A COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT PROJECT :: SPONSORED BY SEAWARD DEVELOPMENT :: PHILANTHROPY AND THE ARTS
FORUM 2040 “THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE IS TO PLANT TREES, UNDER WHOSE SHADE YOU DO NOT EXPECT TO SIT.” — NELSON HENDERSON
his past October, SRQ Magazine hosted a private gathering of some of our area’s most influential super-donors and key community stakeholders to engage in a dialogue about Visionary Philanthropy and its impact on Arts and Culture in our region over the next two decades. This first in a series of conversations were held at the end of 2019 as part of SRQ Forum 2040, a continuing editorial and community engagement project produced by SRQ Media, and generously underwritten by the team at Seaward Development. The donors were offered an opportunity to speak anonymously, knowing their words might be quoted for this wrap-up article and other reporting, but that their names would not be used. The discussion was facilitated by SRQ Magazine Publisher, Wes Roberts. We were joined by Seaward Development partner, David Hargreaves, the sponsor of the Philanthropy and Artist installment of Forum 2040. Philanthropy is a titanically powerful part of the Sarasota and Bradenton region’s DNA, and a commitment to giving back is evidenced by the generosity of our community towards the many people and organizations that rely on the kindness of others. The influential city fathers and mothers, such as John and Mabel Ringling, Bertha Potter Palmer, and Marie Selby, left behind tremendous legacies and endowments. Even more importantly, they, and many others, built a community with a tradition of giving and deep appreciation for the arts and culture that make this coast so special. SRQ FORUM2040 is an exploration of the health of this legacy today, and the opportunities afforded us going forward. SRQ MAGAZINE FORUM 2040 SPONSORING PARTNER | SEAWARD DEVELOPMENT
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FORUM 2040 VISIONARY PHILANTHROPY AND ITS IMPACT ON ARTS AND CULTURE Our goal was to leave the discussion with a series of tent-pole issues- ideas and concerns that our guests identified as vital to the future health of our community and the role that philanthropy plays in preserving our rich arts and cultural legacy. These donors and community leaders gave us a rather uncommon and unique perspective, and it was clear that they were glad to have an opportunity to share their accumulated wisdom. From our discussions, we identified the following areas of focus. PUBLISHER’S NOTE “It was an honor to lead the discussion with this group of individuals who make endowments, pay for new buildings, fund new endeavors, and serve as game-changers for the organizations that receive them. Their names may or may not be commonly known - some appear on buildings and well-known community funds, others give quietly, their names only are known to donation agents. All of them have made the lives of hundreds, if not thousands and tens of thousands of people better with their generosity and leadership.” — EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER WES ROBERTS
Access to the Arts is Good for Young People Our donors were selected because of their generosity to Arts-related organizations and initiatives and their future-focused passion for nurturing a love of the Arts in the younger generation who will be making the decisions about society in 2040 and beyond. Of major concern and priority for our guests was providing young people with the opportunities to broaden their artistic and cultural horizons. Noted one participant, “I think the passion for the arts and for culture has to start at a younger age. Early education is such a critical element. I’m involved in student organizations, all of which, focus on their mission exposing children to arts.” Many, if not all, of our local arts organizations have programs and partnerships that bring thousands of students to their programming at no or low cost. “Will this be enough, though?” our guests wondered. A guest commented on the importance of cultural appreciation. “The issue for me is 40 years from now. If we don’t start with young people, then in 40 years, we’re not going to have [the arts the way we do today]. The money is just a consequence of the passion. It is not driving the passion. We’ve got to get people actually passionate about arts and culture, and therefore willing to support with their time, money, talent, skills, whatever. What attracted us to come to Sarasota was not just the natural beauty, which is just phenomenal, but also the culture. Why can’t we set up Sarasota to be the preeminent arts and cultural community for the West coast of Florida, the way Larry Thompson talks about Ringling College being the preeminent college of arts and design?”
