Good Deeds

The staff of Sarasota Orthopedic Associates is once again participating in its Giving Tree Project to fulfill the wishes of local families in need. The staff is purchasing new clothing as well as wishlist items such as toys, dolls, games and crafts.

Anyone wishing to donate to this effort may drop off a new toy or cash donation at any of the Sarasota Orthopedic Associates locations before Dec. 13.

Gifts and gift cards will be delivered to local families in time for Christmas. Circus Arts Sarasota is partnering with SOA in the Giving Tree Project. For drop-off locations in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch and Venice, visit

Mental Health Community Centers was one of six area nonprofit organizations recognized as partners at the recent soft opening of Lucky’s Market at Westfield Siesta Key mall, in Sarasota. The organic and health food grocery store will donate 10 percent of the sale of its “L” brand and from its “Bags for Change” program to MHCC as one beneficiary.

In addition, three members of the Lucky’s team visited MHCC on Oct. 12 and served lunch.

Major sponsors of the Family Promise Dream Walk on Nov. 11 in downtown Venice were: title sponsor,Pinkerton Wealth Management; gold sponsors, Boone, Boone, Boone & Koda, P.A.Englewood United Methodist Church, Community Eye Center & St. Lucy’s Eye Surgery Center, Beebe Design Studio and Venice Presbyterian Church; and real estate agent Tony Babington, individual sponsor.

Family Promise of South Sarasota County helps families who are suddenly homeless find safe and stable housing.

Friendship Centers, a nonprofit organization serving older adults in Southwest Florida for more than 40 years, has received a capping grant of $13,386 from the Frank E. Duckwall Foundation. The grant brings the total raised to $43,386, the amount needed to start removing worn flooring from the medical clinic patient rooms, hallways, staff areas and waiting rooms in preparation for much-needed new flooring throughout.

Several organizations provided funding for the project: $7,500 from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s Arthur T. Esslinger Memorial Fund, $13,500 from the Linnie E. Dalbeck Foundation, $5,000 from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Community Health Endowment Fund and a small contribution from Friendship Centers’ building fund.

In 2016, Friendship Centers Health Clinics provided more than 15,000 patient visits in Sarasota, Lee and Collier counties. The clinics provide care for those over 50 who are uninsured or underinsured and are in need of medical or dental care.

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County was recently given a $2,814.74 check by Sarasota Informa Group PLC. The donation came as a welcome surprise during a recent meeting with Informa team members, including Accounting Director Mike Kyathfield, Senior Accountant Ashley Williams and Accounts Receivable Specialist Rebecca Rabideau.

Earlier this year, Informa employees raised $1,840 for the Education Foundation during their international “Walk The World” campaign. The successful campaign earned Informa and the Education Foundation the “Best Charity Partner” award, resulting in the additional funds.

The Women’s Council of Realtors Sarasota Chapter President, Maryellen Paterson, presented a check for $2,396.52 to Mothers Helping Mothers President Madeline Brogan and Executive Director Terry Stottlemyer at the WCR October business resource meeting.

Mothers Helping Mothers was designated the beneficiary to a portion of the proceeds from the Women’s Council of Realtors annual Fashion Show, held Sept. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota.

Since 1990, Mothers Helping Mothers has been an all-volunteer not-for-profit organization, providing basic necessities free of charge to families in need.

Stearns Bank NA is donating $250,000 to the American Red Cross to aid local relief efforts in areas of Texas and Florida affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In addition, Stearns Bank employees, with a matching donation from the Norman C. Skalicky Foundation, have given $30,000 to support the American Red Cross.

The $250,000 donation is part of a broader hurricane relief program implemented by Stearns Bank, offering customers in Texas and Florida the chance to repair and rebuild from hurricane damage using zero percent interest loans with no fees.

Since its launch Sept. 18, more than 200 business customers within the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s designated area have taken part in Stearns Bank’s Hurricane Relief Express Loan program.

