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Cover: Jingle Bell Cork: Top Shelf Sparkling

Stocking Stuffers From Local Bottleshops, photography by Wyatt Kostygan. This page: 4WALLS Platinum Winner for Public Building, Sarasota Art Musuem of Ringling College of Art + Design, photography by Ryan Gamma. Clockwise on page 6: Sauce Boss: An Arsenal of Locally-made Sauces to Amplify Your Next Meal; Baked Oysters at Blasé Southern Style, photography by Wyatt Kostygan; rendering of the Asolo Repertory Theatre Expansion of The Robert and Beverly Koski Production Center, courtesy of Sweet Sparkman Architects.

december 2020


taking back the holidays


’Tis the season to take back the fun. Seize the cheer and jollification in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide of good times guaranteed. SRQ editors hit the ground running to pull together a mixed bag of feelgood goodies to hygge out at home if you’ve become accustomed to a socially distanced lifestyle, and if not, flip through to our picks of outdoorsy adventure gear to enjoy a quintessential Gulf Coast outing. Or, dive into some ticketed activities and local excursions we stumbled upon for more experiential gift ideas. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t feature a cellar’s-worth of celebratory bubbles to manifest a holly jolly good time upon the end of an historic year of pandemonium. This holiday season, you deserve more than ever to “treat yourself” and your loved ones. 2020, it’s been real, but it’s time to let loose, pop a little champagne and recoup on some missed merrymaking. Compiled by Brittany Mattie, Ariel Chates and Olivia Liang | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan

4walls visionary design competition winners 84 Returning for the second year, SRQ Magazine presents the winners of the 4WALLS Visionary Design Competition recognizing buildings in five categories: commercial building, residential building, mixed-use building, public space or structure and future building. Four adjoining walls may make a space habitable, but after evolving through the design process realized buildings become activated with purpose and narrative. Celebrating the most impressive recent multi-unit and multi-story projects, the 4WALLS Visionary Design Competition recognizes the Sarasota and Bradenton Area region’s built portfolio with the 4WALLS Platinum, Gold and Silver awards selected by our judges.

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december 2020


NEW HOME COMMUNITIES Homes by Towne North River Ranch




ROCKETKIDS Guide to Private Schools and Holiday Gift Shopping

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Sharing stories from five of the dedicated philanthropists who have been recognized by SRQ Magazine’s Good Hero Philanthropic Awards program. Hometown Spirit captures the transformation in philanthropic ventures that go hyper-local.

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Abornaut Meg Lowman of the TREE Foundation explores the eighth continent.



Blasé Southern Style settles into the Southside neighborhood offering elevated southern

cuisine. We track down the best local sauce spots bottling up delicious goodness. Pitmasters at Nancy’s, Mouthole and Perry’s BBQ tame the inferno to fashion a perfect smoked brisket.

last flight


Spread Love artist Brandon Thrift goes viral with a simple message and splattered paint.

SPIRIT OF GIVING 39 SPIRIT OF GIVING’S 25 PHILANTHROPIC AMBASSADORS Sharing stories of heartfelt philanthropy in the Sarasota and Bradenton Area region—from companies exploring new ways to give back to nonprofits sharing the programs, people and priorities that need your support this season. FEATURING Action Air Sarasota, All Faith’s Food Bank, Big Cat Habitat, Cat Depot, Children’s Cancer Center, Circus Arts Conservatory, Education Foundation of Sarasota County, Florida Studio Theatre, Goodwill Manasota, Humane Society of Manatee County, Humane Society of Sarasota County, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, JFSC of the Suncoast, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue, New College Foundation, Resilient Retreat, The Sarasota Ballet, Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation, Senior Friendship Centers, The Bishop Museum, The Florida Center for Early Childhood and Tiger Lily Flowers.

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A S P E C I A L B R A N D STO RY M A R K E T I N G F E AT U R E | S R Q M A G A Z I N E | D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0

Caldwell Trust COMPANY P E R S O N A L





Above (Left to right) Maegan Ochoa, Stefan Baron, Heather Gilpatric, Jeff Bryde, Andor Keresztes, Andrew Wilson and Eric Collin.

From our stunning historic office in downtown Sarasota, our experts at Caldwell Trust Company (CTC) are dedicated to instilling peace of mind in our clients when it comes to money matters. Founded in 1993 by Roland G. Caldwell, we are an independent trust company with more than 25 years of experience and $1.2 billion in assets under management. We have always believed that, when taking care of our clients’ financial needs, “it’s a relationship, not a transaction.”

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A Fiduciary Family Above left: President and CEO Kelly Cadlwell and Senior Executive Vice President and Trust Officer Jan Miller; right: Roland G. Caldwell and Kelly Caldwell at the company’s 25th anniversary.

Our founder, Roland G. Caldwell, once described the job of fiduciary as a “noble calling.” When he passed the CEO torch to his son, R.G. “Kelly” Caldwell Jr., in 2007, that philosophy only grew. And we continue to be proud every year that we are serving our clients with loyalty and integrity—creating bonds that will last for generations. “I stand on my dad’s shoulders,” Kelly Caldwell says. “And I hope every generation makes our company better.” Our team is anything but conventional. Unlike larger financial organizations, where traditional trust services are often abandoned in favor of brokerage and mutual fund-type activities, we offer the kind of one-on-one support and compassion that only a small specialty firm can provide. We are not in the business of selling products or making commissions for our own gain. And, because we are a family company, we make it a priority to treat every client like family. “As clients get up in age and start to plan for who is going to financially take care of their families, that’s when a trust company like ours really shines,” Caldwell says. “If you’re entrusting someone like us to take care of your family, you want to know that we’re going to be around for a long time and that we’re not going to sell out. Big banks go through mergers and, if you’re in their trust department, you just get swallowed up. But we want our clients to know we’re not going away.” Clients know. They trust. They connect. And the stories about generations of clients entrusting Caldwell Trust Company advisers with their assets are endless. “We had a trust that the grandmother set up for her grandson to have a college education. The trust paid for his education and, when he graduated from college, we had a little celebration here at the office,” says Jan Miller, Caldwell Trust Company’s senior executive vice president and trust officer. “Her grandson was the first person in the family to graduate college. Those kinds of things are really rewarding. He’s successful today and we work with him still.”

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Our Beautiful Building Earlier this year, after outgrowing our space at 1561 Main St., we purchased the former Cain/Wilson Building at 27 S. Orange Ave. and the adjacent parking lot. Like our company, this building perfectly represents Sarasota longevity and local history. It is here to stay and so are we. Designed by acclaimed architect Thomas Reed Martin and completed in October 1936, the 8,000-square-foot Orange Avenue structure is soon to be known as the Caldwell Trust Company Building. “This is the building you’d want if you were going to be here forever—and Caldwell Trust Company plans to be around for a very long time,” Kelly Caldwell says. “We intend to combine the legacy of stability that began with Martin’s design with our own strong reputation, carrying both legacies far into the future.” Right: Original board members. Far right: Kelly Caldwell’s sons Brooks and Zachary Caldwell during the initial demolition at 27 South Orange, the new downtown location. Below: Kelly Caldwell and his family at the new downtown location. Below right: President and CEO Kelly Caldwell

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Our Promise As our founder wrote, “Standards for fiduciaries mandate a level of unwavering conduct, loyalty and personal integrity matched by few other disciplines in this changing and uncertain world.” This continues to be as true as the day it was penned. At Caldwell Trust Company, we strive to accommodate all of our clients’ financial needs—covering multiple aspects of life and business—to give them the reassurance that their futures are not only secure but also constantly thriving. We serve as an investment manager and trustee, allocating our clients’ assets into stocks, bonds and other investments. For larger accounts, we routinely become the family “quarterback”, working as advisers for all investment and business matters. We focus on employee retirement plans, offering comprehensive trust services for businesses and organizations. For our shareholders, we provide sustainable returns and liquidity to ensure our independence.

