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  • 21 May 2020 2:49 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    As part of the agency’s efforts to address continued food insecurity amongst its families, local members of the community teamed up with Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis to bring chef-prepared meals to each of the children and families who attend Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services.

    1,700 meals were distributed to families in need across Sarasota County thanks to the generosity of six local couples and an individual supporter of Children First along with Paradise Grill restaurant in Nokomis. In a two-day effort, meals were individually prepared and packaged on-site at the restaurant and delivered to five distribution sites by Children First front line workers. The meal distribution sites included the Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center and Helen R. Payne Annex in Sarasota, Our Mother’s House (a partnership site with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice) and the Children First main campuses in Venice and North Port.

    “When I heard that my long-time friend and client, Mary Beth Hansen, was offering meals for local residents in need, I decided to reach out to Children First. Knowing the challenge we are all living through with this virus, but especially for those who are already vulnerable, everyone quickly got on board. Before we knew it, there were vans being loaded with 1,700 dinners going out to families. We truly believe in the outstanding work provided by this agency and are so pleased to help keep its mission moving forward each day,” says long-time Children First supporter and Commercial Realtor Stan Rutstein.

    He, along with wife Jo, a former Chair of the Board of Directors, realized an opportunity to activate their friends in support of children and families living at-risk. Current Board Chair Mike Keebaugh and wife Andree, Carol and Richard Kalikow, Faith and Michael Goldman, Norma and Al Cohen, Ginny and Ravi Akhoury, and Ernest ‘Doc’ Werlin joined the Rutsteins to provide support and within days, the chefs at Paradise Grill were in the kitchen cooking up delicious meals and the Children First staff mobilizing to distribute the food. 

    Annually, the agency provides full wrap-around services for more than 900 children and their families, including infant and toddler care, early childhood education, nutrition and health care, emotional & behavioral support, and parenting classes through the Families First Institute. 89% of families served were already living below the Federal Poverty Level, and with the economic strain from COVID-19, more than 70% of those families are now seeking additional necessities such as food, financial assistance, and supplies like diapers, wipes, and infant formula.

    “In these times of great uncertainty, our families are the first to get hurt and the last to recover. We are truly grateful to Paradise Grill and our incredible supporters who teamed up to make sure that not just every child, but every family member received a hot meal,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

    “We’re doing our best to feed as many in our community as possible because we believe no one should ever have to go hungry,” says Mary Beth Hansen, owner of Paradise Grill. “Our team also believes deeply in the Children First mission of strengthening children and families, because we are stronger together.”


  • 19 May 2020 9:13 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Applications for the City of Sarasota’s small business grant program can be submitted starting at 9am. It’s the latest locally funded recovery program aimed at keeping commerce alive during the ongoing pandemic.

    Eligible small businesses can apply for $5,000 grants, which will be funded from $2.28 million in economic development funds. The money will be given out on a first come, first serve basis.

    “It is anticipated funds could be awarded and distributed as early as the end of this month,” wrote Rowena Elliott, redevelopment speciality with the city's Office of Economic Development, in an email about the program.

    Notably, a similar program funded by Sarasota County and crafted with the help of the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County opened up and had enough applicants in the first hour and 40 minutes to go through the initial funding.

    The city program will be open to businesses with physical structures in the city limits and a nmaximum of 25 full-time equivalent employees. More guidelines are available online.

    "That is for the ultra, hyper small businesses," said Heather Kasten, president of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. "They're getting ramped up as well. I've been blown away by the efforts and the movement, just the quickness and expeditious method in which that money was deployed."

    Applicants must provide a plan on how money will be used, such as unexpected expenditures for face masks, software upgrades, or simply replenishing payroll and rent costs.

    Online applications are preferred, but physical applications can be turned in at the Office of Economic Development on Martin Luther King Jr. Way or at City Hall. 


  • 19 May 2020 9:12 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    The granting committee of The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has approved emergency grants to eight community organizations totaling $68,929. These grants were provided as part of the organization’s first phase of Coronavirus support for Food Security and Health/Wellness needs.

