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SRQ DAILY May 10, 2023

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"When you are at your worst, we are at our best. "

- Robert Martini, Beach Lieutenant Lifeguard, Sarasota County.

[Fundraising Event]  Lifeguards for Life
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

Robert Martini has been a beach lifeguard for the State of Florida for the past 20 years, 17 with Sarasota County. For the last three and half years, he has also been a lieutenant for the lifeguard division, making sure local beaches are properly staffed, necessary first-aid supplies are on hand and lifeguards are fully trained. And while he may be considered a hero on the beach, Martini's passion to save lives extends beyond his lifeguarding duties, as this summer, he will be competing in the Crossing for Cystic Fibrosis, an 80-mile open ocean paddle from Bimini, Bahamas to the mainland of Florida to help families affected by the devastating disease.

The event begins on June 25th at midnight which obviously entails paddling in the dark. "We will be paddling through the Gulfstream which is a very powerful ocean current," says Martini, who has been training for the event since February, putting in long days and pushing himself in every type of water condition. He will be paddling a lifeguard craft called a Surf Ski, a type of kayak used for lifeguarding competitions and rescues. "There will be 200 paddlers with safety boats to make sure we get to Florida safely," he adds.

All the money raised from the event will go to the Piper Foundation in West Palm Beach for people suffering from cystic fibrosis. The event was inspired because of the incredible health benefits of the ocean for those living with cystic fibrosis, a terminal lung disease. Founder and Executive Director Travis Suit's daughter Piper was diagnosed with CF in 2011 when she was four years old.

To date, Martini has raised over $2,200 for cystic fibrosis and over $1,400 for the Better Life Academy in Sarasota for children with autism. "When it comes to charities I just want to help my community and be someone that my kids can look up too," shares Martini. “When you are at your worst, we are at our best. Lifeguards for life!" 

Pictured: Robert Martini paddling in his Surf Ski. Photo taken by Jill Martini.

To learn more click here.

[Recognition]  Mary Kay Henson Honored as Good Hero
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

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 Tuesday, March 7th at Michael’s on East in Sarasota. In the coming weeks, we are happy to feature each of the ten honorees in our Wednesday Philanthropic edition of SRQ Daily.

Today we are recognizing Mary Kay Henson, an individual without a personal agenda or political aspiration. She, along with her husband, has made significant contributions to All Faith’s Food Bank to ensure that no children or adults are deprived of food. She has also provided a generous grant to fund UnidosNow to raise an emergency fund that provides assistance to over 800 families for their rent and utilities. Mary Kay also took the time to visit families at their locations and hear about their pressing needs and aspirations, creating a partnership to provide health access for the most vulnerable. An individual who nominated Mary Kay shared, “She and her husband Joe are my local heroes. They know how difficult it is to provide for a child even when people have more than two jobs— their income is not enough. They not only have my eternal gratitude but I want our community to know that we are fortunate to have people like them who take the time to care for others.” Congratulations Mary Kay. 

Pictured: Mary Kay Henson (center) with Dr. Helene Lotman (left) and SRQ Magazine Managing Editor, Barbie Heit. Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

[Education]  Mote Partners with Community Foundation of Sarasota County to Increase Science Literacy Among Underserved Students

