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SRQ DAILY Feb 27, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"As nonprofits have added creative, out-of-the-box thinking to their marketing tool kits, they have been able to mitigate some loss of revenue. "

- Dr. Larry Thompson, President of Ringling College of Art & Design

-Plenty of Horsepower, as seen in SRQ's February 2021 edition out now. Click photo for the full article.
[Under The Hood]  How Lakewood Ranch Became a Fiasco
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

It’s been more than a week since a routine press conference in Lakewood Ranch went off the rails. In a matter of minutes, a community outreach story that generated kind headlines for Gov. Ron DeSantis for weeks was recast as a tale of favoritism.

DeSantis rode to town Feb. 17 with 3,000 vaccines ready to dole out to residents. It turns out his administration reached out through developer Rex Jensen to set up a temporary site and Premier Sports Campus seemed a good spot for shots. The Department of Health negotiated with Schroeder-Manatee Ranch and Manatee County Commission Chair Vanessa Baugh; locals were tasked with reaching out to eligible individuals to receive the vaccine.

In truth, this had been done before in other places— and has been done since. But headlines rolled out differently this time. That’s largely thanks to some pre-game gloating by Manatee County.  A press release hit media inboxes before the pop-up clinic opened announcing vaccines, but only for folks in two ZIP codes. Wealthy ones. White ones. Lakewood Ranch ones within Baugh’s district. This may never have come up had individuals been quietly contacted, and then an event held in front of a crowd of people happy to be there. Now, the story was about who wasn't invited.

Other members of a fiercely divided Manatee County Commission turned on Baugh. Didn’t this violate a local lottery system? Had Baugh intentionally directed shots to her constituents at the expense of others? When DeSantis stood before press the following morning, reporters’ knives had been whetted by scandal. He responded angrily.

“If Manatee County doesn’t like us doing this, we are totally fine doing this in counties that want it,” he said.

The pushback did seem unprecedented. For weeks, clinics provided reliably positive coverage. These clinics hadn’t served exclusively as favors to rich, white and unapologetically Republican donors. DeSantis previously directed surplus vaccines to Democratic areas through Black churches, Jewish synagogues and even mosques. At least 51 houses or worship and rec centers in underserved communities provided channels, according to The National Review.

Yet, indisputable inequities instantly recast these pop-ups. Media since scrutinized other surplus shipments sent to politically-connected developers. Sure, shots also found their way to Opa-Locka. But the clinic in Lakewood Ranch simply failed the smell test, and the odor drew national attention.

The conservative Review seemed content to act as media apologist, but The Washington Post and CBS News catalogued angry reactions. The Daily Show cut a video lampooning “Ron DeSantis’ Club Vax” offering “first-rate vial service straight to your table” if you had the donations to get past a velvet rope.

For many, this feeds the narrative media long ago turned to a pipe organ for attacks on Republicans. Rod Thomson, a journalist-turned Republican communications strategist, suggested as much. 

"The reality of just how bad the reporting has been in this was the complete absence of mentioning that by the time the Lakewood Ranch clinic opened, more than 50 pop-up clinics had been held at mostly minority churches, that Democrat-heavy Broward and West Palm Beach had the majority of the clinics and that Governor DeSantis had responded quickly to virtually every underserved area, all of which drew yawns," he said. "But one underserved location that is mostly white and high income with some DeSantis supporters, and instantly the media machinery kicks in and DeSantis is uniformly savaged.. Trying to blame the overtly partisan coverage on poor communications by the Governor is the height of hubris and a self-admission of dereliction of professional duty."

Fine. But the exclusivity narrative sure cemented upon news Baugh requested she and Jensen be placed on a VIP list to get shots first. The public revelation of this ensured the commissioner never get that shot and instead issued a public apology.

County Commissioner Misty Servia feels embarrassed for Manatee’s moment in the hot seat. The Republican criticized directing shots to affluent neighborhoods, not Black and Brown communities with less access to transportation and internet connections to book appointments. But she never intended to critique the Governor, only Baugh. "Anyway we can get vaccines to the public is a great thing," she said.

Yet here we are. DeSantis stressed repeatedly since this blowup surplus shots come in addition to county’s normal shipments, though Servia noted it’s never been explained why. The embarrassment may mean no more pop-ups in Manatee. But it may also mean anywhere these clinics open in the future, DeSantis must answer, why here? I doubt the positive headlines in local papers ever return.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ MEDIA.


