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SRQ DAILY Aug 9, 2023

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"One of my primary goals is to provide students with the tools and resources to determine their own path, discover their unique potential, envision their future, and set ambitious objectives for their lives."

- Earl Young, President and CEO, Booker Promise Foundation.

[Nonprofit News]  Q&A with Earl Young, President and CEO of Booker Promise Foundation
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

Booker Promise Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Booker High School students with essential skills and resources for post-secondary success, has named Earl Young as its new president and CEO. With over 15 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, Young brings valuable expertise to lead the Foundation's mission of providing students with the essential skills and resources needed for postsecondary success. This week, Young took some time to talk with us about his new role.

What has inspired your deep dedication to education?

As a first-generation college student, I understand the challenges and obstacles that can arise when coming from a background where higher education is not the norm. Growing up with parents who were both factory workers, and at times being raised by a single mother who had limited educational opportunities, I witnessed firsthand the determination and hard work required to overcome such circumstances. My mother's story, immigrating from Mexico with an eighth-grade education and working tirelessly to provide for me, serves as a constant reminder of the transformative power of education. I've personally experienced the way education can shift the trajectory of one's life, opening doors to opportunities and perspectives that were once unimaginable to me.

What are you most looking forward to accomplishing in your new role?

The opportunity to foster meaningful connections with our donors and the community as we work together to break down the unique barriers that Booker High School students overcome on their journey toward post-secondary success. I am looking forward to leveraging the strength of our partnerships, engaging our donors, and mobilizing the community to join forces in helping students reach their full potential. One of my primary goals is to provide students with the tools and resources to determine their own path, discover their unique potential, envision their future, and set ambitious objectives for their lives.

What are some of the greatest obstacles to success you see young people facing and how do you think they can overcome these challenges?

Some of the greatest obstacles to success, especially for limited-resource, first-generation students, include a multitude of distractions, a lack of clear guidance, and the struggle to define their true selves amid the constant noise and influences of the world. The modern landscape is filled with numerous distractions, from social media and technology to the fast-paced nature of today's society which can divert their focus and hinder their ability to stay on a path toward success. Deciphering who they truly are and determining their authentic aspirations can become a real challenge for young individuals, and the process of self-discovery can be particularly daunting amidst the constant bombardment of societal expectations and peer pressures. Ultimately, creating a network of reliable mentors and resources, combined with fostering self-awareness and resilience, can empower young people to overcome these obstacles and chart a path to success amidst the challenges of the modern world.

Tell us what drives your philanthropic spirit?

From the outset of my career as an AmeriCorps VISTA, serving with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, I was provided with a remarkable opportunity to embark on my philanthropic journey and begin believing in myself. The leaders at the Foundation took a chance on me, a recent college graduate without significant corporate or philanthropic experience, and believed in my potential. Their trust in my abilities and their recognition of the value I could bring to the organization were incredibly empowering. As I reflect on the support and opportunities I've received, I am driven by a strong desire to "pay it forward." I am committed to extending that same hand to others, working to give them a fighting chance to rewrite their own stories and realize their full potential.I can personally attest to the impact of these principles. The people who supported me were instrumental in helping me get to where I am today. 

Pictured: Earl Young, Booker Promise president and CEO.

[New Hire]  Child Protection Center Welcomes Capital Campaign Manager

The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) has announced the appointment of Elizabeth K. Topp as the Capital Campaign Manager for the nonprofit’s ongoing expansion on their Campus of Healing. The Child Protection Center, which was established in 1980, provides essential services in the prevention, intervention, and treatment of child abuse in both Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. In the years since its inception, CPC has expanded its staff and services to better meet the needs of the children and families within the community. However, the demand for child abuse services has continued to steadily increase, an issue exacerbated by a population growth of over 200% since 2000 in North Port alone. To meet these rising needs, CPC closed on a new building and property in North Port in December of 2021- the Campus of Healing, which started services in its existing building in early 2022. Elizabeth joined the organization as it launched the next phase of expansion- breaking ground on a new 6,000 sq. ft. building on the Campus of Healing. “I grew up in North Port,” says Elizabeth. “I have seen the growth firsthand and understand the need for CPC’s Campus of Healing serving South County.” This endeavor is financially supported in part by a three-million-dollar federal grant thanks to the leadership and support of Congressman Greg Steube. Elizabeth is bringing 12 years of nonprofit fundraising experience to her new role with campaigns ranging from $2,500 into seven figures. Members of the community can support the campaign via a naming opportunity, purchasing a dedicated walkway brick, joining the Champions for Children Circle, or a general donation. 