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is pleased to announce a three-year strategic partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. With a grant of $150,000, Mote will launch Ocean Guardians, a new program designed to increase access to STEM education for underrepresented and underserved students in Sarasota County. The grant will also support several donor and member engagement events during the grant period. Through Ocean Guardians, local students will have opportunities to build the knowledge, confidence, and skill needed to become career-ready and to consider careers in STEM. Throughout the academic year, Ocean Guardians will participate in an after-school program with hands-on educational and interactive activities that build upon Mote research and are facilitated by Mote educators. The goal is for participating Guardians to increase their science literacy, develop positive attitudes toward science, gain a basic understanding of available careers in STEM, and deepen their appreciation of marine and coastal environments. All programming supports the five C’s of 21st century career readiness, which are communication, collaboration, critical thinking, creativity, and character. Program activities include exploring the local marine environments through kayaking and dip netting in Sarasota Bay as well as learning about marine animals and marine taxonomy through various methods including squid and shark dissections. Guardians will also learn to fly drones much like those used by Mote’s Manatee Research team to conduct aerial manatee identification surveys, and will learn how such studies provide vital data that help local and county officials manage manatees – and other wildlife - in ways that balance human activities and the sustainability of marine animals and their habitat. Summer stipends are a critical program component as they help to ensure the full participation of students who might otherwise need to obtain summer employment. The Ocean Guardians program serves as an example of Mote’s commitment to supporting community-focused engagement in science. Mote’s Education Department provides STEM education through a wide variety of on-campus, regional outreach, and virtual education programs. This grant will allow Mote to take its science programming directly to underserved and underrepresented audiences after school and during the summer at regional organizations. During this inaugural year of the program, Mote is partnering with students and teachers at Booker High School with hopes to expand the program to other organizations in the future.

Pictured: Ocean Guardians, a new Mote Education-based program, allows local students to build the knowledge, confidence, and skills needed to become career-ready in the STEM field through hands-on learning and experiences.

[Nonprofit News]  Goodwill Manasota Promotes Two to VP Roles

Two members of Goodwill Manasota’s leadership team have recently been elevated to vice presidential roles, in recognition of longtime, dedicated and successful experience with the organization as well as to increase the capacity of the nonprofit, which serves Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Hardee counties, and northwest Charlotte County. Melissa Carman, who was hired by Goodwill Manasota in 2008, began her service as an assistant and has risen steadily through the ranks ever since, with roles including support & recognition manager, director of board & support services, and senior director of board & community engagement. Her new title is vice president of engagement; in that role, her key responsibilities include overseeing the support team, project management, and marketing as well as serving as the liaison between the President & CEO Donn Githens and the board of directors. Alexa Olivas was hired by Goodwill Manasota in 2009 on the retail operations side. Since that time, she has been promoted numerous times, with positions including assistant team leader (store management), manager of bookstores & clearance centers, operations manager, director of donated goods operations, and senior director of operations. Her new title is vice president of donated goods operations, a new position resulting from the division of donated goods operations and retail. This move will expand the capacity of the nonprofit, which will maximize revenues to support its Mission Services. Carman and Olivas have both been working toward their Master’s degrees – Carman recently earned hers for Human Services and Olivas will complete hers in Business Administration in August – with tuition provided through Goodwill’s “Pursuit of Education” program aimed at workforce upskilling. Carman and Olivas join Goodwill Manasota’s executive team: Donn Githens, president & CEO; Bob Stanell, financial/treasury; Adrian Gessen, senior VP of organizational development; Margie Genter, VP of mission services; Brady O’Neil, VP of donated goods retail; and Angela Gerholdt, VP of HR and risk management. The sales of donated goods and philanthropic donations fund Goodwill Manasota’s Mission Services. With these revenues, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, justice-involved individuals, and those with other barriers to employment by providing job skills training and employment opportunities. Approximately 76% of Goodwill Manasota’s team members have a self-identified barrier to employment. For more information, visit experiencegoodwill.org. 

Pictured: The Goodwill executive leadership team is (seated, l-r) Melissa Carman, Donn Githens and Alexa Olivas; (standing, l-r) Angela Gerholdt, Brady O’Neil, Adrian Gessen, Bob Stanell and Margie Genter Courtesy photo/Goodwill Manasota

[Fundraising]  ALSO Youth Online Auction

ALSO Youth needs your support now more than ever. Over the last six months, our attendance rates have soared and our requests for free counseling have doubled! We ask for your support of our spring fundraiser to help us continue to provide free activities at both of our youth centers for the LGBTQ+ youth population of Manatee and Sarasota counties. Register now to bid on incredible prizes including: a signed copy of Billy Porter's memoir, beautiful original fiber art from local artist, Dr. Michael Stevenson, a luxurious custom massage from Alcover Spa, an amazing Marauders baseball gift basket that includes four tickets to a game. Bidding begins May 18th at noon and ends  May 19th at noon. 

