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SRQ DAILY May 29, 2024

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"Our churches will get the request and try to meet the needs of that family by helping them build community and by serving them in many different ways."

- Denise Grimes, CarePortal Regional Manager for Bridge a Life.

[Recognition Given]  Florida's Circuit 12 Recognized with National Award by CarePortal
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

Florida's Circuit 12 (Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties) was recently recognized with the “2023 Community of the Year Award” for its successful implementation of the CarePortal platform–an online tool that connects churches with the needs of vulnerable children and families through local child welfare agencies. In Circuit 12, one of those agencies is the lead community based care organization, Safe Children Coalition (SCC) whose case managers help with careful vetting and online entry of needs.

Local nonprofit Bridge a Life uses the CarePortal platform to connect caring church members with urgent social service needs in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties. Denise Grimes, the CarePortal Regional Manager for Bridge a Life shares that typical requests addressed through CarePortal are for beds, furniture, formula, diapers, clothes and food. Through the CarePortal technology, agency workers find a family in need and put in a request for help from churches that are within a certain proximity to that family. “Our churches will get the request and try to meet the needs of that family by helping them build community and by serving them in many different ways–ways that are unique to every family,” explains Grimes. According to the CarePortal website, more than half of the requests entered into CarePortal receive a response in fewer than 48 hours.

Just before the holidays last year, a request came in from a family in need. “It was a simple request,” recalls Grimes. “At first they just needed a couple beds. Once the church was able to go into the home, they realized the family needed a lot more than just beds so they decided to really wrap around this family and provide Christmas presents. They then helped them prepare for the holidays with meals and other things that they needed. After the holidays, they've continued to meet with the family, helping them with bunk beds for the many children in the home. A few months later, they came back to paint the entire home and help the family truly have a fresh new start.”

The pilot program began in our region thanks to a former SCC vice president, Kathleen Cowan, who started the conversation about bringing CarePortal to our community. In July of 2021, CarePortal was activated within SCC’s Emergency Response and Assessment Team (ERAT) – this team provides and coordinates services for families who are at high risk for entering the child welfare system. The goal of the ERAT team is to ensure children's safety and well-being within the home, to help avoid the unnecessary removal of children. The goal of all the partners involved is to keep kids in their homes; by filling urgent needs, CarePortal helps to do just that.

To learn about ways to help families in need, Grimes suggests visiting the Bridge A Life and/or CarePortal websites. For more about SCC, visit sccfl.org. 

Pictured: L-R -Kathy Cornwell (church responder), Michelle Allen (church responder and Bridge A Life board member), Courtney Ross, (CarePortal), Denise Grimes and SCC team members Sierra Ebersole and Sarah Hawk. Photo provided by Bridge A Life.

To learn more about Bridge A Life, visit.

[Scholarship]  Chiles Hospitality Awards Nine Employees with Student Scholarships Through Manatee Community Foundation

Chiles Hospitality has awarded scholarships to nine eligible employees from Sandbar Seafood & Spirits and Beach House Waterfront Restaurant through its scholarship fund with Manatee Community Foundation. Established by Ed Chiles in 2010, the fund provides scholarships for qualified individuals who are employees or children of employees of Chiles Hospitality in support of their pursuit of higher education at accredited institutions. Chiles Hospitality owns and operates three waterfront restaurants, a scratch-artisan bakery and an organic-certified farm in Manatee County. The Chiles Hospitality Scholarship Fund has awarded over 70 scholarships since its inception. Manatee Community Foundation’s Scholarship Committee reviews the applications and selects the recipients based on their grades, volunteer service and leadership ability. For more information on Chiles Hospitality, visit www.chileshospitality.com. 

Pictured: 2024 Chiles Hospitality Scholarship recipients. Photo courtesy of Chiles Hospitality.

[Ribbon Cutting]  Disaster Relief Capacity Boosted, Celebrated During Ribbon-Cutting

Last week leaders and team members from All Faiths Food Bank and the American Red Cross came together to celebrate the ARC's recent financial support - awarded through its Community Adaptation Program - designated toward the purchase of equipment that will improve AFFB's ability to respond during a disaster, increase critical capacity, and pursue its mission of providing healthy solutions to end hunger in Sarasota and DeSoto counties ... and beyond. An assessment of disaster activities in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian (2022) concluded that additional freezer/refrigeration was needed to strengthen disaster recovery efforts and increase capacity. AFFB’s most significant, immediate needs were freezer and cooler capacity; AFFB also requested additional material handling equipment to support the safe and timely transport of food within its warehouse, from receiving to shipping. AFFB leaders are grateful to the ARC for its many years of collaboration in times of disaster, to help our neighbors in need, through the present. 

[Nonprofit News]  Embracing Our Differences Appoints Jeff Spalter to its Board of Directors

Sarah Wertheimer, executive director of Embracing Our Differences (EOD), recently announced the addition of Jeff Spalter to the organization's board of directors. Spalter served for 36 years as a senior financial executive at ExxonMobil. In addition to overseeing controllership for the global fuels and lubricants business, Spalter led the global finance inclusion and diversity team. These roles enabled him to develop extensive expertise in marketing, strategic planning, controls, and personnel development. Since retiring and relocating to Longboat Key with his wife, Joanie, in 2019, he has been actively involved in community efforts. 

To learn more, visit.

