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SRQ DAILY May 12, 2020

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"I think the downtown farmer's market missed an opportunity to capitalize on the paranoia of going to the grocery store and when it closed, these vendors had nowhere else to go."

- Steve Phelps of Indigenous

[Food Market]  Steve Phelps of Indigenous Champions the Natives
Andrew Fabian, andrew.fabian@srqme.com

Steve Phelps thinks a lot about the world around him—his neighbors and friends, the birds and the trees, the whole social and ecological sphere that comprises life outside his front door. The tables in his aptly named restaurant, Indigenous, are made from locally sourced cypress, the greens on his menu come from local farms, the fish from local fishermen. And even with his restaurant’s dining area empty, he continues to find ways to stay connected to his world and the living things, sentient and otherwise, that fill it with life. 

As pandemic closures spread to the food industry and farmer’s markets, Phelps thought about some of the vendors he has built a relationship with through his restaurant. “Homestead Hydroponic Farms has been on my menu for years,” he says. Another local vendor, Sharon Juraszek of Fermentlicious, makes the sauerkraut found on some of his weekly specials. For these vendors, their direct-to-public sales from the Sarasota Farmer’s Market represented a sizable slice of their revenue pie, so the market’s closure caused a drastic loss of income already reduced from restaurant closures. “I think the downtown farmer’s market missed an opportunity to capitalize on the paranoia of going to the grocery store,” says Phelps, “and when it closed, these vendors had nowhere else to go.” So, Phelps stepped in.

He offered up his restaurant, with its convenient outdoor patio and refrigeration, as a new outpost for the sale of local produce and food products. “We only do dinner [at Indigenous],” he says, “so the daytime market doesn’t interfere with my dinner operations at all.” The Saturday markets out of Indigenous began in March. Almost immediately, Homestead increased their sales by 30%. The response was so strong that Grove Ladder Farms asked if they could join the party with their eggs. And just like that, a mini-market established itself in Towles Court. “Out of our friendship and the necessity to maintain our business relationship we were able to pull this off,” he says, “and the response has been great.” Great enough that Phelps and his vendors added Wednesday to the market’s schedule.

In honoring the no-contact protocols many businesses have adopted, Phelps and his vendors require that customers preorder online for Wednesday and Saturday morning pickup, which runs from 9 am to 11 am. Orders for Wednesday pickup should be placed between 10 am Monday and 3 pm Tuesday. For Saturday pickup, orders should be placed between 10 am Thursday and 3 pm Friday. Orders can be placed through the Homestead Hydroponics website, where detailed instructions for pickup and an assortment of products from Fermentlicious and Blackbeard’s Ranch can also be found. 

Pictured: The Homestead at Indigenous. Photo courtesy of Homestead Hydroponic Farm

Click for more info.

[ShopTalk]  Layers of Positive Vibrations
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

From Texas to Sarasota, established mixed media artist Jennifer Peck migrated to the Creative Coast of Florida to immerse herself in the tropical island life she daydreamed about back in the Lonestar State. The beaches, birds, flowers and gulf coast landscapes she’s surrounded by now provide endless inspiration for her playful mixed media pieces. 

Filled with bright-saturated colors and whimsical shapes, Peck utilizes acrylic paint on a panel as the background before creating the subject matter by collaging various decorative layers and pieces of patterned paper on top. “Through the paper, I can offer attention to detail with a playful twist,” she says. Also integrated through much of her art are carefully-chosen words, phrases, sheet music or even maps of Sarasota—ripped or cut from print, then carefully placed in the scene. “The paper often contains text that provides something thought-provoking,” she says, “while the threads of metallic shine and add life to the pieces.” Often, you will also find small pictures of people swimming, scuba diving or on rafts inside the images.

What starts as simply a painted surface, intricately builds up to become an inimitable, eye-catching and multi-dimensional giclee on canvas.

Having recently finished all four of the colored lifeguard towers on Siesta Key Beach, each piece tells a story of life at the beach with cherry-picked words placed within the structures and umbrellas. For instance, cut-outs of “99% Quartz Crystal” text, as well as "carried by rivers," are hidden in the yellow and red lifeguard stands of  'Positive Vibrations'—symbolizing the healing power of Siesta’s famous quartz sand, carried down by a river all the way from the Appalachians. 

Peck regularly participates in the Florida fine art festival circuit—exhibiting in shows from Dunedin to Naples, to Winterpark and the Atlantic side. Peck hopes to connect with the local community soon once Sarasota’s many outdoor art festivals are able to return again. In the meantime, you can shop her embellished giclees here. 

