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SRQ DAILY Aug 31, 2022

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"VMA is on the ground every day, ensuring our communities are provided with a place where young men are provided with a high-quality personalized education at no cost to their families."

- Dr. Janjay Gehndyu, Principal of Visible Men Academy.

[Giving Back]  Visible Men Academy Celebrates Black Philanthropy Month
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

August is Black Philanthropy Month and this year, Visible Men Academy (VMA) is joining #Give828. Give 8/28 is an annual initiative on Aug. 28 by the Young Black and Giving Back Institute (YBGB) to help promote financial support for Black-led and Black-benefitting grassroots organizations.

Visible Men Academy is a tuition-free K-5 public charter school for boys that serves students from Manatee and Sarasota counties. The mission of VMA is to provide boys with outstanding academic, character, and social education in a nurturing school environment.

Dr. Janjay Gehndyu is currently serving in his second year as principal of VMA. Previously a teacher, the pathway to principal for him came when he decided in 2012 to enter into the Higher Educational Leadership program at Nova Southeastern University. There, he wrote his dissertation focusing on personalized education and the benefits of focusing on the attributes that make that individual student successful. This is very much in line with VMA’s vision to provide a personalized education with a focus in character development wrapped in S.T.E.A.M. (The school’s emphasis on reading makes their curriculum S.T.R.E.A.M.) and also in line with YBGB’s vision to prepare the next generation of young, black professionals for effective community leadership and philanthropy such that they produce sustainable and innovative solutions to their communities’ most pressing issues.

"Give 28 comes at a critical time,” states Dr. Gehndyu. “VMA is on the ground every day, ensuring our communities are provided with a place where young men are provided with a high-quality personalized education at no cost to their families."

After graduating from VMA, students are encouraged to go to schools that fit their academic progress. “We have students attend Out of Door Academy, State College of Florida, Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences, and others,” shares Dr. Gehndyu. “Most of the funding to keep VMA tuition free comes from the generous donors who believe in our mission and the success of these young boys,” he adds.

You can support VMA by donating via this link: https://www.give828.org/organization/visible-men-academy and sharing your support on social media, tagging VMA in your posts with #Give828.


Pictured: Dr. Janjay Gehndyu supports the VMA mission to mentor and help boys develop into men. Photo courtesy of VMA.

To learn more, visit

[Fundraising]  Children First Changemakers Inspire Community with $600,000 Matching Gift Challenge

As children and families are disproportionately affected by the ongoing childcare crisis, Children First is continuing its forward progress of enhancing and expanding comprehensive services for those most vulnerable in our community. As the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, Children First is proud to announce a $600,000 matching gift challenge led by its Changemaker Collective. The Changemaker Collective is an initiative for leaders who go above and beyond in serving our community and wish to make an investment in the tools children and families need to achieve their full potential. All collective support will be matched 1:1 with an overall goal to raise $1.2MM. The key philanthropists comprising the Collective include: Anonymous, Stephanie & Allen Hochfelder, Joan & Dr. Bart Levenson, Katherine & Frank Martucci, Keith Monda & Veronica Brady, Gaye & Jack Schwarz, Joe & Nora Stephan, Karen Solem, and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. At 15 sites across North Port, Sarasota, and Venice, Children First provides comprehensive services to hundreds of economically vulnerable children, ages birth to five, and their families each year. Comprehensive services include early childhood education, nutrition, emotional and behavioral support, and family strengthening services.

“Joining the Collective is an investment in the tools children and families need to achieve their full potential,” says Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers. “Whether you want to support the qualified teachers who offer stable and supportive relationships, provide safe classrooms for children to enjoy rich learning experiences, fill hungry tummies with nutritious meals and provide a variety of health services, or strengthen the entire family to ensure overall well-being, it is critical that we continue to support our community’s most vulnerable.” 