    Funds were provided to the following organizations: Aviva: A Campus for Jewish Life, Chabad of Bradenton, Chabad of Sarasota, Chabad of Venice, Congregation Kol Haneshama, Jewish Congregation of Venice, Temple Beth Israel and Temple Sinai. Needs ranged from providing “Shabbat in a Box” meals to families for spiritual and physical nourishment, delivering hot meals, groceries and emergency funding for homebound seniors, recently unemployed workers and health care workers, and providing personal protective equipment for staff.

    Kim Adler, Chief Operating Officer, said the grants were a result of an outpouring of generosity from the local Jewish community to the Federation’s Stronger Together: Coronavirus Relief Fund. “We were thrilled by the community’s investment in our response and relief efforts. Hundreds of Jewish lives have been touched.”

    More grants will be awarded for the operating needs of Jewish organizations. For more information, please contact Kim Adler at kadler@jfedsrq.org


  • 18 May 2020 8:20 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Asolo Rep announced today that it will present GROUND FLOOR: MAKING MUSICALS, a four-part new musical competition designed specifically for an online audience. On May 21, June 4, June 18 and July 2 at 6pm, the Theatre will preview four completely new and original musicals on its Facebook and YouTube pages. Each 30-minute session will consist of a fifteen-minute preview performance of one new musical, followed by a fifteen-minute discussion with the playwright/composer and James Monaghan, Asolo Rep Dramaturg and Literary Manager, and Celine Rosenthal, Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director, who serves as the Director of the Ground Floor Series and is also directing all four musicals. After the four musicals have aired, the audience will be asked to vote for their favorite and the winner will receive a full staged reading at Asolo Rep.

    To add to the fun, the Theatre is incorporating a Virtual Happy Hour into the presentation. One day prior to each performance, patrons will receive an email notice of the broadcast that includes a cocktail recipe specifically chosen to compliment the theme of that week’s new musical.

    “MAKING MUSICALS is a wonderful complement to Asolo Rep’s strong focus as an incubator where great musicals are born,” said Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. “In the past fourteen seasons, Asolo Rep has produced seven musicals which have been new to the American stage. Presenting new musicals is a potential risk, but has strengthened our mission, generated new relationships in the artistic community, and established Asolo Rep as a company dedicated to fostering new work while re-envisioning classics.”

    Patrons wishing to vote for their favorite musical will be required to register online through a link on Asolo Rep’s website: asolorep.org. Following the last performance, registered patrons will be emailed a ballot to be filled out and submitted to the theatre within 48 hours. To qualify to vote, patrons must be registered, they must have viewed all four performances and they will only be able to vote once.

    The original Ground Floor Series consisted of five events scheduled to be performed in a new performance space in the FSU Center for the Performing Arts this spring before four of the performances were canceled due to the COVID-19 virus. Asolo Rep continued the series online and presented its inaugural episode on April 8 with musical performances of original songs by cast members from the world premiere musical, Knoxville. 


  • 14 May 2020 1:05 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    BRADENTON, FL – For years, Goodwill Manasota has placed collection bins at each of its attended donation centers so that community members could donate non-perishable foods for those in need. The food has then been picked up by The Food Bank of Manatee and All Faiths Food Bank.

    In April, in response to an urgent local need, Goodwill made its first delivery of nearly 2,000 pounds of food to Our Daily Bread, a community-driven food pantry and soup kitchen. Since that first delivery, Goodwill has brought two more, with food totaling 5,144 pounds.

    This new friendship came about through the partnership of Goodwill and Turning Points. Located at the Bill Galvano One Stop Center in Bradenton, Turning Points provides a wide variety of services aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in our community. Goodwill has a Job Connection career services office on-site at Turning Points, where hundreds of Turning Points clients have been placed in jobs.

    One important service available at Turning Points is lunch. Partner agency (and neighbor) Our Daily Bread serves a meal on-site each day. Our Daily Bread also has a self-serve food pantry at Turning Points, where families can select the groceries they need.

    The impacts of COVID-19 have been particularly difficult for Our Daily Bread. The requests for assistance have climbed, the costs of serving meals increased due to the need to package meals in “to go” containers for COVID-19-related public health concerns, and the organization’s battalion of volunteers has not been available as community members stayed home for their own safety.

