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SRQ DAILY Mar 1, 2023

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"I wanted the children to meet the dancers and learn about Alvin Ailey's life so that it might inspire them to read and dream."

- Donna Gora, Board Chair, SOAR Learning Center.

[Guest Reading]  Ailey II Dance Company Visits SOAR Learning Center
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

Ailey II, a modern dance company founded in 1974 by Alvin Ailey delighted Van Wezel theatergoers last Thursday with some of the country’s finest young dance talent paired with the creative vision of outstanding emerging choreographers. The day before the spectacular performance, the students of SOAR Learning Center were treated to a visit from the dance company led by Artistic Director, Francesca Harper, along with two dancers who read Alvin Ailey, a children’s book written by Andrew Pinkney. The students, grades K-3, were captivated by the visit, as they listened to the story of Ailey's life, a life that left its imprint as much on the history of the American people as on the history of modern dance.

Alvin Ailey grew up poor in the small Texas town of Navasota, inspired by church services and the music he heard at the local dance hall. He learned to dance as an adolescent and spent some time with the best teachers he could find. Eventually, he started his own modern dance company, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with a vision that dance is for everybody. Ailey was a pioneer of programs promoting arts in education, particularly those benefiting underserved communities. Throughout his lifetime, he was awarded numerous distinctions, including the Kennedy Center Honor in 1988 in recognition of his extraordinary contribution to American culture.

Celestine Campbell has been SOAR’s program director since 2005. As part of Black History Month, Campell and her team of dedicated teachers prepared the students for the visit by introducing them to Alvin Ailey as an entrepreneur back in his day, a person who wanted to dance without having many opportunities available to him. Like Ailey, many of the SOAR students lack opportunities and have fallen through the gaps in reading and math. Since its inception, Mrs. Jacquelyn Paulk, founder of SOAR, has tried to close the gaps by dedicating her career to lifting children out of failure and hopelessness— and into reaching their unlimited potential.

Donna Gora, Board Chair at SOAR knew that Ailey’s story would resonate with the students. “I wanted the children to meet the dancers and learn about Alvin Ailey’s life so that it might inspire them to read and dream," she said. Knowing that the company does community outreach, she contacted Ailey II’s company manager, Sumaya Jackson. Together, they facilitated the storytime visit and as a result, the children were entertained, educated, and inspired to dream. And as added bonus, Van Wezel donated 10 tickets to the performance for the children and families to see the Ailey II magic come to life on stage.

Located in the heart of North Sarasota's Newtown community, SOAR Learning Center empowers students to develop the skills they need to succeed at school and beyond. 

Pictured: SOAR Learning Students are captivated by a story time visit from Ailey II Dance Company. Photo by Sherri Proctor of Sherri's Island Images Photography.

To learn more click here.

[Fundraising Event]  Sip, Shop and Spring Into Fashion

Foundation for Dreams and Dream Oaks Camp is hosting its annual spring fundraising event, a Luncheon & Fashion Show featuring local boutiques on Friday, May 12, 2023, at the Bradenton Country Club. It’s time to Sip, Shop, and Spring into Fashion in support of an incredible cause! Tickets are available starting at $75 and sponsorships are also available. Guests can purchase easily at FoundationForDreams.org/Fashion. The event includes fabulous pop-up shops from local boutiques and businesses, a delicious lunch, and entertaining fashion show featuring collections from featured boutiques. Guests even have the chance to go home with their very own gift basket from our raffle. Proceeds from this event support the Dream Oaks Camp, which provides unforgettable adaptive camp experiences for children with special needs and chronic illnesses. For those who cannot make it to the event, they will have another opportunity to shop and give back! 

For tickets and information click here.

[Arts & Entertainment]  Sarasota Performing Arts Center Architect Selection Task Force Shortlists Six Top Architects to Design New Performing Arts Center

On Monday, the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, formerly known as the Van Wezel Foundation, and the City of Sarasota announced that the Architect Selection Task Force selected six semi-finalists out of the 18 shortlisted candidates who were invited to submit proposals to be architect for the new Performing Arts Center. The Architect Selection Task Force, composed of four distinguished community members, was charged with narrowing the pool of applicants and reviewing proposals (RFP). The six firms selected to advance are: Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Foster + Partners Limited, Gehry Partners LLP, Henning Larsen, Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Snøhetta. The narrowing of contenders comes on the heels of the announcement of a $10 million contribution from the Paul Seed Fund at KBF CANADA to the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation to support the architect and design team in building the project. The architect selection process kicked off in October with its first of six public Task Force meetings. Funded through an appropriation from the State of Florida, the Task Force meetings have been held to discuss applicants’ qualifications and submissions. There were submissions from 43 world-renowned architecture firms in response to the RFQ and, the Task Force previously winnowed the firms to the 18 invited to submit proposals. During the next meeting, which is scheduled to take place in May, the Task Force will further winnow the field to a minimum of three finalists who will come to Sarasota for in-person interviews. 

