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SRQ DAILY Dec 23, 2020

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"Our arts community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and this funding will be essential to help us maintain our presence and relevance through the supported programs and events."

- Julie Leach, Executive Director, WBTT

[Community]  Ear Research Foundation Helps Deaf Woman Hear Her Terminally Ill Husband Again
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Debra Bergeron is a wife and caretaker of her terminally ill husband, Ron Bergeron. She is also deaf. And Ron has been relentlessly sought help for her to hear his voice before he passes. Debra received a fundamental surgery in October 2020, followed by the activation of her cochlear implant -- a surgically implanted hearing device sometimes referred to as a bionic ear -- the following November. It is said to provide sound for people suffering from sensorineural hearing loss in both ears by bypassing the damaged hair cells in the cochlea and transmitting sound directly to the auditory nerve and on to the brain. Debra was already profoundly deaf in her right ear; her left ear went deaf while waiting nine months for new hearing aids. Debra cannot benefit from a hearing aid any longer because of the severity of her hearing loss and aids not being able to amplify adequately to give her speech understanding. She became a cochlear implant candidate. 

The cochlear implant costs about $30,000. With no health insurance of her own, and her husband on full disability, fear creeped in for the Sarasota couple. “My biggest fear was who would take care of my husband," she shares. "If something should happen to him, I would not be able to hear him."  Ron expressed fears in the wake of his diagnosis of a terminal disease as well, but more for his wife, than for himself. “I was very fearful of her not being able to function alone," he says. So, he called various institutions for help and was finally referred to Sarasota's Ear Research Foundation, founded by Dr. Herbert Silverstein. The 501C-3 provides medical education in an Otology Clinical Fellowship training program in a private setting all while expanding its programs to include an ear clinic for indigent patients.

The foundation’s team worked tirelessly to coordinate both party's wishes and ease both their fears the past few months. Dr. Jack Wazen and Dr. Sharon Rende, AuD agreed to donate their professional services. In a concerted effort to contribute due to the heartwarming local story, Sarasota Memorial Hospital generously offered a reduced cost. However, more funding was still needed. When the cost of the surgery, hospital and follow-up care are factored in, the expense is upwards of $100,000.  “It’s truly wonderful to witness how foundations from different states stepped up and made the gift of hearing possible for Mrs. Bergeron,” says Jodel Velarde, Ear Research Foundation Coordinator.

Still, no one entity had the remaining resources and extensive funds to foot the hefty aforementioned price tag of this particular surgery.  Fortunately, Eileen Jones, founder of the former Gift of Hearing Foundation in MA, shared an organization called Jacob’s Ride for Hearing of Annapolis, MD. “Jacob’s Ride worked directly with the hospital to provide resources to help cover the expenses of the surgery and then we worked with an anonymous third-party charity that provides the cochlear implant equipment," says Randy Landis, Executive Director of Jacob’s Ride for Hearing. "In this case, we were fortunate to have a private foundation donate the equipment."

To guide Debra into entering a world of sounds, the Ear Research Foundation will continue to provide post-operative care and give additional financial support through the Help Us Hear program. “I’ve been doing the cochlear implant cases for more than twenty years. 1998 was my first one and it is still just as exciting today as it was then” says Dr. Sharon Rende, Silverstein Institute’s Director of Audiology.

Debra, who turned 62 early October shares, “I was given the best birthday gift anyone could ask for. This will change our lives drastically. Everything that has been done for us has been a godsend.”

For more information or to donate for Debra’s continuing care or help other people like her, please see contact Jodel Velarde, Development Coordinator, 941-556-4219, jvelarde@EarRF.org.


Pictured left to right: Dr. Christine Kim, Dr. Jack Wazen, Debra Bergeron, Ron Bergeron

Photo courtesy of Ear Research Foundation. Learn more here.

[New Partnerships]  Foundation Strategic Partnership to Support Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Programs and Events

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe was recently awarded a grant of $30,000 from the Zella I. and Junius F. Allen Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. These funds will support WBTT’s upcoming Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. program, 2021 April Fools’ Fete, and next summer’s Stage of Discovery musical theatre camp. This grant is particularly meaningful as WBTT struggles with the loss of revenue not only from show cancellations but also its fall gala, which was postponed and then canceled in November after an outbreak of the coronavirus among the cast and crew of its “Light Up the Night” open-air concerts. “We are so grateful to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for its continued support of our organization,” said Julie Leach, executive director of WBTT. “Our arts community has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and this funding will be essential to help us maintain our presence and relevance through the supported programs and events.” 