To learn more, visit

[Board of Directors]  All Star Children's Foundation Welcomes Karen A. Holbrook to its Board of Directors

All Star Children’s Foundation has welcomed Karen A. Holbrook, PhD., to its board of directors. Dr. Holbrook is the regional chancellor at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus (USFSM). A noted scientist, administrator, corporate director and strategic planner, Dr. Holbrook brings a wealth of expertise, including a longstanding connection with the Sarasota-Manatee community. Graci McGillicuddy, chair of the board, said: “Dr Holbrook brings an exceptional
level of knowledge, skill and experience to the Board of All Star that will significantly enhance our ability to transform the foster care system through innovation, science and compassion. I am so deeply grateful to her for her commitment to our most vulnerable children and their families.” Dr. Holbrook served as president of the Ohio State University from 2002-2007 and has served in leadership positions at the University of Georgia (provost and academic vice president), the University of Florida (vice president for research and dean of the graduate school), and the University of Washington School of Medicine (associate dean for research and professor of biological structure and medicine). Before serving in her current position as regional chancellor at USFSM, Dr. Holbrook was the executive vice president and senior advisor to the interim regional chancellor at USFSM. She also spent a year as the interim president for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. 

[Grant]  Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary Awarded $10,000 Grant

Tucked away off of State Road 64 in Hardee County is a hidden gem, Sixteen Hands Horse Sanctuary. It is a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to rescuing unwanted, abused, and neglected horses and burros. Founded in 2007 by Robin Cain, Sixteen Hands started out as a sanctuary where horses with no other option could come to heal mentally, emotionally, and physically. It is a safe place where they can go and live out their lives. There are 33 horses presently residing on the property. In 2019, Sixteen Hands established an adoption program for the horses who have graduated from the sanctuary’s services to find their forever home. The program enables the sanctuary to rescue more horses over time. It is a very special year for Sixteen Hands as it celebrates its sixteenth anniversary on September 27th. Thanks to the generous grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Sixteen Hands can now expand its efforts to raise awareness of the organization and its capabilities. It relies strictly on donations and volunteers. This year Sixteen Hands is looking to expand its services to more horses than ever. Those funds granted allow for a variety of events and initiatives, such as the following: A newly enhanced website, an investment of time and efforts into optimizing the sanctuary’s social media platforms, an open house celebration on Saturday, September 30th, 2023 for the 16th anniversary, Club 16: individuals can gift Sixteen Hands $16 on the 16th day of each month, custom merchandise for volunteers and to support the organization, such as t-shirts, December matching challenge where any donation will be matched throughout the  whole month of December, preparation for the 2024 Giving Challenge: each donation $25-$100 will be matched by  The Patterson Foundation, which has partnered with the Community Foundation to strengthen giving over the past eight challenges. If you would like to get involved, please visit sixteenhandshorsesanctuary.org. There you will  find ways to donate and volunteer.   

[Arts & Entertainment]  Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative Welcomes Two New Team Members

