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SRQ DAILY Jan 20, 2021

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"Rustic Flamingo combines two things I love, working with people with unique abilities and creating farmhouse decor."

- Jacque Ruch, Founder and Co-owner of Rustic Flamingo

-The Outsiders: The Backcountry Camper, as seen in SRQ's January 2021 edition. Click for the full feature article.
[Disability Inclusion]  New Inclusive Employer in Bradenton Celebrates Ribbon Cutting
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

Do-it-yourself (DIY) creative studio, Rustic Flamingo, officially opened in Braden River Plaza yesterday with a special ribbon cutting ceremony, in coordination with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. While Rustic Flamingo offers a new fun night out option with an array of crafts and projects to choose from, its the mission to uphold workplace diversity and inclusion that makes this new business especially worth mentioning. "We create opportunities for people that are often overlooked," says Jacque Rush, founder and co-owner of Rustic Flamingo. Ruch has more than a decade of experience developing educational and employment programs for persons with unique abilities. “Rustic Flamingo combines two things I love, working with people with unique abilities and creating farmhouse decor," she says.

The company refers to its crew as "uniquely-abled —orffering employees with distabilities an equal opportunity to succeed, to learn, to be compensated fairly, to gain valuable job experience and advance.

People with disabilities represent a significant talent pool, with one in four adults having some type of disability—whether visible or invisible. And despite wanting and striving to work, people with disabilities are employed at a much lower rate than their peers. Rustic Flamingo however, has partnered with The Brightest Employment Services and Manatee County School Board to provide job training and employment for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Bradenton/greater Sarasota area. 

 "My partner, Denise Tarbell and I, are thrilled to bring this opportunity to the Gulf Coast Region to help address the 80% unemployment rate that impacts persons with disabilities across the United States," says Ruch. "So many times, employment opportunities are limited to food service, cleaning, or landscaping for persons with unique abilities. Rustic Flamingo provides a unique employment opportunity where employees have the opportunity to interact with people within their community, grow their social skills, have fun AND earn a paycheck!”  

A portion of all proceeds is donated to agencies in the greater Sarasota area that serve persons with disabilities and helps to sponsor Braden River’s Top Soccer Fall League. "We are passionate about partnerships and giving back to our community," Ruch shares. "We have also partnered with fellow inclusive employer Rise Coffee Co. and will be serving complimentary Rise Coffee at all our workshops. Everyone is welcome at Rustic Flamingo."

Contact Jacque Ruch at 941-216-4000 or by email at info@rusticflamingo.com for more information.  

Photo courtesy of Rustic Flamingo, 4306 SR 64 East, Bradenton, 34208

[New Mother Needs]  Mothers Helping Mothers Offers New Moms Necessities and Financial Help

Mothers Helping Mothers is an all volunteer, not-for-profit organization that provides basic necessities such as clothing and baby items (including new cribs, car seats, strollers, bouncer seats, breast pumps, diapers and formula) along with clothing and home items for the entire family, free of charge to families in Sarasota, Manatee and surrounding counties. They also provide eligible clients a one-time emergency financial helping hand-up to keep families from eviction or utilities from being shut off. MHM is committed to supporting families in need by fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency and family stability in the community. 

5933 N. Washington Ave, Sarasota, 941-953-7572

Click here for more information.

[Scholarship]  Community Foundation of Sarasota County Accepting Applicants for Scholarship Program

Students from four area counties are now invited to apply for more than 70 scholarship opportunities offered through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. By completing a single application, students under the age of 24 in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte or DeSoto counties have an opportunity to be selected for scholarships ranging from $500 to $25,000 annually in financial support.Students have until Monday, March 1 to complete the online Traditional Scholarship application available at  www.cfsarasota.org/students. Separately, the Father Connie Dougherty Memorial Scholarship, a scholarship for well-rounded applicants who have a heart to serve others and make the world a better place, is accepting applications through March 15. 

Click here for more information.

[New Grant]  Teen Court of Sarasota Receives a Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Teen Court of Sarasota was rewarded $25,000 to serve students with quality personalized services within Sarasota County Schools through our prevention track to services. Heather Todd, Executive Director said, “Teen Court’s prevention track program on high school campus removes barriers of delivery of services for underserved youth.  Students are served both in person and virtually, making equity and access even more of a reality.”   

Click here for more information.

[New Hotel]  Firmo Construction to Convert Hotel Indigo in Downtown Fort Myers into Tapestry Collection by Hilton

Sarasota-based construction management firm and commercial contractor, Firmo Construction, has been hired to transform downtown Fort Myers’ Hotel Indigo into a Tapestry Collection, Hilton’s newest upscale brand, over the next year.  In partnership with hospitality and development company from Savannah, Ga., HOS Management, Firmo will execute a full, top-to-bottom conversion of the eight-story property.​ Eric Collin, President of Firmo Construction said, “Firmo is ready to bring decades of innovative building methods, construction expertise, and work with the Hilton brand to deliver this full-service luxury hotel tailored to the unique community of Fort Myers.” 