Pictured: 'Positive Vibrations,' courtesy of Jennifer Peck Fine Art

[Giving Back]  The Junior League of Sarasota Provides Bed Linens for All of the Beds on the All Star Children’s Foundation Campus

Thanks to the Junior League of Sarasota, foster children and parents living on the All Star Children’s Foundation’s “Campus of Hope and Healing” will soon cuddle deep into soft new sheets on freshly made beds. To create that nurturing comfort, the Junior League purchased $5,000 worth of linens for the 42 beds on campus (with enough left over for extra sets) and provided 12 sustaining members to make the beds. It was all part of the Junior League Sustainer’s “Done in a Day” program. As the name implies, this project sends out trained Junior League volunteers to support the short-term, one-day needs of nonprofit organizations in the Sarasota-Manatee area. All Star was one of them—and the gratitude is palpable throughout the All Star campus.

“We are enormously thankful to the Junior League of Sarasota for helping All Star create safe and snuggly havens for the children in our care,” says Graci McGillicuddy, All Star’s board chair and co-founder. “Many of these children have never experienced the pleasure of sleeping in their own bed—let alone in a bed outfitted with beautiful new sheets and comforters.” The Junior League’s hardworking volunteers made up 36 children’s beds and six foster parent beds in one day. According to McGillicuddy, it was a heart-warming sight to behold.

“Each volunteer poured so much love into each fold and hospital corner,” she says. “My heart overflowed with love watching these supremely dedicated people. Thanks to their generosity, All Star’s children and foster parents will have sweet dreams every night.”

The chair of the Junior League Sustainer’s Done in a Day program is Wendy Hopkins. “All Star Children’s Foundation' s mission aligns perfectly with that of the Junior League,” says Hopkins. “Sustaining member Kim Cornetet brought the project to the Sustainers and she washed all of the bedding before we brought them to campus so each child would be welcomed into their home with fresh linens. During the bed-making, Sustainers practiced social distancing and wore masks. The League is proud to partner with ASCF." 

[Giving Back]  Local FPRA Presents, Communicating Caring: Lessons Learned from the Record-Breaking Giving Challenge 2020 Event

The Central West Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (CWC-FPRA) is hosting their monthly professional networking session virtually with Mischa Kirby, APR, vice president of strategic communications and marketing from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County called Communicating Caring: Lessons Learned from the record-breaking Giving Challenge 2020.

An online, 24-hour fundraising event to support local nonprofit organizations in southwest Florida had been scheduled for late April 2020 for more than 18 months, well ahead of any notion of how the coronavirus would disrupt life in Spring 2020. With the rise of stay-at-home orders looming in early March 2020, organizers of Giving Challenge 2020 at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County adjusted plans for the event to unite a four-county region around an opportunity to support friends and neighbors through this digital event to great success. The seventh Giving Challenge exceeded all expectations, raising $18.4 million in 24 hours for 686 organizations from nearly 59,000 donors! Learn from the communications team that lead the Giving Challenge about operations changes in the weeks leading up to the event, how those changes were communicated to participating organizations, as well as their audiences, and efforts to engage even more donors than ever in this important effort to drive and celebrate philanthropy’s role as one of many ways to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic’s health and economic impacts.

The event will be held on Thursday, May 20, at 12:30pm via Zoom with the specifics provided once guests register. Tickets for the program are free for FPRA members, $10/guests. To register, visit cwcfpra.com/eventsor visit https://bit.ly/2W9IYnjThis event is presented by CWC-FPRA and sponsored by Take Care Home Health and Take Care Advisor. 

Click to register.

[Traffic]  SRQ Passenger Traffic Down 95% in April Due to COVID-19

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) passenger traffic saw a decrease of 94.7% for April with 9,742 passengers traveling through SRQ. Year-to-date, airport passenger traffic is down 8.5% for the first quarter of 2020 with 621,192 passengers using SRQ.

Despite the tremendous effect COVID-19 had in April on the aviation sector and SRQ, the airport continues to prepare for a return to more normal times. Numerous operational and physical improvements have been made including a doubling of janitorial staff, plexiglass shields at all customer service counters, numerous added hand sanitizer stations and social distancing markers in queuing lines.

Sarasota Bradenton International Airport President and CEO Rick Piccolo stated. “While we are still a very long way from recovery, the airport has seen a gradual increase in passenger traffic over the last week. As more states open their economy, we are confident that the positive trend will continue. When the passengers are ready, we are ready.” 