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Our Community Our services go far beyond the office. We are also honored to contribute to our local community. Members of our staff are currently active in the Rotary and Sertoma service organizations, and they hold seats on the boards of organizations designed to help children, adults and families in need. “This is where we live. Everyone who works here lives in this community. It’s where the kids go to school. So why wouldn’t we want to make it a better place?,” Miller says. Since 2000, Caldwell Trust Company has increased its community contributions by 490 percent. We are involved in such initiatives as the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County, Easterseals, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, South County YMCA, the Suncoast Foundation for the Handicapped, Tidewell Hospice and others. We appreciate the opportunity to give back to the community that has given us so much,

Left: Personal service; right: Company retreat with staff, board and spouses.

Our Heritage Founded in 1993, Caldwell Trust Company is an independent trust company with more than 25 years of investment experience and $1.2 billion dollars in assets under management. We’re still right here. Same locations, same ownership, same management, same values as you. We are known for personalized service that safeguards client assets while maximizing investment return. We offer a full range of fiduciary services to individuals including serving as trustee, custodian and investment advisor, financial manager, and personal representative. Additionally, Caldwell offers 401(k) and 403(b) qualified retirement plans to companies.

Current Sarasota Office: 1561 Main St. Sarasota, FL 34236

Venice Office Corporate Headquarters: 1400 Center Rd. Venice, FL 34292 941-493-3600

Future Sarasota Office: 27 S. Orange Ave. Sarasota, FL 34236 941-926-9336

C T R U S T. C O M

A S P E C I A L B R A N D STO RY M A R K E T I N G F E AT U R E | S R Q M A G A Z I N E | D E C E M B E R 2 0 2 0

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Wyatt Kostygan




Ariel Chates



Phil Lederer, Jacob Ogles CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Andrew Fabian, Olivia Liang, Abby Weingarten COPYEDITOR

Maude Campbell


Evan Sigmund, Woody Woodman DESIGN CONTRIBUTOR Winona Nasser EDITORIAL INTERN Grace Castilow







Suzanne Munroe Julie Mayer Magnifico Rob Wardlaw CLIENT SERVICES AND MARKETING MANAGER

The magazine in your hands offers enormous insight into our community, but the most informed in our community follow our constant coverage of Sarasota and the Bradenton Area in SRQ Daily. The electronic newsletter is a must-read in thousands of inboxes. Check our special editions: the Monday Business Edition, the Wednesday Philanthropy Edition, the Friday Weekend Edition and the much-discussed Saturday Perspectives Edition, featuring a diverse range of opinions from the region’s top pundits and newsmakers. SIGN UP

The “SRQ” in SRQ magazine originates from the designated call letters for the local Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “SR” was the original abbreviation for the airport before the growth in total number of airports required the use of a three-letter code. Letters like “X” and “Q” were used as filler, thus the original “SR” was revised to “SRQ,” much as the Los Angeles airport became “LAX.” As a regional publication committed to the residents of and visitors to both Sarasota and Manatee counties, SRQ captures the place that we call home.


SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITION Join our readers in the pleasurable experience of receiving SRQ magazine in your mailbox every month during season and bimonthly during the summer. To reserve your subscription, provide your information and payment online. You can set up multiple addresses, renewals and special instructions directly through your online account. When you subscribe online, your first print issue will arrive in your mailbox in 4–6 weeks. Subscribe online at SRQMAG.COM/SUBSCRIBE. Contact us via email at Vol. 23, Issue 230 Copyright © 2020 SRQ MEDIA. SRQ: Live Local | Love Locall. Sarasota and Bradenton Area is published 10 times a year. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The entire contents of SRQ are copyrighted by Trafalger Communications, Inc. Column and department names are property of Trafalger Communications, Inc. and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION: Subscriptions to SRQ are $36 for 20 issues. Single copies are $4 at area newsstands.

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SHARE THE LOVE LOCAL Our readers love to share their favorites in the Annual Best of SRQ Local Readers Competition. For 2021, we’ve moved to a powerful, brand-new online platform that makes it even easier for you to nominate and vote for your locally-owned favorites in Sarasota, Bradenton Area, Lakewood Ranch, Venice, Siesta Key, Longboat Key and Palmetto. First, your favorites need to be nominated during the Nominations Round. Next, the winning entries who receive the most nominations in each category will make it onto the Official Best of SRQ Local Voting Ballot which is released for final voting in January 2021. You will be able to vote for your top pick of the crème de la crème. We’ll share your stories and your favorites in the wellloved April 2021 edition of SRQ Magazine.



2021 Best of

SRQ local

Start exercising your mousing hand, clicking finger and iPhone thumbs. Ready, set, go!

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Melissa Wandall helps grieving families navigate life after loss. Brittany Mattie WIDOWED SUDDENLY AT NINE MONTHS PREGNANT, Melissa Wandall became a single mom to her first child while simultaneously grieving her late husband, Mark Wandall. After a tragic car accident that Mark and Melissa’s brother found themselves in one night in Sarasota in 2006—her brother surviving, her husband not—Melissa had to pull together every being in her body to keep going for her newborn daughter. “We all have the choice not just to survive in life, but to thrive in life,” she says. “Out of heartache and from the wreckage, my voice became consistent and focused. Being an advocate has helped me to build something new and strong for my family. My purpose is to equip, uplift and resource individuals and organizations. Melissa founded The Mark Wandall Foundation in memory of her late husband—who was a humanitarian at heart himself—which not only supports fellow families in grief from losing a loved one but serves as a tribute to Mark and Melissa’s daughter, Madisyn Grace, who was born just two weeks after her father’s fatal crash. The nonprofit, founded in 2004, affords provisions, financial assistance and emotional support to grieving children and teens who have lost a primary family member or guardian. In addition to her commitment to her nonprofit, Melissa serves as the president for the National Coalition for Safer Roads (NCSR)—working to change highway safety and reduce the number of injuries and deaths caused by traffic collisions, road violence and auto-related tragedies due to speeding, red-light running and disobeying road signs or passing laws. Before COVID-19 hit, Melissa traveled the U.S. extensively, as well as internationally, to speak to audiences on the subject. She is also recognized with a high level of respect and admiration throughout the local community for utilizing the tragedy in her life for the greater good—including losing her younger sister to a rare cancer when she was a child herself. Her personal life story dealing with more death than the average person at her age has become an inspiring springboard to effect positive change for others. “I am most content when I am being of service to others,” Melissa shares. “My life feels deep and meaningful when my voice and actions serve a multitude of people and purposes. Being of service to others has helped me emotionally thrive during the shattered moments of my life.” SRQ

Note: The five dedicated philanthropists featured in this edition are part of a Good Hero series to share the stories of the individuals who have been recognized as part of SRQ Magazine’s Good Hero Philanthropic Awards program honoring philanthropists, nonprofit board members, volunteers, nonprofit employees and corporate donors who have made a heartfelt mark for good in our community.