    Our Daily Bread president Mark McLaughlin put out calls for help and was amazed at the response from local businesses - including Goodwill. Goodwill’s Director of Donation Development Donna Evans, who is responsible for coordinating the delivery of food donated at Goodwill to food pantries in Sarasota and Manatee counties, arranged for the deliveries of food to Our Daily Bread.

    “I can’t possibly tell you about all of the generosity shown by the community to Our Daily Bread during this pandemic,” said McLaughlin. “One of the absolute highlights has been the partnership we have developed with Goodwill, who has already made three deliveries of canned goods in the last month to our food pantry, Loaves & Fishes. What a blessing – thank you, Goodwill!”


  • 14 May 2020 11:28 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    BRADENTON, FL  May 14, 2020 – Food is a basic necessity for health and life. Across Manatee County, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is seeing an increase in the demand for food assistance from their two main programs: Home-delivered Meals and The Food Bank of Manatee.

    Safer-at-home orders designed to keep high-risk residents safe amid the pandemic have created an increase in the number of seniors who rely on home-delivered meals as their primary source of food. “We’ve seen an increase in clients and double the number of calls we normally receive in a week,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO.  “In May, across the nation, we celebrate Older Americans Month in observance of the countless contributions older adults make in our communities.  This year, that recognition feels even more poignant as older Americans continue to be impacted by COVID-19. We want our seniors to know we are here for them and that we stand ready to help.”  Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee is responding to the increased need for food in our community and has received additional funding for meals for those over the age of 60.  If you or someone you know is over the age of 60 and a resident of Manatee County in need of food, please call 941-747-4655. 

    The Food Bank of Manatee, a program of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee, has also seen an increase in the need for food. To respond to that need, Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee continues to work with the School District of Manatee to provide Food4Families each Friday.  “In the last eight weeks, we’ve been able to provide over 128,000 meals to families in need in Manatee County through the Food4Families program.”  In addition, The Food Bank of Manatee provides food to numerous food pantries and partner agencies who are feeding an additional 25,000 families each week.  If you or someone you know is in need of food assistance, visit www.MealsOnWheelsPLUS.org to learn more about the services available through Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee.   


  • 14 May 2020 11:27 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    BRADENTON, FL  May 12, 2020 –  Hancock Whitney representatives presented Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee with $20,000 to assist with COVID-19 emergency relief efforts, providing several weeks’ worth of meals to those in need. A check presentation was made on Monday, May 11th, 2020 with representatives from Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee and Hancock Whitney. Hancock Whitney employees also sorted food at The Food Bank of Manatee while they were on site.

    Pictured from left to right: Terry Wells Hancock Whitney Vice President and Business Center Manager, Maribeth Phillips Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee President & CEO, Ed Wyatt Hancock Whitney Senior Vice President, Mike Moschella Hancock Whitney Market President, and John Balestrieri Hancock Whitney Business Banker.

    “We are grateful for the generous support of Hancock Whitney as we work to feed those in need in Manatee County. Thanks to this substantial donation, we will be able to provide vital nutrition to children, families, and seniors in our community in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Maribeth Phillips, President & CEO of Meals on Wheels PLUS of Manatee.


  • 13 May 2020 10:56 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Thanks to a collaborative rescue effort over the weekend, two manatees may have second chances at life. A pregnant manatee was rescued by Mote Marine Laboratory and partners, and taken to SeaWorld Orlando, where the manatee has since given birth to a calf.

    The Saturday before Mother’s Day, May 9, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium Stranding Biologist Jess Blackburn, along with Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol Officer Michael Skinner, responded to a call to Mote’s 24/7 Stranding Investigations Program hotline (941-988-0212) about a distressed manatee near Harbor Towers Yacht & Racquet Club on Siesta Key. The manatee was exhibiting abnormal behavior, including not being able to dive properly. Upon arriving at the scene, Blackburn realized the manatee was the same individual she had received calls about and searched for the day before, and quickly contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to begin to stage a rescu e effort for the manatee.