[Grant]  Resilient Retreat Graced by $4,500 Grant

More than 3,000 trauma survivors, first responders, and helping professionals will benefit this year through Resilient Retreat’s free, confidential, evidence-based programming, thanks in part to a recent $4,500 grant from the Church of the Redeemer/Episcopal Thrift House. “Philanthropic generosity is why Resilient Retreat’s in-person and online programs are available without cost to participants,” explains Executive Director Lisa Intagliata. “We are especially grateful to grant-makers like Church of the Redeemer/Episcopal Thrift House who recognize the urgency of supporting local mental health and wellness organizations like ours.” Headquartered on 84 acres of conservation land in east Sarasota County, Resilient Retreat helps those impacted by trauma through free, confidential, evidence-based programs and trainings that enhance the well-being of body, mind, and spirit. Equine-assisted learning, nutrition for wellness, neurofeedback, yoga, and support groups are just a few of more than 35 programs provided in-person and online every month. A Kind Line (941-343-0039) is also available for those in need of real-time support while navigating trauma in their home and/or workplace. Click these links to learn more about Church of the Redeemer and Episcopal Thrift House. 

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Shinique Smith, Parade , January 4 – January 5, Various times

Enjoy the extraordinary opportunity to experience the work of contemporary artist Shinique Smith in conversation with the collection of European art at The Ringling. Unfolding across six galleries of the Museum of Art, the exhibition creates a series of unique stories that together form an abstract narrative of the parade as a metaphor for life. Well known for her monumental sculptures created from an array of materials, including luxurious textiles, personal clothing, dyed fabrics, ribbon, and wood, and for her abstract paintings of calligraphy and collage, Smiths work in this exhibition speaks to various facets of the European artistic tradition, such as classical drapery and religious iconography, while foregrounding notions of Black femininity and the history of the circus. Learn more at ringling.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Center Sarasota's Annual Regional Juried Exhibition , May 23 – July 27

Art Center Sarasota unveils its much-anticipated annual regional juried exhibit, "Beyond Comfort," on May 23. Juried by Virginia Shearer, the executive director of Sarasota Art Museum, the exhibition calls upon artists statewide to delve into their interpretations of beauty and the grotesque within contemporary art and society. The exhibit, which spans all four galleries, runs through July 27. The opening reception is Thursday, May 23, 6-8 p.m. A critique with Virginia Shearer will take place on Thursday, May 30, 3:30 p.m. at Art Center Sarasota.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Free Second Sundays , March 10 – December 8, 11am-5pm
Enjoy a day of art and family fun at Sarasota Art Museum. On the second Sunday of each month, we offer free admission for visitors, special performances, and art-making activities for the whole family. To learn more, visit sarasotaartmuseum.org.
[SOON]  SEMINAR: Divorce Support Group , May 1 – January 6, Every Wednesday from 5-6:30pm

The Womens Resource Center presents a Divorce Support Group facilitated by Paula Falk, BS. This in-person, free program happens every Wednesday, 5-6:30 p.m., starting May 1, at the Womens Resource Center Sarasota, 340 S Tuttle Ave., Sarasota. Participants can attend one or all of the sessions. To register, visit www.mywrc.org/divorcesupportgroup. For more information, call 941-366-1700.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , January 11 – June 13, 5:30 pm-8 pm

Join us for live jazz at Sarasota Art Museum, hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota, featuring Hot Club of SRQ, and extended hours in the galleries, Bistro, and SHOP. Sip on refreshing cocktails and enjoy small bites in the Bistro. Each second Thursday of the month features a different style of jazz, from straight-ahead to free jazz, bebop to swing-programmed in partnership with Jazz Club of Sarasota. Galleries are open until 7 pm on Jazz Thursdays. Learn more and purchase tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Laser Light Nights , May 23 – August 31, 7pm and 9pm
Break out your big hair and acid-washed denims and get ready to rock out with some of your favorite artists in The Planetarium. The event takes place every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night from May 23 through August 31. There are various food and drink options available for purchase onsite with cash or card. Please note that Laser Light Nights involve bright, flashing lasers that may not be suitable for people with photo sensitivities. Viewer discretion is advised. Laser Light Nights are at a volume similar to a rock concert, so earplugs are recommended for those who prefer a lower volume. To learn more, visit bishopscience.org.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Friday Fest , May 24 – October 4, 5-9pm
Friday Fest, the free, outdoor summertime concert series at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall returns with an exciting lineup of bands who will bring the audience to their feet. This year the festivities kick off in May. Each event runs from 5-9 p.m. on the lawn of the Van Wezel overlooking beautiful Sarasota Bay. Bring blankets or lawn chairs, take in the music and the sunset, and enjoy food and beverages from local vendors. Bringing in food, beverages and coolers from outside Friday Fest is prohibited. For additional information, visit VanWezel.org.
[SOON]  GALA: Celebrating Regional Art and Artists at Creative Liberties , June 1 – July 6

Creative Liberties Artist Studios and Gallery continues its season’s offerings with an all-packed June starting with the exhibit, “True Colors: Celebrating Pride,” June 1-July 6. Local artists will exhibit works in a color scheme that represents one of the colors on the LGBTQ+ Progress flag.

Creative Liberties, 901B Apricot Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Mystery Reef , April 2 – June 30, Various times
Get ready to use your brain coral and start Kraken the case at the new Mystery Reef exhibit Mote Aquarium. Coral reefs, the rainforests of the sea, are in serious danger. Help us find out what is hurting the corals and how we can help. Become a coral detective and uncover clues throughout Mystery Reef while learning about real coral science and restoration at Mote Marine Laboratory. For more information: mote.org/mystery.

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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