[Higher Education]  Philanthropy During the Coronavirus
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

The Gulf Coast is an incredibly philanthropic community. The donors in this region support innumerable non-profit organizations focused on arts, culture, sports, health and well-being, homelessness, food insecurity, education, children and families, animals and a host of other worthy causes. Before COVID-19 changed our world, I, like so many of you, spent much of my time attending events and activities supporting many of these organizations, including my own, Ringling College of Art and Design.

Beginning in mid-March of last year, however, we all saw the bevy of fundraising events that usually fill Gulf Coast social calendars cancelled. Here at Ringling College, for example, our much-loved annual spring event, Evening at the Avant-Garde, had to be postponed. Canceling or postponing those events meant losing major streams of fundraising dollars.

According to the Fundraising Effectiveness Project’s 2020 First Quarter Report, giving to charitable organizations in the U.S. was down by 6% in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same time in 2019; extrapolated for the year, that is a decrease in philanthropic giving of more than $25 billion. A survey conducted by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy showed that “more U.S. households said they were likely to decrease than increase their giving as a result of conditions present during the early months of the pandemic, in part due to uncertainty about the spread of the virus and further economic impacts.”

We are also very fortunate in this community to have a number of committed foundations, including the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, The Patterson Foundation, Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Gulf Coast Community Foundation to name a few, that have focused their resources to help even more during this pandemic.

But it’s not just about revenue; it’s also about viability of programming. The national YMCA organization, for example, has seen its revenue plummet $1.5 billion since March, in large part due to closure of its facilities during coronavirus-related shutdowns. And for organizations, like so many of those in our community, that rely on grand fundraising events, it’s about reimagining those activities to maintain connections with donors to raise the funds so crucial to sustaining their work.

Nonprofits were required to become entrepreneurial and innovative like never before. They had to find new ways to engage, excite, and inspire their donors and supporters. During the pandemic, instead of abandoning their main fundraising events, they looked at them in brand new ways, creating some truly amazing virtual events that have been incredibly successful.

Some events have included a form of live streaming for years; however, that effort was secondary to the live experience. These new virtual events are completely different, crafted and produced to create a meaningful and fun experience for people at home. They have become highly sophisticated, with guests able to take part in charity auctions, enjoy interactive experiences, and even having shared meal experiences through catered delivery to their homes on the day of the event. We at Ringling College, for example, incorporated all of these ideas into our virtual An Evening at the Avant-Garde: Game On!, which was held in October after COVID forced its postponement from the original March date. That event netted over $500,000 for scholarships for Ringling College students. We are also planning this year’s An Evening at the Avant-Garde: Let Us Entertain You as a virtual event in March. The Hospital Gala, benefiting Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, is another example. That event raised in excess of $900,000, an amazing result for a virtual event.

In short, as nonprofits have added creative, out-of-the-box thinking to their marketing tool kits, they have been able to mitigate some loss of revenue. They have also been able to do something so important: Help us all maintain a sense of community during a time of incredible isolation.

David Maurrasse, research scholar at Columbia University’s Earth Institute and adjunct associate professor at Columbia’s School of International and Public Affairs, tells us, “Philanthropy can bring people together, and stimulate the human spirit.” The greater Sarasota-Manatee community, and the entire Gulf Coast region, believes in this value of philanthropy. These donors and supporters don’t just give funds – they engage, advocate, and educate. They not only stimulate, but also inspire, the human spirit. We need the generosity of this community now more than ever, not just for funds, but for the sense of togetherness that philanthropy fosters.

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design. 

[In This Issue]  Mid-Century Modern

The 1950s style is reveling in its revival in all forms of design, preservation and decoration. 

Click here for the full article in SRQ's February 2021 issue.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Broadway On The Bay , February 25 – February 28, 5:30pm

A breathtaking night of dazzling Broadway tunes, as you relax by the bay in the magical Marie Selby Botanical Gardens from February 25 through 28 at 5:30pm at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Enjoy some of your favorite local performers: Jamon Buie, Jamie Molina, Alana Opie and featuring the incomparable Teresa Stanley. Tickets are $20 for Adults $20 and $12.50 for Students under 24 (Call 941-365-2494 to purchase student tickets) plus $1.50 per ticket handling fee. Ticket sales will turn off 2.5 hours prior to show start. Tickets can be purchased at the door depending on availability. No tickets will be printed for this event. Upon making your purchase your name will be on a reservation list. Masks are required for this outdoor event. Temperature checks will also be done and patrons will be socially distanced.