Pictured: From left to right: Michele Hooper, Mary Bensel, Mark Famiglio, Dr.Jenne K. Britell.Photo: Peter Acker Photography

[Scholarships]  Gecko's Hospitality Group Reaffirms Commitment to Unidos Now Scholarships

The Gecko’s Hospitality Group family of restaurants has renewed its ongoing commitment as a Business Partner with Unidos Now, designating their Future Leaders Academy as direct recipients of a multi-year scholarship award. Gecko’s co-owners, Mike Gowan & Mike Quillen awarded the check at a presentation ceremony at the Fruitville Gecko’s. “We are very grateful for our long-standing partnership with the Gecko's Hospitality Group. Thanks to their continued support of the Latinx community more students and their families can pursue their postsecondary goals and realize their full potential,” said Cintia Elenstar, Unidos Now Associate Executive Director. “We understand that it is with the commitment of local business leaders and the strong Unidos Now leadership that the Future Leaders Academy is able to help students achieve their goals and be engaged citizens,” said Mike Quillen. “We believe that investing in the Future Leaders Academy as they explore and plot their career paths and consider what the ‘next step’ looks like for them aligns well with our company as we provide job opportunities and life experiences which complement the FLA programming.” The Gecko’s Hospitality Group has a long history of serving as Business Partners with dozens of schools in Sarasota and Manatee County, providing Super Student Free Meals to tens of thousands of elementary students and supporting untold numbers of philanthropies and charitable groups. Gecko’s was awarded the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation’s prestigious Restaurant Neighbor award for the entire United States in 2017. This honor recognizes outstanding restaurants around the country that go above and beyond in community service and aims to inspire other restaurateurs to get or stay involved in their local communities. 

Pictured: Geckos owners, Mike Gowan and Mike Quillen present Geckos scholarships check to immediate past Unidos Now Exec Director, Luz Corcuera and incoming Exec Director, Cintia Elenstar. Courtesy: Geckos Hospitality Group.

[Earthquake Response]  The Patterson Foundation Gives $500,000 for Turkey-Syria Earthquake Response and Recovery

The Patterson Foundation has contributed $500,000 total in unrestricted funds to strengthen immediate response and long-term recovery efforts in Turkey and Syria following the earthquake that has devastated both countries. The total includes two separate gifts designed to catalyze additional donations to The Patterson Foundation’s longtime partners, the Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) and NetHope, who are actively working in both countries: $375,000 to CDP's Turkey & Syria Earthquake Recovery Fund, which prioritizes medium- and long-term needs identified in collaboration with local partners, such as shelter, protection, cash assistance and health care. $125,000 to NetHope's Earthquake Response, which will provide internet connectivity for the people most affected by this disaster, technology equipment, and ensure better digital protection and cybersecurity to humanitarian aid organizations responding to the earthquake. The 7.8-magnitude earthquake that occurred Feb. 6 was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in Turkey, killing at least 41,000 people in the southern portion of the country. More than 5,800 deaths occurred in Syria, where the earthquake threatens to worsen a complex humanitarian crisis amid more than a decade of armed conflict. 

To learn more click here.

[Leadership]  Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Hosts the 2023 Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council Annual Forum

The Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council, a student-led board made up of alumni from Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties’ STAR (Students Taking Active Roles) Leadership Training program, hosted its annual Superintendent’s School Forum on Thursday, February 9 at Suncoast Technical College. Seventy-two teens from seven local high schools held open discussions with school district officials on key educational issues in an effort to improve Sarasota County Schools. Each year, the Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council works closely with the Superintendent of Schools to plan and facilitate an annual forum. Ten student representatives from each of the Sarasota County public high schools engage in impactful discussions with district officials around student-identified issues such as communication; innovative instruction strategies; future planning; and more. Following these discussions, attendees have the opportunity to participate in a Question & Answer session with the Superintendent of Schools. Forum participants were able to speak directly with Interim Superintendent, Dr. Allison Foster who fielded important questions from the student body.Over the next month, the Council will be reviewing the recommendations and comments made during the Superintendent’s Forum to compile and present a report to the office of the Superintendent. As this event has resulted in real policy change in our school system in years past, teens in attendance remain hopeful that their voices will serve to implement the changes they’d like to see in their schools. To learn more about the opportunities offered through the STAR Leadership Training program, visit theclubsdc.org or contact Libby Exline, Leadership Programs Specialist at Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties, at 941-366-3911. 