Click here for more information.

[Restaurant Update]  Michael’s On East Adds Three New Catering Venues

 Michael’s On East is now on the approved list of caterers for the Powel Crosley Estate, the Bradenton Area Convention Center and the Premiere Sports Campus. This expands upon Michael’s on East current off-site preferred catering locations. Michael’s on East continues to provide award-winning, full-service catering services including rentals, event coordination and menu design within the Manatee-Sarasota region for all special occasions.  

Click here for more information.

[Recognition]  Freedom Boat Club Named to the Top 500 Franchise List

For the fifth consecutive year, Freedom Boat Club, a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) and the nation’s largest boat club, has been recognized on the 2021 Top 500 Franchise List by Entrepreneur Magazine ranking fourth in the recreational business category and 193rd overall. “2020 was a record year for Freedom Boat Club, and we are honored to receive this prestigious honor alongside the top franchise systems in the world,” said Louis Chemi, Vice President, Freedom Franchise Systems. “Our success is attributed to our franchise partners who deliver exceptional member experiences and represent the Freedom Boat Club brand at the highest level. Together, I look forward to building on our momentum and fostering a growing community of lifetime boaters.”

Key factors that go into the evaluation include costs and fees, size and growth, support, brand strength, and financial strength and stability. Each franchise is given a cumulative score based on an analysis of more than 150 data points, and the 500 franchises with the highest cumulative scores become the Franchise 500® in ranking order. “In October 2019, I opened my first Freedom Boat Club location in Wilmington, North Carolina and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to be part of the Freedom Boat Club family or more impressed with the partnership I’ve experienced in my first year,” said Zach Hollenbaugh, franchise owner, Freedom Boat Club of Wilmington. “They have proven to be an invaluable partner from day one – from their comprehensive operations playbook, systems, training, as well as their turn-key sales and marketing solutions to support our growth locally – I’m thrilled to see Freedom Boat Club on the Top 500 Franchise list once again for all the many ways they support our franchisee network.” Earlier this year, Freedom Boat Club was recognized as 2021 Top Franchise by Franchise Business Review, as well as a recipient of the National Boating Industry Safety Awards. 

Click to see the Franchise 500 list.

[Real Estate]  Michael Saunders & Company Welcomes Eileen Saunders

Michael Saunders & Company welcomes Eileen Saunders to the St. Armands Circle office. When customers choose Eileen Saunders to represent their real estate needs, they gain an advocate dedicated to their changing needs and preferences. A licensed real estate agent for more than six years, and a top-producing multi-million-dollar sales award recipient with her previous firm in Mississippi, Eileen has built her business on communication, honesty, hard-work, establishing friendships and Christian values. Her organizational skills, patience, and work ethic have made Eileen a champion for her customers in Mississippi and will surely translate to customers throughout Sarasota. Coupled with her degree in political science and international affairs, Eileen obtained her real estate license in 2014, then earned her Florida license in 2018 anticipating her move to Sarasota. Her vast experiences and success have given Eileen a keen sense of understanding of what customers expect and she does her best to exceed expectations by providing resources, information and education, and transparency throughout the buying and selling process. To offer the highest level of service and expertise, Eileen stays committed to expanding and enhancing her knowledge of the industry with varied specialized designations including SRES, e-PRO, RSPS, and C2EX. Eileen can be reached by calling 662.404.0816 or visiting the office located at 61 S. Boulevard of Presidents. 

[SRQ Airport]  SRQ Passenger Traffic for December Increases 12% Over November

For the month of December, passenger traffic at the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport (SRQ) increased 12% over the previous month of November. December passengers totaled 119,114 compared to 106,195 passengers in November. “For 2020, COVID-19 brought many challenges to the airport and airline industry.  SRQ started the year with record-breaking growth, only to see traffic slow to less than 10,000 passengers for the month of April.  Our parking lots went from having up to 2,000 cars parked per day to less than 50," stated Rick Piccolo, President, CEO of the Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. "With the vaccine currently being distributed worldwide, and SRQ now offering service on 10 airlines to 43 destinations, we are hopeful that 2021 will be a much better year for both the airport and the community.” 

[Technological Upgrade]  SMH Cancer Team Offers Advanced Chemotherapy Procedure

Many challenging cancers that originate or spread in the abdomen often require a multi-modality treatment approach that includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. But an advanced procedure that bathes cancer cells in a concentrated solution of heated chemotherapy before patients ever leave the operating room is delivering a powerful one-two punch to cancers that often don’t respond well to repeated rounds of chemotherapy or other treatments. Sarasota Memorial Hospital is the first medical center on the Suncoast and among a progressive group of leading cancer centers around the country providing Hyperthermic Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy (HIPEC), adding this modality to the many considered by the multidisciplinary tumor board that proactively reviews every patient’s treatment to ensure superior collaboration and coordination of care.  

Click here for more information.

[In This Issue]  Virtually Harmless

The future is bright and cruelty-free for Upbeet + Rooted e-marketplace. 