Picutured: Students from WBTT's 2020 Stage of Discovery program during the recording of a music video Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

[Parkinson’s Disease]  Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s and Yoga Project International Announce Expansion of Yoga and Mindfulness Initiative

Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s has received a grant of $15,000 to expand yoga and mindfulness therapeutic programs to empower people with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers to experience new levels of hope by optimizing function and restoring independence. These programs are adapted to meet all levels of the disease, valuable to newly diagnosed, progressed states and caregivers alike.  Robyn Faucy-Washington, CEO of Neuro Challenge said, “Thanks to the generous support of Yoga Project International, we are able to safely offer virtual yoga and mindfulness programs to the Parkinson’s community at no cost." The benefits of yoga and mindfulness are well documented in scientific and medical literature. Some of the physical benefits are increased flexibility, decreased pain, and greater sense of balance and body awareness. Improved emotional outlook, decreased stress levels, and the development of coping strategies are some of the emotional benefits of yoga, mindful breathing and meditation. 

[New Hire]  All Star Children’s Foundation Welcomes Two Board Members

ll Star Children’s Foundation has welcomed two new members to its board of directors: Ashley Coone and Noah Riner. Dennis McGillicuddy, All Star’s CEO, says the two bring a wealth of expertise and experience. “Aside from Ashley’s outstanding leadership skills in government and nonprofits, her parents were foster parents when she was growing up in Arcadia, so she understands the system from inside,” says McGillicuddy. “Noah is an entrepreneur and investor with savvy business skills. They are both engaged in our community and deeply committed to our mission, which is to build brighter futures for kids in foster care. We are honored to have the opportunity to work with them.” 

[New Grant]  Child Protection Center Awarded $5,000 Grant

The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) recently received a $5,000 grant through the generosity of the J. Milton & Nellie E. Hoffa Memorial Foundation to support CPC’s Child Protection Team (CPT). 

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  Gulf Coast Community Foundation Awards $13.1 Million in Grants from Donors

Gulf Coast Community Foundation awarded $13.1 million in grants on behalf of donors to the foundation from September through November. The total included $10.9 million in grants from donor advised funds held at Gulf Coast. Area nonprofit organizations that received significant support through donor advised funds at Gulf Coast over the past few months included: All Faiths Food Bank, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Jewish Family and Children’s Service of the Suncoast and Children First. “Our donors at Gulf Coast have been amazingly generous to our community this year,” said Kirstin Fulkerson, the foundation’s senior vice president for philanthropy. “They’ve seen the escalating needs caused by the pandemic, and have increased the amounts they are granting from their funds by literally millions of dollars in response. Many donors are also asking our staff to help them understand where their gifts can have the very greatest impact." 

Click here for more information.

[COVID-19]  Manatee County First Responders to Receive COVID-19 Vaccination

The first round of COVID-19 vaccinations will be administered to dozens of Manatee County first responders tomorrow. "Pinellas County was one of the first communities in Florida to receive large quantities of the COVID-19 vaccination," said Public Safety Director Jacob Saur. "They had sufficient supplies such that they were able to offer a small amount to our first responders." 

Click here for more information.

[Virtual Concert]  Stream Sarasota Orchestra at Home for the Holidays

Make music’s warming glow part of your holiday celebration at home when streaming for our Holiday Pops concert begins on Christmas Eve. Extended Streaming: available December 24, 2020 - January 6, 2021. Tickets are $10. 

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Van Wezel Named Top Stop by Venues Now in 2020

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall has just been named the Top Stop for venues worldwide with 2,000 or less capacity by Venues Now for 2020. Mary Bensel, Executive Director said, “What a thrill to receive the great news that the Van Wezel has been named the Top Stop in the 2,000 seats or less category. I am confident that strong programming has kept us connected to our beloved communities over the years, and I can’t wait for the performing arts to come back soaring so that folks can again enjoy Sarasota’s arts community with their loved ones." 

Click here for more information.

[Update]  Selby Gardens Compromise Master Plan

Last month, the Sarasota City Commission voted to create a new botanical garden zone district - the first step that will enable Selby Gardens' Compromise Master Plan for our Downtown Sarasota campus. The second step in this process will take place Monday, January 4 at 6pm when the City Commissioners will hold the second reading on the Zoning Text Amendment and the first hearings on the site plan, rezone, and easement vacation.  If you wish to speak virtually please email the clerk@sarasotaFL.gov no later than 5pm. 

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  The Eagle Has Landed

Abornaut Meg Lowman of the TREE Foundation explores the Eighth Continent. 