[Veterans]  Free Program on Veterans Hospice Care Features Dr. Sudip Bose, Army Bronze Star Recipient

Tidewell Foundation, in partnership with Tidewell Honors Veterans, is offering a special free program on March 3 at 4 p.m. in Lakewood Ranch. Dr. Sudip Bose, the speaker for Tidewell’s 14th Annual Signature Luncheon, will be a special guest. The program will be held at the Robert Toale & Sons Celebration Center, 4310 Solutions Lane, Bradenton, Florida, 34211. Military Veterans in the care of Tidewell Hospice receive specialized care. Tidewell Honors Veterans also prioritizes recognizing and honoring their military service. A key component of the program is a “pinning ceremony,” often performed by a fellow Veteran to honor a patient’s service. “Our program is based on a simple premise: Thank you and welcome home,” said Stacy Groff, Vice President for Volunteer Engagement for Empath Health. Tidewell Hospice is an affiliate of Empath. Last year the program served 1,079 Veterans. Dr. Bose, a tireless advocate for Veterans’ care, will provide a special message based on the lessons learned from his experiences in the Emergency Room and on the battlefield in Iraq. This world-leading physician and Army Bronze Star recipient has learned how to thrive and stay grounded in the face of overwhelming circumstances. His compelling message draws on the strength, courage and resilience inside all of us. Notably, Dr. Bose treated Saddam Hussein following his capture. The program is free but registration is requested at TidewellEvent@eventbrite.com. For information email RSVP@tidewellfoundaiton.com or call (941) 552-7569. 

Pictured: Tidewell Honors Veterans pinning ceremon. Photo Credit: Tidewell Foundation.

[Event]  SB2 Luncheon

Join us on March 7, 2023 at Michael's On East for a dynamic luncheon symposium centered on conversations focused on regional philanthropic topics. The luncheon will include a panel discussion to explore the ever-changing world of non-profits and honor outstanding individuals who have made a meaningful impact within the community. 

Reserve Your Tickets Here

[SOON]  HEALTH: A Woman's Journey , March 3, 9:15 - 11:30 a.m.

Don't miss A Woman's Journey, on March 3rd at the Westin Sarasota. Since 1995, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s annual women’s health program A Woman's Journey provides new and compelling information about important issues affecting women's health. Through a selection of seminars presented exclusively by Hopkins faculty physicians, participants are able to hear first-hand about advances in medicine from the individuals performing the research, all the while interacting with a diverse group of attendees. Registration is $95. Click here to register: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/awomansjourney/upcoming-live-programs/florida-2023-sarasota.html

[SOON]  MUSEUM: She Engineers at the Bishop , January 24 – July 30, During museum hours

SHE ENGINEERS is a bilingual (English and Spanish) poster exhibition highlighting eight women in various engineering fields. In their own words, the women share their passion and what inspired them to become engineers. If we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Ranch Nite Wednesdays at Waterside Place , February 8 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Enjoy a night of fun at Waterside Place during Ranch Nite Wednesdays. The event features food trucks, live music, a night market, a vintage mobile bar and cornhole. Visit lakewoodranch.com to learn more. Waterside Place, 1561 Lakefront Drive, Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursday at Sarasota Art Museum , February 9 – June 8, 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Join Sarasota Art Museum for Jazz Thursdays featuring live jazz music, contemporary art, and sips and bites from Bistro. Hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota. Jazz Thursday happens on the second Thursday of each month, 5:30-8 p.m. Galleries, Bistro, and SHOP open. FREE for Members, $20 for Not-Yet Members.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Resilience: A Guided Walking Tour Experience by Compass Rose History Experiences , February 25 – April 22, 3:30 p.m.

Compass Rose History Experiences announces the launch of Resilience: A Guided Walking Tour Experience. Guides Mimi Cirbusova and Andrea Knies will navigate attendees on a journey back in time down Main Street as we explore the resilience of the Sarasota community during the Great Depression and World War II. Locals and visitors alike will find inspiration from the stories of the people and places of Sarasota's past. Tours meet at Five Points Park in Downtown Sarasota and cover a distance of less than one mile over the 75-90 minute tour. All tours begin at 3:30 pm. Tickets cost $20.00 and must be purchased in advance. Guests purchasing both tours can receive a $10 discount by selecting the ticket package. Visit CompassRoseHistory.com to purchase your tickets or to learn more about Compass Rose History Experiences.