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Sue King, a retired schoolteacher, takes her talents out of the classroom and into the gardens. Olivia Liang DURING AN AFTERNOON WALK LIKE ANY OTHER FOR SUE KING, amidst flower fun facts, mangrove metaphors and a stroll along the Sarasota Bay, she fondly remembers a seventh-grade student asking: “You actually get paid to do this?” “No, I do it for free,” she laughed. “And I’m the lucky one.” Growing up in a New York City suburb and spending summers boating on the Long Island Sound with her parents, a volunteer candy striper and firefighter, Floridian fauna wasn’t exactly common knowledge for Sue King. Yet, she’s spent the last 20 years volunteering with Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, digging into the details of exactly that as a student tour guide. “That’s where my whole joy has come in,” says King. “I’ve learned as I’ve gone along as much as the kids have.” King, a retired middle school English and History teacher, arrived at Selby after facing the looming and familiar question posed by retirement: Now what? “I wanted to volunteer with my abilities wherever I could,” she thought. The challenge was just finding the right fit, something more than the occasional weekend gig or one-anddone events. A partnership where community and a love of learning flourished. “And it just so happened that Selby Gardens was looking for people in their education department.” A perfect fit, it would seem;however, with no science or plant background, the teacher became the student— an identity our most remarkable teachers never seem to shed. Training ensued from the ground up, ranging from individual plant names to the greater impact of preservation and conservation, and school was back in session. This time, in an arguably upgraded classroom. “It’s been a wonderful thing for students of all levels to come to the gardens and be able to learn about their natural world,” says King, humbled by the fact that she’s become the substitute for Selby who, for many, is the first to introduce students to the Bay, Mother Earth and our Florida ecosystem. But in the end, the message that Sue King most exemplifies is the importance of a calling, explaining how the key to philanthropy in her eyes is that “the person giving gets back as much as the organization is getting.” Not in a self-satisfying way to say the least, but in a way that allows a retired teacher to continue her career in a new classroom, encouraging growth and joy for all. SRQ

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HER HAPPY PLACE Ann Walborn delves into the deep. Olivia Liang


AT 12 YEARS OLD, IN RURAL PENNSYLVANIA A YOUNG ANN WALBORN, alongside an entourage of friends, and cousins formed a Helpers Club.

With matching scarves and trailing wagons, the group of benevolent preteens journeyed through neighborhoods, scouring opportunities for good. Mowing lawns, raking leaves and helping with groceries—it never occurred to any of them to ask for anything in return. Cheesy, Ann admits lovingly, but just so much fun. From the very beginning, it was her parents that instilled a sense of respect and responsibility. “It didn’t matter how much you had or how little you had. You had to spend some time giving back. You had to express gratitude.” It was about respect for everyone (human and otherwise) and living as a steward of the earth, through gestures great and small. And though she no longer dons her Helpers Club scarf, Ann’s seafoam green blouse, starfish necklace and personal copy of The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery in the background paints a new portrait of passion and philanthropy. It’s been 14 years with Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium and Ann Walborn still deems it her happy place. As an aquarium docent, member of the Speakers Bureau and behind-the-scenes tour guide, not only does Ann Walborn reveal the astounding nature of what swims before you in the tanks, but she unveils wonders and vanquishes the mystery of life in the Big Blue. “The eyes and the wows and the holy jiminy crickets—that’s the thing that I live for,” she says. The introduction was forged in a familiar dance of hospitality: The year Ann and her husband moved to Sarasota, 42 guests came to visit the new Floridians. And all 42 were shepherded to Mote Marine by a newly obsessed Ann. From there, the desire to learn and the resources to do so never faltered. “From Dr. Michael P. Crosby, the CEO, all the way down the line to the biologist and everyone in between,” says Ann. “Their passion— it’s infectious.” Sharing in fun facts, tag-teaming with kids on family tours to reveal the breadth of the ocean to the parents, tracking the everchanging research and growing attached to the animals—there’s never a sullen silence, a stale moment, or a most memorable day. Ann’s most favorite memories, however, all surround a particular “gelatinous substance,” a certain cephalopod. With nine brains, two hearts, long-term and short-term memory, and problem-solving skills, the octopus, whether huddled in his tank or tasting his way up Ann’s arm with tentacles, will never fail to amaze. “Mote has my heart,” says Ann with that same giddy energy of that 12-year-old girl, simply helping around the neighborhood. SRQ 20 | srq magazine_ DEC20 live local



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Chef Jacbos shows displaced war veterans how to grow, cook, brew, bake and live again. Brittany Mattie



a stint, donating his time to kids and adults with special needs, and those facing unsolvable challenges. “I was raised to be a giver,” he says. “I was raised in a very kind way in order to always understand that there are less fortunate in the world. We didn’t have much, but we still had a lot more than others.” Jacobs would eventually go on to serve two tours in Iraq. Upon returning stateside from military duty, he admittedly battled personal demons and trauma before finding his jive in the kitchen. “All the good that has come for me came from a very dark and traumatic place,” he shares. “Unfortunately, I lost my younger brother to veteran suicide six years ago on Memorial Day weekend.” Jacobs threw himself into creating good food. The post-military passion he discovered through the culinary world motivated him to create a nonprofit to help fellow struggling veterans who have found themselves displaced, homeless or considered at-risk. VETS 2 SUCCESS was born to train veterans for careers in the culinary, baking and hydroponic gardening fields while encouraging a transition back into civilian life through “boot camps” based on food, brew and agriculture. The training program is based on fundamental military tactics and strategies— providing structure, measuring achievement, setting people up in jobs and establishing desirable and reachable end goals. Jacobs aimed to recreate these elements in his 12-week program that teaches vets how to be safe, smart and respectful in the kitchen, as well as respectful kitchen jargon like “Yes, Chef” and “No, Chef.” Once they’ve completed the program, vets are placed in various industry jobs and start learning real skills. Aside from cooking, brewing and farming, they ultimately learn how to exist in society again and find purpose in their lives again. “What truly makes me feel passionate is actually being a part of the change,” Jacobs says. “On day one, we have six or seven veterans join us. All their eyes, all their expressions, everything is the same—without happiness, without purpose and without identity. You see lives go from hurt in darkness to seeing light at the end of the tunnel, realizing what they can achieve. It’s a beautiful thing.” Due to COVID-19, VETS 2 SUCCESS is currently at a standstill but is looking for a new and permanent home to continue its class programs—perhaps a restaurant or old catering hall. “What pushes me to keep going is the fact that I see a little bit of my brother in every person that we meet,” he shares. “I know now I could not have saved him, but I know through this work, we are able to save others and help other families not have to go through what we did.” SRQ