To make a gift in support of the Changemaker Collective, please visit

[New Hire]  Lauren Hersh Joins Gulf Coast Community Foundation as Philanthropic Advisor

Gulf Coast Community Foundation is thrilled to announce that Lauren Hersh has joined the team as a Philanthropic Advisor. Hersh is a seasoned philanthropic steward with over 20 years in the nonprofit industry. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Music Business and Flute Performance from DePauw University. Prior to Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Hersh was the Director of Donor Engagement, Individual and Corporate Giving for the Sarasota Orchestra for almost seven years. Hersh has also held development positions at The Out-of-Door Academy, Girls Inc. of Sarasota, Young Concert Artists, and the New York Philharmonic. She is a former board member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals of Southwest Florida Chapter and a 2016 graduate of the Gulf Coast Leadership Institute. In her new role at Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Hersh will work directly with donors to maximize their philanthropic impact in our region. 

To learn more, visit

[Grant awarded]  Key Chorale awarded $30,000 Strategic Partnership Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Key Chorale is pleased to announce a grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, a Foundation focused on making a positive impact within our region. This grant, in the amount of $30,000, is instrumental in allowing Key Chorale to continue to deliver its music and mission. The Community Foundation will be the Presenting Sponsor of Vaughan Williams’ “A Sea Symphony” Masterwork concerts, February 10 and 11, 2023, and support the Student Scholar Program.

“We are incredibly honored to receive this transformational grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, says Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins. These funds will allow us to take an already dynamic student scholar program and make it even more robust. The Community Foundation’s insight into the program encouraged us to brainstorm in numerous ways and allows us to make our student scholar program even more impactful. While this program is certainly about making better musicians, it is also about giving experiences and opportunities to foster greater confidence, teamwork, responsibility, and growth both as musicians and young adults.” 

[Arts & Entertainment]  FST Extends New York State of Mind: All the Hits of Billy Joel

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to announce that the run of New York State of Mind – All the Hits of Billy Joel With The Uptown Boys has been extended an additional week due to audience demand. Created by John De Simini and Alexander Aguilar, who have 40 years of cumulative experience working on Broadway, this dynamic music revue will now play through October 9, 2022. Featuring more than two dozen of Billy Joel’s greatest hits, this upbeat music revue will run as originally scheduled in FST’s Court Cabaret through Sunday, October 2. Then, the production will transfer to FST’s Goldstein Cabaret, where it will play through Sunday, October 9. Single tickets are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. 

Pictured: Sergi Robles, Hank Von Kolnitz, and Michael Fasano. Photo by FST.

[New Park]  Celebrate the New Bradenton Riverwalk Park

A new City of Bradenton park is now open at the corner of 2nd Avenue East and 14th Street East in Bradenton. This tranquil park provides stunning views of the Manatee River, a Little Free Library, educational panels, and public art. The completion of this park is the first phase of the Riverwalk East expansion project. The path connecting this park to the current Riverwalk will be complete early 2023. A grand opening celebration, coordinated by Realize Bradenton with support from Florida Humanities and the Knight Donor Advised Fund at the Manatee Community Foundation, will take place on Saturday, September 10 from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm. The celebration will begin at 11:00 am with remarks from Mayor Gene Brown, a blessing by Brother Jerry Wicker of Manatee LIFE Church, and a closing by Rev. Daphney Towns, director of the Back to Angola Festival. Mayor Brown will invite neighborhood children to assist in the ribbon cutting, officially opening their local park. Opening remarks will be followed by musical performances from the Manatee High School Band, Erol Oz, and Combo Fusion. Educational presentations will be provided during the event by Professor Uzi Baram and Vickie Oldham sharing information about the freedom seeking community of Angola, and Ryan G. Van Cleave and Don Brandes discussing the creation of the children’s book, “Old Manatee A to Z”.  Additional activities and information will be provided by: City of Bradenton Community Redevelopment Agency, Central Cafe, Florida Humanities, Manatee County Libraries, Manatee Village Historical Park, Reflections of Manatee, and United Way Suncoast. Parking for the event will be available at Manatee LIFE Church at 315 15th Street East, Bradenton, FL 34208. Handicapped parking will be available on the edge of the park on 14th Street. The complete Riverwalk East expansion project was designed by Kimley-Horn and constructed by NDC Construction Company. 