The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that uses the unifying power of the arts to nurture inclusion and diversity across the regional arts and cultural landscape, welcomes two new team members. Sharon Preston-Folta will serve as program manager for SBAC’s Arts and Racial Justice Discovery Series, and Jaiden Johnson is the new community outreach manager for the Syllabus of Color of Color initiative. Michéle Des Verney Redwine, the founder and executive director of the Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, says she’s delighted to welcome Preston-Folta and Johnson. “Each brings a strong work ethic, passion for our mission, and a longstanding commitment to community. We look forward to the innovative approaches they will bring to SBAC.” Jaiden Johnson is a vision-driven, market-savvy professional with a keen eye for detail and a passion for streamlining processes and identifying efficiencies. Johnson previously served as director of development and communications for the United Way South Sarasota County, and as special events manager and community outreach/marketing manager for the Suncoast Humane Society. She is also the founder and designer of Social Serenity, a bespoke branding and marketing agency, andgraduated with a BS in organizational leadership from Southeastern University in 2021. As the community outreach manager for SBAC’s three-year Syllabus of Color initiative, Johnson will work in concert with area nonprofits, community centers, schools and institutions of higher learning to engage middle and high school students of color to become more involved in arts education initiatives and opportunities. “Advocates have long established the power of the arts in education,” says Johnson. “Art is critical to a young person’s personal and educational development. But data shows that area-based Black and Latino students are less likely to be consistently involved in arts activities and instruction than their white counterparts—and that’s something we hope to change.” Sharon Preston-Folta has spent a 40-plus-year career in advertising sales and marketing, predominantly as an account executive in radio. She’s worked with such companies as Fairchild Publications and WLNY TV in Long Island, and ABC/Disney and CBS Radio and Emmis Communications in New York City. She recently retired as a senior account executive with WUSF Public Media in Tampa. Preston-Folta’s memoir, “Living in The Shadow of my Father, Louis Daniel Armstrong,” made public the private family life of Louis Armstrong, Lucille “Sweets” Preston, his mistress for 21 years, and their child, Sharon. She’s also the executive producer and narrator of the Emmy Award- winning documentary, “Little Satchmo,” based on her memoir. Preston-Folta received her AA from Westchester Community College and BA in Communication Arts from Iona College. She also earned two degrees from the Institute of Culinary Education. Preston- Folta is a volunteer programmer at WSLR 96.5 LP FM in Sarasota and a member of the Suncoast Women of Action. The Arts and Racial Justice Discovery Series brings artists, arts and civic leaders together for courageous conversations about inclusion and diversity in the arts. 

To learn more, visit

[Fundraising Event]  New College of Florida Foundation Announces Elizabeth Moore and Don Patterson as Co-Chairs for the 44th Annual Clambake, Soiree on the Bay

New College of Florida (NCF) will celebrate its 44th annual Clambake fundraising event Soiree on the Bay, hosted by the New College of Florida Foundation on Thursday, November 2, at 6 p.m. Local philanthropists Elizabeth Moore and Don Patterson are co-chairing the event. Held on NCF’s scenic bayfront campus in Sarasota, the Clambake will raise money to support three new master’s degree programs slated to launch in 2024. Moore has been a civic activist notably in environmental initiatives such as Mote Marine Aquarium and Research, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Lemur Conservation Foundation, Tree Foundation, Southface Institute, Climate Adaptation Center, Gulf Shellfish Institute and, recently, Roger Williams College President’s Taskforce on the Blue Economy. She owns Triangle Ranch in Myakka, Florida, and is also a member of the Manatee County Cattlemen’s Association. In addition to hosting many community events at her ranch, she also runs an Airbnb to showcase her “Florida Cracker” cottages and land conservation initiative. In 2021, Elizabeth was featured as “The Woman Who Wants to Save Florida” in Sarasota Magazine. An avid tennis fan, Moore is the title sponsor of the Elizabeth Moore Sarasota Open. Patterson spent 40 years in the communications industry, culminating in his role as co-founder and CEO of Ascend Wireless Networks, taking the business from startup to acquisition by a private equity firm in less than 10 years. Passionate about helping the underserved, Don has held numerous high-level roles with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast. He led the creation of “Stay Safe” in partnership with the Salvation Army, an initiative that serves as an emergency alternative for women victims of abuse as a result of being homeless. He was invited to attend the first conference by the Department of Justice to address the emerging Human Trafficking crisis, and “Stay Safe” continues to work in Sarasota to this day. As a community leader, he funded the creation of the “Thursday Night Market” in the Rosemary District, reviving traffic flow to businesses in the area post-pandemic. He is also an accomplished Marathoner and Ironman. NCF recently revealed plans to add three new master’s degree programs, including the nation’s first Master’s of Marine Mammal Science. This new research-intensive program will be complemented by the establishment of the Florida Institute of Marine Mammal Science (FIMMS). Additionally, NCF will establish programs to offer a Master’s of Environmental Economics and a Master’s of Educational Leadership. Funds raised will support the necessary financial aid for student recruitment, faculty hiring, and facility improvements that will launch these programs successfully. Event sponsorships are now available. For more information, visit ncf.edu/clambake, call 941-487-4800 or email foundation@ncf.edu. 

