9, 11:45 AM - 1:00 pm

A Chamber of Commerce networking opportunity, at this event each guest is invited to make an introduction to the group and pitch an elevator speech about their business. Please RSVP at least 24-hours prior to the event to save your spot. Depending on availability, member walk-ins will be charged $25.

Hotel Indigo , 1223 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Don’t Quit Your Day Job , August 10 – August 11

Venice Theatre’s multi-talented employees get the chance to strut their stuff on stage. From the box office and marketing to production and development, representatives from just about every department are pitching in to put on a great show. Enjoy performances from Allan Kollar, also the MC, Barbara Mullen, Brad Wages, Cara Herman, Dorian Boyd, Eric Watters, Kelly Duyn, Kim Gaesser, Kim Kollar, Laurie Colton, Lynne Buhle, Tay Tufenkjian and Tim Wisgerhoff.

Pinkerton, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Gallery Walk & Talk - Portraits , August 10

The Ringling photography collection is rich in portraits by artists such as Cindy Sherman and Richard Avedon. Join museum staff as they introduce viewers to both artists and their subjects in these “bite size” programs that focus on issues and ideas.

John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art  , 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: SAF Milam House Tour , August 12, 2 to 3 PM

Join SAF for an exclusive tour of architect Paul Rudolph's Milam House, a true modernist masterpiece in Ponte Vedra, Florida. Built in 1961, this was Rudolph's last Florida residence and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.
The iconic house is built on a 200-foot oceanfront lot, on a high bluff near Jacksonville, Florida. Architectural Record's 1963 "House of the Year", the Milam House is a legendary example of the celebrated architect’s expansive vision of architecture and served as an important segue in his career. The Sarasota Bus Group will also have the opportunity to visit the William Morgan House in Atlantic Beach after the Milam tour. Internationally known modernist architect William Morgan, studied under Walter Gropius, graduated from Harvard University, worked with Paul Rudolph and was one of the best-known and most influential Jacksonville architects of all time. 

Milam House, 1033 Ponte Vedra Blvd., Ponte Vedra Beach

[SOON]  SPORTS: The Second Annual Candy’s Circus Run , August 12

The Second Annual Candy’s Circus Run will be held on Saturday, August 12, 2017 at the Nathan Benderson Park. Gates will open at 7:00 am for packet pick-up and limited In-Person Registration. Opening ceremonies will begin at 7:30 and races will promptly begin at 8:00 am. All of the donations go to the organization CureSearch for Children’s Cancer which is a non - profit focused on raising awareness and funds for pediatric cancer.

Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Alana Opie presents Classic Country Cabaret , August 12 – August 13

Hot off her Venice Theatre performance in Blood Brothers, Alana presents something totally different – her “Classic Country Cabaret.” Employing her strong country vocals, her witty stories, and perhaps a few over-sized wigs and fringed dresses, she will perform songs like “Walking After Midnight,” “Stand By Your Man,” “Jolene” and “Don’t Come Home a’Drinkin,” all made famous by all the classic female country artists of the ’60s and ’70s – including Patsy Cline, Tammy Wynette, Dolly Parton, and Loretta Lynn.

Pinkerton, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice

[SOON]  THEATER: Ann Morrison presents Ann’s Furniture Set , August 13, 8 pm

54 Below, Broadway, and West End star Ann Morrison brings her amazing vocal talent to the VT Summer Cabaret Festival!

Pinkerton, 140 Tampa Ave. W., Venice

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: 2017 Greater Sarasota Chamber Bowling Tournament , August 16

The 2017 Greater Sarasota Chamber Bowling Tournament welcomes bowlers of all skill levels on Wednesday, August 16, at Sarasota Lanes. Registration will begin at 5:00pm followed by the tournament starting at 5:30pm. Register early as they sold out last year and registration is set for the first 12 teams! This exciting night includes networking, 2 games of bowling & shoes, a complimentary drink ticket and food, contests and prizes, and much more! The tournament is set for teams of 5 or individuals who we'll place with 4 others, allowing bowlers of all skill levels to participate. $175 - Team of 5 (Includes 2 games, shoes, drink ticket & food), $40 - Individual Bowler (Includes 2 games, shoes, drink ticket & food), $10 - Social Attendee (Non-Bowler; Includes drink ticket & food) With pool tables, darts, arcade games, a full service bar and more, this event is open to bowlers or non-bowlers.  Sponsorships are available. For more information, please contact Brittany Lamont atblamont@sarasotachamber.com to learn more.

Sarasota Lanes, LLC , 2250 Fruitville Rd., Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Jacob Ogles. 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. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising, please contact Ashley Ryan at 941-365-7702 x211 or at her contact page. To unsubscribe, please click here.

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