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Meet Phyllis Siskel,local philanthropic legend. Olivia Liang



received a bundle of thank-you notes: “If it wasn’t for you,” one wrote, “we wouldn’t be at Spanish Point having fun. We would be at school doing work.” Others wrote,“I hope we get to go again when you have extra money,” and “If you was little, I would pay for you to go back one day.” “Isn’t that precious?” giggles Phyllis. “These children are our future, and this plants seeds.” Seeds of kindness and empathy, charity and engagement. “You never know how you touch someone’s life,” she says, so in the end there are no bounds for achievable good. Phyllis Siskel is arguably unable to achieve the bare minimum. While her philanthropic career most likely began as a child when volunteering to clean the chalkboards at school, it has spread far and wide. Every holiday, major or minute, Phyllis drops off packets of stickers at her post office to be given out to the children, supplying small snippets of joy in the shapes of flags and bunnies, snowflakes and fireworks, hearts and pumpkins, and shamrocks and turkeys. For more than 25 years, she has volunteered with Southeastern Guide Dogs in the puppy nursery, whispering to each and every one what their adorable and important destinies will entail. She serves lunches for the Sarasota Military Academy middle and high school, has ushered children and families as they enter the Circus Arts Conservatory tent for over 12 seasons, and has volunteered at food banks throughout her life. Phyllis donated 25, then 50, then 100 copies of Magic: One SMART Horse to a fourth-grade class, a book describing the journey of Magic, a blind horse who inspires young riders with physical or developmental challenges at SMART, the Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy where shevolunteers as a side walker. She then sponsored the fourth graders to visit SMART on a field trip, meeting the legendary horse they had read about face to face. The list is long, but “that’s the way to go about this world,” she says. Never shutting a door, turning a blind eye or closing an ear, Phyllis believes there will always be room for more in the nonprofit world and you never know who or what will come across your path. Never donate anonymously, she urges, because by putting your name on a good deed you will continue the philanthropic conversation, encouraging the act of giving. “People want to associate with someone,” so why not be that face, be that inspiration? Phyllis Siskel has no limit for where she hopes to spread good works. Viewing philanthropy from a holistic view, no act is too small and no role in a charitable organization unmeaningful. “It’s been a way of life for me,” says Phyllis, with philanthropy instilled in her youth and maintained through a spiritual path. She believes in the big picture, with few plans to slow down or step back. “To be kind and giving,” she says, “it makes for a joyful heart.” SRQ 24 | srq magazine_ DEC20 live local



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THE EAGLE HAS LANDED Abornaut Meg Lowman of the TREE Foundation explores the Eighth Continent.



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interview with


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interview with Astronauts study outer space and celestial bodies within it. While arborists specialize in surgical care for individual trees, Arbornauts are a species all their own. Dr. Margaret Lowman, aka “Canopy Meg” of the Tree Research, Education and Exploration (TREE) Foundation, is an arbornaut. There aren’t many out there in the world to descend and share their experiences. We convinced Canopy Meg to take a break up there— surrendering her sandwich to an angry troop of monkeys (yes, they threw branches at her) and dodging flying snakes (yes, they exist outside your nightmares)—and bring her boots to dirt to chat with us about her unconventional career as a woman biologist and botanist. From Samoa, Malaysia and West Africa to Peru, Panama, India and Biosphere 2 in Arizona, her work has taken her all around the globe to science research facilities as the only female in the lab, to international conventions speaking in front of an audience exclusively made up of men and to the tippy tops of trees completely alone with nature. Nicknamed the “Real-Life Lorax” by National Geographic, Canopy Meg duly earns her pseudonyms—hanging from the metaphorical frame of an umbrella that many of us only hold the bottom handle of. With every ascend, she defies gravity with undying trust in century-old branches, her harness and climbing rope, all the while sharing oxygen with neon bugs, rare reptiles, exotic birds and leafage most of us landwalkers have yet to lay our eyes on or have any inclination exist. In a candid Q&A with SRQ, Meg gives us a peak (pun intended) into the life of an arbornaut and author—suspended in the sky and exploring the unforeseen flora and fauna of the treetops as if they belong to an atmospheric layer all their own. Or, as she likes to call it, “the eighth continent above us.” SRQ: How would you describe arboriculture? Can you expound on all the different professional gigs of tree climbers? Margaret

Above: The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent Above Us,scheduled to be released this August 2021.

“Canopy Meg” Lowman: There are a couple of ways to tackle the tops of trees professionally. Technically, I’m an arbornaut—an explorer of the treetops—which links to the discovery and the science. I have plenty of colleagues and I’ve done a lot of talks at international conferences for arborists. An arborist is that person that comes in and trims the dead branch of a tree hanging over your house, or maybe prunes back a tree downtown because it’s starting to grow over the road. And that’s a very technical skill where you hope that person has respect for the overall shape of the tree and the future health of the tree. In a way, we work arm in arm because we both use harnesses, we use ropes to get up the trees. But my work is a lot more delicate—I don’t want to disrupt or disturb the branches. They go up with some pretty hard, tough hardware like chain saws. Then you have the ultimate logging industry, which is a whole different, but important, group because we need safe, sustainable timber. And then there are specialty groups— now we have tree house builders. I just spoke at the World

Treehouse Conference last year in Oregon. It was so cool. Ninety-nine percent guys—300 of them all over the world that build tree houses. So a whole other profession is being spawned from the interest and excitement of treetops.

Could you tell us about your upcoming book release, The Arbornaut: A Life Discovering the Eighth Continent in the Trees Above Us? What inspired you to write this? This book is a labor of love because I wanted to write a memoir that talked about my, what I call, misadventures in hopes that other girls and women in careers, and especially women juggling family and career, might learn from my experiences. It starts with my childhood and hopes that kids will learn that even the most ordinary kid can make a new discovery. I was totally ordinary growing up in a very rural town. You just never know. You might just have to climb a tree.

How do you describe this eighth continent? What is the significance of seeing the rain forest canopy as a continent of its own? As I look back on my career, I wanted to climb trees to study leaves. I was a little kid that loved fall foliage growing up in New England. In college, I realized it would be a really easy thesis to do in the tropical rain forest because they’re always green and they never turned red and yellow and fell off the tree. And so I thought, “What’s going on up there?” Well, when I got up the tree finally, after making a slingshot and sewing a harness and doing a lot of crazy things as a graduate stu-

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dent, things were up there. I was in the middle of all these swarms of insects and birds eating the insects and lizards. What I realized is here’s this, what I called affectionately, the eighth continent—and so did a couple other biologists independently—meaning it’s like a whole new world. It would be like going to Antarctica for the first time. Or maybe when Columbus came to South America for the first time to see this amazing country that’s right above our heads. But until 1979, when I went up there and a couple others, nobody ever knew it existed. So, hence the term “eighth continent.”

the best success for them is if people like me and my good friend and marine explorer, Sylvia Earl, and others speak out and say, “Hey girls, this is how it was. We can, we will support you to do better.” And I’m excited about that—I think it’s a good time to make sure people have a better voice than I sure did it when I was a young professional.