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

[SOON]  HEALTH: Virtual: Lakewood Ranch 5k Jingle Run/Walk , December 24 – December 27, 8am-1pm

This year's event will be a Virtual Race on Thursday, Dec. 24 at 8am through Sunday, December 27th at 1pm, 2020 and is hosted by the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Auxiliary to benefit their Nursing and Health Careers' Scholarship Program. Keep the tradition going in 2020 with the 9th Annual Jingle Run, a virtual 5K run/walk to help support the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Auxiliary Nursing Scholarship Program. Proceeds from The Virtual Jingle SK Run and Walk go directly to the Auxiliary's New Nursing Scholarship Program designed to benefit students enrolled in college nursing program and currently doing their clinical affiliation at the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. To register for the Virtual race go to www.raceroster.com, go to register for a new event and search under the word "Jingle." Register to run or walk wherever you are to show your support for future nurses. Participants will receive a bib number and custom designed 2020 medal. Participants who complete the virtual run/walk and submit results will be eligible for raffle prizes.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Virtual: The Bishop: The Night Sky in the Ancient World , December 23, 7pm

The stars are the stars during our monthly live, guided tour of the night skies, Stelliferous. This month Planetarium Manager Howard Hochhalter and Bishop Curator Tiffany Birakis are teaming up for a special program at 7pm on December 23, 2020 that will explore how different cultures around the ancient world ascribed meaning to the movement of the stars and planets, including the Star of Bethlehem. This Zoom program will include opportunities for Q&A.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sailor Circus Academy: Season's Greetings , December 26 – December 31, Times vary.

For over 70 years, students ages 8-18 have amazed audiences with an incredible spectacle of youth circus arts. See them flip, fly and soar to new heights in this annual holiday production daily at 2pm and 7pm, Sunday at 1pm and 6pm and Thursday at 1pm from December 26 until December 31, 2020. The entire family will enjoy acts showcasing beautiful aerial artistry, heart-stopping acrobatics, incredible acrobatic roller skating, lightning fast juggling and more.

Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista Street

[SOON]  MUSIC: Van Wezel: Salute to Vienna and Budapest , December 27 – January 3, December 27 at 5:30pm, 8pm and 10pm and January 3 at 12am
This year, Salute to Vienna is streaming directly into your living room. Celebrate the New Year with this never-before-seen performance, filmed in Europe. Filled to the brim with the same joyful singing, dancing, and full orchestra that live audiences all across North America have celebrated with since 1995, this concert will be available to stream on-demand after its premiere on Sunday, December 27 until Sunday, January 3 from the comfort of home. Multiple prices are available for purchase, to allow you to select the ticket price that feels right for you. When choosing your ticket, you might consider how many people in your household will be watching concert. Choose the price that you wish to pay for this online stream. Ring in the New Year with the Blue Danube Waltz and excerpts from beloved operettas.
[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Virtual: Van Wezel: A Killer Party: The Movie , December 31, 12am
Purchase now through December 31 and have access to watch the movie until July 31, 2021. You are cordially invited to experience the musical phenomenon of 2020, in a soon-to-be-released movie format, just in time for the holidays! This will be an opportunity for fans who saw the film before to go deeper with additional content and cut scenes, and for those who missed the boat the first time around to see this hilarious, brand-new musical. A Killer Party - The Movie has bonus content not seen in the original series, including never-before-seen bloopers, and an entire additional scene and new song performed by Miguel Cervantes from Hamilton. A Killer Party - A Murder Mystery Musical features Broadway theater favorites Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Alex Newell, Carolee Carmello, Miguel Cervantes, Drew Gehling, Jarrod Spector, Jessica Keenan Wynn, Michael James Scott, Krystina Alabado and Jackie Burns. Seen in more than 70 countries and with over 100K streams of the Original Cast Album, A Killer Party - The Movie is the must see hit of the season, and just in time for the holidays.
[SOON]  MUSEUM: Virtual: The Ringling: Gallery Conversation, New Year's Resolutions , January 5, 1pm

Haven't made those New Year's resolutions yet? It’s time to leave 2020 behind and look at art that can provide motivation for a healthy, happy, and productive 2021 at 1pm on January 5, 2021. $5 / Free for Members.


[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Ruby , January 6 – February 21, 2pm and 7:30pm

A world-premiere musical by Nate Jacobs and his brother, Michael Jacobs, this dark tale lays bare a shocking true-life crime and its aftermath - when a Black woman murdered a white man in Live Oak, Florida 1952. The crime brought celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston to town to cover the story for a northern newspaper. This powerful musical, performed from January 6 until February 21, 2021 at 2pm and 7:30pm, explores the secrets just beneath the surface of the genteel exterior of a small Florida town, evoking the themes of today's #MeTooMovement.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, 1012 North Orange Avenue

[SOON]  GALA: Virtual: Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation: The Hospital Gala , January 9, 6:30pm-7:30pm

This year, the spotlight will be on the SMH healthcare heroes. Their commitment and compassion during one of the most challenging years in the hospital’s history has been extraordinary. Proceeds from the gala on January 9, 2021 from 6:30pm to 7:30pm will also support the hospital’s areas of greatest need helping to ensure that SMH retains its ranking as one of the nation’s top hospitals. 

