Children First Summer 2022 Newsletter

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SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

CHILDREN FIRST

SPRING/SUMMER 2022 NEWSLETTER

2022

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chair Jaqueline W. Ray, Ph.D. Vice-Chair Rev. Brock H. Leach Secretary Lisa Giglio Treasurer Katrina Otchet Chair Emeritus Katherine Martucci Directors Barbara G. Benson Howard Berman Andrea Johnson Keith G. Johnson Michael Keebaugh Elenor Maxheim Linda Monda Elizabeth Stamoulis, Esq. Joe Stephan Michael K. Suarez

DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING

LEADERSHIP President & CEO Philip Tavill Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers Vice President of Programs Kathleen Sullivan

TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

A World of Possibilities A LETTER FROM CEO PHILIP TAVILL :

I love spring as it heads into summer! Up north, you might see Crocuses and Lilies of the Valley peeking up from beneath a newly fallen snow. While we don’t have that here, what we do have is a sense of renewal that comes with spring that makes me believe anything is possible.

to grow, peaking at around 140 income-eligible infants and toddlers waiting for their place at Children First. A big part of our future will be finding ways to whittle away at that list, and that involves finding both the space and the funding to make that happen.

At Children First, I see all those wonderful possibilities in the faces of our 4- and 5-year-olds who soon will be going off to Kindergarten. With our school year having ended on May 27, a big part of our job was making sure these young students were ready for that transition.

Some good news when it comes to our infants and toddlers: We have been able to expand all our infant and toddler programming to yearround! When I came to Children First 26 years ago, we didn’t have a whole lot of kids during the summer, because we didn’t have funding. Now, we have 240 infants and toddlers on a 12-month cycle. With our Head Start students, we are moving in that direction, with the goal being year-round for everybody, eliminating any summer slide.

Of course, it’s not just about having the kids ready to go. It’s also about working with the families, urging them to attend Kindergarten “round-ups,” where they go and visit what the kids call “the big school,” making sure all the necessary paperwork is in place, especially in families where English is the second language. It can be a little bit daunting to make sure everything has been done right, and we help them through that process. We also work with young parents at both Riverview and North Port high schools through their Teen Parent Programs, making sure that these young parents can transition their children to Kindergarten smoothly and effectively. We are proud of the wonderful, longstanding partnership we have with these schools.

Yet another area we are excited about is to be bringing a third mental health specialist on staff. We are doing this in a complementary approach, working with those agencies we have partnered with for years. This is not to replace services we receive from other organizations, such as the School Board or the Florida Center. Instead, we will continue working collaboratively with them to produce even better results for our children, families, and staff. It’s all because of our community’s generous support that we are able to take these important steps forward.

It’s always an exciting time of year, and we are thrilled for our 83 young students who will soon be moving on to an exciting new chapter in their lives.

Sincerely,

This time of year also brings us the chance to turn challenges into opportunities. Over the years, as we have grown, the wait list for our Head Start students, ages 3-5, has diminished significantly. But as we expanded into infant and toddler care, the wait list there has continued

Philip Tavill President & CEO

Announcing

OUR 2022 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Dr. Jacque Ray Chair

Katherine Martucci Chair Emeritus

Elenor Maxheim Director

We are proud to announce our slate of board leadership for 2022 and welcome Elenor Maxheim to the Board of Directors for her third term. At our agency’s annual board reception on March 1, Jacqueline W. Ray, Ph.D. was formally welcomed as Board Chair. Rev. Brock H. Leach was also welcomed as Vice Chair, Katrina Otchet as Treasurer, and Lisa Giglio as Secretary. Katherine Martucci was thanked for her service throughout 2021 as she stepped into her new role as Chair Emeritus. Dr. Jacque Ray is a Professor Emeritus and former higher education administrator and psychologist. She has served on the Board of Directors since 2018, and as former Treasurer and Vice Chair she continues to lend strategic insight into team building, strong governance, and leadership. Elenor Maxheim, retired realtor and business owner comes back onto the board after previously serving two consecutive terms from 2012 to 2017. She also co-chaired Children First’s successful $3.8 MM Raise Your Hand campaign that helped enhance and expand programs serving our community’s most at-risk children and families. Additional directors on the board include Barbara G. Benson, Howard Berman, Andrea Johnson, Keith G. Johnson, Michael Keebaugh, Linda Monda, Elizabeth Stamoulis, Esq., Joe Stephan, and Michael K. Suarez. The Children First Board of Directors is comprised of community members and leaders from the human services, corporate, investment, and philanthropic sectors of our region.