[Recognition]  DeAngelis Diamond Ranks on Inc. Magazine’s First-Ever List of Florida’s Fastest-Growing Private Companies

Inc. magazine today revealed that DeAngelis Diamond is No. 218 on its inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: Florida list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing Florida-based private companies. Born of the annual Inc. 5000 franchise, this regional list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the Florida economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.

“We are thankful for Inc. 5000 recognizing the growth achieved by our high performing team members as they build innovative and complex projects and make a positive impact in people’s lives, doing what they love,” DeAngelis Diamond Co-Founder, David Diamond, said.

The companies on this list show stunning rates of growth across all industries in Florida. Between 2016 and 2018, these 250 private companies had an average growth rate of 302 percent and, in 2018 alone, they employed more than 56,000 people and added $12.6 billion to the Florida economy. Companies based in the Tampa, Miami, and Naples metro areas brought in the highest revenue overall.

“The companies on this list demonstrate just how much the small-business sector impacts Florida’s economy,” says Inc. editor in chief Scott Omelianuk. “Across every single industry, these businesses have posted revenue and growth rates that are beyond impressive, further proving the tenacity of their founders and CEOs.” 

For more info.

[Summer Programming]  Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County Announces Modified Summer Program for Youth

After Governor Ron DeSantis announced Florida’s plans to reopen the state, businesses are slowly starting to resume operations while adjusting their models and strengthening security efforts to combat the further spread of the coronavirus pandemic. With the safety of its Club members and staff as the top priority, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County will open its doors to serve a limited number of children through the new 2020 Great Futures Academy Summer Program at no cost.

This new program will take the place of the organization’s annual Summer Program at all six of its Club locations Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Two sessions will be offered during the summer with the first session running June 1 to June 26 and the second session running from July 6 to July 31.

As the organization continues to monitor the evolving pandemic, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County has designed the 2020 Great Futures Academy Summer Program in accordance with the health and safety protocols set forth by federal and local officials including the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention and the Florida Department of Health. As a result, the Boys & Girls Clubs must restrict the number of participants in each session to 324 children with the greatest academic needs in order to provide the highest quality of program at the highest level of safety. The limit was determined based on the number of rooms inside the organization’s Club facilities and the social distancing recommendations of maintaining gatherings of no more than 10 people at 6 feet apart. Availability ranges amongst Club locations and includes the following limit per session:

-90 openings at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club at 3100 Fruitville Road in Sarasota;
-54 openings the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club at 1790 21st Street in Sarasota;
-27 openings the Newtown Estates Park Boys & Girls Club at 2800 Newtown Boulevard in Sarasota;
-72 openings the Robert and Joan Lee Boys & Girls Club at 920 Gulf Coast Boulevard in Venice;
-63 openings the Gene Matthews Boys & Girls Club at 6851 S. Biscayne Drive in North Port; and
-18 openings the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club at 18 School Avenue in Arcadia.

At this time, children must be between the ages of 6 and 12 and attend a Title I school. Children who are currently enrolled in the Clubs’ First Responder Program are also eligible for program admittance, and do not need to attend a Title I school.

“As we continue to emerge from this crisis, youth need the Boys & Girls Clubs more than ever to help them get back on track and ready to succeed academically when schools reopen,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County. “The decision to significantly reduce the number of children we can serve this summer was extremely difficult, as we know the need for positive youth development programs far exceeds the capacity in which our organization can safely deliver at this time. That’s why we must shift our operations in order to make the greatest impact on those children most at-risk for academic regression.”

The daily programs will feature academic enrichment activities with supplemental curriculum designed to empower youth to excel in school, become leaders, adopt healthy habits and plan for success after high school graduation. Meals and snacks will also be served to program participants at no additional cost.

Applications for the 2020 Great Futures Academy Summer Program will open on Monday, May 11, at bgcsarasota.com. Those interested in participating must submit their application by the strict deadline of Monday, May 18. An internal committee will review each application and verify eligibility. All children who qualify will advance to the selection process and be entered into a lottery system that will determine the 324 spots for both sessions of the program.

The organization will also provide exploratory summer programs to a limited number of teens including academic enrichment, entrepreneurial training, leadership development, financial literacy, civic engagement and workforce development. Middle and high school students are invited to secure their spot at bgcsarasota.com. Applications for teens will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. 

For more info,.

[Theater]  Florida Studio Theatre Cancels Summer Season

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announces the cancellation of its 2020 Summer Mainstage and Cabaret Seasons, originally set to kick off in mid-June, as well as the 12th Annual Sarasota Improv Festival slated for July. This difficult decision was made in effort to prioritize the health and wellbeing of FST’s staff, artists, and the Sarasota community during the current COVID-19 health crisis.