To learn more click here.

[Nonprofit News]  Centerstone Celebrates Recent Expansion in Bradenton

Centerstone, a nonprofit health system specializing in the treatment of mental health and substance use disorders, hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on April 25 to celebrate the recent completion of a $3M expansion and renovation of the hospital. More than 100 people attended the ceremony including a Sarasota County commissioner, representatives from community partners including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Manatee Chamber of Commerce, Florida Department of Health, Manatee County Government, as well as Centerstone board members and staff. Regional CEO, Melissa Larkin-Skinner spoke briefly about the six-decade history of the hospital, Centerstone's impact to the community, and the patient safety features of the expansion, before cutting the ribbon in front of the crowd. The facility improvements are made possible by generous donations from the Bishop Parker Foundation and the William G. & Marie Selby Foundation. If you or someone you know is experiencing the challenges of addiction, Centerstone can help. Their 24/7 Emergency Access Center is located at 2020 26th Ave East in Bradenton. For outpatient services, you can contact them by calling 877-HOPE123 (877-467-3123). 

[Blood Drive]  Fifteenth Annual Pints for Play

SunCoast Blood Centers and 107.9 WSRZ are teaming up to co-host the 15th Annual Pints for Play blood drive on Thursday, May 11. This year’s event will take place at University Town Center in the parking lot in front of Target. Pints for Play is a unique blood drive that not only saves lives through blood donations, but also gives participants the opportunity to play any song of their choice or have 30 seconds to "plug" their business on 107.9 WSRZ. Donors will also receive a commemorative t-shirt while supplies last. “SunCoast Blood Centers is excited to co-host this year’s Pints for Play,” said Joan Leonard, Community Liaison for SunCoast Blood Centers. “The blood donated will be a much-needed start to the summer supply for our local hospitals. Summer months are typically the toughest time of year for blood collections, making events like this one crucial to ensuring blood is available for those in need.” In addition to the UTC location, donors will also be welcomed at SunCoast Blood Centers’ Lakewood Ranch headquarters, 3025 Lakewood Ranch Blvd., Suite 111 in Bradenton, and SunCoast donor centers, including Downtown Sarasota on Mound St. and Bird Bay Plaza in Venice. The locations will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. “We have been involved with Pints for Play since the beginning, and we continue to be humbled by the generosity and support of our community,” said David Jones, co-host of Jones & Company on 107.9 WSRZ. “For us at WSRZ, it is an opportunity for our listeners to pick the music from 6 to 10 a.m. But the best part is knowing that lives will be saved because our audience is always ready to give of themselves.” SunCoast Blood Centers proudly serves hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties as well as the Moffitt Cancer Center. Having an adequate supply of blood and platelets is vital every day and especially during a time when medical resources are operating at full capacity. Patients suffering trauma, undergoing cancer treatments, or those battling chronic blood diseases all rely on blood and platelets. 

To learn more click here.

[Good Hero]  A Good Hero Works Here
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

A Good Hero Works Here | By helping people help themselves, Jessica Braemer is recognized as a good hero by her colleagues and community, May/June 2023. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  GALLERY: The North County K through 12 Spring Art Show , May 10 – May 20, Various times

Students from 18 elementary, 7 middle and 6 high schools throughout Sarasota County will show off their creative talents at the North County K through 12 Spring Art Show, May 9 through 20, at Art Center Sarasota. The North County Art show is presented in conjunction with the South County Art Show at the Venice Art Center from May 2 through 11 to comprise the Sarasota County Schools’ Spring Art Show, serving all the county’s public schools. On Tuesday, May 16 and Thursday, May 18, Art Center Sarasota will stay open until 7 pm to give families an opportunity to view the exhibition. Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. For information, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032.

