Embracing Our Differences Receives Grant from Community Foundation of Sarasota County to Establish Parent Advisory Council

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Riverview High School students participate in EOD’s Coexistence Club program, one of eight education initiatives impacting more than 55,000 students annually. Photo courtesy of EOD.

Embracing Our Differences (EOD) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $6,500 grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to launch a Parent Advisory Council (PAC). This initiative is designed to enhance communication with parents and gain valuable insights for EOD's educational programming. Sarah Wertheimer, EOD’s executive director, explains that the organization has enjoyed a longstanding partnership with Sarasota County Schools, engaging students and educators through various educational initiatives, including reading days, field trips, school clubs, and workshops. Wertheimer explains that the PAC will convene quarterly, providing a platform for parents to receive updates on current programs and share their perspectives. Led by Ben Jewell-Plocher, EOD's learning and engagement director, each meeting will include parental discussions on ongoing and past initiatives. Their input will help EOD address current challenges and explore opportunities for future programming. Jewell-Plocher explains that the Community Foundation grant will support the operational costs of the PAC, including meeting logistics, outreach materials for parents, and resources to facilitate fruitful discussions. He adds that the group will meet quarterly. At each PAC meeting, he will provide an overview of EOD’s current and previous programs. For 21 years, Embracing Our Differences has delighted viewers with its annual outdoor display of 50 billboard-sized works of art and accompanying quotes. This high-profile art exhibition draws on the passion and perception of artists, students, and writers, to create powerful statements of inclusion, kindness and respect. The scale and impact of this open-air art show has continued to grow, attracting more than 4.8 million visitors since its inception. EOD’s annual exhibit is the heart of a year-round program of activities using art as a catalyst to create awareness and promote diversity. Embracing Our Differences’ next outdoor exhibition runs Jan. 19-April 13, 2025, in Bayfront Park, Sarasota; and March 1-March 31, 2025, in Flora Wylie Park, St. Petersburg. For more information about Embracing Our Differences, call 941-404-5710, or visit embracingourdifferences.org.


Pictured: Riverview High School students participate in EOD’s Coexistence Club program, one of eight education initiatives impacting more than 55,000 students annually. Photo courtesy of EOD.

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