Over the years, you’re written many books (It’s a Jungle Up There, Forest Canopies, Life in the Treetops, Muddy Boots), how was this one different from the others? Most of my books to date

pected. I was very fortunate that I have a great literary agent and she put this book out to bid. So I may never have written it if it hadn’t been for her encouragement and kind of steering me in a way; I didn’t quite understand the whole process. So once my publisher, Macmillan, had the winning bid, suddenly there I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to write.” I’ve been a hermit for two years, sitting alone and thinking about my childhood. I called my kindergarten girlfriends and we’re still best friends. I contacted my academic adviser in Australia and had them help me re-create some of the stories with colleagues that I had remembered to get the sense of detail, because the one thing that the publishers wanted was immersion in the story: Were you scared when you first climbed a tree? How did you make a slingshot? How did you make a harness on a seat belt webbing? What kind of sewing machine did you use? How many bugs bit you in the tree? I had to go like, “Holy cow, these are amazing details.” I had to really reach back in a kind of recall process. And that was pretty fun. I’m happy to say, I passed the dementia spectrum so far. I’ve been very lucky to have wonderful old friends and runs around the world that I could reconnect with to relive some of it, an amazing jog of memory.

have been with academic publishers, which is what scientists usually do. They don’t have to, but in my case, I kind of created a new science, which was the science of the tree, top biology or canopy biology. It was incumbent upon me to, say, write the textbooks, write the methods, public science books, write up the proceedings of some conferences over the years. Life in the Treetops is a bit of a memoir, but very early in my career. What were those things that I really I struggled with as a very young woman scientist with insecurities and no confidence, a single mom raising two kids. That actually did really well. It even got a cover in the New York Times book review. So I totally lucked out. Then It’s a Jungle Up There: More Tales from the Treetops, follows my adventures with my two boys—because they came with me everywhere. If I left them at home, I would’ve been arrested. Right? So they came on a lot of my trips and they wrote journals—that was their assignment usually. So we pulled those together into a very fun book about a mom’s view in one rain forest and then the boys’ perspective in that same forest. But now I’m really approaching, you know, the senior years of my career. So I can’t only talk about those early days, but I can talk about how I did reinvent my field to mentor more minority students, to save more rain forests, to do things that really are for the global good.

How was the process of writing the book? Did sharing your life’s story come easily? What were the challenges of capturing your world within the pages? It was a bigger challenge than I ex-

Is that the story you wanted to tell in The Arbornaut? I wanted very much to kind of illustrate how in

The international Marie Selby Botanical Gardens orchid event from 2003 must have been an incredibly difficult time for you—ultimately ending with your departure as Selby Gardens’ executive director. What are your feelings now about that chapter in your life—do you feel it had anything to do with your gender? I

any career, and especially conservation biology right now, we have a responsibility to try to turn our profession into something that will make a difference for our kids. And that’s I think why a memoir at this age, before I’m in my grave, but when I’m maybe in the final chapters of my career, it’s a good time to comment on these types of things and be a little bold. I will say, the Me Too generation, the whole movement, allowed me to say things I was way too scared to say 20 years ago. And my field is rife with problems. Camping in the middle of the Amazon on an expedition with 30 men and there’s no one else within a thousand square kilometers, you can imagine there’s a little bit of risk. Field biology is full of hurdles for women and hurdles for minorities. I think

do recall that, because we did have a strong, maybe overly macho male board chair and we had some issues with allmale orchid biologists. The things that went on, that as I reflect back, still occur to women in different countries today. As you can imagine, I work in African countries and I work in India and they still have those ratios. At different levels, the woman might still be making the coffee or she might have to take the hit for what the guys did. And I feel like that’s a pretty important issue in scientific communities; it still remains a really big case study for a lot of women leaders. If anything, I can strongly say the fallout at Selby actually helped my career because it showed that women can walk away when they are the only wom-

“Oh my gosh, I’ve got to think about what I’m going to write. I’ve been a hermit for two years, sitting alone and thinking about my childhood.” — Margaret Lowman

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interview with

an in the room and they can remain strong and they can achieve plenty of things, but they should not remain under the suffocation of people like a bad male board chair or, you know, issues where you can’t be productive. And I think that’s the message for women or many different minorities that at some point you have to look at how and where you can find that environment to be productive. That’s really, really important.

With more support to speak up now more than ever, do you finally feel you can share your challenging experiences and reflections of that event in your recent book? I do touch on it.

“The farthest up I’d been was actually in a hot-air balloon—it’s a fabulous way of studying the very tippy tops of the trees, which are 300 to 350 feet in the places like the redwoods in California and the tallest gums in Austrialia.” — Margaret Lowman

I kind of call it “breaking the glass canopy,” where there were a lot of firsts during that time. There’s a few examples in chapters of The Arbornaut—instances that happen to me subsequently being the only woman in the room, which is still something that does happen. It’s what we call in Australia—my second home—the “tall poppy syndrome,” when women hit mid-career or senior status, and sometimes men resent that and like to cut them down a little bit. And I’m sure it’s in journalism, I’m sure it happens in Hollywood, in medicine and education. So I have a whole chapter just where I touch on these issues throughout my career that I hope are helpful to other women that are coming up the ladder behind me.

How did you spin that tumultuous time into something meaningful after you left? I got invited to be the first professor of environmental studies at New College, which really allowed me to thrive because we set up a seminar series teaching students about board development, foundations and philanthropy. I had new energy, I was really excited to use my talents for the students in college. It was a really fun time. We did all sorts of programs out at the Myakka canopy walkway and the TREE Foundation funded a lot of that. We created some great partnerships with the county where all the students did internships. Many received awards from the county and got jobs from that. So it was a very positive channel. In the end, it was all good—sometimes change is good.

What is the biggest secret you feel you’ve uncovered studying the rain forests as deeply as you have? For me, the biggest secret would be the discovery of the eighth continent getting into the tops of the trees. I was only planning to measure leaves and look at how long they lived, and then I found out that millions of critters were up there living in the treetops. And now that I know that, it makes sense—that’s where the sun is, that’s where the flowers are, that’s where all the energy is. But nobody really knew that because they didn’t climb a tree and they didn’t measure it. So finding that was huge. And then the other thing that’s been really, I guess, life changing for me and maybe a little more technical is to find out how important leaves are to drive the health of the planet. We now know that trees store carbon, which is keeping us alive. We know that trees produce the most energy of anything, leaves cleanse water, leaves are the homes of 50 percent of the biodiversity on the planet. So we know all of these as-

sociated importance values for trees that we didn’t know before we went into the canopy, which translates to “We gotta save them.”

Are there secrets still left to be learned? So out of that 50 percent of biodiversity living in the tops of trees on our planet, we estimate 90 percent is undiscovered. We’ve only discovered about 10 percent because it’s only been me and a handful of others that are true arbornauts to date, because the field is so new. So if every kid could climb a tree, there would be five or 10 species for each one to discover—it’s amazing what could be up there that we don’t know of yet, their importance, values. Which ones might be a medical cure for something, which one could be a pollinator of an important plant, which vine might create the fabric of the future or some kind of wonderful. Finding a strong fiber that we could use in some way that we haven’t even invented yet to have stronger roofs or buildings. So there’s a whole bunch of discovery left. Most of these forest canopies have not been explored. I’ve been taking Sarasota groups to this site in the Amazon for 25 years—that amounts to about 25 people each time. That’s over 2,000 people. We still find new things every time, and we’re going to the same canopy walkway, looking in the same 200 treetops. We still marvel at how much new and exciting adventure exists there every time we travel back. So now imagine multiplying that by a million. The Amazon is pretty huge and we’re just tackling a little teensy-weensy piece of it.