    “Immediately, I noticed that the manatee was listing to one side, and had both healed and fresh boat strike wounds,” said Blackburn. “Those kinds of wounds likely caused air to be trapped in the manatee’s chest cavity, making it difficult for the animal to submerge efficiently. Given the busy area and heavy boat traffic, we knew it would be very difficult for her to avoid any other potential boat collisions.”

    After Mote’s initial response, FWC led the rescue effort, as additional trained responders from Mote, Sarasota Police Department, and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office descended upon the scene to assist the manatee. A crowd gathered on the shoreline to watch the action. The manatee was safely netted onto a boat and transferred into a transport truck–—no small feat with a nearly 1,700-pound animal—headed for rehabilitation at SeaWorld Orlando, one of four critical care fa cilities for manatees in the state of Florida and a member of the Manatee Rescue & Rehabilitation Partnership (MRP).

    “The Sarasota Police Department Marine Patrol officers as well as other patrol officers have an ongoing partnership with Mote’s Stranding Investigations team,” said Sarasota Police Officer Michael Skinner. “Over the weekend, we were called to assist with an injured manatee along with our partners at Mote, FWC and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. We all work together on the road and on the water. We hate to see injured wildlife in our waterways but we’re hoping this team effort was enough to help give this manatee a second chance.”

    “It was an amazing opportunity to rescue, along with partners from Mote, FWC law enforcement, Sarasota Police Department and Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, an expectant mother manatee on Mother’s Day weekend,” said Denise Boyd, Marine Mammal Research Associate at FWC’s Fish and Wildlife Research Institute. “They are being taken care of by the animal care team at SeaWorld Orlando, and we are hopeful for a successful outcome. This rescue highlights the partnerships that are critical in manatee conservation efforts. Please remember to wear polarized glasses and be on the lookout for manatees while boating. Please report dead or distressed marine mammals to allow trained experts to respond.”

    During the veterinarian exam at SeaWorld Orlando, the animal was found to be pregnant. On Tuesday, May 12, the manatee gave birth to a healthy calf. SeaWorld Orlando’s rehabilitation team continues to monitor both mother and calf aroun d the clock. The mother manatee is being treated for her injuries, and although stable, she is still in critical condition.

    “After getting the call, our team reacted quickly to accept this manatee into our care and our team of veterinarians at the SeaWorld Manatee Rehabilitation Center is providing around the clock surveillance,” said Jon Peterson, Vice President Zoological Operations, SeaWorld Orlando. “Our facility is only one of four in Florida designated for critical care of manatees and we work tirelessly with the goal of rehabilitating and returning rescued manatees to the wild.” This is the 17th manatee to be treated at SeaWorld in 2020.

    “These are the good days. When all of our partners come together, from our city, county, and state law enforcement officers, to the FWC stranding biologists that led the rescue, to the SeaWorld Orlando team now caring for her and her calf, it is our stranding network at its finest,” said Gretchen Lovewell, Manager of Mote’s Stranding Investigations Program. “I also want to thank the members of the public who reported the animal. Please, always remember to call us for any distressed or deceased marine mammal or sea turtle in the Sarasota and Manatee County area, and FWC throughout the rest of Florida.” 


  • 12 May 2020 12:03 PM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Children First is proud to announce that 330 members of our community came together to raise $85,010 during the 2020 Giving Challenge, hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. All giving is inclusive of a 1:1 match provided by the Patterson Foundation, and a $30,000 ‘match on top of the match’ provided by the COVID-19 Response Initiative of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation.

    Children First was awarded an additional $20,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Truist Foundation through the COVID-19 Response Initiative. The COVID-19 Response Initiative is a community-wide effort to support leading health, human-service, and safety organizations facing increased demand for services right now and in the coming months.

    Additional vital community support includes: $10,000 from the United Way Suncoast COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund directed by PNC Bank, $7,130 from All Angels Episcopal Church, $5,000 from the Venice Yacht Club, and $1,210 from Gran Paradiso with matching support from Dick and Deborah Miller for emergency and critical needs relief. The agency also received a grant of $7,400 from the Plantation Community Foundation for its award-winning Families First Institute.