Stearns Bank has branches in Florida, Arizona and Minnesota.

The Huisking Family Foundation has donated $10,000 to the State College of Florida Foundation to help build a Digital Production Studio in the new SCF Library & Learning Center. The $10,000 pledge qualifies for an SCF Trustee/Director match, making the donation a total of $20,000.

The Digital Production Studio is integral to students who study filmmaking and digital production at SCF and will provide students with the tools they need to succeed. The equipment will be state of the art and the space will allow for individual projects and collaboration.

The Huisking Family Foundation primarily supports arts and culture, education, the environment, animal protection, hospitals, health and human services and religious purposes.

The Healthy Start Coalition of Sarasota County Inc. received a $40,000 grant from the Bank of America Client Foundation, Virginia White Clark Fund, Bank of America NA, Trustee, to support its Save My Life Program.

Created in 2006 in response to the alarming racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, the Save My Life Program was designed to address the significantly higher rates of poor birth and health outcomes, such as low birth weight, prematurity, and fetal and infant death, experienced by African Americans.

The Save My Life Program offers culturally relevant education provided in group settings or home visits about a variety of health and pregnancy-related topics. The program provides the tools and information women need to have healthy pregnancies, birth healthy babies and become healthier themselves. Classes are offered free-of-charge at various locations throughout the Newtown and North Sarasota areas and cover topics such as childbirth education, breastfeeding, nutrition, safe sleep, preconception and interconception health, smoking cessation and more.

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership helped 72 families in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid on Oct. 12 at Sarasota High School.

Trained community volunteers from CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, UnidosNow and United Way Suncoast, as well as financial aid officers from Ringling College of Art & Design, State College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Keiser University, offered guidance on completing the application.

Later in October, the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership provided help for many more Sarasota County high school seniors and their families at North Port High School and Booker High School.

The FAFSA is required for any student applying for federal and state financial aid programs, such as the Pell grant, as well as for many scholarship programs. Through local efforts made by the Talent4Tomorrow Partnership last year, 45.5 percent of Sarasota County high school seniors completed the FAFSA, a 9.1 increase from the previous year.

The Talent4Tomorrow Partnership is a broad community collaborative known as a “Local College Access Network.” Lead agencies in the partnership include Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County Schools, Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce,UnidosNow and United Way Suncoast.

Additional support for the FAFSA assistance events comes from the Florida Philanthropic Network through its College Access & Success Initiative.

The owners of a local pet store have made sure some hardworking dogs will have plenty of kibble.

Petland Bradenton owners Stephen and Taylor Benecke made a donation to pay for food for the nine patrol dogs at the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office. The Sheriff’s Office says the donation will save more than $10,000 a year.

Sheriff Rick Wells, the dogs and their handlers accepted the donation at Petland, 3560 53 rd Ave. W.

Staff members from the Sarasota office of Bouchard Insurance recently volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, an organization dedicated to building affordable homes for struggling, low-income families and individuals.

Bouchard Insurance team members worked on a home in Sarasota, doing everything from painting the interior and exterior to setting the foundation for future landscaping.

The employees also learned a little about the family who will enjoy the home when it is finished. The Bouchard team will return for the dedication of the home to the family.

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is building a Studio for the Performing Arts with the help of a $10,000 grant from the Scheidel Foundation to kick off the $3.5 million capital campaign.

The Studio for the Performing Arts, which will be funded largely through private donations, will be strategically joined to SCF’s Neel Performing Arts Center and Howard Studio Theatre. It is being developed to support the growth of music, art and theatrical programs, and as the largest community performing arts center in Manatee County to provide an outreach to populations with limited access to such amenities.

The studio will offer intimate performances, deeper learning experiences for students in practice rooms and recital areas with ideal acoustics. A nearly 6,000-square-foot recital hall will include a grand piano, performance lighting and sound system with recording capability. It will seat 175 visitors for concerts and shows.

