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SRQ DAILY Jul 15, 2020

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"The prescription for improved health, happiness, higher education, increased opportunities, financial stability, and a brighter future starts with permanent, affordable housing."

- Renee Snyder, President & CEO, Habitat Sarasota

-Photo from SRQ Magazine's New Summer 2020 Feature Roar of a Survior
[Education]  Sarasota Schools Pick Asplen For Superintendent
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota School Board members unanimously voted to begin contract negotiations with Brennan Asplen to become the next superintendent of schools here.

Asplen now serves as deputy superintendent in the St. Johns County School District. He told School Board members on Tuesday that he will need to speak with his current employer before discussing a start date for the new job. But he expressed enthusiasm for joining the Sarasota community.

“I am very humbled and honored to be selected,” he said. ”I really appreciate that and sincerely look forward to working with each of you on the board.”

That alone marks a certain change of pace for the district, where the tenure of the last superintendent, Todd Bowden, was marked by strained board relations.

Asplen said he wanted to built strong relationships with all parts of the Sarasota schools community. “I was thankful and impressed by people I met there,” he said. “The  dedication of employees, it was just impressive. Sarasota County has unlimited potential and it’s because of people, the teachers, the administrators and the community.”


Screenshot via Education Channel: Brennan Asplen takes questions during a videoconference town hall event during the interview process.

[Career Conference]  Jason Martinez on Resilience During Transitions at Tomorrow's State of Talent Conference
Grace Castilow, grace@srqme.com

The State of Talent Conference (SOTC) is a premier one-day conference experience completely focused on the future of workforce and talent development. Powered by CareerSource Suncoast, with partnered host Game On Nation, this leadership-focused conference provides a unique insight into the current state of talent in the workforce. Each year, SOTC brings together some of the best speakers from across the nation focused on talent development to help businesses engage their most valuable assets. With 500+ attendees, participants leave with insightful management strategies, networking and inspiration from the lineup of speakers brought onWhile the original live event was canceled this year in light of COVID-19, SOTC will now be providing a free and immersive digital experience tomorrow July 16. Of the 10 speakers on board to present an engaging virtual presentation, SRQ connected with a few of the bright lights to hear what they're excited to share.

Jason Martinez is a leader in the development of communication, leadership and well-being programs to support our nation’s wounded warriors. As a veteran of the United States Marine Corps and the Florida Army National Guard, Jason utilizes inventive storytelling and interactive curriculum to engage audiences nationwide. Since 2008, he has been instrumental in the development of programs specifically focused on the physical health and wellness needs of our US veterans, implementing wellness programs designed to promote overall healthy and active lifestyles through participation in adaptive sports, fitness and nutrition. Throughout the last decade, Jason has helped hundreds of athletes, military veterans and executives achieve their professional development and well-being goals through collaborations with the NFL, Under Armour, CrossFit, YMCA, The Players Championship (TPC) and the Wounded Warrior Project as a speaker and brand ambassador.

SRQ: What are you most excited to bring to the table for the SOTC conference this year?

Jason: I am most excited for all of the learning to take place. Yet, I am equally excited for the virtual community and support that hopefully, we can create for all participants.

SRQ: Can you share what your seminar topic covers and how you chose this theme for the event? Did something influence you?

Jason: I chose to talk about improving resilience during moments of transition. Over the last decade, I’ve worked with hundreds of veterans through a variety of transitions. Lessons learned from working with this population really moved to the forefront of my mind as I thought about our current global state.   

SRQ: What do you hope for Sarastoans to take away? 

Jason: I hope that they take away tangible tips to help them improve resiliency. I hope that at least one thing connects, well I hope more than one, but at least one thing that might help them get through adverse moments. I hope that they walk away feeling empowered and with a sense of clarity around how to get through moments of transition. 

SRQ: Do you have any practical advice or “a-ha” moments you had in your professional life that you can share with our readers? 

Jason: Yes. I also think that with a clear mind we might experience more a-ha moments in our lives. After getting out of the Marines, I hoped to attend college, but I think like many transitioning veterans, I tried my luck at a few different jobs. Eventually, I signed up for college and found a degree that I wanted to pursue. I was so excited to finally be going after something that I wanted to do since the 11th grade, attending college and working with the college sports program. One day during a minor league baseball game, and after some in-depth research on the training staff, I walked to the fence behind the home team dugout and asked for one of the training staff. One of the players sent over the Head Athletic Trainer and I pleaded my case to volunteer for the team. He told me to come back the next day and I did. That one day turned into working with that minor league team for two different seasons and opened the door to many other opportunities for me. 

Photo of Jason Martinez, courtesy of the Wounded Warriors Project.

Register for the State of Talent live virtual conference here.

[Housing]  Six Families' Lives Change as Habitat for Humanity Moves Them Into Brand New Housing
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

July's been an especially comforting month for six Sarasota families. Throughout May and June, a half dozen chosen families were each placed in their own new permanent, affordable home built in partnership with Habitat for Humanity Sarasota. In early March, Habitat Sarasota reacted quickly to adapt to the social distancing guidelines as the coronavirus pandemic unfolded in order to continue and complete the construction of these six homes. “We dug deep to keep these families on the pathway to homeownership and are so grateful to the community for continuing to support us so that their homes could be finished," says Renee Snyder, President & CEO, Habitat Sarasota. During these unwavering, restricted times in quarantine, the past four months have made us more acutely aware of social inequities. Affordable housing being one of them. "Everyone has been prompted to consider the fundamental importance of a home. The prescription for improved health, happiness, higher education, increased opportunities, financial stability, and a brighter future starts with permanent, affordable housing."

