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SRQ DAILY Mar 9, 2022

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"The majority of people are capable of performing a great job once or twice. The key is to be consistent, and that has been our specialty for over forty years."

- David C. Hunihan, CEO, Lee Wetherington Homes.

[Politics]  Sarasota Voters Renew Tax, Nix Countywide Voting
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County voters on Tuesday night passed one countywide referendum and rejected another. A tax supporting the Sarasota County Schools passed with greater than 84% of the vote. Meanwhile, a charter amendment that would have returned county commission races to countywide contests failed.

The school tax, which was originally approved by voters in 2002, saw record levels of support this year. With all votes counted, 83,446 voters supported extending the tax for another four years and just 15,672 favored ending it. That means 84.19% support for the tax, eclipsing the nearly 79% support the tax garnered the last time it appeared on the ballot in 2018. A record number of voters also weighed in, with 99,118 ballots cast on the issue. The tax is projected to raise at least $71 million for the school district in the coming year.

Meanwhile, voters pushed back at an attempt from county commissioners to return to county-wide elections. With 97,825 votes counted, a total of 55,994, about 57.24% of voters, voted against a proposed amendment to the county charter. Despite the Republican Party of Sarasota supporting a return to countywide votes, just 42.76% of voters supported the change. Voters in the county last weighed in on this issue in 2018, when more than 59% of voters favored the switch to single-member elections in the first place.

That could have immediate political consequences. Democrats have pushed for single-member voting in part because it could create the best shot at electing a Democratic County Commissioner for the first time since 1966. There wasn’t a great opportunity in 2020 after county commissioners redistricted. But now District 2, the only Democratic-leaning district following another redistricting, will hold an election in November. Republican County Commissioner Christian Ziegler is expected to face a Democrat. Sarasota City Commissioner Hagen Brody and activist Mike Cosentino have both filed for the Democratic nomination in the district.

The two county referenda drew significant turnout, about 28.47% of all registered voters in the county. 

Photo courtesy Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association Facebook page.

[Honorees]  Children First Diamond Circle Honored at Good Hero Luncheon

Each year, SRQ Media invites the community to nominate individuals with hearts of giving who have made a significant impact with local nonprofit organizations — from volunteers and board members to individual staff members and donors. This year, attendees were thrilled to be together as we recognized our annual Good Hero Philanthropic Award recipients at the SB2: Philanthropic Agenda Luncheon and Good Hero Philanthropic Awards Luncheon on Thursday, December 9, 2021 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. We have been happy to feature each of the twelve honorees in our Wednesday Philanthropic edition of SRQ Daily over the past few months.

Today we are honoring the Children First Diamond Circle. As part of this organization’s 60th anniversary celebration, key supporters came forth with the idea to present a challenge to the community. They decided to collectively donate $1,060,000-dollars if the community could match it. This group of dynamos inspired the entire community—to support a giving challenge called The Challenge for Changing Lives. In total, the Diamond Circle and many members of the community came together to raise a total of $2,120,000 in support and recognition of the thousands of children and families whose life stories have been changed over the past 60 years as part of the Children First Family. Several of the Diamond Circle members were in attendence at our luncheon in December, including: Carol Kalikow, Richard Kalikow, Bart Levenson, Joan Levenson, Frank Martucci, Katherine Martucci, Elenor Maxheim, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady. Congratulations to the Children First Diamond Circle for stepping up to empower this organization to expand its mission. 

Pictured: Members of Children First Diamond Circle. Photo taken by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Nonprofit Leaders]  Announcing Jennifer Vigne as Panelist for March SB2 Luncheon

SRQ MEDIA recognizes nonprofits who have the ability to lean into change in the face of either challenge or opportunity. The Change Agents in Philanthropy Awards focus on the capacity of the independent sector to be innovative in the face of change in fundraising, donor cultivation and development, mission, programming, branding and visibility and operations. We invite the community to nominate local nonprofits, local nonprofit programs and individuals who have embraced change and leveraged innovative thinking, strategies and practices in engaging their organization to more powerfully realize its mission.