    Children First is using this support to keep its more than 200 staff members working to ensure continued delivery of crucial services to its children and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    Since March 16th, the agency has provided supplemental food packages, diapers and wipes, infant formula, and financial assistance to more than 475 families as the number of families facing job loss and reduced work hours continues to rise. All children are receiving virtual classroom support as well as at-home educational kits prepared by their teachers.

    The agency’s Families First Institute has launched its first-ever virtual classes in order to keep parents and families engaged and learning alongside their children, and its Mental Health and Comprehensive Services teams are providing tele-therapy sessions for all children with diagnosed disabilities and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). Staff are hosting bi-lingual, virtual support groups for parents and staff every week.

    Our goal is to provide information and strategies to Spanish-speaking parents so that they can overcome the COVID-19 situation with knowledge and strategies and be stress-free. Parents are using virtual platforms as time to let off steam, laugh, interact with others, and learn,” says Family Advocate Denise Pacheco.

    Says CEO Philip Tavill, “Our commitment to our community has never been greater, and our community’s response has been overwhelmingly positive. We are so grateful for the support that allows us to keep our mission at the forefront and our services running at the highest possible level for our children and families living at-risk.”


  • 12 May 2020 8:59 AM | Amy Treis (Administrator)

    Inc. magazine today revealed that DeAngelis Diamond is No. 218 on its inaugural Inc. 5000 Series: Florida list, the most prestigious ranking of the fastest-growing Florida-based private companies. Born of the annual Inc. 5000 franchise, this regional list represents a unique look at the most successful companies within the Florida economy’s most dynamic segment—its independent small businesses.

    “We are thankful for Inc. 5000 recognizing the growth achieved by our high performing team members as they build innovative and complex projects and make a positive impact in people’s lives, doing what they love,” DeAngelis Diamond Co-Founder, David Diamond, said.

    The companies on this list show stunning rates of growth across all industries in Florida. Between 2016 and 2018, these 250 private companies had an average growth rate of 302 percent and, in 2018 alone, they employed more than 56,000 people and added $12.6 billion to the Fl orida economy. Companies based in the Tampa, Miami, and Naples metro areas brought in the highest revenue overall.

    “The companies on this list demonstrate just how much the small-business sector impacts Florida’s economy,” says Inc. editor in chief Scott Omelianuk. “Across every single industry, these businesses have posted revenue and growth rates that are beyond impressive, further proving the tenacity of their founders and CEOs.” 


Recent Member News





Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

Hook Kids on Fishing

 

Anglers for Conservation (AFC)

 a non-profit 501(C)(3) organization, in partnership with Fisherman’s Village, is coordinating its engaging Hook Kids on Fishing Program to be held on Saturday, April 11th, 2015 from 10am- 12:00pm at Fishermen's Village (1200 West Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda).

 Kids ages 6 to 16, are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult. The first 100 kids registered and complete the training will receive a free rod and reel to take home! Registration is mandatory by calling King Fisher Fleet at 941-639-2628.

 This hands-on, conservation-minded program teaches casting, fishing safety, knot tying, boating safety, tackle box essentials, catch and release tactics, fishing habitats and conservation, and is taught by professional guides and knowledgeable anglers.

 Community support also provided by Fisherman's Village, King Fisher Fleet, local bait and tackle shops, and local Captains, Aylesworth's Fish & Bait, Canoe Outpost-Peace River, Coastal Angler Magazine, Diiachi Hooks, Fish Florida Foundation and Rio Villa Bait & Tackle

AFC’s mission is to inspire new generations of marine stewards through angling education, habitat restoration and applied conservation practices. For more information, please visit www.AnglersForConservation.org.

 Volunteers are needed and donations are greatly appreciated.

If you’re interested in volunteering please contact Theresa at tellershaw@aol.com or call me 321-433-3340/302-6260

If you would like to sponsor this event, please contact Heather Sears at Heather@AnglersForConservation.org or 321-474-8202.

8430 Enterprise Circle, STE 140
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202

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