Of the six families now proudly homeowners, Collete is one of them, a hardworking mom supporting her two daughters. For the past 10 years, she has worked for the same company as an insurance underwriter. Thanks to 136 volunteers and 27 residents of The Lake Club contributing 1,511 hours to build, they now have a solid, safe foundation to call their own. Colette's daughters have always shared a single, small bedroom in their former cramped apartment, so having their own bedroom is a big deal and Colette is forever grateful to Habitat for being able to watch her girls excitedly decorate their new rooms with their personal touches. “I am overjoyed and blessed to provide a home to my girls," she says. "This home makes all the difference for us. It gives my daughters hope and confidence.”

For Diannah's new home, 151 volunteers, and 56 FCCI Insurance Group employees contributed 1,305 hours to build the house. Diannah she needed relief from a long commute, poor living conditions, unsustainable annual rent increases and overcrowded housing. “I don’t have the words to let them know how appreciative I am," she says. "They don’t know the blessing that it is to me and my kids.” Habitat made homeownership possible because of the interest-free mortgage and Habitat’s down payment program. Additionally, her hard work toward sweat equity, all combined, created an opportunity for permanent affordable homeownership.

Reesa, like many Habitat homeowners, is an essential member of our community’s workforce. In December, she will graduate nursing school as a Registered Nurse, specializing in addiction recovery and crisis intervention. Her family has lived in Sarasota for generations and as a single mom, Reesa knows firsthand the challenges of finding permanent affordable housing with one income. She sought a traditional mortgage but even with her steady career, she hit constant roadblocks. She turned to Habitat, and now that her family is in their brand new home, Reesa is celebrating the small moments like her kids being able to go outside and play in their yard in a safe, beautiful neighborhood. “I am forever grateful and appreciative to know that the community surrounded us to help us accomplish our dreams,” she says. “I encourage others to put their best foot forward and go for it. There is support in this community. Before this experience, I never knew that people could be so dedicated–rain, cold, heat–the volunteers were there. They dedicate themselves. It is amazing.” 

Habitat Sarasota is moving forward with plans to serve 21 more families during the coming year. Now more than ever, the organization is asking the community and local businesses for extended support. “The COVID-19 pandemic has further exasperated the housing crisis in Sarasota, which was already at a critical point,” says Snyder. “Without the help of affordable housing providers like Habitat, most workforce employees deemed 'essential' cannot afford to purchase a single-family home in Sarasota. Let’s work together with renewed determination to be better and do more. Let’s find new ways to make 'home' a reality for more families in our community.”

The construction of these homes was funded by: FCCI Insurance Group, Stock Signature Homes, Sarasota Office of Housing and Community Development utilizing State Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP) program funds, Publix Super Markets Charities, Isermann Family Foundation, and the Boscia Family Foundation.  

Pictured: Habitat Sarasota handing over the keys to new homeowner Colette.

Click to learn more about the six newly-placed families.

[New Hire]  Child Protection Center Announces Addition of New Board Member

The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) has announced the appointment of Jen Douglas, an APRN at Sarasota Memorial Hospital, to its board of directors.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Jen Douglas to CPC’s board,” said Doug Staley, Executive Director of CPC. “Jen is joining CPC at a crucial point in time as we continue the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse while navigating through the unforeseen difficulties of the current environment. Her years in the healthcare industry, including child abuse cases at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, have equipped her with a unique perspective and expertise that will greatly benefit our mission. Her knowledge complements the skills and experience of our board, and we are very grateful that she’s chosen CPC and to continue her remarkable dedication to the children in our community.”

Jen echoes this enthusiasm saying, “The mission of CPC and the impact it has on children is something my family and I are proud to support. I am looking forward to working with the board and our generous philanthropic community to meet the needs of children and families impacted by child abuse.” 

To learn more about the Child Protection Center, please visit CPCSarasota.org or call 941-365-1277.

[Education]  Just for Girls Receives Support from Local Community

Just for Girls is providing full-day academic and character development programs for girls 5-17 at three Leadership and Learning Centers throughout Manatee County. While social distancing and health safeguards and practices remain in effect, keeping girls and staff supplied with masks and sanitization supplies presented a budget challenge for the nonprofit organization.

That’s when the local community stepped up to help. Just for Girls supporter, Linda Christmann, rallied the Fairfield Needlecraft Group to sew washable, reusable masks to fit little faces and donated supplies for JFG’s Toiletries & Necessities Closet. Britt LeBlanc and Nancy Parker sewed washable masks that were even smaller to help cover the littlest faces. Jan Crudele of Florida Winefest & Auction facilitated the delivery of masks and large amounts of hand sanitizer from anonymous donors, and Josh Kitchner of Kitchner Benefits arranged a donation of disposable surgical masks from FastShipFaceMasks for Just for Girls staff. Sara Miller and Jane Hanson of Chateau Village donated supplies for JFG’s Toiletries & Necessities Closet as well. Florida Department of Health released 300 reusable adult masks for JFG staff.

“The outpouring of love and support from our community is overwhelming,” remarked Just for Girls CEO, Becky Canesse. “Ensuring that our staff and students stay healthy and safe, promoting healthy development, and effective prevention education, are crucial to the success and survival of our girls.” 

If you would like to underwrite scholarships, donate items or contribute funds to Just for Girls’ ongoing Health & Wellness needs, please contact Donor Relations Manager, Samantha Daggett at 941-777-0707 or email justforgirls@myjfg.org.

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  Forty Carrots Family Center Receives COVID-19 Response Initiative Grant

Forty Carrots Family Center is the grateful recipient of a $15,000 grant from the Covid-19 Response Initiative of Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. This grant supports technology upgrades and equipment to continue long term remote services. Funds will be used to purchase cloud-based technology for working remotely, new laptops for mental health therapists seeing clients remotely, and pay for a secure telemedicine platform in compliance with all necessary HIPPA regulations.