Big Donors Need to be Invited, and Connected Locally Our guests noted that at the highest end of giving, there are many donors in the area that can and do make an impact well outside our immediate region and that we need to find ways to engage them more deeply to invest locally: “I think there’s a lot of capacity here, but the capacity doesn’t necessarily respect the boundaries of Sarasota. You know, there are people here who support organizations all over the country. Maybe all over the world. So a lot of our local organizations are trying to appeal to people who have the capacity to give anywhere, but we want to entice them to make a difference right here.” All agreed that the right cause would resonate with those mega-donors. “This community is very philanthropic. The fact that Ringling College has effectively no local alumni base, but it’s able to raise some $100 million over a six or seven-year period, is pretty amazing. The people that are giving didn’t go to school there. This isn’t their college, but they were able to raise the money because people cared about the school and museum.” This observation sparked a story with another donor, “I went to two schools: grad and undergrad. My grad school actually got me involved and got me going into the classrooms before they asked me for anything. Then they asked for a donation. I give two zeros more to my grad school than my undergrad because I’m involved. I want them to be successful. If you feel the affinity first, then you give big. It’s when you are really vested.”
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Appreciation and Giving are Learned Practices Something that came up, again and again, was the idea that philanthropy is a principle that was instilled in our guests when they were quite young. Many of the affluent donors of today, grew up in modest beginnings, some in poverty. All of them had parents that demonstrated the importance of generosity and an appreciation for the arts. One of our guests discussed how her giving is structured to keep the spirit of charity strong in her family. “I have two adult children who are also trustees. [They live in other states.] So we divide the resources that we have to distribute annually amongst the three of us. Mostly they are still contributing to the arts because that’s the way they were brought up, but they also contribute to education and medical problems. The question is, ‘how do we get the children of today to want to enjoy the arts?’ When we are talking about people who don’t have a lot of money to spread around, how do we encourage them to buy tickets or to go to galleries or theaters or whatever? I think that is very much a problem.”
FORUM 2040 How Can Our Community Attract Those Who Love What Has Been Built Here? A concern many of our donors expressed was a question about what would become of the work they had done to secure the future of arts and culture after they were gone. Our donors reflected on the importance of leaving a legacy and a sense of urgency to find those “big-givers” to carry their contributions and support into the future. “I believe between five and six million people are moving to Florida every year. We hear a lot about how the younger donors are more interested in giving ‘now’ and less interested in legacy giving. That’s a big thing. I think one of the challenges for our community is bringing in people who will carry on that legacy of what we have built here.” One donor noted that it was possible to encourage the community to bring an audience that will appreciate the established qualities. “The community up until now has done a great job of selling the weather and the beaches. We’ve done a wonderful job of selling the culture that we have. We have not done a very good job of attracting people with an interest in lifelong learning. If we can bring in the people that we would like to bring in, they will come with the resources that we’ll need to be able to continue to grow what we are best known for.”
Arts and Culture-Based Giving to Organizations—Needs-Based Giving Through Local Foundations. We discussed the push-and-pull that sometimes goes on between the cultural/ artistic charities and the needs-based causes. Our donors had no problem separating the immediateness of giving to causes that confront hunger, abuse, or life-threatening situations, while at the same time keeping an eye on the long-term benefits to the spirit of our community by keeping the Arts alive and well. “There are only so many arts groups, and most of them are pretty wellorganized. When it comes to causes that support people who have individual needs, especially from a purely mechanical standpoint, looking at it as a donor, it’s hard to deal with so many organizations. There’s a hell of a lot of them. Some of them have nuances that separate them from others.” One donor shared an anecdote from experience about how they feel when they directly interact with people in the direst of need. “My wife and I volunteer as court mediators, mostly with Sarasota County. When you hear some of the stories of how people exist in our community, it affects you powerfully. I think if I lost a $20 bill from my pocket between the time I walked out the door and got to my car-I’d feel bad about it, but it’s not going to impact me today at all. But then I think back to when I am in court, assisting, and somebody tells me that $20 will feed his family for two or three days. It puts things in perspective.” Our guests shared that in their experience, the “need” causes were better supported by centralizing efforts and that it was the sense of community purpose that was missing when it came to the arts and culture community. “I want to give to help the needy, sure, but that’s where I give to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Sarasota Community Foundation, of the Barancik Foundation. They are going after education, homelessness. These are their priorities. If you want to talk about the arts, then it’s a conversation about if you want to give what will make the arts thrive. It’s part of a larger issue regarding our community. When I came to Sarasota, it was clear that we are viewed as a retirement community, and that’s gotta be converted. It’s gotta be communicated that we’re a community of wisdom and art and something else.”