[SOON]  FOOD: Walking Progressive Dinner , May 10, 6:30 pm

Taste Dining and Travel Magazine is celebrating spring with a Walking Progressive Dinner in Downtown Sarasota on Wednesday, May 10. Enjoy a course at three fabulous downtown Sarasota restaurants, Bevardi’s Salute, Azul and Tzeva, and a short walk to them for an evening to remember. Part of the event’s proceeds will benefit All Faiths Food Bank. Tickets are $125. Reserve your spot at tasteweb.net or call 941-366-7950. Meet at Bevardi's Salute, 23 North Lemon Ave., Sarasota. 

[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]  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]  THEATER: Visit Joe Whitefeather and Bring the Family at Florida Studio Theatre , April 12 – May 21, Various times

Florida Studio Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of Visit Joe Whitefeather (and bring the family!) by award-winning playwright Bruce Graham. It’s the 1970s in Beaver Gap, Pennsylvania, a small town with a problem. Tourism has declined and it doesn’t look like there is any hope on the horizon. When a new resident joins forces with the bewildered city council, they devise a plan to rename the town to honor a dead, Native American war hero who had never visited the town before. It’s a plan so wild and insane that it just might work. Tickets range from $25-39 and are now on sale at FloridaStudioTheatre.org or at 941.366.9000. FST’s Gompertz Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Joseph's Coat, Skyspace by James Turrell , April 13 – May 26, Various times

Joseph’s Coat: Skyspace by James Turrell (2011) is a triumph of technology, engineering, and aesthetics. The Skyspace, created by internationally-renowned artist James Turrell, is a gathering place for contemplation and offers a unique experience. At sunset, a sophisticated system of LED lights is employed to change the color of the space. In doing so, the artist changes the context in which we view the sky through the 24-foot aperture in the ceiling, affecting our perception of the natural environment and the surroundings. As we gaze up at the sky we are invited to contemplate light, perception, and experience. Tickets are $10 and are free for members. Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Comedy Roulette , April 13 – May 17, Various times

FST Improv’s free-form show, Comedy Roulette, is an off-the-wall improvisation potpourri where performers are freed from the traditional do’s and don’ts of improv. Instead, improvisers are encouraged to follow the funny and launch into a new scene or storyline whenever inspiration strikes. Comedy Roulette plays Saturdays in FST’s Bowne’s Lab from April 8 to May 17, 2023. Florida Studio Theatre, 1265 1st St., Sarasota, floridastudiotheatre.org.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Big Sexy The Fats Waller Revue , April 19 – May 28, Various times

Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller was an American jazz pianist, composer, singer and comedic entertainer. He realized his dream of becoming a professional musician at age 15. His Harlem stride style influenced the sound of modern jazz piano. Nate Jacobs’ original tribute, “Big Sexy, The Fats Waller Revue,” to this irrepressible artist features Waller’s signature songs, including “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” “Honeysuckle Rose,” “Your Feet’s Too Big,” “The Joint is Jumpin’” and many more. Tickets are $50 for adults, $20 for students and active military (cost includes all ticket fees). WBTT's Donelly Theatre, 1012 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, westcoastblacktheatre.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Summer Photo Contest with the Conservation Foundation , April 26 – May 31, Submissions open through midnight May 31st

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is delighted to announce the return of their virtual Summer Photo Contest. Entering its fourth year, this annual event invites photographers of all ages and experience levels to share their original work showcasing the natural beauty of the Sunshine State. As in years past, the exhibition will be entirely virtual with website and Facebook displays. Works submitted for this online juried exhibition must have been taken in Florida within the past year. There is also a Youth Perspective category for ages 15 and under. The submission deadline is midnight on May 31. For categories, details, entry rules, and submission forms visit conservationfoundation.com/summerphoto.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Extended Orioles Spring Training , April 28 – June 3, Various times