The Change Agent Catalyst organizations who will be represented in the panel discussion at the SB2 | Transformation in Philanthropy Luncheon on Thursday, March 10, 2022 are: All Faiths Food Bank; Children First; Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s; Resilient Retreat; Education Foundation of Sarasota County. Every week leading up to the event, we will highlight one of our incredible panelists and his/her organization.

Today, we are pleased to highlight Jennifer Vigne, M.Ed., CFRE, President & CEO, Education Foundation of Sarasota County. Jennifer is a fifth-generation Floridian whose love for her community and state runs deep and long. She is committed to strengthening Sarasota County and passionately believes that education has the power to change lives and contribute to the community’s prosperity. Guided by a strong value system, Jennifer believes that all students can learn and succeed and thereby participate in their own personal and professional growth as well as the community’s success. Jennifer joined the Education Foundation of Sarasota County in November 2015 as Executive Director and was appointed President in January 2017 and Chief Executive Officer in 2019. She brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and corporate sector. 

For more information click here

[Grant]  Child Protection Center Awarded Grant for the Intervention of Child Abuse

The Child Protection Center, Inc (CPC) was selected by the Harold C. & Jacqueline F. Bladel Charitable Trust to receive a $10,000 grant. The Trust is providing this funding in support of child abuse intervention services provided by the Child Protection Team.

The Child Protection Team (CPT) was the first program established with the Child Protection Center in 1980, collaborating with the Department of Children and Families and local Law Enforcement to investigate and intervene in cases of abuse throughout the community. CPT’s comprehensive and multidisciplinary assessment processes are critical in identifying and evaluating child abuse, abandonment, and neglect — and in recommending the appropriate and effective interventions and treatments necessary to promote successful long-term outcomes for children and families dealing with the trauma of abuse.

The need for these intervention services has continued to grow throughout the pandemic as children faced long periods of isolation and families experienced additional stress. Coupled with the ongoing population growth of Sarasota County, particularly in North Port, CPT’s services greatly increased over the previous year, most notably in providing 30% more Forensic Interviews and 55% more Specialized Interviews.

“This support from the Bladel Trust will help provide the necessary resources for CPC to continue expanding our services and reach through the Child Protection Team,” said Doug Staley, the Executive Director of the nonprofit. “We are very fortunate to have this passionate support in our mission.” 

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[Home Construction]  Lee Wetherington Homes Will be Featured in Star Farms at Lakewood Ranch by Forestar

The Forestar Group, Inc. ("Forestar"), a leading developer of residential communities, announces the addition of Lee Wetherington Homes ("LW Homes") to its program of luxury, custom home builders in Star Farms, a multigenerational lifestyle village in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. LW Homes expects to design every home for each customer's individual needs. Buyers looking to build their dream home will be able to choose from several homesites within Star Farms. With a team of professional designers on hand, LW Homes will offer customers the opportunity to alter dozens of available floorplans or create a new plan to meet the needs of their families. Currently, two models are available for viewing in the area, and one model at Star Farms is in the design development phase.

“Lee Wetherington Homes produces luxury custom homes, and we strive to be excellent at the fundamentals,” said David C. Hunihan, CEO of Lee Wetherington Homes. “We believe the basics of home construction include effective communication, setting appropriate expectations, quality, cleanliness, and the ability to deliver what you promise – consistently. The majority of people are capable of performing a great job once or twice. The key is to be consistent, and that has been our specialty for over forty years."

Within Lakewood Ranch, a master-planned community with dining, shopping, and cultural activities, Star Farms is minutes away from top-rated beaches, dining, shopping, clubs, and entertainment venues. Upon completion, this 700-acre gated community will be a resort ranch hometown with 1,500 single-family homes, villa retreats, and townhomes, along with a variety of amenities, clubs and hospitality services. 