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Selby Gardens: Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica Exhibition and Sale , January 9 – January 31, Museum hours.

For the 15th year, Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica will return to Selby Gardens. A collection of more than 300 masks created by a collective of indigenous Borucan artists will be on display and available for purchase. The Rainforest Masks of Costa Rica exhibit and sale showcases artists from the Borucan Indian tribe of Costa Rica. Experience the vibrant, hand-carved and painted balsa wood masks showcased in the Museum of Botany & the Arts from January 9 to 31, 2021.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: ALSO Youth: Holiday Raffle , December 30

As this difficult year comes to an end, enjoy a full body hot stone massage, hot towel treatment, foot scrub and aromatherapy at Modern Technique Massage in downtown Sarasota. This package also includes Dr. Teal's Soothe & Sleep foaming bath and Dr. Teal's Relax & Relief foaming bath, 7th Heaven Tea Tree Peel Off Mask, Cucumber Peel Off Mask, and Dead Sea Mud, and Nature Love Footspa Detoxifying Foot Pads. Tickets are one for $3, three for $5, 7 for $10, and 15 for $20. Raffle drawing will be held and the winner will be notified on December 30, 2020.

[SOON]  FOOD: Hamlet's Eatery: Jazz & Blues Brunch , January 24, 10:30am-1:30pm

Join Hamlet's Eatery for a Jazz & Blues Brunch on Sunday, January 24 from 10am to 2pm. Located in the outdoor courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime at 821 Apricot Avenue, Sarasota. Starting at 10:30am until 1:30pm, enjoy live jazz and blues music with Fiddler and the Crossroads Trio. Featuring Blues Hall-of-Fame fiddler, Greg Holt. The trio plays upbeat versions of Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Hank Williams and other greats, plus originals. Menu options will include both traditional and vegan dishes from build your own omelettes with fresh organic eggs to tofu scrambles. Free mimosa with entree.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Santa's Flight Academy , November 27 – December 24, 11am-6pm

In conjunction with our photo partner, Cherry Hill Programs, we've reimagined Santa's Flight Academy into a socially distanced, non-contact holiday experience between 11am and 6pm from November 27 until December 24 at the Mall at UTC. All photo sessions are by reservation only and require pre-payment, all Santa's Flight Academy staff will wear masks at all times. Masks are recommended for guests, Santa will maintain a 6' distance from guests at all times, and heightened cleaning protocols and hand sanitizer provided.

[SOON]  HEALTH: Yoga in the Park , December 27, 9am-9:45am

Join us for free yoga in the beautiful setting of Bob Gardner Community Park just off of White Eagle Boulevard. The Yoga Shack Florida will host the morning flows starting at 9am. Please bring your own mat and water bottle. Mats must be placed at least 6-feet apart from others and we ask all participants to closely follow all social-distancing guidelines. Parking is extremely limited. If you live in close proximity to Bob Gardner Park, we encourage biking or walking to the event.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Weekly: Sunday Polo at the Sarasota Polo Club , December 13 – April 25, 1pm-4pm

Welcome to the 30th Anniversary Season at the Sarasota Polo Club beginning Sunday December 13th, 2020 thru Sunday April 25th, 2021. Sunday Polo matches are open to the public every Sunday at 1pm beginning December 13th, 2020 through April 25th, 2021. Gates open at 10am. Fieldside general admission tailgating, reserved midfield premium seating or VIP midfield boxes are available for Sunday Polo. Children 12 and under are free, (general admission tailgating). Exciting polo action, opening parade, live national anthem, theme weeks, half-time entertainment, food, drinks, and divot-stomping. Dress comfortably and for the weather. Remember, you will be walking on the grass. Well socialized dogs are welcome on a leash.

Sarasota Polo Club

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Urbanite Theatre: Outdoor Reading Series: Thirst , January 14 – January 16, 6pm

Thirst by Ronán Noone and directed by Brendan Ragan will be read outdoors on January 14, 15 and 16 at 6pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Campus. Set in the Tyrone family kitchen during Eugene O’Neill’s classic play Long Day’s Journey into Night, Ronán Noone’s Thirst explores the comedy, tragedy and triumph of two Irish immigrant servant girls’ search for love, success, and a sense of belonging in their new world. 

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Campus

[SOON]  FOOD: Weekly: Lakewood Ranch Farmers' Market , November 1 – April 25, 10am-2pm

Fill your shopping bags for the week every Sunday, November through April, 10am to 2pm at the Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch. Located in the parking lot of Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. Available products include seafood, milk, cheese, bread, butter, cold-pressed juices, jams & pickled deliciousness, fresh pasta, ready-to-eat foods, honey, soap, truffle oils, mushrooms, popcorn, gulf sea salt, and knife sharpening.

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center

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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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