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SRQ DAILY Apr 20, 2019

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"Monday’s vote was all about moving from plan to implementation. It built on and honored deliberate decision-making up to that point, and it enables the start of an implementation process that, wisely, will be phased too."

- Mark Prichett, Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Argus]  JMI Shows Need to Get Serious on Housing
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

Affordable housing. Workforce housing. Attainable housing. No matter what you call it, everyone agrees we need some and most will say it is at a crisis level.  The problem is, not many understand factors that are causing housing to be so expensive, and then there are those who do understand, but will just deny it because they want to stop growth.

The James Madison Institute recently studied an important aspect of affordable housing and issued a report that will be the focus of a joint luncheon meeting between The Argus Foundation and Gulf Coast Builders Exchange on Thursday, May 16, at the Sarasota Yacht Club called, “Assessing the Effects of Local Impact Fees and Land-use Regulations on Workforce Housing in Florida.”

To begin with, the market is dictating the general cost of housing. There are aggravators that make matters worse, but the market brings us to where we are today. As the JMI report states, “When supply doesn’t keep up with demand, prices go up.” 

This will shock some, but what it means is that we aren’t building enough to meet market demand. In Florida, JMI estimates that statewide, Florida only built about half of what it needed in new homes between 2010 and 2016. 

Nothing will be solved without new homes being built.  See California.

But how does public policy and government aggravate this problem?

JMI will review its findings for its study and specifically look at impact fees for the Bradenton, Sarasota, Fort Myers metropolitan areas.

A primary issue is admitting that government can be part of the problem, and actually doing something about it. Every time government issues a tax or regulation, there are consequences on the market, no matter the intention.

The next step is having the courage to take every single regulation and measure its effect on affordable housing. Local government should do this every single time a new or changed regulation is enacted whether it be “minimum lot sizes, minimum parking requirements or height limits that restrict density.” Local government should make the effect on affordable housing a permanent part of staff reporting, just like government budget fiscal impacts.   

I don’t see this being done here in Sarasota County for any local government.  Occasionally, a commissioner or council person might bring it up while enacting a new ordinance, but no one is really making sure nothing slips by without this analysis. 

If a government isn’t doing this or asking for this, they are not really serious about tackling affordable housing as an issue.

What is important about this study is not just identifying the problem, but offering solutions. JMI has recommendations in its report.  We will learn more about JMI’s report and recommendations in our joint meeting. Join The Argus Foundation and Gulf Coast Builders Exchange on May, 16.  Reservations are available at http://argusfoundation.org/events/

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

[Higher Education]  SCF’s Commitment to Quality
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

One of the unique things about a community college is its relationship with its service area. State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is ingrained in our region. The character of our college is reflected in the citizens, businesses and neighborhoods of our community. Our graduates are community leaders, our neighbors and our friends.

This relationship creates an obligation that SCF provide high quality higher education opportunities, academic programs and services to directly contribute to the success and prosperity of Manatee and Sarasota Counties. Our commitment to quality is our contract with our community.

That commitment means we will always do what we say, deliver on our promises and provide a strong return on investment to our students, donors and taxpayers. Our best credentials are our alumni successfully leading and working in our region.

I am extremely proud of the education and training SCF provides its students, but I have challenged our institution to broaden the discussion about quality. We must create greater definition of what quality means at our college. We must measure it, achieve it and report on it, and then strive for excellence in those areas.

We need to expand the conversation about quality outcomes. We are already measured by many standards, but these focus too often on outputs. Outputs are easy to measure but do not reflect how effective we are in preparing our graduates to transfer to a university or enter the workforce. We will never lower our standards to increase outputs. We are not serving our community by just graduating students. Our focus will always be creating successful outcomes for our graduates.

When SCF Associate in Arts graduates/transfer students outperform their university peers in their final two years, that is a quality outcome. Our AA-transfer students consistently record higher grade point averages after transferring to one of our state universities than their peers who started at the university. I often get feedback from our graduates that they felt better prepared by their two years at SCF than their peers in the university classroom.