The Frank E. Duckwall Foundation has issued a challenge grant to raise money to build a Visualization Theatre classroom in the new Library & Learning Center at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. For every $1 donated to the project through March 31, 2018, the Duckwall Foundation will donate $1, up to $100,000.

The donation qualifies for another match of $200,000 from the SCF Board of Trustees and the SCF Foundation’s Board of Directors, bringing the total donation to $400,000.

The Visualization Theatre classroom, which will seat 40 students or visitors at a time, is designed to provide library users with a contemporary digital learning environment. It will offer 270-degree immersive projection on three walls for 80 linear feet of display surface, zoned audio systems, cameras for real-time video capture and collaboration spaces. The Library & Learning Center is expected to be completed in 2018.

The first installment of the grant, based on matching funds, will be distributed in March 2018. For information or to donate to this campaign, contact Barbara Bourgoin, director of development for the State College of Florida Foundation, at or call 752-5398.

The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida has awarded a $14,305 grant to Charlotte County Habitat for Humanity to support a single mother’s dream of owning a home for her family.

The grant underscores the foundation’s commitment to invest $500,000 in causes that help local women and girls by 2020 to ElevateHer SWFL. ElevateHer SWFL, an initiative of the Women’s Foundation, engages the community in the philanthropic process by providing a platform to invest in programs that educate, boost security and entrepreneurship, and advocate from a woman’s perspective.

Thanks to corporate and individual donors, over $192,826 has been invested to date by the Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida toward the 2020 ElevateHer SWFL goal of $500,000.

The Venice High School Foundation, which met on Oct. 18, has awarded 20 mini-grants of up to $600 each, totaling $10,531.60, to VHS teachers.

The mini-grants were awarded to: Linda Reynolds, $600.00 to help fund the Golden Eagle Awards of Excellence Program; Christine Pomerleau, $500 to create designs and update bulletin boards for communication with students, teachers and staff; Cary Willgren, $420 to buy whiteboards for daily use of graphing algebraic and geometric graphs; Mary Dembinski, $373.80 to buy Texas Instruments Scientific calculators for End of Course exams; Elizabeth Donofrio, $600 to cover preparing breakfast and lunch, as well as decorating door prizes, in connection with schoolwide Literacy Celebration in January 2018; Shari Valencic, $597.42 to buy materials to develop and execute Visible Learning-related vocabulary reading and discussion; Gail Bruder-Werner, $337.49 to buy SyncSpace software and an Apple iPad Wi-Fi tablet to encourage shy students to use a familiar tool with demonstrating through visual mark-making; Brenda Bartlett, $600 for Renaissance promotional incentives, monthly socials and weekly awards to recognize extraordinary students on a weekly basis; Janet Allen, $600 to buy award-winning young adult books; Barry Rossheim, $600 to buy food for animals in the animal room; Dan Kelly, $600 to buy water filters in order to maintain the water tank in Marine Science; Cynthia Hamilton, $597.58 to buy assorted supplies to be used in making homemade paper from recycled magazines, etc.; David Monagra, $600 to buy high voltage bulbs, sand and batteries need for the I.S. Film Studies class; Nadia Carlston, $227.65 to buy a Flags of the World Political Wall Map for ESL students; Robert Lash, $339.96 to buy various electronic kits to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of modern day electronics; Wendy Dunn, $537.30 to buy authentic Spanish language resources for students to use to explore ways to increase communicative proficiency in Spanish; Laura Semian, $600 to supply assorted food, prizes, rewards and incentives to motivate and reward students enrolled in the VHS PBD program; Coti Delgado, $600 to buy 40 students and one teacher subscriptions to the Membean vocabulary program; Eric Jackson, $600 tobuy supplies and equipment to support the newly established VHS Connects program; and Nicole Wolfe, $600 to buy honor cords to recognize graduating students who qualify based on their grade-point average.