“We held back as long as we could on cancelling the Summer Season to see how the situation was going to evolve and whether a later start date would be possible,” said Richard Hopkins, FST’s Producing Artistic Director. “The health and safety of our audience, staff, and artists is paramount. Therefore, we came to the difficult decision that we must cancel the Summer Season. But we will not be sitting idly by this summer. We are using this time to move forward and make plans for our future. We have hired over 30 of the country’s top theatre artists to create new work that speaks to our shared humanity. We are engaging with our community online through classes, workshops, and discussions. We are heartened by our audience and are looking forward to the day that we can open our theatres to them again.”

2020 Summer Season subscribers will have their subscriptions automatically rolled over to the summer of 2021, receiving tickets for next summer at this summer’s prices. Patrons who wish to make other arrangements may call FST’s Box Office at 941.366.9000.

This year’s Sarasota Improv Festival will also be postponed until 2021. The event known for bringing the top improv troupes from across the country and around the world would have celebrated its 12th year this July. Improv fans can continue to watch FST’s resident troupe, FST Improv, performing short-form improv games via Instagram live on Saturday evenings.

According to Hopkins, these cancellations are projected to cost the theatre over $1.5 million in lost revenue. FST was forced to close its doors on March 16, when the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) changed it size recommendation for large gatherings from a maximum of 250 persons (which marked all of FST’s theatres safe) down to no more than 50. The non-for-profit is asking those who are able to give to make additional contributions, helping support the organization and its staff in weathering these unprecedented and challenging times. 

[Giving Back]  Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Board Grants $3.2 Million to Bridge Social Service Gaps During Economic Upheaval

Recent funding from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation fortifies critical nonprofit infrastructure as the need to support families and children becomes greater than ever.

“Our Board realizes our responsibility to ensure our partners have the flexibility to make smart decisions in the current climate,” says Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Barancik Foundation. “We identified opportunities to reinforce the organizations who are directly serving our community and helping people navigate health and financial assistance systems.”

In addition to $500,000 in funding to establish the COVID-19 Response Initiative with Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Barancik Foundation issued the following grants to its nonprofit partners:

CenterPlace Health
A $375,000 grant to ensure the organization continues to serve residents who rely on Medicaid and public health care now and into the future by covering payroll expenses and lost revenue.

A $285,000 grant to continue their leadership in providing early childhood education and programing for essential employees and front-line responders while school campuses remain closed.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
$250,000 in funding to support the accelerated transition of Historical Spanish Point under the administration of Selby Gardens due to the pandemic-induced economic fallout.

Harvest House
$200,000 in crisis response funding to provide homeless families, veterans, and unaccompanied youth with service-enriched housing and financial assistance.

Florida West Coast Public Broadcasting (WEDU)
A $200,000 grant to support the organization’s publicly broadcasted at-home learning programming for children, parents, and teachers.

CareerEdge Funders Collaborative
$150,000 in funding to offer and incentivize on-the-job training, internships, and fast-track vocational training so displaced and underemployed workers gain skills and wages.

$150,000 in funding to provide support for program participants and their families to help with economic stability and student success.

Children First
A $125,000 grant to allow the organization to remain operationally and fiscally resilient in order to serve the families who rely on them.

The Florida Center for Early Childhood
$125,000 in funding to continue to provide critical childcare services during the COVID-19 crisis and ensure highly-trained mental health therapists remain available to help families in need.

Girls Inc. of Sarasota County
A $100,000 grant to allow the organization to remain operationally resilient as families turn to the organization for extra support due to unemployment and related hardships.

Teen Court of Sarasota County
$100,000 in funding to meet the unforeseen needs of Teen Court clients and families, including mental health counseling, financial assistance, transportation and other identified needs.

Women’s Resource Center
A $100,000 grant to meet the rising demand of employment and case management services and build the organization’s capacity for serving the Latina population.

Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County
$30,000 in funding to maintain the organization’s efforts in coordinating and conducting virtual visitations for low-income mothers and their newborns.

Take Stock in Children of Sarasota
A $25,000 grant to provide support for the organization to continue its operations and help their students and families navigate through challenges created by the pandemic.

An additional $412,000 in funding was granted to arts and cultural organizations to cover lost revenue from canceled events and provide payroll assistance. Grantees include:

Asolo Repertory Theatre
Chicago Botanic Garden
Embracing Our Differences
The John and Mable Ringling Museum
Museum of Science and Industry of Chicago
Ravinia Music Festival
The Sarasota Ballet
Sarasota Opera
Sarasota Orchestra

Barancik Foundation’s Board of Directors have also authorized staff to provide flexibility to repurpose existing grant agreements, modify or waive reporting deadlines, and fast-track sponsorship commitments for current nonprofit partners.