Young People: Attracting Them, Engaging Them, and Keeping Them. Our super-donors welcomed the challenge to find ways in which the community could be more welcoming to younger people, provide the support structure and opportunities needed to make them feel there is a place for them here and involve them in the process of preserving a rich arts and cultural heritage. “Do we have the jobs here, but also do we embrace youthfulness? There’s really not a coordinated effort to look at the next generation. But the question is how do we get them to become involved? How do we get young people voting, because they don’t vote? Young people, forty and under, are less than 3% of the vote. When so few participate, then their voice won’t be heard.” A donor mentioned the community of Savannah, Georgia’s leveraging the brand and value of the Savannah College of Art and Design as a possible template for how our area could move towards a more youth-friendly expression. “You know, over 80% of the students at the major colleges here leave when they graduate. There is a big brain drain. There are programmatic ways we can get the kids integrated into this community so that we keep some of that youth. Look at how they have used the college to turn Savannah into what Savannah is. Somehow they have communicated that Savannah is not only a great place to study and to visit; it’s also a great place to stay in and in which to live. We can learn from Savannah and build our community as a place where the graduates want to stay.” The specific ideas of holding onto an innovative and youthful population brought our guests back around to the question of how a community expressed what it is about, what it’s common causes are.“Everything seems to loop in and out of this concern about the value of culture and the importance of each individual’s relationship to our culture. Where do young people learn to value the arts, to value their fellow man? That comes from our community; how our community looks, how we want to express ourselves as a community, what we let or encourage our elected officials to do, our architectural standards. All of these are cultural issues that one would imagine are in some capacity expressed through artistic choices. I think there’s a virtuous circle phenomenon.” A very special thank you to all the donors who participated in the first Forum 2040 Conversation. Stay tuned for future installments of SRQ Forum 2040 dialogue as it continues throughout the 2020 calendar year.
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EPOCH A boutique community of just 23 residences set within the enviable tree-lined South Palm neighborhood in downtown Sarasota - there is EPOCH, then there is everything else. With sweeping views of Sarasota Bay and the city, life at EPOCH is convenient and carefree. Here you will find personalized 24-hour services and resort-inspired amenities including a rooftop terrace for sunsets and stargazing, social room designed for intimate gatherings and events, 70’ lap and recreation pool, fitness center, mas-
sage room, steam showers and guest suite for visiting friends and family. Each spacious residence features soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass that frames forever water views, private elevator entry and sophisticated kitchen with Italian cabinetry, Gaggenau appliances, Dornbracht fixtures, smart home technology and generous storage. Indulgent owners’ suites and a wide variety of finish selections make your EPOCH home a true reflection of your personal style. Move-in 2021, from the $3 millions.
SEAWARD DEVELOPMENT LLC For Seaward Development’s Patrick DiPinto and David Hargreaves, real estate development is more than just building structures. It’s about forming a team of the best and brightest design and construction professionals and building long-term relationships with clients who want to live in the area’s most exceptional new communities. It’s about doing things right, even when it means the task is a bit more complicated. And, it’s about finding new and innovative ways to enhance the owner experience, with an eye to surpassing expectations every step of the way. Seaward’s goal is to deliver an extraordinary experience from the first meeting through move-in and beyond. Patrick is a Florida licensed, state-certified building contractor with a passion for his work and the knowledge and experience to bring his visions to life. For nearly three decades he has developed, reconstructed and built hundreds of residential and commercial properties throughout Connecticut and Florida. Patrick takes a hands-on approach to all his real estate endeavors, constantly focused on delivering the highest quality products and level of workmanship. David’s background as an international business executive complements Patrick’s real estate proficiency. A former chief financial officer and chief operating officer of a Fortune 600 public company, David brings a wealth of financial and management experience to Seaward’s projects. He has overseen numerous commercial office development projects during his 40-year business tenure. In Sarasota, Seaward’s portfolio is a collection of superlatives — from custom single-family waterfront homes, where the team developed its bespoke orientation — to exceptional condominium residences. Recent projects include Park Residences of Lido Key, 7 One One Palm and now, EPOCH, a collection of just 23 bayfront residences nestled between South Palm and Gulfstream Avenues. Most importantly, Sarasota is home to Patrick, David and the entire Seaward team. They each have strong ties to the community both in business and their personal lives. This connection is seen through the firm’s commitment to projects that reflect the character of Sarasota as well as their many philanthropic endeavors.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORING PARTNER FOR SUPPORTING THE SRQ MAGAZINE FORUM 2040 INITIATIVE.
This past October, SRQ Magazine hosted a private gathering of some of our area’s most influential super-donors and key community stakeholder...
Published on Jan 21, 2020
This past October, SRQ Magazine hosted a private gathering of some of our area’s most influential super-donors and key community stakeholder...