“The need for far more mental-health services is one of the greatest challenges we are facing during this terrible pandemic,” said Mark Pritchett, President | CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Virtual therapy is effective and safe, and we applaud Forty Carrots for innovating in this way to continue serving families.”

Michelle Kapreilian, Forty Carrots CEO states “This invaluable support will ensure Forty Carrots' ability to uphold our operational excellence as we work remotely for the future, without compromising safety and privacy for our clients and staff. With this grant, we will continue serving our community's most vulnerable children and families regardless of the obstacles that COVID-19 has placed in our path.” 

Click here for more information.

[Fundraiser]  The Exchange to Host Charity Trunk Show

Regional artist Isabella Adams who’s clientele includes luxury retailers Nieman Marcus, The Atlantis, Ritz Carlton and the Beverly Hills Hotel, to name a few, will be doing her part to help The Exchange, (formally the Woman’s Exchange) get back on their feet after being closed for two months due to Covid-19. For the first time since its inception, Isabella Adams will be selling 1st quality Swarovski crystal gifts and accessories, including signed and numbered pieces from her collection at wholesale prices during this two-day only “Charity” Trunk Show. This two day only charity event will take place at The Exchange on August 7th and 8th. Supplies are limited and will be sold on a first come first serve basis. No orders will be taken. In addition to the “Charity Trunk Show” The Exchange will have a large selection of sterling silver jewelry starting as low as $5.00 per piece. Other local artisan piece will be available at discounted prices. 

Click here for more information.

[Fundraising]  Child Protection Center Fundraiser

Whether you can believe it or not, July has arrived- and with it comes a new Fiscal Year for the Child Protection Center. These past few months have brought on immense challenges, and the new year is dawning with clouds of uncertainty. As the community continues to face the struggles of coronavirus, many children have been isolated from the caring adults who would typically be reporting suspicions of abuse. Across the country there is a significant decrease in reporting, yet there is a frightening increase in the severity of abuse-related injuries in children that require hospitalization. These children are in desperate need of our help.

CPC is calling on you to join us in this fight. They are announcing the launch of "Ripple of Hope," the new and sustainable monthly giving program. They are looking for 500 monthly investors to send forth a Ripple of Hope through monthly giving and ensure our Prevention, Intervention, and Treatment programs can continue to reach children in danger. 

Child Protection Center, 720 South Orange Avenue

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  WBTT Receives Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe recently received an Arts Appreciation Grant of $30,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant will support WBTT's operations as well as the costs associated with its 2020-2021 season, which includes “The Soul Crooners,” “Ruby,” “Pipeline,” “Smokey Joe’s Café” and holiday production “Black Nativity.”

This is the fourth Arts Appreciation grant WBTT has received from Gulf Coast, including an emergency award in May to help offset the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gulf Coast's Arts Appreciation Grants offer unrestricted funding to cornerstone arts organizations, in recognition of their contributions to our region's economy and quality of life, to further their missions. A streamlined application and reporting process enable Gulf Coast's arts partners to keep their focus on what they do best: to present world-class performances and collections.

“We are so grateful to be included, once again this year, as a recipient of Gulf Coast’s Arts Appreciation Grants—it shows the foundation’s continued confidence in us as a thriving and important part of Sarasota’s arts community,” said WBTT Executive Director Julie Leach. “These funds are particularly beneficial as we navigate the ongoing financial and logistical challenges of the coronavirus pandemic. Many thanks to Gulf Coast Community Foundation for its generous support of WBTT and our arts community.” 

Pictured: The cast of WBTT’s 2018 production of A Black Nativity.

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  Sarasota Opera Receives $50,000 Arts Appreciation Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Sarasota Opera has been awarded a $50,000 Arts Appreciation Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant offers unrestricted funding to area arts organizations in support of their artistic mission. This year’s Arts Appreciation Grant will help support Sarasota Opera’s 2020-21 Opera season, including their industry-leading Youth Opera program and community education programs.

Executive Director Richard Russell states “We are extremely grateful for Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s loyal support, especially at this difficult time. Their leadership has had an important effect in helping many sectors of our community weather this crisis.”

Sarasota Opera’s Fall 2020 Season includes Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Sarasota Youth Opera’s The Hobbit, composed by Dean Burry. The 2021 Winter Festival will open with Puccini’s Tosca, followed by Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, and Verdi’s Attila. 

Sarasota Opera, 61 N. Pineapple Avenue, 941-366-8450, www.sarasotaopera.org

Click here for more information.

[New Foundation ]  Florida Cancer Specialists Foundation Establishes Joan L. Kidd, MD Memorial Fund

In partnership with Florida resident Tom Kidd, the Florida Cancer Specialists (FCS) Foundation has established the Joan L. Kidd, MD Memorial Fund to honor his late wife, Dr. Joan L. Kidd. All proceeds from the sales of Tom’s e-book, “All the Way,” a memoir reflecting on the couple’s life together and their cancer journey, will be donated to the FCS Foundation to seed the Fund on an ongoing basis and provide grants to cancer patients in need. Tom has also committed to match the first $10,000 of book sales.

Dr. Joan Kidd was a respected internal medicine and family medicine physician who took pride in helping her patients. She was also a two-time Stage IIIC ovarian cancer survivor. She continued to care for her patients while undergoing surgery and chemotherapy and lived 18 months longer than anticipated with a good quality of life. Tom served as her advocate and caregiver and was with her through each step.

“My book tells our love story of living passionately through challenges,” Tom Kidd said. “By sharing it, I hope to honor Joan and continue her legacy by helping others facing their own challenges.”

 “We are grateful to Tom for his generosity and for sharing the gift of his story. It will serve as an inspiration to so many others on their cancer journeys and the Fund will help to assist many cancer patients in need,” said Foundation Executive Director Lynn Rasys. 