Barancik Foundation continues to partner with Gulf Coast Community Foundation in identifying immediate nonprofit needs and fulfilling critical funding gaps through the COVID-19 Response Initiative as the community begins to move from response to recovery. 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charities can request funds at https://www.gulfcoastcf.org/covid-19-grant-requests. 

Click for details on submitting a request for funding.

[Giving Back]  All Faiths Food Bank Receives $64,290 In Support of Children’s Programs and COVID-19 Response Efforts

All Faiths Food Bank recently received grants and support from the following organizations: $10,000 from Bank of America Client Foundation in support of Backpack and School Pantry programs, $20,000 from Bank of America Charitable Foundation in support of the School Pantry program, $14,290 from The Mosaic Company Foundation in support of COVID-19 response efforts and $20,000 from The Smart Companies in support of COVID-19 response efforts. 

Click for more info.

[Re-Openings]  Payne Park Tennis Center Reopening This Friday

Starting Friday, May 15, 2020 the City of Sarasota Parks & Recreation District’s Payne Park Tennis Center will reopen. The Center’s objectives are to provide citizens with excellent service while encouraging social distancing and safety.  Reopening policies include: Reduced Facility Hours – Monday thru Friday from 8 am to 2 pm. Singles Only (two players per court). Advanced reservations required (on-line or phone); drop-ins prohibited. Players must play with new tennis balls. No sharing. Showers, lockers, Court 13 open area and ball machines are unavailable. 

Clock here for the complete list of reopening policies, for the Payne Park Tennis Center.

[COVID-19 Support]  Feed Venice on May 30th

Every summer, the six food pantries in Venice, FL are in critical need of food so they can feed the children who typically depend on the lunch they get at school. This need has been wonderfully met by the US Postal Service for many years. Last year, they were able to collect an outstanding 60,000 pounds of food to feed these families. 

The US Postal Service was forced to cancel this May's food drive due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This means not only has demand increased due to COVID-19 related job and income loss, but there is a shortage of food to the tune of over 60,000 pounds. 

In response to this, One Christ Won City, a local 501(c)(3), will be operating a one-day food drive program called “Feed Venice.” This food drive will be COVID-19 conscious where volunteers will use masks and gloves to accept your donation as you stay in your vehicle, keeping everyone safe and the process simple. They have collaborated and united with our 6 local food pantries and 23 local churches to collect and sort the essential food items. 

Food Pantries: Center of Hope, Community Assistance Ministry, Laurel Nokomis Civic Association, Nazarene Food Pantry, Salvation Army, South County Food Pantry

Churches: Auburn Road Presbyterian, Center of Hope, Christ Venice, Church of the Holy Spirit, CoastLife Church, Cornerstone Baptist, Fellowship Bible, First Baptist Nokomis, First Christian, First Presbyterian, Fisherman's Net, Greater Holy Temple, Harvest Chapel, Holy Orthodox Church, Lift Church, Mercy Fellowship, Church of the Nazarene, New Hope Christian, New Hope West, New Life Church, South Venice Christian, The Bridge and Venice Bible. 

If you would like to join us to help feed the children of our city, please bring the following items to Venice Christian School at 1200 Center Road Venice, FL 34292 on May 30, 2020 between 8-10 am: peanut butter, mac and cheese, soup and cereal. 

For more info.

[COVID-19 Support]  Sarasota County Commission Chair, Mike Moran, Stopped by Doctors Hospital of Sarasota To Kick off National Hospital Week.

Sarasota County Commissioner Chair Michael Moran stopped by Doctors Hospital of Sarasota yesterday to kick off National Hospital Week. Moran delivered a proclamation to the CEO Robert Meade and the team at the hospital. The proclamation states, "Now more than ever this is an opportunity to recognize hospitals and healthcare workers and the innovative ways they are keeping us healthy and supporting their communities during this pandemic." Commissioner Moran offered his personal thanks and gratitude to the physicians, nurses and all of those working behind the scenes to support the community. Doctors Hospital has been serving the residents of Sarasota County and the surrounding areas since 1967. The hospital successfully treated the first hospitalized COVID-19 patient in the state of Florida. 

Pictured: Sarasota County Commission Chair Mike Moran presents the National Hospital Week Proclamation to Doctors Hospital CEO Robert Meade and Team.

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