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Eco Engineers , April 12 – September 3, During museum hours

Eco Engineers are plants and animals that profoundly impact their ecosystem. Through their presence or behavior, eco engineers create microhabitats, or unique areas within an ecosystem. Other species have taken notice of these microhabitats and decided to move in! In this exhibition, explore nine of Florida’s eco engineers and discover why our landscape wouldn’t be the same without them. Eco Engineers is a bilingual (English and Spanish) special exhibition created by our own Museum curators. Included with museum admission. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, bishopscience.org.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Lorna Bieber, Natural World at The Ringling , May 20 – October 15, Museum hours

The Ringling presents a solo exhibition of works by Lorna Bieber in May that includes two new pieces making their debut in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art. Her artwork first and foremost encourages us to indulge in the pleasures of looking and discovering anew the details of the visual world. Her artistic practice is grounded in appropriating, recycling, and manipulating imagery. The work reminds us of the image world that inundates our daily existence. Our experience of reality is mediated through a barrage of photographic digital images that supplants our connection to the natural world. Yet, Bieber is less interested in a critique of this condition than she is in offering her work as an antidote, a way to inspire viewers and reconnect with our shared sense of wonder. Included with museum admission. The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Laser Light Nights at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature , May 25 – September 2, 7pm and 9pm

Break out the big hair and acid-washed denim because Laser Light Nights are back at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature. Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from May 25 through September 2, we are rocking out to some of your favorite artists in the Planetarium! A variety of food options and drinks are available for purchase onsite with cash or card. Tickets are $15. The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature, 201 10th St W., Bradenton, bishopscience.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Conservation Foundation Trivia Nights , June 9 – August 11, 5 to 8 p.m.

Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast is excited to announce a monthly trivia series this summer at their Bay Preserve headquarters in Osprey on June 9, July 14 and August 11. The free community events will take place from 5pm to 8pm with trivia beginning at 6pm. Each month a different food truck duo will be onsite offering a variety of tasty options the whole family can enjoy. The public is invited to come watch, play, or simply enjoy nature and food with family and friends. Each monthly event will have a different theme with a variety of questions covering categories ranging from movies and music to science and nature. Teams can have up to eight members and multi-generational teams are encouraged. The winning team for each individual monthly event will receive a prize package in recognition of their win. Points will also be accumulated across the series, with the overall winning team receiving their choice of a private, guided hike or kayak trip for up to ten people. Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and lawn chairs to sit upon for this outdoor, picnic-style gathering. In the event of rain, the trivia component will be moved to an area under cover. Learn more and RSVP at conservationfoundation.com/events. Conservation Foundation, 400 Palmetto Ave., Osprey.

[SOON]  GALLERY: 55 Frida Project , June 18 – August 18, Various times

Maverick, Mexican painter Frida Kahlo painted 55 self-portraits in her short and tragic life. View the commemorative exhibit by artist Beck Lane of her work at UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, her artwork merges extraordinary creative vision and innovative technique and has been collected and shown in pop-up galleries, solo shows, galleries, and private collections in Boston, California, New York City, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami, Brussels, Switzerland, South America, and Israel. On her YouTube Channel, Catalyst and Co., Beck records herself painting live, while offering encouragement to fellow artists, and sharing her experiences as an artist and her painting process and techniques. These mixed medium works pulsate with powerful, vibrant energy, fluid color and rare style. On Sunday, July 16, Lane will be painting live from 12-2 pm at the Lexow Gallery. UUCS Lexow Wing Gallery, 3975 Fruitville Rd., www.uucsarasota.com, www.becklaneartist.com.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , July 13 – December 14, 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]  MUSIC: Wellen Park Summer Music Series , July 19 – September 30, Various times

