NonProfit Innovations Making A Collaborative Philanthropic Impact in Our Region

Conversation

In Conversation with Stacy R. Corley, President of Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Joy Mahler, President and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, Bill Sadlo, President and CEO of Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and Desoto Counties and Dr. Kristie Skoglund, Chief Executive Officer of The Florida Center for Early Childhood on nonprofit innovation.

What does your organization do that might surprise people?

SKOGLUND: What we hear often when we invite people to our main campus in Sarasota for a tour is, “We didn’t realize how much you do. We didn’t realize how large you are.” We have 150 employees. In one of our programs, we serve the entire state, and we’re in five counties. When folks hear about the Center for Early Childhood, they may think about our pre- school. We have a preschool on our campuses. Our main school is in Sarasota, and we have a North Port campus that has children who have diagnosed develop- mental delays or disabilities who attend our preschools. They may know us for that–our Starfish Academy. But maybe they didn’t realize that we work with kids in the court system, the early child- hood court we do. People also hear about our fetal alcohol program. That is our diagnostic evaluation and parent support program for children prenatally exposed to drugs and alcohol but they often don’t realize that we are serving families from all over the state with satellite locations.

CORLEY: SMH is the largest employer in Sarasota County. But I think people assume their taxes pay for everything and that there’s no fundraising or donor support needed, and that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. It’s a very small percentage of what hap- pens. Certainly, there are medical things that are reimbursable through insurance or Medicare, Medicaid, those kinds of things. But providing care for uninsured, underinsured, and indigent patients as well as advancing medical equipment are things that our foundation does, as well as adding on clinical research. A lot of times, people think the hospital system must not need the money. We are not fundraising necessarily for buildings. We’re fundraising for what happens inside the buildings and the pro- grams that are on top of standard things you’d find at most hospitals.

SADLO: People would be surprised to hear some of the things that our teams are doing, whether it be through our Perlman Price Young Entrepreneur program, where youth are learning about business models, getting funding–Shark Tank style–starting their own businesses. We have youth running nonprofit busi- nesses and for-profit businesses right now through this program and also youth serving on boards throughout the county, both in government boards and nonprofit boards through our STAR Leadership program where they get 60 hours of training, learn about civic engagement and leadership, and then at the end they can serve as a full voting member on nonprofit board.

MAHLER: When we started over a hundred years ago, it was all about connecting children with a mentor and that’s about as far as it went. That’s probably what most people think we do. But what we have found is we have a wonderful opportunity to get to know the needs of the families and children. There are educational needs focused on the individual needs of the youth and their families. It’s work-force opportunity, giving them beyond school walls, getting more involved with education which we know is a major pillar in the life of our youth. If they don’t graduate high school, they’re just really a step behind in success. We work with them in more of a 360 model than when we first started out and what we found is it came from our volunteers saying, “Look, we need more help with this. Do you have more resources to help us with that?” So as they’ve become more involved with the youth, whether it is reading in education, whether it is high school graduation, or it’s workforce development, we’ve found that we’ve become more involved with their success and what’s actually going to help them be successful in life.

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