WE ENVISION

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED! DEDICATED GROUP INSPIRES COMMUNITY TO MAKE CHANGES THROUGH ADVERSE TIMES

The ChallengeFOR CHANGING LIVES

OUR COMMUNITY RAISED OVER $2.3MM IN HONOR OF OUR AGENCY’S 60TH ANNIVERSARY DURING THE CHALLENGE FOR CHANGING LIVES The matching gift challenge was led by the Diamond Circle, a dedicated group of extraordinary supporters leading the charge in advancing the mission of strengthening children and families. Their combined contribution matched, dollar for dollar $1,060,000, given by hundreds of individuals and couples, private foundations, and corporations, all within our local community. The key philanthropists comprising the Diamond Circle membership include: two anonymous donors; individuals, couples and foundations including: Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, Dawn and Mitchell Epstein, Julie and Brock Leach, Joan and Dr. Bart Levenson, Katherine and Frank Martucci, Elenor Maxheim in loving memory of John Maxheim, Keith Monda and Veronica Brady, Leslie and Dick Rivera, Gaye and Jack Schwarz, and Karen Solem in loving memory of Charles Forman; couples including: John Bean and Alexandra Jupin, Lisa and John Giglio, Carol and Richard Kalikow,

and Bob and Lin Williams; and couples and individuals including: Alison and Howie Madsen in loving memory of Gerri Aaron, Jo and Stan Rutstein, Mike Rutstein, and CEO Philip Tavill.“The shared commitment from our Diamond Circle members and all who joined The Challenge is an investment, not just in the futures of our children and families, but the future of our community and the world we live in. As we celebrate Children First’s 60th Anniversary, we are deeply grateful for this heartfelt support that will result in social, educational, and economic dividends now and well into the future,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “It has been amazing to see this trailblazing philanthropy from some of our most passionate supporters inspire a community-wide challenge that was not just met but exceeded,” says Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers. “This is a beautiful representation not just of this historic milestone for our agency, but of the greater Sarasota community’s vision to create equal access to opportunities so that all can thrive.”

TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

CEO PHILIP TAVILL

Celebrates 25 years On December 11, 2021, CEO Philip Tavill was honored for 25 years of service to our community and for his commitment to transforming the lives of children and families. He has led our agency to extraordinary heights since stepping into his role in 1996, including the expansion of the Early Head Start program serving babies as young as six weeks old, the growth from 5 locations to 15 sites across Sarasota County, and the formation of our awardwinning Nurturing Dads Initiative and Families First Institute. Under his guidance and leadership, Children First has been named a Program of Excellence four consecutive times, ranking in the top 1% of more than 1,800 programs nationwide. Tavill’s efforts helped kick start a national fatherhood programming initiative that resulted in him presenting the program at a National Head Start Association national conference. His community contributions range from serving on the inaugural board of Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence (SCOPE) to being a United Way campaign Unit Chair for five years to, most recently, representing Children First as one of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation’s First 1000 Days Sarasota County initiative partners. He has participated in various other initiatives positively impacting our community including serving as the Quality Assurance Committee Chair for the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant, and as a mentor with the Sunshine State Library Leadership Mentoring Program through the Florida State Library Association. Tavill is currently the co-chair for the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s 2021-2022 Leadership Sarasota Class. In 2021, Tavill was honored with the prestigious President’s Award by the Sarasota NAACP, as well as Best Nonprofit Leader in the 2021 Best of SRQ Local competition by SRQ Magazine and our community. He also received the 2021 Unity Award from Sarasota Magazine for his commitment to bridging divides across racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, socioeconomic, and physical and mental ability groups. In 2020, he received the Impact in Action Award from the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. As an outstanding graduate of Leadership Sarasota, Class of 1993, Tavill was recognized for the direct impact he has made on thousands of children and families living at-risk.

