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SRQ DAILY Mar 15, 2023

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"You cannot function without connectivity in this world."

- Mark Sharff, Guardian ad Litem and Mentor for Take Stock in Children in Manatee County.

-IN THIS ISSUE: A League of Their Own - The Sarasota Orchestra makes strides with their world premiere of Sarah Gibson's
[Donations Needed]  Charities Unite to Provide Laptops for Children in Need
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

"You cannot function without connectivity in this world," says Mark Sharff, Guardian ad Litem and mentor for Take Stock in Children in Manatee County. For this reason, Sharff has been going door-to-door for the past 7 or 8 years to pick up idle laptops from people who no longer use them so that they might be used by children in need. This year, The Manatee School for the Arts donated 963 laptops through The Children’s Guardian Fund, which provides laptops to children in foster care, and Take Stock in Children Manatee which provides mentors, resources and college scholarships to economically disadvantaged students. According to Sharff, securing so many laptops from one single location was a record-breaking win this year.

Sarasota Technology User's Group (STUG) has a mission to rehab the old laptops and prepare them for use for a child in need. A team of volunteers with the organization diligently wipes each hard drive as a primary step to refurbish the computers. All the laptops are then loaded with software, including Microsoft Office Suite under free license from Microsoft Corporation. Underserved children are then able to use the computers for school work, which helps them to reach or stay on grade level. David Mancuso, the director for IT at the Manatee School for the Arts, said the computers could no longer run the security software they needed for testing. Otherwise the computers were in good shape so he wanted to make sure they went to groups that could use them. Since the refurb group began the program, the tech volunteers have refurbished 19,863 computers. The recycling program keeps computers from ending up in in landfills while simultaneously addressing community connectivity needs. Any that are not used are properly recycled, and always the information on any unit is highly protected with a high-tech data wiping process.

"Our partners at STUG and generous community members who donate used technology are transforming the lives of our local foster children by making sure they can compete academically,” said Svetlana Ivashchenko, executive director for the Children’s Guardian Fund, one of the beneficiary organizations of the laptop refurbishing effort. “Having the right tools matters and our kids are so appreciative of the donated laptops."

Sharff is happy to collect equipment donations from individuals, businesses and organizations such as churches and service clubs. To donate a computer, contact Mark Sharff at (941) 374-1107 or msharff@gmail.com. 

Pictured: Mark Sharff (far right) and other volunteers provide laptops to children who are greatly appreciative. Photo courtesy of Mark Sharff.

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Sarasota Ballet Brings Communities Together to Experience Dance For All

Following the presentation of Dance Theatre of Harlem by The Sarasota Ballet recently, The Sarasota Ballet offered a special, complimentary matinee performance that was specific in welcoming those who may not have the opportunity to experience live dance. TSB’s outreach program, Dance For All collaborated with Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative led by Michele Redwine, and Sarasota African American Cultural Coalition (SAACC) led by Vickie Oldham, to provide over 450 complimentary tickets reaching more than 35 community partners. The entire weekend was another example of The Sarasota Ballet’s continued commitment to community engagement. Seeing the Mertz Theatre at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts filled with so much diversity was not only exciting, but crucial for everyone to realize the importance that the arts make in communities every day. Community audience members stretched from age 5, who were seeing their first live dance performance, to a Birthday Club whose members were celebrating 80+ years young. In addition to the performance, Artistic Director and founding member of Dance Theatre of Harlem, Virginia Johnson spoke to the audience and community partners during the event with a crucial message, “There’s a commonality that we all need to plug into and I feel like the arts are the thing that brings people together.”  The Sarasota Ballet has been at the forefront of community engagement in Sarasota since the inception of Dance – The Next Generation, founded by Jean Weidner Goldstein over 30 years ago. With the completion of The Sarasota Ballet’s 2020 Strategic Plan, TSB Board and Executive Leadership identified the need to unify and expand its already numerous community engagement programs with goals of building long-term relationships with community partners and invested audiences. One of their six-pillar programs offers deeply discounted or complimentary tickets to The Sarasota Ballet Season performances, providing access for people of all ages and backgrounds to explore the beauty of dance. Since the start of this new year alone, The Sarasota Ballet’s significant impact and commitment to the community has already resulted in over 700 tickets to community partners through Dance For All – with every ticket an opportunity to reach someone who has never had access to this incredible art form before. The Sarasota Ballet’s program Dance for All is sponsored by a generous grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

Pictured: Dance Theatre of Harlem Company in Passage - Photo by Ruben Kappler.