Click here to read the full article in SRQ's January 2021 edition.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown Gallery: Color & Clay , January 30 – February 26, 11am-5pm, 11am-3pm, 12pm-5pm

Color & Clay, an installation by Joan Libby Hawk, ceramist, and Jana Millstone, painter, presents a unique conversation between artists and mediums at Art Uptown gallery, Sarasota. Artists Joan Libby Hawk, a ceramist, and Jana Millstone, a painter, present Color & Clay - A Duet, their unique conversation between artists and mediums. The collaborative exhibit of clay objects and paintings, on view at Art Uptown from January 30 to February 26, 2021, celebrates color, light and form. Sharing a contemporary visual sensibility, the artists explore the connections between their three-and two-dimensional work, riffing off the play of light, negative space and transparent color. The artists will host a Zoom conversation in early February to talk about their collaboration and the installation’s visual goals. Details to come. Visit this engaging installation at Art Uptown, located at 1367 Main Street, open Monday through Friday, 11am to 5pm, Saturday, 11am to 3pm and Sunday, 12pm to 5pm. You can meet the gallery artists all day on Saturdays. Private appointments can be arranged by calling 941.955.5409. The gallery continues its commitment to visitor and staff safety by the use of masks, sanitizer, frequent cleaning and social distancing.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Volunteer Mentoring: Business Impact and Area Opportunities , January 26, 11am-12pm

Employee volunteerism is an effective way for businesses to support the local community, build workplace morale, and support employee recruitment and retention. Employees who are engaged in volunteering report increased productivity, enhanced leadership skills, and a more positive organizational culture. According to a Deloitte study, almost 77% of working Americans surveyed reported that volunteering is essential to employee well-being. A great way to volunteer is to mentor others - particularly youth. It provides critical support leading to improved educational outcomes and personal development for mentees while building our future workforce and our local economy. ​Join us on January 26 from 11am to 12pm to learn more about the benefits to businesses and the workforce and hear about local experiences from area partners. Panelists include: Eleni Sokos, Sokos Social, Assistant Chief Joshua Cramer, Bradenton Police Department, Charlie Kennedy, Manatee County School Board, and Alicia Chalmers, Manatee Community Foundation.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Embracing Our Differences 2021 Outdoor Exhibit , January 20 – April 1, Hours vary.

Since 2004, Embracing Our Differences has used the power of art and prose to promote diversity. One way it accomplishes this is through its annual, juried international outdoor art exhibition consisting of 50 billboard-sized works of art, each accompanied by an inspirational quote. The response to the call for artwork and inspirational quotes brought 15,912 entries pouring in from 128 countries and 48 states. Students from 412 schools around the world submitted artwork or quotes to the juried exhibit. The winning quotes and art will be showcased in the 18th annual exhibit, January 20 through April 1, in Sarasota’s Bayfront Park.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Dance Makers - 15th Annual Concert , January 21 – January 24, 7:30pm except Sunday 2:00pm

Dance Makers features bailes imaginativos and interdisciplinary collaborations by nationally acclaimed contemporary coreógrafos: Matt Reeves and Colette Krogol of Orange Grove Dance, Washington D.C., Sarasota’s own Zoe Austin, New York-based choreographer Douglas Gillespie expanding on his original work "I Live Under Your Skin," and a new dueto de colaboración performed by musician and composer Mark Dancigers and SCD’s Artistic Director Leymis Bolaños Wilmott. Through these groundbreaking creative partnerships, Dance Makers brings diverse choreography to the utterly captivating performers of Sarasota Contemporary Dance from January 21 until January 24, 2021 on 7:30pm and Sunday at 2pm.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Women Today and Tomorrow: What to Cherish, What to Change , January 21, 7pm

On January 21 at 7pm, to celebrate the inauguration of the first female Vice President of the United States and to commemorate the anniversary of the Woman’s March on Washington, the Sarasota Chapter of the Brandeis National Committee will be hosting a virtual event via Zoom with feminist pioneer Letty Cottin Pogrebin in conversation with Journalist Carrie Seidman. The evening conversation entitled "Women Today and Tomorrow: What to Cherish, What to Change" will cover a number of  wide-ranging topics about women’s on-going struggle for equality in the workplace, politics, academia, and family life; the
state of American Feminism today; the Women’s March: its promises and pitfalls; how women change power and how power changes women; ideas for effective activism; raising children without sex stereotypes; and, highlights from Letty's experiences as a co-founder of Ms. Magazine and as editorial consultant to Marlo Thomas’  "Free to Be: You and Me", and so much more. The evening program is in support of the Brandeis University Library Campaign called Honoring Our History, which will transform the university’s unique and priceless collections of books highlighting social justice into digital format. Tickets are $18 per household and are fully tax-deductible.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Ignite Teacher of the Year Awards Celebration , January 21, 5pm

Join the Education Foundation on January 21 at 5pm for an awards celebration honoring Sarasota county teachers. This virtual experience is no cost to attend but registration is required.

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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