WE ENVISION

PHILIP’S LONGEVITY IS A TESTAMENT TO HIS DEDICATION TO THE CHILDREN AND FAMILIES WE SERVE. His focus on mission and dedication to serving those most in need is reflected in the community accolades the agency has received. These include but are not limited to: The Nonprofit Times 2021 Best Nonprofits to Work For; being named a top place of employment in Sarasota-Manatee for three consecutive years in the Best Places to Work competition (2019-2021); Platinum Winner in SRQ Magazine’s 2021 Best of SRQ Local competition in five categories: Best Organization to Provide COVID-19 Support, Best Nonprofit to Adapt, Best Children’s Nonprofit, Best Nonprofit Leader – Philip Tavill, and Best Preschool; Silver Winner in the Best Local Nonprofit category; WEDU’s 2019 Nonprofit of the Year, and the Sarasota NAACP’s Education Award. Inspired by his father’s work helping others as a physician in public health, Tavill attended Case Western University, where he earned dual master’s degrees in social work and nonprofit management and found his true passion: working with families and young children living at risk. Prior to his work with Children First, he served as the Executive Director of the Loveland Center. The entire Children First Board of Directors, as well as many past members of the board, made a collective gift of $150,000 to name the Executive Suite at the Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center in his honor, which will also help to seed the agency’s endowment as a tribute to his commitment to the future of Children First. “Philip demonstrates that there is nothing more important than opening the doors of opportunity for the children and families in Sarasota County who need it most. It’s so rare for a CEO to remain with one organization for the majority of his / her career. Philip’s longevity is a testament to his dedication to the children and families we serve. We are so fortunate that he has called Children First his home for a quarter century and are so excited at where the agency is headed under his continued leadership,” says Board Chair Emeritus Katherine Martucci.

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


Thank you

CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

FOR JOINING US AT OUR FALL 2021 EVENTS:

13TH ANNUAL FLIP FLOPS & FASHION LUNCHEON AND 8TH ANNUAL ROCKIN’ LOBSTER BEACH PARTY! Flip Flops & Fashion was a beautiful day on the beach, where guests created a fashionable, fun, and philanthropic afternoon. Attendees heard firsthand from Heather McDonough, an incredible woman and mother to 2-year-old Bentley, whose life transformed when she found Children First, after previously experiencing the effects of homelessness. At Rockin’ Lobster, supporters enjoyed a spectacular sunset as they dined and danced in celebration of our mission. Guests also heard firsthand the power of Children First to transform lives with the story of Maria and Jorge Somera, who overcame years of trial and tribulation to flourish as a beautiful family with three happy, healthy children. We are proud to announce that because of you, we met and exceeded our goal and have purchased new playground equipment and shade structures for our children. Thank you! The celebrations were for the many children and families whose lives will change for the better because of your support. Please consider taking a tour at one of our 15 locations to learn more about the work Children First does to transform lives. You may get the chance to snuggle a newborn baby, read with a toddler, or run around on the playground with a preschooler.

Most importantly, you will see your impact in action. Thank you for attending and supporting Children First!

SRQ GOOD HERO AWARDS AND CHANGE AGENTS PHILANTHROPIC AWARDS Children First staff member Bonnie Eskell and our agency’s 60th Anniversary Diamond Circle were honored for their incredible contributions to our community at SRQ Magazine’s Good Hero Philanthropic Awards in December of 2021. As a long-time employee, Bonnie serves as an Early Learning Inclusion Coordinator on the agency’s Comprehensive Services team, working to provide support to every child enrolled in the program with a diagnosed disability. Disabilities can include, but are not limited to, developmental delays, autism, or sensory processing disorder. She previously served as site manager of Children First’s main campus, the Dr. Elaine Marieb Center in Sarasota, where she helped lead more than 40 staff in serving nearly 150 children and their families across 11 classrooms. “Bonnie and the members of the Diamond Circle were recognized as ambassadors of the incredible spirit of giving back in our region, as well as for their significant impact in realizing the Children First vision. We are deeply grateful for this steadfast support that keeps our mission moving forward each day,” says CEO Philip Tavill. In March of 2022, Children First was one of five human service agencies honored at the 2022 Change Agents in Philanthropy Awards by SRQ Magazine. These awards were created to focus on the capacity of the independent sector to be innovative in the face of change in fundraising, donor cultivation and development, mission, programming, branding and visibility and operations. The community was invited to nominate local nonprofits, local nonprofit programs and individuals who have embraced change and leveraged innovative thinking, strategies and practices in engaging their organization to more powerfully realize its mission.

TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

INTO THE WOODS Once upon a time, on April 9 to be exact,

more than 300 guests traveled “Into the Woods” for the 22nd annual Fairytale Ball, hosted by Children First at Michael’s on East, which was decorated as a magical forest, filled with dreams and discoveries waiting to be made. The sold-out event was the first in-person gala event in three years, due to the Covid pandemic. While there were many highlights, the best was saved for last. An incredible response to the live and silent auctions and a record-setting paddle raise added nearly $400,000 to Children First coffers, with the net from the event exceeding all other previous galas. Allen and Stephanie Hochfelder, long-time supporters and volunteers at Children First, were then invited to the stage. CEO Philip Tavill announced that they had made two donations: a $300,000 multiyear gift, and a significant legacy commitment to Children First Forever, the agency’s planned giving society. The evening began with guests perusing silent auction items, before taking their seats. Miss Sarasota 2022, Lauren Nielsen, opened the event by singing “Children Will Listen,” a song from Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.” Vice President of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers took center stage, thanking donors for standing by Children First during the pandemic, noting that “your support never, ever wavered.” She then introduced a video of the evening’s co-chairs: Dr. Jacqueline and Lacy Ray, Linda Monda and John Mabardi, and Kathy and Tom Cook. This was followed by moving videos of several Children First success stories, beginning with Denise Pacheco Cabrera and her 5-year-old daughter, Deybrianise. “Children First is not just about helping our children, it is about creating success for the entire family,” Denise noted. She was followed by a story about Children First alumna Breanna Browning, who started her own company, The Cookie Monster Cookies. The delicious cookies were distributed by volunteers dressed as Little Red Riding Hood to anyone making a donation during the paddle raise.

WE ENVISION

Left to right: Cochairs Lacy & Dr. Jacque Ray; Christine Laramee, MD & CEO Philip Tavill; VP of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers; Linda Monda & John Mabardi. Not pictured: Kathy & Tom Cook

The in-person parent speaker was Olivia Harvey, a Children First alumna herself, who described the impact of Children First on her entire family including Maliya, who is currently enrolled at Children First and looking forward to attending kindergarten in the fall. “Our entire family has benefited from its services,” Olivia said. “In fact, Miss LaTonda, who was once my teacher, is now my daughter’s teacher.” With help from Children First and the agency’s Job Skills Training course, funded in part by Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Olivia earned a new position as a Teacher’s Aide at Sarasota School of Arts and Sciences. Her goals include going on to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, teaching math and then moving into school administration, ultimately running for the local school board. “A whole new world of possibilities has opened up,” said Olivia. “Children First is a change-maker in our community, child-by-child, and family-by-family.” Following dinner and the fundraising, guests heard from CEO Philip Tavill. “Everything we do at Children First is about our mission,” he said. “And everything we do is embedded in the support of our community. We have deep, deep roots in this community, roots that enable our young saplings to grow into mighty trees … By going ‘Into the Woods,’ we continue to show our families that no matter how difficult the journey may seem, hard work and a strong system of support will always prevail.”

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

Philanthropy in Action:

COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM It’s never too early to plan for college. While the mission of Children First is to strengthen children and families in our community by providing a strong foundation for children ages birth to five, our work does not stop there. The CFC College Fund was recently started by two of our very dedicated donors in order to give Children First’s young students a “Head Start” as their families begin planning for their college educations. Already, 20 families have applied for 25 children who would benefit from this fund. As one parent wrote, “I would like to participate in the College Scholarship Program because I am a young mother and would like to give my children the best education there is… I want them to know that the sky is the limit and they can do anything they put their minds to!” The two founding donors of the fund, who wished to remain anonymous, explained why they felt the CFC College Fund was important for them to support. “Our intention is to provide a college fund for as many young people as possible. Children First CEO Philip Tavill suggested that by starting at a young age, the individual will have approximately $5,000 of principal in their fund as they enter the public school system. The hope for the outcome can best be expressed by a quotation from Frederick Douglass, who said, ‘It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.’ We believe in early intervention and want to encourage others to give.” “We selected Children First because it is a highly efficient organization, similar to the Early Learning Coalition, where a donor can see the effect of his or her contribution now and as a child moves forward through high school and beyond.” The initial goal of the plan was to fund 20 children to start – a goal which has been quickly met and exceeded. The funds have been set up as 529 College Savings Plans as part of a three-year pilot program with the founding donors.