We love the cover of the children’s book, The Leaf Detective, written about you. It made us wonder what animals have surprised you or that you have surprised being up that high in the canopy? Oh, all the time. And first of all, I can’t say enough good about bugs—good ol’ six-legged critters that we usually squish when they’re in our house—they are extraordinary. The colors and shapes in the canopy are beyond wonderful. Some bugs have a camouflage that look like a leaf that’s been eaten, the most gorgeous reds and chartreuse, psychedelic blue colors of beetles and almost all of them eat leaves, which fascinates me, personally, as a botanist. There’s a huge war going on up there: Insects eat leaves, leaves defend themselves with chemicals, the shamans use the chemicals for medicine. So there’s this amazing interaction of insects and leaves and medicines. The koala also eats exclusively leaves, as does the sloth. Leaves that are so full of toxins. These animals are basically on drugs all day hanging onto the branches. You think, “How on earth does their digestion really work?” The ultimate vegetarians. And then of course birds. I’m a bird lover from way back. I think I became a botanist because I really love birds and I didn’t want to lose my passion. The amazing hornbills in India with these giant big pieces of beak on their heads, it’s just beyond belief. And when you are dangling off a row, they’re not scared of you—you’re part of the scenery, so there’s no running away. You can get really close to troops of monkeys, lizards, I even patted a koala on its head because it’s right up there in the tree with me. It’s not about to bite me—it wants a leaf; it doesn’t want a finger.

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What’s the farthest up off the ground that you’ve ever been? Have you ever been afraid of heights? The farthest

Above: The Leaf Detective: How Margaret Lowman Uncovered Secrets in the Rainforest, scheduled to be released this February 2021.

up I’d been was actually in a hot-air balloon—it’s a fabulous way of studying the very tippy tops of the trees, which are 300 to 350 feet in places like the redwoods in California and the tallest gums in Australia. Sometimes to get to the tops of these, you can’t use a rope for obvious reasons because you don’t have a strong enough branch. So that’s the highest I’ve been dangling from some of these inflatable things, which is truly fun; I’m sure it’s really dangerous, but it’s such a blast. But climbing on ropes, the tallest is probably about 200 feet. And yeah, I’m always a little afraid. I think probably a good arbornaut is someone who will always say there’s a little bit of tension and anxiety, because it is a safety sport. It’s like riding a mountain bike or something. You’ve got to have your wits about you and you’ve got to check your gear. So I have that little voice asking, “Is the branch strong enough?” “Is the rope OK?” “Has there been any alteration of my equipment?” So it’s always nice to come down, but it’s beautiful when I’m up there. I love it.

You do amazing work with young people—youth and children. Could you talk about the special connections children can have with their natural environment and why that is significant to you? I guess my special passion is for more inclusivity in science. Partly because I was a kid that never had a role model, I never knew a scientist when I was a little girl. And I think it’s important for me to reach out to young people whenever I can. And I also think because I ended up as a tree climber for a living, there’s a connectivity with kids and climbing trees that maybe can help me inspire kids to love science. So I’ve done a lot with youth over the years, I was part of a project called the JASON project that used to broadcast out of Mote Marine Laboratory, which was started by Bob Ballard after he discovered the Titanic and kids wanted to take kids on expeditions, but you can’t obviously take a thousand kids on the water with you and you can’t take a thousand kids in the canopy with you.

In your Last Flight interview, you shared that when you were a kid, you dreamed of meeting a woman scientist. Look at you now! You are that woman scientist. What would you tell your younger self today about following those dreams—advice you would give her, things you might do differently, more or less of? I would say two things, of which one would be, “Be bold.” I was such a shy kid—I’d never dare speak up. And I wished I’d been bolder and enabled my curiosity to have a bigger voice. So I would say to girls, try your best to be brave in that room full of boys and just speak up or be curious or be active. And then secondly, what I always say is, “Women support other women.” I think it’s one of the most important things we still need to do. And I get heartbroken when I see women that don’t behave that way, but you’ll see in the old-boy network men nominate men for prizes and help men negotiate. I think if women can help support women, we would be a lot further along in our ability to have confidence and be those role models that we want our girls to have.

What’s next for you and the TREE Foundation? What special projects are you working on at the moment? One of my hopes is, now that I’ve moved back to Sarasota—I’m not in San Francisco or Raleigh or Singapore or all these other places like I usually am traveling to—I really do want to ramp up more local activities for kids in science. But I did start a whole new mission and it’s on the TREE Foundation website called Mission Green. We’re hoping this Mission Green will help us save a lot of the world’s species very quickly and very easily. Instead of saving trillions of hectares, we can focus on these special areas that scientists have already identified. I have an amazing dream team of science advisers and we’ve identified the 10 most important rain forests to save with the highest biodiversity—including Mozambique, Madagascar, even the great Smoky Mountains, the redwoods— where we need these ecotourism operations so that the local people can earn money by saving the trees and not logging the trees. So we plan to build canopy walkways. Myakka is the exemplar model, if you can believe it. We’ve applied for a local grant to ramp up the Myakka walkway because it’s the centerpiece on how walkways can educate kids and adults. We want to keep it vibrant and exciting. It gets a half a million visitors a year, so if you add 20 years, times a half million, that means a lot of people have come through the Myakka River State Park and learned about its canopy walkway. We will be fundraising and building more of these walkways for conservation in tourism. I’m soliciting for what I call “canopy angels.” People that would be initial donors and sit at the table with these famous scientists and be part of this team. And then we will build these walkways using local resources, and, hopefully those guys from the World Treehouse Conference. SRQ

For more on Margaret Lowman and her current projects, visit

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T R A N S F O R M AT I O N S I N P H I L A N T H R O P I C V E N T U R E S I N O U R R E G I O N O N A H Y P E R - L O C A L S C A L E


You can give a virtual butterfly kiss to someone in need of a smile by purchasing the chic shoulder bag to help the cause at bswanky. com/products/sofita-mariposa.

Pictured le to right: Gretchen Bauer and Debbie Mason of Tidewell Hospice.

WE’VE ALL HEARD OF GIVING BUTTERFLY KISSES, and while they are an adorably affectionate gesture, local handbag atelier BSWANKY used less fluttering of its eyelashes and more stitching of its needles to design a special butterfly-themed bag. In a moving fashion–philanthropy collab, a luxury handbag collection was designed and created with proceeds going toward funding the regional Tidewell Foundation’s Blue Butterfly Family Grief Centers. The nonprofit mission of Tidewell Hospice partnered with founder and designer of BSWANKY Gretchen Bauer to further fund its services to grieving individuals with professional counseling, peer-support groups and therapeutic activities to help them along on their journey to coping and healing. Therapy and bereavement services are completely donor-supported and available at no cost to community members, in addition to Tidewell Hospice patients and their families. “Blue Butterfly offers a safe and caring environment for children, teens and caregivers to connect with others and grieve in a way that makes them feel supported,” says Tidewell Hospice President and CEO Jonathan Fleece. Since launching the give-back handbag collection, Sofita Mariposa (“mariposa” translates to butterfly in Spanish), in August 2020, 15 percent of the total sale of each bag, and 100 percent of Sapphire Mariposa BSWANKY keychain sales, have been donated to Blue Butterfly Family Grief Centers to encourage mourning individuals to “carry” on. “We hope that the sale of these limited-edition luxury handbags can help women and children alike to spread their wings,” says Bauer. Inspired by the personal stories of children and families who are a part of the program, the designer shared the common belief that no child should ever grieve a lost loved one alone. The Sofita Mariposa handbag features honey-colored heritage leather, signature metal embellishments and is entirely handcrafted in Sarasota, then hand-painted and sealed with ethereal butterflies by Dallas-based artist Cherie Fruehan. A dear friend of Bauer, Fruehan donated her services to hand-paint each one-of-a-kind, luxury bag. Much like its namesake, the Mariposa collection was made to symbolize the beauty of life and the flutter of hope—truly making this fashion accessory an emotive, meaningful piece of art. “We had a customer who emailed us because his wife loved the BSWANKY Blue Butterfly Handbag image she had seen online and he requested to purchase it for her,” explains Bauer. When this very gentleman came in to pick up his giftwrapped one-of-a-kind, hand-painted handbag, Bauer told him about their giving back program with Tidewell Foundation’s Blue Butterfly Family Grief Centers. It seemed fate. The gentleman shared that he and his wife had lost one of their children recently in an accident and that he had never heard of the organization. “He fought back tears and let us know that this gift could not wait until Christmas and that he would be gifting it to her immediately.” SRQ —Brittany Mattie PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN


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Have Purpose, Will Profit BEAVER SHRIVER WAS STANDING INSIDE THE COMMERCIAL SPACE on State Street where his new business venture, Rise Coffee Co. & Nye’s Cream Sandwiches, would soon operate when in walked a young man and his mother to inquire about a job. Shriver remembers he showed them around the space, pointing out where the coffee equipment would go, how the ice cream machines would work and his general vision for the operation. “The guy was really quiet and polite the whole time,” says Shriver, “but when they left and thought they were out of earshot, I heard him go ‘woo-hoo!’” The young man had every reason to be excited at even the prospect of a job; he has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and 80 percent of people with that diagnosis are unemployed. Shriver thinks that number is unacceptable. And he aims to change it. Rise Coffee Co. & Nye’s Cream Sandwiches was founded specifically to employ the broad array of neurodivergent individuals who for too long have been viewed as unemployable. Shriver himself comes from a long line of champions for those with ASD, beginning with his aunt and founder of the Special Olympics, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, as well as his cousin Anthony, founder of Best Buddies International, an organization that seeks to increase awareness

and inclusion for those with ASD. But one of the biggest challenges in hiring employees with special needs is job training. To that end, Shriver strung together a web of nonprofit and for-profit outfits who could commit their resources and energy to his vision. The first one is EasterSeals Southwest Florida. “We’ve got leading-edge training for individuals with autism and other disabilities,” says Tom Waters, president and CEO. The nonprofit offers an extensive menu of services, job training among them. Through its extensive network of funding streams, EasterSeals managed to secure a state grant specifically to expand their job training offerings. With that grant, Waters and Shriver enlisted the other player in this endeavor, Three Six and Zero, Inc., a virtual reality (VR) design firm based in Sarasota. “We met Beaver at a Ringling College event and he told us about his business,” says Alex Guerra, executive producer for Three Six and Zero. Along with business partner Tim Conway, the two started their design outfit to transition out of their Hollywood careers as visual effects designers and into something that satisfied their need to do good. Guerra and Conway had already found their niche in health and wellness with contracts from Moffitt Cancer Center

“This is a really unique collaboration of divergent expertises, but it shows what can get done when nobody cares about taking credit.”

and Sharecare, the medical platform started by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Jeff Arnold (founder of WebMD). Between their rapport with Shriver, their portfolio and their desire to be a part of something good, Guerra and Conway formed the third part of this social enterprise. The three pieces then set out to collaborate on immersive virtual reality training modules for the coffee shop. “For the first four or five months, we developed the coffee grinder module,” says Guerra. In it, candidates already working with EasterSeals could try out the module, which featured a VR version of the actual Bunn grinder used in Shriver’s coffee shop. “We were able to collaborate with the specialists to draw data analytics,” says Guerra, “and that helped us understand what was working and what was not.” Later versions of the module added the ability to up the stakes with the emotional and social components of the task like irate customers. “VR is a remarkable way to get somebody comfortable with a task,” says Shriver, “especially someone who may have learning issues.” Each piece of this collaboration has high hopes for the project. “To my knowledge, there has never been anything like this where the job training is so specific,” says Waters. It bodes well for EasterSeals’ ability to place its clients in jobs, but the implications are much larger. “This is about giving dignity and pride to a population that has been kept in the shadows for too long,” says Shriver, “and I think the future of business should be more mission-oriented.” SRQ —Andrew Fabian

—Tom Waters, EasterSeals

Pictured: Rise Coffee Co. & Nye’s Cream Sandwiches Colab Shot EasterSeals - Tom Waters (right most) EasterSeals - Don Herndon (left most) EsterSeals - Katie Carnes, Rise Coffee Co- Beaver Shriver (center) Nye’s Cream Sandwiches - Christian Nye, Three Six And Zero - Tim Conway Three Six And Zero - Alex Guerra, Adam Carmona and Mercedes Mathews .


11/17/20 2:36 PM

Zero-Waste Voyagers “RECYCLING IS NOT ENOUGH.” That’s a mantra Rethinking Plastic lives and breathes by. The volunteer-driven campaign has been connecting with restaurants and consumers throughout Sarasota County since 2017 on the hot-button issue of eliminating single-use plastics, and thus protecting our coastal land, ocean and marine life. “There is a huge learning curve when it comes to single-use plastic and its alternatives,” say Rethinking Plastic founders Cat Dillard and Jana Hoefling. The organization’s team of volunteers donates its time to guide restaurants both in the dining-in and to-go transition to reduce excess packaging in their daily operations by converting to eco-smart resources. With a hyper-focus on items they refer to as the “bad five”—clamshell polystyrene takeout containers, plastic cups/lids/straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags and plastic utensils—the BadFive Free (BFF) program works with businesses to source and utilize more eco-minded solutions to combat their carbon waste footprint. “As a community, we can begin to make an immediate and substantial impact on plastic pollution by refusing these single-use items, and begin to use alternatives and reusables,” say Dillard and Hoefling. The applaudable BadFive Free stamp celebrates local restaurants that refuse single-use plastic. When a restaurant obtains “BFF” recognition, they’ve successfully figured out how to provide patrons with options to mitigate each individuals’ waste footprint. Among the local dining spots taking advantage of Rethinking Plastic’s services is Leaf & Lentil. The family-owned, fastcasual vegan eatery signed on early to become #BFF compliant—having completed all five stars by working closely with Dillard and Hoefling. By only using plant-based/paper to-go packaging and offering cooler drinks that are in glass or aluminum containers, Leaf & Lentil eliminated all single-use plastic serveware and materials within its operations. “Finding alternatives to plastic has been harder than I ever expected but worth the effort,” says Sheila Siegel, co-owner of Leaf & Lentil. “We’ve especially struggled with product availability a bit during this pandemic, but watching The Story of Plastic documentary and being a part of Rethinking Plastic’s coalition has committed us to trying that much harder.” Indigenous and Blu Kouzina are among other restaurants taking the pledge. Sarasota Sailing Squadron is close to gaining its fifth star for its on-site social events, while MADE and the former 1812 Osprey made are working toward eco-alternatives for three of the BadFive. “Because single-use plastics are not going away anytime soon, we have recently started to research two methods of eliminating it that are gaining traction around the world,” Dillard and Hoefling say. “EPR and incineration.” EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) legislation is being used across the country for items like car batteries, paint, mattresses, etc. This method shifts the responsibility of the end of an article’s life from the consumer to the manufacturer. “During the time of quarantine and the popularity of take-out food, the amount of single-use plastic has skyrocketed,” they say. “Restaurants are struggling to survive and the environment has suffered. While we understand the dilemma, we hope to get back on track soon.” SRQ —Brittany Mattie