[Fundraising Event]  Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation’s 21st Annual Inspiration Gala Raises $1.3 Million

On Friday, Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, formerly Van Wezel Foundation, held its 21st annual Inspiration Gala, raising more than $1.3 million that will support the Foundation’s education and community engagement programs and planning for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center. "We are grateful to our friends and contributors who generously support our mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts,” said Jim Travers, Chair, Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation Board of Directors. “As the Van Wezel Foundation transitions into the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, we can assure you that education will remain at the heart of everything we do.” The evening commenced with a cocktail reception and was followed by an elegant dinner, and inspiring program honoring local educators Stevey Jones, the recipient of the 2023 Appleton Arts Integration Award, and Mayra Ocasio Cuadrado and Kate Walsh, the recipients of the 2023 Van Wezel Foundation Merit Scholarships. “It’s all about the kids,” said Appleton Award Winner Stevey Jones. And indeed it was, with $1.3 million raised for the Foundation’s mission. Following dinner, guests enjoyed a rocking performance from music legend and Grammy® Award-winner Kenny Loggins at the acclaimed Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. A post-performance dance party brought the evening to an unforgettable close. Susan Travers and Kathy Martella served as co-chairs for this year’s Inspiration Gala alongside a host committee of devoted benefactors. 

Pictured from left to right: Susan Travers and Kathy Martella Photo: Cliff Roles Photography

A full list of partners of the 2023 Inspiration Gala can be found here

[Strategic Plan]  All Faiths Food Bank Rolls out New Strategic Plan to Better Understand and Serve Those Who are Hungry

The crises of the past few years – COVID, rising food and housing costs, and devastating storms – have demanded constant adjustment and innovation. All Faiths Food Bank has come to understand that the needs are ever-evolving and go far beyond putting food on the table. Last year, All Faiths Food Bank sourced, managed, and distributed food to provide more than 18 million meals, but the growing numbers and stories from the front lines told us that more had to be done. Unless the deeper issues that lead to food insecurity are addressed, the goal of ending hunger cannot be achieved. All Faiths Food Bank has launched a progressive new strategic plan that provides bold new ideas, approaches, and partnerships to address not just food insecurity but its systemic, root-level causes. Food insecurity is complex, always shifting, and not bound by time. The best way to understand its complexities and root causes is by learning from people who are directly affected. At the core of this five-year strategic plan is centering our neighbors’ experience and ensuring that everyone in the region understands that hunger is not something that happens to someone else – it is in our neighborhoods, perhaps even right next door. The strategic plan process began in January of 2022 by assembling expert research, conducting an extensive landscape assessment and gathering firsthand community experience – over 100 contributors participated. The strategic plan task force included the AFFB senior leadership team, immediate past chair and strategic plan task force chair Ben Hanan, and task force members Dennis Doughty, Keith Monda, Paul Cantor and current board chair Terri Vitale.

There are four goals comprising the new strategic plan: Advance greater insight into how to meet the unique needs of our neighbors experiencing hunger. Build a reimagined supply chain that holistically integrates the preferences and nutritional needs of our neighbors and establishes innovative new methods to distribute food. Position food and wrap-around services as important steps in opening new pathways to financial stability and economic security for our food insecure neighbors. Invest in deep partnerships to create a region-wide movement that recognizes the role we can all play to end hunger. The Strategic Plan includes ongoing measurements to ensure actions are having the desired impact, with adjustments being made along the way. These activities are part of AFFB’s commitment and investment in program evaluation. “Our new Strategic Plan is a catalyst for change within the food bank and across our region,” said AFFB’s CEO Sandra Frank. “Our mission to end hunger is at the center of everything we do. The four goals will work in concert to move our purpose forward and invigorate the impact we can create with our partners in Sarasota and DeSoto counties.”