Moving forward, the hope is that through private philanthropic support, additional donors will enable the creation of even more 529 college savings plans for Children First students. To be considered for one of the college savings plans, the family must have been engaged for a minimum of one academic year with Children First, with the children in the family between 6 months and 2 years of age. Parents are encouraged to contribute what they can to the fund, though it is not required. If you are interested in learning more about the CFC College Fund, contact Jessica Rogers, Vice President of Philanthropy, (941) 953-3877 or at jrogers@childrenfirst.net.

On behalf of our Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers, thank you to everyone for your thoughtful support of Children First during the 2022 Giving Challenge and being the one to create rays of hope and sunshine for our children and families! We are proud to share that, with the match on top of the match provided by Children First supporter Linda Rhault, and a total of 260 gifts made by you, our wonderful community of supporters, your impact TRIPLED to raise a total of $128,969! As our most successful Giving Challenge campaign to-date, Children First landed at 14th place overall out of 669 participating nonprofits. We are also excited to share that we placed 9th in the large organization category for overall donor gifts! We appreciate Giving Challenge host Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation. A big shout out to Venice Pier Group for hosting our agency at the second annual Giving Challenge Fair at Sharky’s On the Pier, and for everyone who visited with us! TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

Holiday Happenings

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR HOLIDAY HEROES, WHO HELPED ADOPT EVERY CHILD AND FAMILY IN OUR PROGRAM THIS HOLIDAY SEASON!

2022 ACCOLADES 2022 SARASOTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE SMALL BUSINESS AWARDS NONPROFIT OF THE YEAR 2022 SRQ MAGAZINE BEST OF SRQ LOCAL TWO-TIME WINNER BEST LOCAL NONPROFIT, SILVER BEST COMMUNITY ACCOMPLISHMENT – DIAMOND CIRCLE, BRONZE HONORABLE MENTIONS: BEST NONPROFIT LEADER, PHILIP TAVILL AND BEST CHILDREN’S NONPROFIT

2022 SRQ MAGAZINE CHANGE AGENTS IN PHILANTHROPY RECIPIENT 2022 GOOD HERO PHILANTHROPIC AWARD WINNER TWO-TIME WINNER BONNIE ESKELL, CHILDREN FIRST EARLY LEARNING INCLUSION COORDINATOR DIAMOND CIRCLE – THE CHALLENGE FOR CHANGING LIVES

2022 PLATINUM SEAL OF TRANSPARENCY FROM GUIDESTAR.ORG, THE WORLD’S LARGEST RESOURCE FOR NONPROFIT INFORMATION, HELPING TO INFORM CHARITABLE DECISIONS WE ENVISION

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


CHILDREN FIRST

Seeking

VOLUNTEERS

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

Children First is one of 24 nonprofits selected across the entire state to receive a grant from Volunteer Florida, and we want you to join our team! Our agency has received a $20,000 grant that supports 400 skills-based volunteers in contributing 3,000 hours. These volunteers will mentor parents as part of our awardwinning Families First Institute and Parent Training Program. Volunteer Florida’s VGF program, which is funded by AmeriCorps, helps organizations recruit skills-based volunteers to serve Florida students, families and communities in need. Skills-based volunteerism expands the impact of nonprofit organizations by leveraging the experience and skillsets of professionals such as teachers, IT consultants, accountants and attorneys. To get involved and become a volunteer mentor, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Jean Ward at jward@ childrenfirst.net or by calling 941-953-3877 ext. 1129.

Congratulations to Ollie Johnson on earning the 2022 JLS Sustainer of the Year Award! As a long-time Children First volunteer and supporter, Ollie helped organize the 2021 Capstone Volunteer Week and is leading the charge on another volunteer initiative with our agency, the Vivacious Volunteers.