[SOON]  : Oscura Live: Trivia Night , September 1, 7pm

Trivia Night returns to Oscura to test your 90's Pop Culture knowledge!
Aaaallllllllrightyy then!! About the event: Thursday September 1st trivia is going the way of the Denim Dans and Fanny packs featuring FIVE rounds of questions testing all of your 90’s Pop Culture Knowledge. Starts at 7 PM sharp and winning team gets $25 toward their bar tab and a small prize! Location 816 Manatee Avenue East Bradenton, FL 34208 Free Admission Register on Eventbrite.com

Oscura , 816 Manatee Avenue East Bradenton, FL 34208

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bookstore1Sarasota: Author Talk & Book Signing with Jason Cannon , September 3, 12pm-1pm

This Above All: How to Live an Artistic Life. Author Talk & Book Signing with Jason Cannon. Bookstore1Sarasota 117 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236 September 3rd, 2022. 12pm-1pm. Price $0 – $8. Is there something holding you back from what you know you can do? From who you know you can be? Are you always starting, but never finishing? Your novel? Your music? Your painting, poetry, sculpture, or play? Do you struggle to maintain passion and balance in your work, your exercise routine, or your relationship? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, then this book is for you. Come participate in a Q&A with Jason, buy the book, and get it signed. For more information visit www.sarasotabooks.com

Bookstore1Sarasota , 117 S. Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Robinson Preserve: Stargazing , September 3, 8PM-11PM

An astronomical extravaganza! Join us for an evening of stargazing in the Robinson Preserve Expansion. Dozens of local astronomers will be set up in the Robinson Preserve Expansion, with telescopes at the ready. Be sure to bring a sense of wonder and exploration and view the skies through high-powered telescopes. Learn how to identify these heavenly bodies, and how you can stargaze at home too. Program suitable for all ages. Sat, September 3, 2022 8:00 PM - 11:00 PM EDT Located 10299 9th Avenue Northwest Bradenton, FL 34209


[SOON]  GRAB BAG: The Sarasota Modern: Wink Wink Modern Pool , September 4, Noon-5pm

The Sarasota Modern & Hiatus Tequila present Wink Wink Modern Pool: Sunday Funday! Join us for some end-of-summer fun on Sept 4, 2022! 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. $30 General Admission $40 at the door VIP Rentals (prices vary, limited availbility). Our Wink Wink Modern Pool Bar will offer a full menu fun tropical fusion bites and featuring Hiatus Tequila cocktails. DJ Joey D will be playing Tropical House and your favorite summer time tunes from Noon til' 5:00 PM. This event is 21+. ID's will be checked and wristbands will be given out upon arrival. Valet Parking $14.00 per vehicle All registered Sarasota Modern Hotel guests are allowed free access to this event Please see our front desk agents for your wristband for entry. $30 General Admission Online, $40 at the door.

[SOON]  THEATER: Urbanite Theatre: Mr. Yunioshi , September 7 – September 11, Varied

MR. YUNIOSHI Written, Directed and Performed by J. Elijah Cho. A Limited Engagement. September 7 - 11, 2022. Urbanite Theatre. What compels an actor to play a character that they probably shouldn't? In this side splitting roast, J. Elijah Cho cleverly answers that question by exploring Mickey Rooney's infamous yellowface performance of Mr. Yunioshi in Breakfast at Tiffany's. For tickets and info contact - phone (941) 321-1397, email info@urbanitetheatre.com, website www.urbanitetheatre.com

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 2nd Street Sarasota FL, 34236