To learn more, visit

[New Airline]  Breeze Airways Announces New Nonstop Service From Sarasota-Bradenton, FL to Hartford, CT

Breeze Airways , the Seriously Nice™ new U.S. low-fare airline founded by aviation entrepreneur David Neeleman, is adding 35 routes this summer from 10 new cities, coast to coast. Breeze, which began service in May, 2021 primarily in the east and southeast of the United States, is now expanding across the U.S. with 77 routes between 28 cities in 18 states. Breeze is heading west with service from San Francisco (SFO), Los Angeles (LAX), Las Vegas (LAS) and San Bernardino, with coast-to-coast fares starting at just $99* one way. New cities to be added in the east and southeast include: Jacksonville, Fort Myers and Sarasota/Bradenton, FL; Savannah, GA; Nashville, TN; and Syracuse, NY. Guests may choose from three price bundles that are offered as ‘Nice’, ‘Nicer’, and ‘Nicest’ service. Guests may even choose a Nice or Nicer bundle and buy an upgrade to a First Class seat. 

To learn more, click here

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Transformation in Philanthropy and Change Agents Awards Luncheon , March 10, 11:30am-1pm

The SB2 Transformation in Philanthropy luncheon and panel discussion will explore how nonprofits ride the wave of change, particularly after a year of extreme change. We speak to the Change Agent Award Honorees to find out how they embraced and catalyzed change to transform their organizations — from mission, programming and community partners to communications, positioning and donor development. SRQ MEDIA recognizes nonprofits who have the ability to lean into change in the face of either challenge or opportunity. The Change Agents in Philanthropy Awards focus on the capacity of the independent sector to be innovative in the face of change in fundraising, donor cultivation and development, mission, programming, branding and visibility and operations. We invite the community to nominate local nonprofits, local nonprofit programs and individuals who have embraced change and leveraged innovative thinking, strategies and practices in engaging their organization to more powerfully realize its mission. This is a “by invitation only” competition where we invite only nonprofits to submit an application. There are no nominations. The Luncheon will take place on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at the Hyatt Regency, Sarasota with an 11am registration and 11:30am to 1pm program. 

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Osher Lifelong Learning Institute: Celebrating Florida's Wild Wonders , March 11, 9am-5pm

Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Ringling College (OLLI at Ringling College) presents “Celebrating Florida’s Wild Wonders,” a one-day event inspired by the book, The Wilder Heart of Florida, and featuring eight celebrated writers, poets, educators, environmentalists, architects, and artists. The event is Friday, March 11, 2022, 9am to 5pm at the Ringling College Museum Campus, 1000 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. General admission is $125; registration opens on December 7. The registration fee includes lunch and a complimentary reception.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Lakewood Ranch Fine Art Festival , March 12 – March 13, 10am-5pm

Are you an art collector, seek art for your home or office, or merely wish to support the arts? If so, join us for the 2nd Annual Lakewood Ranch Fine Art Festival on March 12-13, 2022. The event is located in downtown Lakewood Ranch on Main Street. Come enjoy an outdoor gallery of original, handmade works by artisans from across America. This gallery is created from the artistic visions and skills of artisans in all art mediums. Explore art created in painting, sculpting, jewelry, photography, glass, ceramics, fiber and wearable art, mixed-media, woodworking and much more. Meet the artisans creating the works and if you don't find exactly what you want - commission a piece from the artist that will be made just for you. Hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10am-5pm with free admission. Bring your sense of discovery and appreciation of the beautiful as you explore art! We learn in life that art inspires and touches our souls, on a daily basis, in ways we often cannot comprehend. Come experience that yourself.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Attila , March 12 – March 22

Attila by Giuseppe Verdi with words by Temistocle Solera. Attila the Hun has conquered most of Western Europe and is about to take Rome itself, but is brought to his knees by his love for a female warrior, Odabella. Attila will run from March 12 until March 22, 2022.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Jazz Festival: Swinging Under The Stars , March 13 – March 19, Varies.