SCF registered nursing graduates pass their national certification exam on their first try at a rate of 98 percent. This is a quality outcome. With the effectiveness of our healthcare at stake, we cannot mass produce nurses to meet output goals. Our focus on quality outcomes for our nursing program leads to highly qualified registered nurses throughout our local health care networks.

Commitment to quality drove the decision to only offer high school dual enrollment on our campuses. Students completing an SCF course must have achieved sufficient learning to be successful in both the workforce and in subsequent college courses. The best way to ensure students are receiving quality college courses is on the college campus with instruction from a college professor. Students’ transcripts must be full of quality outcomes, not just a list of outputs.

As we study the different generations of students who attend classes at SCF, our research has shown us something interesting about Generation Z, the post-Millennial generation born between 1995-2012. Generation Z students expect high quality services and are not impressed with frills and extras. We are already seeing evidence of this as these students have entered our institution and we are working hard to exceed their expectations. We will deliver the quality they expect.

Providing quality higher education outcomes is our obligation to our community. We are committed to delivering those outcomes, improving on them and remaining accessible to our students, partners and supporters. That is our commitment to quality at State College of Florida.

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

[Gulf Coast]  Leadership in Action on The Bay
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

Last Monday marked the most important milestone yet in the multiyear effort to create a signature public park on Sarasota’s Bayfront. With a unanimous 5-0 vote, Sarasota’s City Commission approved a partnership agreement between the City and The Bay Park Conservancy, the nonprofit community-created entity that will oversee the design, building, and operation of The Bay Park on 53 acres of public land surrounding the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.

Huge thanks and hearty congratulations are due to all who have made the progress to this point possible. There isn’t room in just a few hundred words to properly thank everyone—because literally thousands of community members have actively, positively participated in getting The Bay to where it is today. Suffice it here for me to broadly thank:

  • the succession of citizen-led coalitions that conceived of and have advanced the project;
  • the philanthropists who made the master plan for the site possible;
  • City staff who are working in diligent collaboration with their community-based  counterparts;
  • the elected leaders who carefully weighed and dutifully acted on their responsibility; and
  • the many, many residents who have shared ideas, voiced opinions, advocated for the needs and wants of their communities, and otherwise engaged in the planning process so far.

I would, however, like to focus in on the crucial role that City Commissioners played Monday (and will continue to play moving forward). From its inception, The Bay project has been characterized as an opportunity to “realize the possibilities” for our community. The commissioners’ deliberation and ultimate decision coincidentally offers a glimpse of what is possible from our leaders.

Every few years, Gulf Coast Community Foundation commissions an “environmental scan” of our region. Like a business-planning tool for our communities’ success and well-being, this scan synthesizes objective public data with community perceptions and insights in order to chart the direction our region is heading and identify priorities and opportunities we should act on together.

Our last scan, in 2017, highlighted a need for leadership to be more proactive and willing to work together to move our region forward. It noted a common perception that elected officials and public managers lacked consistent and unified leadership. Gulf Coast is hard at work on our latest scan, and one initial finding I can tease here is a continued feeling that our leaders show inconsistency when it comes to implementation and action. Monday’s vote and the process leading up to it could be seen as an exception to that perception. I’d prefer to think that it comes as an early, exemplary rebuttal of it.

Monday’s vote was all about moving from plan to implementation. It built on and honored deliberate decision-making up to that point, and it enables the start of an implementation process that, wisely, will be phased too. It allows our community to sustain momentum on a transformative project that has broad support and diverse benefits for all.

A successful partnership of this magnitude requires accountability and trust. With unanimous approval of the partnership agreement, both were on display. Philanthropists and other funders who will be invited and encouraged to invest in The Bay can now see that. On to Phase 1!