[SOON]  DANCE: Bailando at The Bay: Dance Lessons , September 7, 6:30pm-9pm

Learn a variety of Latin dance styles that are suitable for beginners or advanced dancers. September 7th feature Bachata! Fred Astaire Dance Studios partners with The Bay to offer this new dance series! Enjoy learning a variety of Latin dance styles that are suitable for beginners and advanced dancers. Dance lessons will take place from 6:30-7:15pm, and then practice your skills at a dance party hosted by DJ Nando from 7:30-9pm. Dance style focus on September 7th: Bachata! Location Van Wezel Terrace 777 North Tamiami Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Players Centre: Side by Side by Sondheim , September 8 – September 18, Varied

Join The Players in their 93rd Season with Six That Matter – shows that explore finding purpose, the universal desire to live a life that matters, to fully appreciate aspiration. Be it finding true love, sacrificing it all, a life of devotion, cultivating artistry, finding fame, each of these unforgettable shows- important in their own genres, are celebrations of greatness, of striving for more, that will make memories, sparking feelings of joy- of what being alive fully means. Side by Side by Sondheim is a revue that celebrates the wit and genius of musical theatre’s most influential artist, who searched for what it means to be alive. Get ready to laugh, cry and fall in love with lyrics that are heartbreakingly true and music that captures the soaring emotions of a new generation with Side by Side by Sondheim. Simple and unpretentious, this Tony Award-winning musical is a perfect introduction to the work of this contemporary master and a must for diehard fans. September 8th-18th, 2022. For tickets visit theplayers.org, Ph. 941-365-2494, email BoxOffice@ThePlayers.org

The Players Centre For Performing Arts, Performance Venue & Box Office The Crossings at Siesta Key 3501 South Tamiami Trail, Suite 1130 Sarasota, FL 34239

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: Seeing the Invisible , September 25 – August 31, 10am-5pm

The most ambitious and expansive exhibition to date of contemporary artworks created with augmented reality (AR) technology will premiere at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, opening on September 25, 2021 and ongoing through August 31 2022, as one of 12 participating gardens across six countries. Seeing the Invisible features works by more than a dozen international artists such as Ai Weiwei, Refik Anadol, El Anatsui, Isaac Julien CBE, Mohammed Kazem, Sigalit Landau, Sarah Meyohas, Pamela Rosenkranz, and Timur Si-Qin—including several artists’ first work in AR. Visitors will engage with Seeing the Invisible via an app designed for the exhibition downloadable to smartphones and tablets. Forging new links between botanical gardens located in diverse biomes around the globe, the exhibition fosters collaboration between institutions, artists, and audiences, highlighting the power of art to connect people around the world.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Friday Fest 2022 , June 17 – September 16, 5pm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall Friday Fest events are our outdoor concert series that provide the community with 4 entertaining and FREE events from June to September, showcasing the best of local bands from Sarasota and Bradenton. Friday Fest brings together a wide variety of talented artists along with food trucks and drink stations on the Van Wezel lawn along the beautiful Sarasota Bayfront. Our Friday Fest lineup includes: Yesterdayze - June 17, Kettle of Fish - July 15, Big Night Out - August 12, and Jah Movement - September 16 at 5pm. 

Van Wezel

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Table Talk Bistro: 80's Themed Murder Mystery Dinner , September 23, 7pm-10pm

Audience involved murder mystery dinner show all 80s theme. Tickets include dinner, show & a choice beverage. Participation Encouraged! We are time traveling back to the 80s! So, dress in those bright color and break out the hairspray for that big hair!! If you attended our last sold-out show, we have a twist for you! Each guest will either be a suspect or a detective! The food will be plentiful and amazing, we do our best for that always! If you have special dietary needs, please let us know upon booking.Seating will not be assigned; tables will remain in our normal restaurant set up and guest will pick their seat as they arrive. You may be meeting new people at your table. Most of our tables are 4 or 6 tops. Message us Directly at Info@tabletalkbistro.com with any questions. Tickets $70 Eventbrite

Table Talk Bistro , 3999 Cortez Road West Bradenton, FL 34210

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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