Click here for more information.

[Animal Care]  Announcing Free Dog Care for Graduates of Southeastern Guide Dogs

Now, in addition to providing these superbly trained dogs, Southeastern Guide Dogs can say that long term canine care is no longer a financial concern for its graduates.

Thanks to Fromm Family Pet Food, Elanco, many generous veterinary practices, and individual donors, Southeastern Guide Dogs is now the only guide dog school in North America to ensure that guide dog and service dog graduates across the United States can receive premium dog food, monthly preventatives, vaccinations and yearly wellness visits free of charge. This one-of-a-kind program is saving guide and service dog handlers an estimated $1,000-plus out-of-pocket per year.

“We are deeply grateful to Fromm, Elanco, the veterinarians and private donors who are making it possible to offer these benefits to nearly 600 alumni,” says Southeastern Guide Dogs CEO Titus Herman. “The people we serve tend to experience a high level of unemployment and limited, fixed incomes, so these benefits are making a significant difference in the quality of their lives.” 

Pictured: Rachel Weeks with her guide dog Plum at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida.

Click here for more information.

[New Hire]  Brooke Chase Associates, Inc. Recruits Michael Hartley as AMST Division President for Kentucky Trailer

Joseph McElmeel, Chairman and CEO of executive search firm Brooke Chase Associates, Inc. is pleased to announce the successful recruitment by its Executive Recruiter, Rick Mohrman of Michael Hartley as AMST Division President for Kentucky Trailer.

Reporting directly to the CEO, Mike will have full divisional P&L responsibility, leading a business unit that has recently moved into a new purpose-built manufacturing facility, guiding and overseeing operational and commercial initiatives to drive short and long-term growth and profitability. 

Click here for more information.

[Virtual Workout ]  Sarasota Yoga Instructor Stephanie Nikirk Featured in National Home Business Magazine

Sarasota yoga instructor Stephanie Nikirk is featured in a recent Home Business magazine article titled “Adapting Your Home Business to the New Economy.” The article highlights Nikirk’s business pivot from teaching completely in-person to mostly online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Nikirk has created a pandemic response that includes one-on-one private and group instruction accessed via Zoom and single in-person sessions if requested, with all pandemic safety precautions taken. She also offers deep discounts for those experiencing financial hardships due to the pandemic and helps newcomers to Zoom become familiar with the platform.

StephanieNikirkYoga.com, showcases her private yoga instruction designed for beginning yoga students, those who haven’t done yoga in a while, and for those who might have physical limitations drawing from, gentle yoga, chair yoga and hatha yoga styles to meet each individual’s needs. Her group classes include Gentle and Restorative yoga via Zoom.

The first private yoga session with Nikirk is always free, giving clients an opportunity to see if it's a good fit for them. Nikirk also teaches yoga for the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Department, corporate clients and through the Body by Chaz boutique fitness center -- all via Zoom or a hybrid of Zoom/in-person.

Nikirk describes yoga as a cornerstone of health and wellness, particularly during stressful times. "In these times, it's more important than ever to take care of yourself," Nikirk says. "The practice of yoga can reduce anxiety and stress, improve sleep, and build strength. All of which help build your immunities and allow you to focus your energy in a healthy manner.”

To book a free introductory yoga session with Nikirk, visit StephanieNikirkYoga.com, write to her at stephanie@stephanienikirkyoga.com, or call 941.374.3665 

Pictured: Sarasota yoga instructor Stephanie Nikirk teaches yoga via Zoom.

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Anna Maria Oyster Bar’s Dive Into Reading Program Recognized

The national award-winning Dive Into Reading program has successfully completed its fourth year, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Nominated by the School District of Manatee County, Dive Into Reading received the annual Commissioner’s Business Recognition Award (CBRA) from the Florida Department of Education.

The Commissioner’s Business Recognition Awards (CBRA) recognize Florida’s business leaders and partners that have shown the most commitment in bringing positive change and implementing bold, innovative approaches to improve the academic performance of students in Florida’s education system and communities. Along with the award, the School District of Manatee County received $5,000 from Florida Blue to continue building student-focused programs and enhancing relationships between Florida’s students and the business leaders in their communities.

Dive Into Reading is a summer reading program developed by Amanda and John Horne, owners of Anna Maria Oyster Bar, in 2017 which aims to improve children’s reading levels by combating “Summer Slide” and offering continuing education over the summer break.

“Children make up 100% of our future. If we want change, we need to teach our children to read and to be the best they can be. It's so awesome to see multi-generations together working to improve our community’s future. It will be very bright if we can help each child to read at grade-level now,” said John Horne. 

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Coastal Orthopedics’ Physicians Chosen for Nationwide List of Top Doctors

Nine physicians with Coastal Orthopedics, a full-service provider of comprehensive orthopedics, sports medicine, pain management and physical therapy services, were recently recognized as recipients named on the 2020 list of Castle Connolly Top Doctors.

The doctors who earned this prestigious distinction include pain management specialist Dr. Richard Bundschu, joint replacement specialist Dr. David Cashen, pain management specialist Dr. Douglas Constant, pain management specialist Dr. Gennady Gekht, shoulder and elbow specialist Dr. Avinash Kumar, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist Dr. Laura Ottaviani, sports medicine specialist Dr. Steven Schafer, spine specialist Dr. Eric Sundberg and joint replacement specialist Dr. Alan Valadie.

“We are truly proud of our providers for achieving this esteemed professional recognition on Castle Connolly’s very respected, hand-selected list that represents the best physicians in the U.S.,” said Paige LeMay, chief executive officer at Coastal Orthopedics. “For more than 45 years, our experts have provided compassionate, personalized patient-centered care across a wide range of subspecialties, and this acknowledgement is truly a testament to our deeply dedicated physicians.” 