Wellen Park invites the community to come out and enjoy music from local bands and artists during the Summer Music Series every Wednesday through Sunday in Downtown Wellen. Now through September, Wellen Park is hosting different musicians throughout the week. Every week, Wind Down Wednesdays, Thursday Tunes and Saturday Sounds will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Night Live, the first Friday of the month, will feature a band on the Solis Hall stage overlooking the Great Lawn from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Groove, the second, third and fourth Friday of the month, will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. On Unplugged Sunday, every Sunday, there will be music under the Heritage Tree from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The series is open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating on the Great Lawn and around the Heritage Tree. For more information, visit wellenpark.com/events/summer-music-series.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Fest at The Van Wezel , July 11 – September 22, 5-9pm

Friday Fest, the free, outdoor summertime concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall continues with TEN-76 on August 11. TEN-76 is a powerhouse high energy band that covers classic and modern rock. From the Lakewood Ranch homebase, TEN-76 regularly plays many of the local venues and are expanding in the Southeast Region. They have volunteered their time and entertainment for many charities to help raise funds and awareness.

[SOON]  GALA: Toast Local , August 19, 1-5 pm

On Saturday, August 19th from 1-5pm, at Robarts Arena in Sarasota join us for Toast Local, and raise a glass to local charities. Benefiting The Rotary Club of Sarasota Foundation, enjoy a craft cocktail and beer tasting with delicious bites, plus special musical guest Kettle of Fish. The fun begins with a free family-friendly car show from 9am to 1pm. The Rotary Club of Sarasota is a network of active and retired business, professional, and community leaders dedicated to helping make Sarasota and the world a better place. Each year, the club receives requests from a number of local not-for-profit agencies seeking support. Toast Local will bring the local community together for an afternoon this summer to taste local beers, cocktails, and food. All proceeds will then be donated back to the local community. Information and tickets at rotaryclubofsarasota.com/toast-local, 21 and older.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Resources for Veterans Starting a Business , August 30, 12 to 1 pm

Learn what resources are available for veterans interested in starting their own businesses. We will review some of the national programs available including the SBA Boots to Business program as well as other free and low cost resources available for both the government, non profit and private sector. This webinar is free. Visit www.score.org/manasota to register.

[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: Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art at Ringling Museum , March 29 – September 4, Museum hours

Reclaiming Home, Contemporary Seminole Art group exhibition will mark The Ringling’s first presentation of contemporary art by Native American artists with ancestral, historical, and present-day connections to Florida. An imperative step toward establishing a meaningful relationship with the Native American artistic community, Reclaiming Home will highlight the breadth and depth of the artwork by Seminole, Miccosukee, and mixed-heritage artists from Florida with the important work by internationally-recognized artists. The exhibition will expand the conceptual framework of Native American art made in Florida today and provide a fuller understanding of the complexities of issues within the art of the Seminole diaspora. Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Summer Circus Spectacular , June 9 – August 12, Various times

Circus fans of all ages, from near and far, can beat the heat this summer at reasonable prices while experiencing the best of the circus arts, thanks to the continued partnership of The Circus Arts Academy and The Ringling. The Summer Circus Spectacular returns this year, with exciting acts signed on for the one-hour, action-packed show. The 2023 Summer Circus Spectacular, which has become a seasonal highlight for locals, visitors, families and groups alike, takes place from June 9 through August 12. Tickets are $20 for adults, $13 for children 12 and under, and tickets for the 7 p.m. opening night performance and celebration on Friday, June 9, which includes a gala reception with the artists, are $50. To complete their circus experience, Summer Circus Spectacular patrons can enjoy access to the Circus Museum on the day they attend a show for an additional $5. Visit Ringling.org or call the Box Office at 941-360-7399 to purchase tickets and learn more. The Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota.

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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