[Fundraising Event]  Easterseals Southwest Florida Raises over $500,000 at Abilities Shining Luncheon

Michael's On East was the place to be for Easterseals Southwest Florida’s annual Abilities Shining Luncheon, presented by Ginger Judge on Thursday, March 2. Attended by 370 Suncoast guests, the event raised more than $500,000 for Easterseals Happiness House. It was the largest luncheon amount raised to date! Guests were treated to original artwork made by Easterseals students and entertainment by children’s band Everyone Rocks. Live auction was led by restaurant proprietor Michael Klauber and items included a Tampa Bay Lightning game package, a vacation at the Beach Side Paradise on Anna Maria Island, a week at a farmhouse in Ashville, North Carolina, and dinner for 12 at Michael’s Wine Cellar. Since 1946, Easterseals Happiness House has supported individuals with disabilities to live their best lives and be engaged in their communities. Every dollar received ensures that these individuals have the therapies, training, support, inspiration and love they deserve, so they can enjoy the full world of access, opportunities and life choices that await them ahead. The Abilities Shining Luncheon was devoted to celebrating the people and programs at Easterseals Happiness House, from Early Childhood Development, K-12 Education and Veterans and First Responders to the Autism Center of Excellence, Therapy Services and Family Support Services. To learn more about Easterseals Happiness House, visit https://easterseals-swfl.org/.  

Pictured: Michael Klauber (right) conducted the live auction with an assist from Tom Waters and 12-year-old Chance. Photo by Cliff Roles.

[Culture City]  A League of Their Own
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN | The Sarasota Orchestra makes strides with their world premiere of Sarah Gibson's "to make this mountain taller," March 2023. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Walking Tours at The Ringling's Arboretum Available Now Through May 2023 , November 26 – May 29, 12:00 PM

This walking tour led by volunteer guides will introduce you to interesting botanical specimens on the estate while providing a historic overview of the development of the estate. The Ringling Arboretum has been accredited at Level II through ArbNet and there are over 2350 trees within the arboretum representing native, exotic, historical, and culturally significant trees. Garden Tours are available Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays and take place entirely outdoors. It is 90 minutes in length and covers approximately 1 mile. We encourage visitors to bring bottled water, and wear appropriate footwear, preferably closed-toe, sunblock, and hats. There will be a maximum of 10 participants per tour. Tours are subject to weather conditions. Please check it at the Visitors Pavilion prior to your tour. Tickets will be available 30 days prior to each tour.

[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: 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]  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]  GRAB BAG: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens 2023 Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature , February 12 – June 26, During garden hours

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ 2023 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature showcases the creativity and innovation of American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933). The first exhibition of its type to be presented in a botanical garden, the exhibition highlights the inspiring connection between Tiffany Studios and the natural world through unique horticultural displays in the Tropical Conservatory and the Gardens, accompanied by seminal examples of Tiffany’s work on view in the Museum of Botany and the Arts. To learn more, visit selby.org. Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, 1534 Mound St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Chicken & Biscuits , February 15 – April 13, Varied

The hilarious new play CHICKEN & BISCUITS introduces us to the Jenkins family, as they gather to celebrate the life of their beloved and recently deceased father and grandfather, the Revered Bernard Jenkins. When an unexpected guest reveals a secret, they all discover that nothing brings a family together like a big side of drama. This side-splitting new Broadway comedy explores the tenderness of family, the joy of reconciliation, and the nourishing power of love. Written by Broadway newcomer Douglas Lyons and directed by the talented Bianca LaVerne Jones, who was associate director of the 2021 Broadway production, CHICKEN & BISCUITS proves that while family may drive us crazy, we’re lucky to have each other. 