The Sarasota Jazz Festival Swinging Under The Stars will take place from March 13 through 19 at Nathan Benderson Park. Main stage performers are Shelly Berg, Dick Hyman, Russell Malone, Ken Peplowski, Houston Person, John Pizzarelli, Catherine Russell, Arturo Sandoval, Terell Stafford, Tierney Sutton, and La Lucha Trio. Free Jazz in the Park on March 13 from 3pm to 6pm, Trolley Pub Crawl at UTC on March 15 from 6pm to 10pm, VIP Reception from 5pm to 6pm and Main Stage Concert at 6:30pm on March 16, Morning Jazz Film from 9:30am to 12pm and Main Stage Concert at 6:30pm on March 17, Main Stage Concert at 6:30pm and Late Night Tower Jazz Jams from 9:30pm to 11:30pm on March 18, and Afternoon Jazz Party from 12pm to 5:30pm, Main Stage Concert at 6:30pm, and Late Night Tower Jazz jams from 9:30pm to 11:30pm on March 19. 

[SOON]  MUSIC: Guitar Sarasota: Emerging Artist Series: Luther Enloe , March 14, 7:30pm

Join Guitar Sarasota for a six-concert series that showcases local and regional musicians who perform a 45-minute concert, followed by a question and answer session. Free and open to the public, thanks to a generous and ongoing grant from the Vera and Imre Hecht Foundation, these concerts entertain, educate, and raise awareness of the beauty of classical guitar music. Luther Enloe, Classical Guitar, will take place at 7:30pm on Monday, March 14, 2022 at St. Paul Lutheran Church. A dedicated teacher, Luther Enloe holds the positions of Artist Affiliate in Guitar at Georgia State University and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. In addition to earning Bmus, MM, and DMA degrees at the University of Georgia with John Sutherland, he studied sixteen pieces in nine Masterclass settings with American virtuoso Christopher Parkening. Luther Enloe is a Muiderman Guitars sponsored artist and performs on a 2018 Kevin Muiderman guitar.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Concert Association: Takacs Quartet with pianist Joyce Yang , March 15, 7:30pm

Takács Quartet with pianist Joyce Yang will perform on Tuesday, March 15 at 7:30pm at the Riverview Performing Arts Canter. Grammy-nominated pianist Joyce Yang joins the internationally renowned Takács Quartet in their celebrated return to Sarasota, performing Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 2, Bartók’s String Quartet No. 1, and Schumann’s Piano Quintet in E-flat major.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Opera: Salute to the Stars Awards Luncheon , March 15, 11:30am

Salute to the Stars Awards Luncheon will take place on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at 11:30am at Sarasota Yacht Club. On stage a singer’s voice is commanding. Imagine how you will feel hearing it just feet away from your table. Join us and celebrate the outstanding Sarasota Opera Apprentice and Studio Artists who will be honored in 2022. Enjoy a gourmet lunch while you experience performances by the awardees. The awards are presented through the generosity of visionary individuals as well as the Sarasota and Manatee Opera Guilds.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Concert Association: Music Matinees: Sarasota Opera's Studio Artists , March 16, 1pm

A longstanding community outreach program, Music Matinees feature accomplished area-based musicians who perform an array of musical styles. Concerts take place on Wednesdays from noon to 1pm in David Cohen Hall, Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center. Sarasota Opera’s Studio Artists will take place on March 16. The Sarasota Opera’s Studio Artists is a select and auditioned group of emerging artists who perform in mainstage productions by understudying principal roles and performing supporting roles, gaining valuable experience in the process. With dozens of roles needing understudies each season, the Studio Artists often step in to substitute for an ill or injured principal, sometimes with little notice.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Sheléa: Natural Woman, A Night of Soul , March 16, 8pm

With widespread comparison to the vocal expertise of the legendary Whitney Houston and the piano prowess of Alicia Keys, it’s no surprise that artist and actress, SHELÉA (pronounced shuh-lay-yuh), has garnered co-signs from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliott, David Foster, Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Hudson, Quincy Jones and more. Blending traditional pop, jazz, R&B and soul, Sheléa brings a contemporary edge to classics and a classic touch to contemporary pop standards. A vocal powerhouse, she’s performed twice at the White House, the Library of Congress, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and more. She made her acting debut in 2020 as Dorinda Clark in The Clark Sisters: The First Ladies of Gospel. Sheléa will perform on Wednesday, March 16 at 8pm. 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Sarasota Art Museum: David Budd: Motion Within Stillness , October 9 – March 20, Museum hours.