Capstone Week

Thank you to the Junior League of Sarasota (JLS) Sustainers, who volunteered with us for an entire week to commemorate the Junior League’s founding of Children First (then Sarasota Day Nursery) in 1961! The week kicked off with a reading day at our Dr. Elaine Marieb Center in Sarasota, followed by a special nutritional activity at both our Marieb and Venice campuses the next day.

During this special event, Sustainers enjoyed working with teachers and children to build sustainable peppermint plant hubs to be used in weekly nutritional and cultural food menus.

Volunteers also spent time during the week assisting staff with feeding breakfast to our infants and toddlers, as well as rocking our youngest children and even having fun making rocket ships and playing tag and other games on our playgrounds! The peppermint plant hubs were generously underwritten by the JLS Sustainers, in partnership with the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS).

Thank you!

TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

CREATING A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE THROUGH CROSS-SECTOR PARTNERSHIPS

Solar energy and sustainable practices are setting records across America and the state of Florida as demand for renewable resources continues to grow. As part of an on-going effort in environmental stewardship for Sarasota County, Children First is working to create a more sustainable future through a cross-sector partnership, Partners for Green Places (PGP). Launched in October of 2019 with the goal of encouraging organizations and businesses to commit to energy efficiency and sustainability, Children First was ultimately selected as one of three nonprofit organizations to pilot this prestigious initiative. Having already undertaken several sustainability efforts including solar hot water heaters and energy efficient insulation, PGP created further opportunity for Children First to strengthen its environmental impact by assisting the agency in conducting a detailed energy audit. “Based on our organization’s previous efficiency improvements, the PGP team decided to audit our North Port campus. The structure was built in 2007 and in need of substantial upgrades. After receiving an energy assessment and implementing new efficient practices, our North Port campus has seen a 20-25% reduction in energy usage, as well as a 40% reduction in water usage. This helped us to realize Children First’s full potential in becoming a catalyst for sustainable change in our community,” says CEO Philip Tavill. In September of 2021, Children First celebrated the successful installation of new solar panels at the agency’s main campus in Sarasota. The 117.26 kW photovoltaic solar system was completed by Brilliant Harvest and has generated 177.9 MWh of electricity in its first year, exceeding 99.9% of expectations. To date, its net savings have surpassed $10,000, with total consumption achieving an 8% reduction. The agency’s overall goal is to become net-zero for all electricity consumption moving forward.

WE ENVISION

“WITH 83% OF OUR FAMILIES LIVING BELOW THE FEDERAL POVERTY LEVEL ($23,030 FOR A FAMILY OF THREE), THESE INVESTMENTS FROM OUR COMMUNITY PARTNERS COULD NOT COME AT A MORE CRITICAL JUNCTURE” —PHILIP TAVILL Current and future Children First sustainability projects include implementation of LED lighting at all 15 facilities, upgrading all HVAC units to high efficiency heat pumps with programmable thermostats, investing in resource efficiency to promote conservation throughout the organization, and a future solar photovoltaic system installed at other locations, including North Port. “With 83% of our families living below the Federal Poverty Level ($23,030 for a family of three), these investments from our community partners could not come at a more critical juncture,” says CEO Philip Tavill. “Every efficiency translates into more support for our mission, which means a higher level of service for more children and families. The future looks brighter than ever before as we continue to benefit from ‘bringing sunshine’ to Children First through sustainable energy practices.” Partners for Green Places is a collaboration between the City of Sarasota and Sarasota County sustainability, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The pilot program, seeded by the Partners for Places matching grant program, a joint project of The Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, grew to include William G. and Marie Selby Foundation and Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Seeing the potential for greater impact, DreamLarge made a catalytic investment in establishing a strategy, brand, and platform to showcase the partnership between philanthropy and sustainability and use it as an inspirational tool to drive awareness and adoption of sustainable measures.