Pictured: From left to right: Dr. Alan Valadie, Dr. Richard Bundschu, Dr. David Cashen, Dr. Gennady Gekht, Dr. Douglas Constant, Dr. Avinash Kumar, Dr. Steven Schafer, Dr. Laura Ottaviani and Dr. Eric Sundberg

Click here for more information.

[New Building]  London Bay Homes' Newest Model at The Founders Club is Halfway Complete

London Bay Homes’ Davidson is halfway complete, a luxury single-family estate in The Founders Club, Sarasota’s premier golf club community. The Davidson will offer 2,860 square feet of air-conditioned living area, with an additional 888 square-feet of covered entry and outdoor living. The model also includes a 965-square-foot three-car garage.

The three-bedroom Davidson will offer a private bathroom for each bedroom. The master suite will feature two walk-in closets, dual sinks, free-standing bathtub and a spacious, private shower. There will be plenty of space to entertain with an open-concept design so guests can move freely between the kitchen, dining room and great room. Both the attached kitchen pantry and laundry room include extra shelving for storage. Double doors swing open from the foyer to reveal a large study that can be customized to accommodate overnight guests or be utilized as a home office. Priced at $1,325,790, the Davidson is scheduled for completion this September and will join the Cameron model at The Founders Club. 

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Betsy Pennewill Named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite

Betsy Pennewill, Corporate Counsel at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, has been named to Florida Trend Magazine’s exclusive Legal Elite list for 2020 in recognition for her service in the nonprofit sector. Nominated by her peers, Pennewill joins Legal Elite as one of the top 1.4% of Florida lawyers and one of eighteen other honorees featured in this year’s list.

As corporate counsel for the Community Foundation, Pennewill works closely with donors and professional advisors to craft detailed planned charitable giving agreements and foster meaningful relationships between donors and causes while focusing on compliance with Federal and Florida regulations.

“It is a true honor to be selected by my peers and featured in Florida Trend’s Legal Elite,” says Pennewill. “As charitable giving continues to evolve, especially in light of the current pandemic, I am greatly encouraged that each donor I partner with and each document I draft has the goal to create everlasting impact on improving our community. With a job that uses your heart just as much as your mind, what is not to love?” 

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Inspector General Management Team Awarded Certifications

The Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court and Comptroller’s Office is proud to announce that two members of our Division of Inspector General Management Team were awarded certifications through the Association of Inspectors General.  Lori Stephens, Inspector General, attained certification as a Certified Inspector General (CIG) and Bobbie Windham, Deputy Inspector General, attained certification as a Certified Inspector General Investigator (CIGI). 

Angel Colonneso, Manatee County Clerk of Court and Comptroller, says she is extremely proud of this accomplishment.  “These certifications show that our executive Inspector General team is dedicated to attaining the highest standard for investigations. They are extremely professional, and they are committed to upholding industry standards,” said Colonneso.  “The purpose behind being designated Inspector General was to afford our team the opportunity to have access to extensive training in investigative techniques and to provide another layer of assurance with regard to investigations that they undertake. They will also be able to take advantage of continuing training and education as Inspectors General.” 

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  Feeding the Region
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

All Faith's food bank assembles the troops for a massive food distribution at Ed Smith Stadium. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's Summer 2020 edition.

[In This Issue]  Brain Boost
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

How the Brain Health Initiative is providing a boost to the community when we need it most. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's Summer 2020 edition.

[Weekly Specials ]  Circo Taco & Bourban Joint Now Open on Tuesdays


Taco Tuesday Specials 

  • Buy One, Get One Tacos
  • $10 Jugaritas ($17 off)

Wednesday Specials 

  • Buy One, Get One Simi/Meiomi Pours
  • 25 percent off to go orders for medical personal/pandemic first responders
  • 35 percent off onlin ordering through Circo website

Thursday Specials 

  • $35 for ten tacos and one jugarita

Circo, 1435 2nd Street, 941-253-0978

Click here for more information.

[COVID-19]  DOH Sarasota Fills All COVID-19 testing appointments for Venice on Thursday

DOH Sarasota has scheduled two by appointment only COVID-19 testing dates at the Venice Community Center July 16. DOH Sarasota will have 100 COVID-19 tests available per day, appointments are required as demand for testing is high.

DOH Sarasota is prioritizing COVID-19 testing for anyone who is currently experiencing symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, recent loss of taste or smell) or who works in a health care setting.

To date, DOH Sarasota has tested more than 3600 community members for COVID-19 during our community-based testing events. To be evaluated and to make an appointment, please call 941-861-2883, Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm.

While these are primarily drive-thru sites, DOH Sarasota can accommodate walk-ups, and people on bicycles.

The following state-run COVID-19 testing sites have been established for anyone regardless of symptoms, with no appointment necessary.

  • Robert L. Taylor Community Center Walk-up testing site, located at 1845 34th St. Sarasota, open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily, or until capacity is reached.
  • The Mall at University Town Center Drive-thru testing site, located at 299 University Town Center Drive Sarasota, open 9:00am to 5:00pm. daily, or until capacity is reached.
  • Publix at Port Charlotte Crossing, located at 4265 Tamiami Trail, Port Charlotte, open daily from 9:00am to 5:00pm, or until capacity is reached.