David Budd: Motion Within Stillness from October 9 to March 20, 2022. After painting for only six years, David Budd (1927-1991, Florida) dove into the New York art scene in the 1950s —immersing himself in Abstract Expressionism and working alongside iconic names of the movement, such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline. His paintings, like others of the time, relied on the bodily relationship between the artist and canvas —each stroke and mark of the artist encapsulated in viscous gestures of paint—and spontaneity; although, this is not to say that Budd painted hastily—each mark was placed with intention to animate the canvas’s surface.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Ringling College Galleries + Exhibitions: POW! The Comic Art of Mike Zeck from the Costas Collection , October 18 – March 25, 9am-3pm

After attending Ringling College in the late 60s, Zeck made a name for himself illustrating the horror stories of Charlton Comics before turning his talents in both illustration and storytelling into one of the most successful careers of The Bronze Age of comic books. His talents served him well for both Marvel and DC. Zeck is credited with creating the alternative black costume for Spider-Man that would eventually become the character Venom, and his work on Kraven’s Last Hunt is considered one of the best stories in the Spider-Man canon. In the DC universe, he helped modernize Batman into the flawed and dark knight he would become in the modern era. With “POW!,” Ringling College Galleries has compiled the best of The Costas Collection, featuring over 60 original illustrations of Zeck’s most iconic storylines and covers. This exhibition will be on view from October 18, 2021 – March 25, 2022. In-person viewings are free and open to the public Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm at The Lois and David Stulberg Gallery is located inside the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center on campus at Ringling College of Art and Design at 1188 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way.

[SOON]  GALLERY: The Ringling: Eleanor Merritt: Remembrance , February 18 – August 21, Museum hours.

The Ringling is pleased to present an exhibition that celebrates the life and artwork of Eleanor Merritt from February 18, 2022 to August 21, 2022. Eleanor was a dedicated volunteer at The Ringling for many years as a docent and Board member. She also served as president of the Venice Art Center and was active in other arts organizations as well. Eleanor passed away in 2019 leaving a legacy of art and public service. This exhibition is dedicated to her spirit and creativity and represents a small sample of a significant body of work the artist created over her long career. Beginning with an early work from the 1950s Untitled (Seated Figure) and concluding with her last painting Blue Embrace of 2018, the exhibition highlights her creative use of materials, movement between figuration and abstraction, and her commitment to women’s rights. The works in the exhibition come from the artist’s estate and from a few prestigious private collections. The artist’s daughter, Lisa, and artist Mike Solomon were critical guides in the development of this exhibition. 

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry, and Light , February 13 – June 26, Garden hours.

This winter, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens (Selby Gardens) will spotlight the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, one of the most significant photographers of the 20th century, together with the poetry of legendary singer-songwriter and poet Patti Smith in a special exhibition on view throughout the garden’s 15-acre Downtown Sarasota campus. Marking the sixth edition of the Gardens’ annual Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, which explores the work of major artists through the lens of their connection to nature, this immersive exhibition puts a selection of Mapplethorpe’s photographs of orchids, hyacinths, and irises, and excerpts of Smith’s poems and lyrics on flowers and nature, in dialogue with new horticultural installations inspired by the two artists’ work. On view from February 13 through June 26, 2022, Robert Mapplethorpe and Patti Smith: Flowers, Poetry, and Light is curated by Dr. Carol Ockman, Selby Gardens’ Curator-at-Large and the Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History Emerita at Williams College. The Gardens will host an Evening with Patti Smith, on Tuesday, February 15, a lecture and performance with Smith that will shed new light on this body of work. 

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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