[SOON]  FOOD: 2023 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival , April 20 – April 24, Various times

The 2023 Forks and Corks Food and Wine Festival will return for its 16th year. The Festival is scheduled for April 20-24, 2023 and offers a world-class weekend of winemaker dinners, interactive wine seminars and wine tastings that culminates with the alfresco Grand Tasting event at The Ringling Museum of Art Courtyard. Guests will savor delicious dishes presented by over 40 members of the Sarasota-Manatee Originals restaurant group and sample from a collection of more than 300 unique wines from across the globe. There will be live musical entertainment and an expansive silent auction of rare and collectible wines and experiences. Due to the unprecedented demand this year, there are three available ticket levels: VIP, early access and general admission. For more information on Forks and Corks and to purchase tickets, visit EatLikeALocal.com. Follow Forks and Corks on Facebook and Instagram.

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Ken Ludwigs The Three Musketeers , January 11 – March 26, Varied

Adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. Directed by Peter Amster. Harrowing adventure, bravery, and friendship take center stage in Ken Ludwig's THE THREE MUSKETEERS, a thrilling adaptation of the popular novel by Alexandre Dumas. One of the world’s most enduring comedies, this classic tells the tale of a daring young man who finds himself in the company of the world’s greatest swordsmen, as well as some of the world’s most dangerous men and women. Directed by Peter Amster, who most recently directed Asolo Rep’s smash hit Murder on the Orient Express in 2020, this play promises to be a fast-paced, witty, swashbuckling good time. All for one, and one for all! 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Art Center Sarasota: Same Source , February 2 – March 11

The Same Source exhibit by Luca Molnar uses various media to explore the connection between historical figures and personal mythologies. The exhibit highlights the connection between private life, domestic spaces and memory. On Thursday, Feb. 16, Molnar will participate in an artist talk via Zoom from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The exhibit runs from Feb. 2 to March 11. To learn more, visit artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Towers of Tomorrow with LEGO Bricks at the Bishop , January 11 – March 18, During museum hours

Get inspired to create your own ‘towers of tomorrow’ with over 200,000 loose LEGO® bricks available in hands-on construction areas. Young and old will be limited only by their imagination as they add their creations to a steadily rising futuristic LEGO® metropolis inside the exhibition. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit bishopscience.org.

[SOON]  THEATER: Network at Florida Studio Theatre , January 25 – March 19, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is proud to present Network, a fast-paced drama following the downward spiral of Howard Beale, a longtime news anchor who has worked at a television network, UBS, for 25 years. When Beale learns that he is being fired for poor ratings and low viewership, he unravels live on air during his final broadcast. As a result, his show’s ratings soar, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on television. Seeing Howard as a new populist prophet, UBS decides to leverage Howard’s newfound popularity to boost its bottom line. Network begins playing January 25, 2023, in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Single tickets to Network range from $25-39. Subscriptions and single tickets are on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Opera: Madama Butterfly , February 18 – March 24, Varied

Madama Butterfly is an Opera in three acts. Music by Giacomo Puccini. Libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. A young geisha known affectionately as Madama Butterfly is swept off her feet by an American Naval Officer. Left with a promise that he would return one day, Butterfly waits faithfully for three years, but is met with heartbreak in one of opera’s most enduring tragedies. Sung in Italian with Translations in English. February 18th-March 24 For tickets visit sarasotaopera.org or Ph. +1 941 328 1300

Sarasota Opera , 61 N Pineapple Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Palmetto Heritage Festival , March 4, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

On Saturday, March 4th, from 10 am to 1 pm, Palmetto will celebrate its history during their Heritage Festival at Palmetto Historical Park and Manatee County Agricultural Museum, 515 10th Ave. West, Palmetto. This FREE event will feature a park open house and activities for the whole family. The 1880 Heritage Station Post Office will be operational, so bring your stamped mail! Guided tours of the park buildings will take place at 10:30, 11:30, and 12:30. The Agricultural Museum will be launching their new logo and will have giveaways for visitors, first come, first served. There will be a giant paint-by-number logo for visitors to paint along with contests, activities, and crafts throughout the grounds. Word of Mouth BBQ will be on site with delicious food available for purchase. Dairy Days of Manatee County, a new exhibit featuring Manatee County’s dairy industry, will open during Heritage Festival. From historic dairies of by-gone days to currently producing dairy farms, you will learn about local dairies and the innovations that changed the industry. Children’s learning activities are included in the exhibit. For more information, call 941-721-2034 or email agriculturalmuseum@manateeclerk.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: SB2 Luncheon: Featuring the Good Hero Awards , March 7, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
The SRQ Philanthropic Agenda and Good Hero Awards luncheon and panel discussion will explore the dynamic and ever changing world of non-profits. What's trending, who's innovating, why are donor-advised funds growing so rapidly and what exactly are donors looking for? The luncheon will culminate with the SRQ Good Hero Philanthropic Awards program at which we will honor individuals who have meaningfully impacted our community for good in the past year and for-profit companies who have been incredible philanthropic partners to the community.

Michael's On East, 1212 S East Ave Sarasota, FL 34239

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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