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Building Stronger Community Connections Stewart & Trudy Moon with Amanda & John Horne Story by Ryan G. Van Cleave | Photo by Daniel Perales In December, John and Amanda Horne of the Anna Maria Oyster Bar and Trudy and Stewart Moon of Air & Energy teamed up to host a fundraiser called The Horne & Moon Social. The theme of the night was a swinging Jazz Age social featuring special Prohibition-era-inspired drinks and food plus “music, dancing, and gaiety in downtown Bradenton” explained the fliers. Guests dressed up in 1920s speakeasy clothes and lived it up like Gatsby. “Ninety percent of the attendees were in flapper outfits or zoot suits,” says John Horne, “and many had fake Tommy [machine] guns.” The goal of the event? Raise funds to support education and local scholarships in Manatee County. The fund is managed by the Manatee Community Foundation, and it helps students at State College of Florida Manatee-Sarasota, Manatee Technical Institute, and University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee. Dennis Stover, who serves as Regional Vice Chancellor of Advancement at USFSM, says that both the Moons and Hornes value giving back to the university’s students to help change the future by investing today. “Partnering together with the Manatee Community Foundation and the Moons and Hornes provides gap scholarship resources for our students and builds stronger community connections,” he says. “Students who are helped through scholarships pay that forward as they can.” For the purposes of this fund, a gap scholarship covers things that aren’t covered with other scholarships, or gaps people have that keep from them achieving their educational goals. A student who has the tuition covered but comes up short in covering books. A student who needs a $95 online course fee or a $2,000 1,200hour course through MTI. Someone who’s in a dead-end job and needs new skills — perhaps Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop — to change careers. These are all people who should apply for financial support. Trudy Moon — co-owner of their family heating/cooling business and a recent recipient of the Spirit of Manatee Volunteer Award — explained that the idea for the event came about when she and her husband were sitting down with the Hornes last July, enjoying some wine, and they decided they wanted to partner on somescenesarasota.com

thing. Both families had done fundraising before. Why not work together on a fundraising project of their own? A common element among all of their interests was education. “It’s an awesome thing to make education better in our community. We have to give that opportunity to every person who wants it,” says Moon. Like one in three Americans, John Horne worked in the fast food industry as a youth, moving on from his job at Wendy’s to working in 1990 at Fast Eddie’s. He loved it from day one, quickly moving on from being a busboy to opening the Anna Maria Oyster Bar in 1996. Horne has been very supportive of USFSM’s culinary program. He’s been on the board for several years, taught in the classroom, and brought culinary classes to the restaurant to see firsthand how things actually work. Helping their students, and others at area schools, was well in line with his interest in education. The event was a smash. “Ridiculously successful,” says Moon. “The whole evening was magical, and the generosity was overwhelming.” Sure, there were a lot of sponsors signed up in advance such as Feld Entertainment, Bright House Networks, Florida Blue, and the Herman E. & Helen H. Turner Foundation Trust, but the attendees themselves kept donating all night long — even after the place was “raided” by fake police for people drinking during Prohibition. Horne explains that starting up and supporting a fund like this is “our way to give back to our community that gives so much to us.” And putting together two families with like minds and a shared idea creates a synergy, but agreeing on everything helped make planning for the event so much fun. Moon adds that it feels great to give back. If someone has the means to do something, she can’t imagine not doing it. “It’s easy. Let’s just do one thing at a time, and it all adds up to making quite a difference.” And from the success of the party, it’s clear that she’s right. “Don’t miss the next party,” warns Moon. “It’ll be a sellout right after the announcement goes up.” The details aren’t set yet, but she promises it’ll be exotic. For more information on The Horne & Moon Fund, visit www.manateecf.org or call 941.747.7765. February 2015

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Profile for SARASOTA SCENE Magazine

February2015  

February 2015 issue of Scene Magazine

February2015  

February 2015 issue of Scene Magazine