Click here for more information.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Online: STEMventures with Mote , July 6 – August 31, 8am-9pm

Looking for fun and engaging programs that you and your child can do at home? Try these pre-packaged STEMventures. These themed packets delivered via email will include education materials and links to videos of our early childhood educators introducing topics and activities. Follow along with us from the comfort of your own home, pause when you need to and complete at your own pace. The Coast Counts: Join us to learn how humans and animals alike count on our coasts. Roleplay as a Mote scientist while learning how to monitor the health of Florida's coastal habitats and the inhabitants found there. Hide and SEAk: Ready or not, here we come: to learn all about how animals hide from predators and "SEAk" out their prey. Investigate the adaptations ocean animals have at their disposal like patterns, textures, bioluminescence, and more. Sea Shapes and Sizes: From the smallest plankton to the biggest blue whale; round pufferfish to arrow shaped barracuda; the ocean is filled with all shapes and sizes. Join Mote Educators to learn what this variety does for ocean animals then explore the shape of the ocean floor. Each Pre-Packaged STEMventure Theme: $45 for members, $50 for non-members. Upon registering for any OSM program, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to your weekly Guide to help prepare for a virtual week with us. Supplies for all of our OSM programs should be easily found around the home. The guide you receive in your confirmation email will detail what you need so you can prepare for your OSM week.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Small Wonders: Insects in Focus at The Bishop , June 17 – October 20, Museum hours.

Insects inhabit every domain of our daily lives, performing essential functions that balance our fragile ecosystem on Earth — functions that often go unnoticed because of their small size or scale. Now, using cutting-edge technology and custom methods that put tiny insects on a human scale, artist and photographer Bob Sober allows visitors to see the patterns, textures, colors and details that have always been present, but too small to appreciate in The Bishop’s newest special exhibition: Small Wonders: Insects in Focus.

Creating human-scale images of insects, with resolution so high that every hair, dimple and tiny structure is clearly revealed, was impossible prior to the technological advancements of the past 10 years. Now, Sober’s skills allow us to see the intersection of natural science and art in the smooth metallic finishes and heavily stippled textures, strange body shapes, delicate wing structures and beautifully engineered body components in this series of 30 images that will are on display in the Museum’s second-floor Rincon Gallery and throughout the Museum.

Small Wonders: Insects in Focus features 30 of Sober’s spectacular images and viewers will find themselves at the intersection of art and science. The exhibition, which is included in the cost of admission, is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance and will be open at The Bishop through October 20.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. W, Bradenton

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Art Center Summer Art Camps , June 15 – August 7, Varied.

Summer Camp will be virtual this year from June 15 to August 7, 2020! We have decided for the health and safety of our teachers and campers that we will host camp virtually. Camp hours: 10am – 3pm. Cost: $75 for members | $100 for non-members (youth membership is $25) for one week. Space is limited please register for the weeks that your child is interested in.

The Creative Kids Summer Camp is for ages 6-9 years old. The Emerging Artists Summer Camp is for ages 10-13 years old. Contemporary Studies Summer Camp is for ages 14-18.

A Supply List will be sent to parents a few weeks before the camp week starts. The supply lists contain basic materials that your camper will be able to use more than once and where to find them. The camp project packet will be downloadable, for printing at home, on the Friday before the camp week starts and contains the projects for the next week. A printed version of the Camp project packet will be available upon request for pickup at the Art Center the Friday before camp from 10-2pm.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FOOD: Venice Farmers Market , July 11 – July 25, 8am-12pm

Summer vendors will offer produce, fresh baked goods including breads, pies, bagels and pretzels, wild-caught seafood, Florida-grown mushrooms, boutique cheeses, locally roasted coffee, kettle corn, hand-crafted soap, essential oils, nursery plants and fresh-cut flowers. In addition, local artists will be attending the market offering award-winning photography, unique clay art and jewelry, hand-designed clothing for children and adults, and more. Market staff and vendors have created a CDC-compliant and safe socially distanced outdoor shopping experience for the community, states Farmers Market Manager Lee Perron. All staff and vendors will wear masks and gloves and sanitizing stations will be available. The plan has been reviewed and approved by the City of Venice in order to comply with all federal, state and local guidelines for food and personal safety. During the construction of Fire Station 1 and expansion of City Hall, the market will relocate out of the parking lot but will still operate at City Hall. The Farmers Market will set up on W. Venice Avenue between Harbor Drive and Avenue des Parques, located between City Hall and the Hecksher Park tennis courts.

Venice City Hall, 401 W Venice Ave, Venice, FL 34285

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: State of the Talent Virtual Conference (SOTC) , July 16, 9am-3pm

The State of Talent Conference is presented by CareerSource Suncoast and is the premier one-day conference experience completely focused on the future of workforce and talent development. This leadership-focused conference provides a unique insight into the current state of talent and what leaders need to do to tackle one of business’ most complex challenges, their people assets. While the original live conference was cancelled this year in light of COVID-19, we are pleased to provide a completely immersive digital experience. Free. Fully Immersive Digital Experience. 4+ CEUs (SHRM/HRCI).


[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Christmas in July , July 17 – July 18, 10am-4pm

Get ready for the biggest sale weekend of the season, presented by Venice Main Street and downtown merchants. This year is a little different as everyone will be practicing safe distancing and adhering to the CDC guidelines that are in place. With that said, bring on the holiday cheer. The businesses in Historic Downtown and beyond will have Christmas themed windows and a whole lot more.

Downtown Venice

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Try Your Hand at Poetry With Well-Published Poets in Online Class , July 28 – August 18

A Zoom Workshop will be offered Tuesdays at 6:00 pm on July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18. Led by store owner, Georgia Court, this is a chance to give poetry writing a try. They will be using Ted Kooser’s The Poetry Home Repair Manual as a guide. As a bonus, two experienced and well-published poets, Phil Terman and Rick Hilles, will be making guest appearances. A fee of $30 is required for participation. This includes a copy of The Poetry Home Repair Manual and all four sessions.