Mark S. Pritchett is president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

[SCOOP]  Warrior Pose For Warrior

An evening with Operation Warrior Resolution (OWR) supporting military service members with yoga, breath and body work and sound immersions at the Sarasota Opera House. The event will be led by yoga master and Lululemon ambassador, Ms. Ashley Stewart. All proceeds will support OWR’s mission of providing immediate and effective mental health care at no cost for all U.S. military veterans and family members. OWR is a locally-based military nonprofit celebrating its first year as an officially recognized 501 c3. Spots are limited, so get your tickets today and support our country’s warriors at the Sarasota Opera House. 

Operation Warrior Resolution

[SCOOP]  Lighthouse of Manasota Rebranding

Nonprofit organization, Lighthouse of Manasota, that provides no-cost rehabilitation training and education to the blind and visually impaired in our region, announced its new name and unveiled its new logo during the Art in the Dark gala on April 13. The organization will now be known as Lighthouse Vision Loss Education Center. The new logo uses a font that is more friendly to the visually impaired, incorporates Braille letters, and was designed using two shades of blue, a color that studies indicate is representative of hope. The organization also has a new tagline: “Hope and Empowerment for the Visually Impaired.”

PhotoLighthouse CEO Lisa Howard (right) and board member Angela Abrams with the new Lighthouse Vison Loss Education Center logo 


[KUDOS]  Bay Park Conservancy Awarded Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

The Bay Park Conservancy has received a $100,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to support the transformation and activation of 53 acres on Sarasota Bay. The award will support the implementation of Phase 1 of the Bay Park Master Plan and build out the first 10 acres of park land. The new grant will allow the conservancy to transform under-utilized public land into a flourishing recreational, cultural, educational and environmentally sustainable park for the community. The site will revitalize with green, open space, public waterfront access and enjoyment, and an interactive living/learning park laboratory experience. 

The Bay Sarasota

[SCOOP]  Veteran Air Conditioning Donation Drive

Throughout the month of April, Veteran Air Conditioning is holding a donation drive to support Goodwill Manasota’s mission services. All month, the company is picking up gently-used items from clients in the Sarasota-Manatee area and transporting them to Goodwill, where they are being sold in retail stores throughout the area. Proceeds support Goodwill’s mission of changing lives through the power of work. Veteran Air Conditioning owner Kevin Henault, who has been a proud Ambassador for Goodwill Manasota for several years, supports the organization in particular for its commitment to helping veterans reintegrate into their families, jobs and communities. 

Photo: Kevin Henault, owner of Veteran Air Conditioning (left), with Goodwill’s director of donation development, Donna Evans  

Veteran Air

[SCOOP]  ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud to visit Sarasota

The Sarasota Military Academy ‘Project Earth Celebration’ will feature speakers, representatives from environmental organizations and a benefit kayak tour and concert by ‘Survivorman’ Les Stroud. Stroud’s visit is part of SMA’s 2019 ‘Project Earth Celebration’ on April 24. The public is invited to register for the concert and a VIP Kayak Mangrove Tour through Lido Key, on Friday, April 25. On April 26, the community is invited to purchase tickets to hear Les Stroud in concert, which will be held at the Bayside Community Church East Sarasota Campus. 

Sarasota Military Academy

[KUDOS]  All Faiths Food Bank Receives $10,000 Grant

All Faiths Food Bank has received a $10,000 grant from the Harold C. and Jacqueline F. Bladel Foundation in support of the Cooking Matters program. All Faiths Cooking Matters program teaches people, including children, about healthy nutrition and how to shop for and prepare healthy, low cost meals. All Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. They  provide millions of meals each year through robust programs and partnerships with charitable organizations in the community. 

All Faiths Food Bank

[KUDOS]  The Yacht Squad Raises $17,000

The Yacht Squad, children from Sarasota Yacht Club, raised $17,000 from their event, Yacht Dogs: Passion for Fashion, and the Community Foundation matched that amount with an additional $17,000. A check for $34,000 was presented to the Payton Wright Foundation.  “The SYC children are learning the importance of philanthropy at a very young age,” said Stephania Feltz, Member Relations Director. According to Feltz, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room during the presentation.   

Sarasota Yacht Club

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. 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. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. 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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