With the Major League Baseball season now underway, the Orioles’ year-round baseball operations continue in Sarasota with Extended Spring Training. The public is invited to watch Orioles minor league players in action at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in April, May, and June. Baltimore’s farm system is currently rated as the top player development system in baseball, according to Baseball America, ESPN, and MLB Pipeline. Visit orioles.com/sarasota to learn more.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Disney Artist and Ringling College Alumnus Tim Rogerson Show , May 2 – May 26, During gallery hours

Madeby Gallery invites you to the Disney Artist and Ringling College Alumnus Tim Rogerson Show now through May 26. Over 50 of Tim’s original paintings, giclee on canvas, and lithograph prints are for sale. Many have been personalized on the back by Tim, which brings added value to the Disney piece. Don't miss this rare opportunity to add to your Disney collection. Tim Rogerson is a Disney Fine Artist and Ringling College Alumnus. He is one of only a select group of artists allowed to recreate iconic Disney characters and scenes. Visit madebygallery.com to learn more. Madeby Gallery, 2700 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Unique Differences at Art Uptown Gallery , May 2 – May 26, Various times

The newest artists at Art Uptown Gallery will be featured in the May exhibit, Unique Differences showcasing their original paintings. Meet the artists, Ian Begg, Lynn Armstrong Coffin, and Tammy Keller, at the First Friday public reception on May 5 from 6-9 p.m. All four award-winning artists are local, full-time residents of Sarasota. The exhibit opens on Saturday, April 29 and runs through Friday, May 26. Art Uptown Gallery welcomes patrons and friends at 1367 Main Street where the diverse work of award-winning regional artists is exhibited daily. Telephone 941-955-5409 or visit www.artuptown.com for hours and further information.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: From the Chambers Honoring John Sims at Ringling Museum , May 6 – August 6, Museum hours

In December 2022, the innovative artist, activist, writer, and filmmaker John Sims passed away suddenly at his studio in Sarasota. The tragic loss of Sims left a deep impact on the art world. His art, informed by mathematics, design, sacred symbols, and poetic text, boldly confronted white supremacy, the Confederate flag, and the deep disparities and division within our society. The Ringling is honored to have had the opportunity to work closely with Sims, who was their artist in residence in 2020. The exhibition From the Chambers, Honoring John Sims brings those two works together, on view publicly for the first time, in conjunction with John Chamberlain’s sculpture Added Pleasure. The exhibition serves as just one part of the significant legacy the artist leaves behind, in Sarasota and beyond. On view May 6 through August 6, 2023 in the Searing East galleries. Ringling Musuem, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org

[SOON]  GALLERY: Lake Club of Lakewood Ranch Art Exhibition , May 8 – July 31, 9 am-5 pm
ComCenter Lakewood Ranch hosts local art groups to exhibit in the main lobby area of the building. The exhibits are open to the public to view Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, and the majority of the art is for sale. The artists are usually treated to a welcome reception by ComCenter as well. The exhibits continually change about every four to six months so there is always something new to see and our ComCenter clients and their clients enjoy the ever-changing exhibits. The next group, The Lake Club of Lakewood Ranch, will be exhibiting for the first time at ComCenter from May 8 through July 31. ComCenter Lakewood Ranch, 9040 Town Center Pkwy, Lakewood Ranch, comcenters.net.
[SOON]  THEATER: Asolo Repertory Theatre: Man of La Mancha , May 10 – June 11, Varied

Considered by many to be one of the best musicals of all time, MAN OF LA MANCHA is brilliantly reimagined with a contemporary urgency by celebrated director Peter Rothstein, who immerses us in Miguel de Cervantes’s retelling of Don Quixote and his quest. This epic and poignant journey celebrates the perseverance of one man who refuses to relinquish his ideals and who is determined to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be. The winner of five Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, and featuring a soaring score, including “Man of La Mancha (I, Don Quixote)” and one of theatre’s most beloved songs, “The Impossible Dream,” this classic musical celebrates the power of theatre, the bravery of holding strong to our dreams, and the resilience of imagination.

Asolo Repertory Theatre

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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