Asolo Repertory Theatre

[SOON]  THEATER: The Last Match at the Florida Studio Theatre , February 22 – March 17, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre (FST) presents the Regional Premiere of The Last Match by Anna Ziegler, a fast-paced play diving into the intense world of professional sports. Set during the semifinals of the U.S. Open, The Last Match follows Sergei Sergeyev, an up-and-coming Russian phenom, and Tim Porter, a great American superstar in the twilight of his career, during one of the most important matches of their careers. Called “Exceptional” and “Highly Engaging” by the Wall Street Journal, The Last Match begins playing February 22 in FST’s Bowne’s Lab. Single tickets range from $18-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or 941.366.9000.

[SOON]  : The Players Centre: Godspell , March 9 – March 19, Varied

Book by John Michael Tebelak. Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz. Godspell touches on the parables and wisdom that grapple with maybe the most important mystery of all. It was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), and took the world by storm led by the international hit, “Day by Day.” Godspell features a parade of beloved songs, including “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Learn Your Lessons Well,” “All for the Best,” “All Good Gifts,” “Turn Back, O Man” and “By My Side.” March 9-19, 2023. 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]  FESTIVAL: Sarasota Jazz Festival , March 13 – March 18, Various times

The Jazz Club of Sarasota presents the Sarasota Jazz Festival. A variety of jazz styles will be on display for audiences. The event will feature four evenings of main stage performances, a jazz trolley tour, late night jam sessions and jazz films. Programs will be held at University Town Center/Nathan Benderson Park and the Burns Court Cinema. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit sarasotajazzfestival.com.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: History Hop Trolley Tours in Englewood, Sarasota and Venice , March 14 – March 16, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Join us for History Hop, our annual week-long celebration of Sarasota County history in partnership with the Lemon Bay (Englewood), Sarasota and Venice Historical Societies. Explore one community each day, or visit all three. Each 2-hour tour offers guests a narrated tour of each community and the chance to “hop” off the trolley at various historic sites to learn from docents about each community’s history in Sarasota County. A percentage of net proceeds will be donated to each participating partner to support the programs and services they provide that keep Sarasota County history alive. discoversarasotatours.com

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Exploding Costs of Living in Paradise Workshop , March 16, 4 to 7 p.m.

DSCA Workshop: The Exploding Costs of Living in Paradise, Mitigating the Pain of Increasing Condo Fees. Residents are increasingly feeling the pinch when it comes to condo living. Do you find yourselves asking what can be done about it? Is there anything residents can do to help control and manage their rising insurance costs? Bring your questions and concerns to this comprehensive discussion. Cost: $10-Members, $15-Non-Members. Goewey Hall at Church of the Redeemer’s Robinson Center, 222 S. Palm Ave Ste B, Sarasota, FL 34236, downtownsarasotacondoassoc.com

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Green Weekend at The Bay Sarasota , March 17 – March 19, Various times

There’s no better place than The Bay to celebrate two important green holiday favorites: St. Patrick’s Day and Global Recycling Day. Green drink specials, a visit from Sunshine Composters, a lunchtime concert by Garage Men Band... and more! Various locations at The Bay park. thebaysarasota.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Celebration at the Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota , March 23, 7:30 p.m.

The program includes music by five Jewish composers in celebration of the 75th Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel. Felix Mendelssohn's powerful Sinfonia in B Minor opens the program. George Gershwin's Lullaby for Strings adds a jazzy touch. Boris Levenberg's Hassidic Scene features concertmaster Christina Adams in a heartfelt violin solo which evokes the world of Fiddler on the Roof. Noubar Aslanyan's Trumpet Concertino features Robert Smith in a brilliant work for trumpet and strings. The program concludes with Ernest Bloch's exhilarating Concerto Grosso for String Orchestra and Piano Obbligato with Ann Stephenson-Moe, pianist. General seating. First Presbyterian Church, 2050 Oak St, Sarasota. chamberorchestrasarasota.org. 

[SOON]  MUSIC: March Main Street Live in Bradenton , March 17, 6 to 9 p.m.

Downtown Bradenton tradition, Main Street Live returns Friday, March 17, 2023, for a St. Patrick's Day celebration from 6 to 9 pm! The outdoor concert series is an event for all ages while raising the bar for the live music scene, Main Street Live will feature live entertainment by regional and local acts, food, and artisan vendors. Old Main Street, 12th Street W., Bradenton, MSLeventbrite.com

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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