[SOON]  FILM: Sarasota Film Society: Save Our Cinemas Fundraiser , February 27, 12pm-3pm

Sarasota Film Society is planning a “Save Our Cinemas” Fundraiser for Burns Court & Lakewood Ranch Cinema on February 27th at our Lakewood Ranch Cinema theater, located at 10715 Rodeo Drive, Bradenton. We are planning this Fundraiser at Lakewood Ranch Cinemas as it can house many more people so we can safely hold this event under CDC guidelines to ensure we have space to accommodate our loyal members & patrons. We are planning a fun filled day with Food, Beverages, Alcohol, Entertainment, Movies, Popcorn, Chinese Raffle, Silent Auction & 50/50 Raffle. Our auction items are from our loyal local businesses who have graciously donated to help our cause. Event will be from 12:00pm – 3:00pm followed by movie screenings starting at 4:00pm for anyone who purchased a ticket. Attendance is being capped at 150 people even though our buildings capacity is a little over 1000 people. Admission will be $20.00 for Members & $25.00 for Non-Members. Our Raffle Pricing is as follows - $1.00 Per Ticket - $10.00 for 12 Tickets - $20.00 for 25 Tickets. Our 50/50 Raffle Pricing is as follows - $5.00 for 6 Tickets - $10.00 for 13 Tickets - $15.00 for 25 Tickets.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Green at Lakewood Ranch: Share the Love Blood Drive , February 27, 11am-5pm

The Green at Lakewood Ranch is hosting a special Valentine’s blood drive with OneBlood to help patients in hospitals served by OneBlood. The non-profit blood center serves all hospitals throughout the Bay area. In honor of Valentine’s Day come out, “Share the Love,” and donate to help save lives on Saturday, February 27 from 11am to 5pm at The Green at Lakewood Ranch, 11525 State Road 70 E, Lakewood Ranch. All donors will receive a OneBlood Long Sleeve T-Shirt, $10 eGift Card, Pacific: 1 Free Dole Whip Coupon for every blood donor, and 3Natives Acai & Juicery: Free Acai Bowl Coupon. The more people that come out to donate, the better. Only about 37% of the population is eligible to donate blood at any given time, and of that percentage, less than 10% actually do. This is the reason that the need for blood is constant, whether or not we’re in a pandemic. The coronavirus has definitely heightened the need for a blood supply, making this is a critical time for potential donors to step up and support local blood drives. To make an appointment, please visit www.oneblood.org/donate-now.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Mote Marine: Full Moon Paddle - Kayaking with Mote , February 27 – February 28, Varied.

Kayaking doesn’t get much cooler than this. Take a break from the sun and join us for an evening paddle as we explore Florida’s coastal waters at dusk. Discover the animals that bring Sarasota Bay to life at night while taking a relaxing paddle on the moonlit water. Adults only, 18 years and older. Time varies depending on sunset. $36 for members and $40 for non-members. This month's full moon paddle will take place on February 27 and 28.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Orchestra: Latin Sounds , February 25 – February 28

Latin American composers have served as a rich source of compelling music for centuries.  This program, from April 25 until April 28, 2021, features extraordinary compositions by three of the most celebrated 20thand 21st century Latin voices. Cuban-born composer Tania León has been a fearless voice for cultural diversity since arriving in the United States in 1967. Her 2012 string trio À Tres Voces is an evocative exploration of unique sounds and complex rhythms. Grammy Award winning Argentinian composer Oswaldo Golijov is known for his mesmerizing and deeply moving compositions. Mariel for cello and marimba was written in memory of a dear friend.  Fellow Argentinian Astor Piazzolla is universally recognized as the foremost composer of tango music. His Histoire du Tango, performed in a setting for violin and marimba, takes the listener to the night clubs and cafes of early 20th century Buenos Aires. 2021 marks the 100th anniversary of the late composer’s birth. $10 Streaming Access from March 4 through 9.

Holley Hall, 709 North Tamiami Trail

[SOON]  MUSIC: Artist Series: Antonio Chen Guang , February 28, 3pm

Winner of the first Olga Kern International Piano Competition, the Scriabin Prize and the Rome Prize amongst numerous other international awards, twenty-five-year-old pianist Antonio Chen Guang combines extraordinary technique, a precociously mature musical sensibility and exceptional onstage charisma. In addition to works by Chopin and Schumann, Guang also celebrates the lighter side of Beethoven with Variations in D Major Op. This performance will take place on February 28, 2021 at 3pm.

Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3131 61st Street

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: Romeo is Bleeding , February 28, 6:30pm

A fatal turf war between neighborhoods haunts the city of Richmond, California. Donté Clark transcends the violence in his hometown by writing poetry about his experiences. Using his voice to inspire those around him, he and the like-minded youth of the city mount an urban adaptation of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet." This event will take place outdoors on Sunday, February 28 at 6:30pm.

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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