[SOON]  MUSEUM: Virtual: Stelliferous at The Bishop , July 22, 7pm-9pm

The stars are the stars during this live guided tour of the upcoming month’s skies with a staff astronomer, who will talk about where our stars, planets, and constellations are headed in our night skies. We’ll also share the most current events in the world of astronomy and open the floor for an always-fun question and answer session. Stelliferous is great for curious adults and inquisitive kids alike.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Bishop Uncovered Presents Small Wonders, Big Universe , July 21, 10am-11am and 12pm-1pm

Members of the Discovery Society are invited to join us for an exclusive event on July 21 that will allow you to experience the universe — from its smallest wonders to its biggest, light-bending scales — during small-group sessions hosted by our curators and astronomy experts. This exclusive event will showcase our newest special exhibition Small Wonders: Insects in Focus with images by artist-photographer Bob Sober and include access to images from the collection that aren’t yet on public display. These human-scale images of insects from around the world have such a high resolution that every hair, dimple and tiny structure is clear and the insects’ amazing colors and adaptations are revealed as never before. We’ll also head into The Planetarium, where we’ll take you on a special narrated tour created just for you to showcase the coolest features of our all-new Digistar 6 dual planetarium system. Our new system, installed during our temporary closure, includes state-of-the-art projectors and software that makes it 1½ times brighter than our previous system with four times the contrast. The new system, combined with the size of our dome, enables us to recreate a dark sky natural environment and even show you the light-bending tricks of black holes.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St W, Bradenton, FL 34205

[SOON]  HEALTH: Yoga at The Ringling , July 16 – September 17, 7pm-8pm

Join Yoga Instructor Ashley Stewart on July 16, August 20 and September 17 for a yoga session the front lawn of Ca' d'Zan. Participants can begin entering at 6:30pm. Yoga will begin at 7:00pm and will last for an hour. Participants should bring a yoga mat and water or drink as desired. Participation is limited to 50 to help maintain proper social distancing. Tickets are $15, $13.50 for members and must be purchased online, in advance of the event.

The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Virtual: KidSpace at The Bishop , July 11 – July 25, 10:30am-11:15am

We unleash the awesome power of The Planetarium during KidSpace, where kids can become scientific masters of the universe! Join us as we take off from the Earth’s surface and fly to places humans have never been: the Sun, planets, other moons in our solar system, newly discovered solar systems in our galaxy and beyond. KidSpace is designed for grades 1-5 and their grown-ups, but everyone is welcome.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown Presents Arboreal Conversations , June 27 – July 25, Gallery hours.

Cecile Moran, Art Uptown’s July featured artist, presents a rich series of paintings entitled Arboreal Conversations, teeming with color, form and mystery. They prompt viewers to think about the trees themselves and their interconnectedness to each other, us, and forests of the world. The artist realizes her bold compositions through a distinctive layering and resistance technique: paint is applied and removed in selected areas to reveal new and different color relationships. Cecile looks to Florida’s diverse tropical terrain for inspiration. She says, “The landscape here offers remarkable twists and turns that create an otherworldly appeal. My work contains images of plants and trees that give us life through the air that we breathe.” Further enriching the visual experience, many of the works are imbued with gold leaf to create a back light and glow. The painter credits her father’s influence – a sign painter by trade, he taught her the application of gold leaf techniques which he used with lettering applied to glass in his signage.

Art Uptown Gallery, 1367 Main St, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  THEATER: Online: Asolo Repertory Theatre Online Classes for Kids, Ages 8-18 , July 6 – July 31, 10am, 11am and 3pm

Introducing Asolo Rep Young Artist: Online Classes, designed for ages 8-18. From demystifying Shakespeare to exploring innovative ways of creating theatre together, these classes will spark your young artist’s imagination and help to hone their theatrical technique. See below to find out more about the exciting content and amazing professional artists who will be leading these classes. Classes are $50 to $75 to register. Contact Asolo Rep Education & Engagement Department: education@asolo.org

Online Program.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens Presents Advanced/Intermediate Watercolor Classes , July 14 – July 28, 10am-2pm

Each three-class session focuses on demonstrations and a variety of watercolor techniques. Students with some previous experience will enjoy the freedom to experiment, create their own compositions, or paint along with the instructor. Instructor: Carolyn Merenda. Class Fee per Session: $140, members $125.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens Presents Thousands of Flowers in Watercolor Classes , July 27, 10:30am-2:30pm

Paint along with Carolyn, working freestyle in watercolor – allowing the colors to flow freely using a large brush and finishing with an impressionistic study of florals. Instructor: Carolyn Merenda. Class Fee: $70 (Members $55).

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Downtown Sarasota, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  HEALTH: Kids' Summer Beach Runs , June 4 – July 31, 5:30pm-7:30pm

The annual Kids' Summer Beach Runs return to Siesta and Brohard beaches this June. The one-mile fun runs are an opportunity for kids and families to participate in healthy activities together over the summer. The free Kids' Summer Beach Runs are offered weekly this summer: Tuesdays, June 4 through July 30, at Siesta Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key. Wednesdays, June 5 through July 31, at Brohard Beach, 1600 Harbor Drive, Venice. Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. near the playground at Siesta Beach and near the Venice Fishing Pier at Brohard Beach. Races start 6:30 p.m. for both locations. Kids who complete four runs receive a free T-shirt. The runs can be completed at either location. All runners receive a finisher ribbon after every race.