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


CHILDREN FIRST

SUMMER NEWSLETTER 2022

TEACHER RESOURCE ROOM NAMED FOR LONG-TIME SUPPORTERS

W

e are proud to announce the naming of Children First’s Teacher Resource Room for long-time supporters Katherine and Frank Martucci. In a special ceremony with board members and staff, the couple was recognized for their most recent gift of $150,000, directed by Frank in honor of Katherine’s board leadership and volunteerism. The Martucci’s philanthropic spirits has them deeply invested within the nonprofit community. Through their support of Children First, the exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start services for Sarasota County, the couple have transformed the lives of our area’s most vulnerable young children and families. After starting as a classroom volunteer in 2015, Katherine became further empowered to make a difference in the lives of others by joining the Children First Board of Directors. In 2021, she was elected as Chair of the Board where she displayed trailblazing leadership during a time of extreme duress, and since stepping into the newer role of Chair Emeritus has continued her deep commitment to the agency’s mission alongside Frank. Throughout the agency’s 60th anniversary, the couple came together with a dedicated group of extraordinary supporters to form Children First’s Diamond Circle, raising over $2.3MM to help ensure equal access to opportunities for all. “Frank and I have a deep love and respect for the Children First mission. To be recognized as having made positive changes in the lives of those who are in need means the world, but not quite as much as knowing that families are happy and healthy as they reach their goals and find success. As a volunteer, having those kids light up when they see me and run up to give me a hug, knowing their lives are improving—it means

Katherine and Frank Martucci

more than anything. Having three wonderful children and five equally wonderful grandchildren of our own, I know Frank feels the same.” “Our teacher resource room was designed to increase the available space for our staff, as well as create an environment of collaboration, networking, and planning that is crucial to the success of our children and families. With nearly one third of our staff members also being Children First parents, those we serve are fully enveloped in our mission, as are those who support them, like Katherine and Frank. Thank you for working with us to envision a community where everyone, regardless of circumstance at birth or in life, can thrive beyond their wildest imagination,” says CEO Philip Tavill.

Honoring Helen Dixon

& THE HISTORIC NEWTOWN DAY NURSERY

Left to right: VP of Philanthropy Jessica Rogers, Newtown Day Nursery Alumni Dorothy Rainey and Helen Jones Dixon, Children First Regional Manager Sara Wilson, and Children First CEO Philip Tavill

We are proud to honor Helen Jones Dixon, who was the first ever student enrolled with the historic Newtown Day Nursery, now Children First, alongside her sister Katherine in 1938. Helen was given a plaque from CEO Philip Tavill to commemorate this incredible achievement. With roots running deep in the Newtown community, Helen is a long-time advocate for children and families in need. Congratulations Helen! It is with the help of trailblazers like you that Children First continues to transform lives, now and into the future.

TO STRENGTHEN CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BY IMPROVING THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES THROUGH A COMPREHENSIVE APPROACH TO DEVELOPMENT, EDUCATION, HEALTH, AND WELL-BEING.

OUR MISSION


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1723 North Orange Avenue Sarasota, FL 34234 (941) 953-3877 childrenfirst.net

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SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR FALL EVENTS!

YOUR LEGACY

Thank you to our Flip Flops & Fashion Presenting Sponsor and Fashion Partner Bealls Family of Stores!

YOU CAN HELP US SUPPORT CHILDREN AND FAMILIES FOREVER. As a supporter of Children First, you understand the importance of providing high-quality early childhood education and family strengthening services to at-risk children and families. We want to safeguard our life-changing programs for generations to come. It is critical we continue planting the seeds today for a brighter future. Which is why we would like to invite you to join our Legacy Society - Children First Forever - by notifying us of your intent to leave Children First a planned gift. There are many different ways you can create your legacy. Some options include: BEQUEST • LIVING TRUST • LIFE INSURANCE • REAL ESTATE

Thank you to our Rockin’ Lobster Presenting Sponsor TRUIST!

WE ENVISION

A legacy gift is not about leaving something behind, it is about creating something even better ahead. By making a planned gift to Children First, you will ensure your legacy of generosity and open a world of possibilities for thousands of children and families for years to come.

A VIBRANT COMMUNITY THAT CHERISHES EDUCATION, PROVIDES OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES TO GROW AND THRIVE, AND ENCOURAGES AND EMPOWERS FAMILIES IN SUPPORTING THEIR CHILDREN.


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