Siesta Beach and Brohard Beach, 948 Beach Road, Siesta Key and 600 Harbor Drive, Venice

[SOON]  GALLERY: Virtual: Celebrate Selby Gardens: 40th Annual Juried Photographic Exhibition , August 27 – September 20, 10am-4:30pm

We are excited to announce that Selby Gardens will celebrate 40 years of the annual juried photographic exhibition and sale with a virtual edition hosted in partnership with The Observer Group! The virtual exhibition will be viewable August 27 to September 20 on Selby.org and YourObserver.com. As we pivoted to the virtual photographic exhibition format, we adjusted the photo submission deadlines and details as well as the dates of the exhibition. Please review and mark your calendar with the new dates below: Online Photo Submissions: Sunday, August 9 to Friday, August 14. Winners Announced: Thursday, August 27. Virtual Exhibition: Thursday, August 27 to Sunday, September 20. To minimize person-to-person contact, photos must be submitted digitally. Please stay tuned for more step-by-step details on how to submit your photos. Entry is open to all amateurs, but photos must have been taken at either Selby Gardens’ Downtown Sarasota or Historic Spanish Point campuses. Please refer to the entry details below for more information.

Selby's Museum of Botany & the Arts, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FOOD: A Taste of Venice , August 26, 5:30pm-8pm

The 3rd Annual Event, Hosted by Hotel Venezia, will feature 15+ Local Eateries Serving Up Awesome Tastes. Early Bird Tickets are available for $15 until they’re Sold Out and General Admission is $20. Tickets include all Food Tastings and Beverages are available at the Cash Bar.

Hotel Venezia, 425 US 41 Bypass N Venice, Florida

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: Summer Learning Day with The Bishop , July 18, 10:30am

Manatees. Museum mysteries. Space. These are the topics on tap this year for The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature’s annual Summer Learning Day — which will take place virtually this year because of social distancing guidelines. This day full of FREE interactive online sessions is sponsored by Mosaic and will take place on Saturday, July 18, for students in grades K-8. Participating students will receive free passes to visit the Museum in person (accompanied by a grownup) and have opportunities to earn more for reading accomplishments by downloading a free reading log and tracking reading. All programs will take place online via Zoom. Preregistration is required. Students must RSVP for each session they want to attend in order to get the Zoom access code to participate. Students will receive a special admissions code that entitles them to one free child and one free adult admission to visit the Museum in person between July 19 and Dec. 31, 2020. Students will receive a code for a free pass for themselves and an adult for each session they attend. (Children must be accompanied by an adult during their in-person visits.)

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: Tales Under the Tree with The Bishop , July 18 – July 25, 3pm-3:15pm

Gather the kiddos and settle in for a story to spark their curiosity about science and nature! Join us at 3pm on Facebook for this storytime. Bishop staff choose a book focused on science and nature and read to you from their own homes.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: One Night in Tortuga , July 25, 7pm-11pm

If you be a Pirate, wanna be a Pirate, a Wench, Blackbeard reincarnated, or just a Landlubber then the honor of your presence is requested at the Anna Maria Island Privateers' Pirate Gathering. Thar be no formal Dress Code, just come dressed as a Pirate, and plan for a whole Lotta Fun. Why thar will be Pirate Grub and a full bar of Grog, a wee bit of music for ya Foot stomp and maybe a Jig or two... The transformation to the Isle of Tortuga will be tak’en place in the beautiful Neptune Room at Seafood Shack in the village of Cortez. The panoramic views of the Marina and Intercostal waters will make you feel as if you're standing on the shores of the Tortugas when pirates roamed, pillaged and plundered back in the day. You're welcome to take a stroll down the docks, but there be no "commandeering" of any ships, cause that be a reason for Ya be keelhauled for sure. Fer a meer Pittance of $50.00 it gets ya a stroll thru the Chow line, a couple of Free Tankards of your favorite Grog and Ya be Gett’en a Keepsake Souvenir from the Privateers. Way more fun than a Barrel of Monkeys. There be a Silent Auction for some Pirate Booty to be hav’en and chance fer some cold hard cash in a 50/50, and other Pirate shenanigans. All money raised will go towards the Privateers, a 501 c3 Non-Profit organization, Mission Statement of “Pirates for Kids & Community”.

Seafood Shack Neptune Room, 4110 127th St W., Cortez, FL 34215

[SOON]  MUSEUM: The Ringling: Syd Solomon, Concealed and Revealed , December 19 – January 24, Museum hours.

Syd Solomon: Concealed and Revealed offers a unique selection of paintings by the artist, along with numerous objects from the Solomon Archive on view for the first time. Syd Solomon (American, 1917-2004) described himself as an “Abstract Impressionist” alluding to the fact that his work infused impressionism into the processes, scale and concepts of Abstract Expressionism. Solomon moved to Sarasota in 1946 with his wife Annie. His was the first work of contemporary art to be collected by The Ringling in 1962. His paintings were greatly influenced by climatic factors and reveal a fascination and concern for Florida’s aquatic environment. Solomon incorporated his experience as a camouflage designer during World War II into his painting. It is not well-known that he was also an accomplished graphic artist, who in his early years designed commercial signage for prominent hotels and businesses in Sarasota. Like his work in camouflage, Solomon’s calligraphic skill was essential to the development of his later gestural abstraction. The exhibition began December 19, 2019 and will end January 24, 2021, during museum hours.

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

[SOON]  MUSIC: Online: Sarasota Orchestra Presents Music Moves Us: Education Edition , July 14 – July 17

Sarasota Orchestra is now midway through our first-ever online music education program. The Education Edition of Music Moves Us invites the whole community to learn something new about the music that moves us all. The video courses in this free program cultivate skills and habits of self-motivated, independent musicians, instill sustainable practice routines, and make the fundamentals of music fresh. Students can submit questions about each day’s tutorial for feedback from our Education department. From building the basics to thinking about a professional music career, the Education Edition of Music Moves Us holds enrichment for every stage of developing musicianship. Video lessons include Guide to Learning New Music (July 14), The Art of Practicing and Developing Your Own Practice Routine (July 14), Learning Rhythms with Rhythm Ball (July 15), Being a String Team-Player: Playing in Ensembles (July 16) and How to Prepare for an Audition (July 17).

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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