Any local establishment or business can get on board with the cause by reaching out to info@ Those that have already committed to reducing single-use plastics in their businesses can sign a pledge on

Pictured left to right: Cat Dillard and Jana Hoefling of Rethinking Plastic


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Pitchfork Basis FROM MORNING FLOSS TO WORN-OUT JEANS, potato chip bags to paper towels, sugar packets, pencil shavings, grocery receipts and lunch leftovers, you will generate roughly 4.51 pounds of waste per day. But we all know what they say about one man’s trash . . . and that’s where Sunshine Community Compost comes in, a local nonprofit not only spreading the word but supplying the tools to reduce our communal waste. As it turns out, approximately 50 percent of typical municipal garbage can be reallocated through composting, the biological decay of organic matter that turns yesterday’s waste to tomorrow’s rejuvenated soil. Grains, pastas, breads, eggshells, coffees, teas, paper towels, napkins, cardboard rolls, and all fruit and veggie scraps—their meaningful destiny awaits and it’s not on the curb. The compost conversation, however, begins not with worms or fruit flies, food scraps or soil, but rather a simple acknowledgment: the privilege of having food. “We hope people will take the responsibility to do the right thing,” says Tracie Troxler, executive director and the sole staff member. And in just three short years, aiding that mission statement with a collective of programs available for the everyday waste creator and sustainable soul, Sunshine Community Compost has diverted 44,000 pounds from local landfills. That’s the equivalent of roughly 2,200 watermelons or 14 Prii, “basically on a pitchfork by pitchfork basis,” she says. After beginning her career as an occupational therapist, Tracie Troxler realized an urge to bring her patients and their communities outdoors, merging people and the planet for the wellness of both. And after 17 years in California, building a network and community of agriculture enthusiasts, farmers and environmentalists, the daunting nature of food waste presented a treatable crisis when Tracie returned home to Florida. What started as a mix of pilot projects has flourished into a nonprofit with a team of 30 volunteers, four board members and more than 500 active composters in the Sarasota area and growing. Programs target community engagement and resource recovery, but most of all, an investment in the education of the waste generation. “So much of what we’re viewing in a limited way as waste is truly a resource that just isn’t put in the right place and can be something that regenerates life, connections and community,” says Troxler. Nothing embodies their mission more than the signature Park and Garden Community Compost program. The process? Simple. The benefits? Evident. The smell? Not as bad as you might expect. With composting stations at Arlington and Gillespie Parks, North Water Tower Park and Manatee Square Garden, the seemingly overwhelming process of earning a “Composter” badge of honor has emerged as a communal effort within shared spaces. After choosing a convenient composting site—and picking up a complimentary red Ace Hardware bucket to temporarily house your food scraps at home—the process is quite simple. Proudly bring your bucket to your designated park and composting location, weigh and log your deposit for tracking purposes, dump your food scraps into an active compost bin, cover the deposit with pre-collected browns (twigs, leaves, etc.), then seal and feel sustainably energized. Food scraps and everyday materials often thrown in the trash can now contribute to compost missions, transforming would-be waste into regenerated soil for the community’s future use. There’s no cost to you, just an invitation. “We want there to be many pods of this kind of work that is attuned to that local culture and local community,” says Troxler. By staying small and rooted in the local scene, not only can composting projects be customized to fit the needs of various communities—whether that be neighborhood associations, farmers markets, schools, businesses or even isolated events like weddings and parties—there is a freedom to experiment and dive into the unknown fearlessly. “Any work I’m going to do is going to be a co-creative process,” says Troxler. “When you start planting those seeds of ideas, people start showing up.” SRQ —Olivia Liang Pictured: Tracie Troxler of Sunshine Community Compost


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Pictured left to right: Barry Elwonger Director of Sales and Marketing Motorworks Brewing, Bandit the doggie with Hans Wohlgefahrt and Pam Freni President of Animal Network.

Drink Up for the Pups AS MANAGER BARRY ELWONGER SIMPLY PUT IT, “PEOPLE LOVE DOGS AND PEOPLE LOVE BEER.” It’s hard to more perfectly sum up the success of Motorworks Adoptable Lager than that. An idea borne from a previous philanthropic can of breast cancer awareness beers, the dog-friendly brewery decided to put their nonprofit directly into people’s hands with monthly runs of beer featuring the adorable faces of dogs waiting to be adopted. “We’re just big dog people over here. We have ‘yappy hour,’ we have a dog-friendly beer garden. Almost all our staff owns a dog. It’s just something that speaks to who we are,” says Elwonger. The lagers that launched at the bar in January, have been a woofing success. The support from the community has been “overwhelming,” and to date every dog who was afforded their 15 minutes of fame on a can in a hand has been adopted. Barry also says the local shelters they work with have seen a significant change threefold: in funding, in the interest in adoptions and, most importantly, in the amount of dogs leaving for their fur-ever homes. In collaboration with Pam Freni of Animal Network, Motorworks partnered with the 20-year-old philanthropy effort to help support the Animal Network’s Shelter Manatee Capital Campaign, a long name hoping to shorten the stay of animals in shelters by building a new one in Manatee County. She says, “Working with Motorworks has been an amazing opportunity for us and really emphasizes the synergy that can happen when a nonprofit and a local business come together for the good of the community.” Perhaps the most heart-warming story, one that sounds like it was written for a Lifetime movie, evolved from the original four-pack of dogs featured. A woman in Minnesota, of all places, spotted a familiar face that she believed to be her dog that had been missing for years. Incredibly, they were able to verify through the microchip that the dog made famous on Adoptable Lager was in fact her long-lost pup who had trekked all the way down to Florida. In a true act of compassion, one of the shelter workers drove the dog all the way back to Minnesota to be reunited with its overjoyed owner. The quirky cans have proved a raging success even for long-term shelter residents. The newest run of cans saw a doggo with two years under his belt at the shelter adopted within a week. And it’s not just Sarasota taking notice. People magazine and even The Ellen DeGeneres Show picked up this local story. Putting out new dogs roughly every month, Motorworks Brewing has made it easy to look for your newest pet. Just grab a beer. SRQ —Ariel Chates

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CARTOON-IFYING COVID IT’S THE FIRST DAY OF THIRD GRADE. Students try on their new Spiderman backpack, jumping up and down to test out their new light-up sneakers, and distractedly listen to their grown-up run through a list of things not to forget. Items they’ve always brought to school like a lunch box, gym clothes and an afternoon snack. But then, some new items like a mask and hand sanitizer and maybe even a face shield. For others, the start of the new school year began in their living room. Kindergarten taught on a comfy couch while looking at 20 little squares with new faces and friends. Adults are all doing their best to navigate and understand the complexities of this “new normal.” Imagine how confusing it might be for little ones who can’t read the newspaper, dig through the internet to synthesize reliable information or stay awake for the 10 o’clock news. “The pandemic is impacting each person differently and, arguably, the most profound impact has been on our children and young people,” says Chris Renouf, executive director of elementary schools for Sarasota County Schools. Armed with a toolbox full of scientific and medical information, the Suncoast Science Center team realized how important it was for someone to turn the “dense, giant documents” being produced by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization into “bite-size” information easily digestible for young kids. With this goal in mind, the team led by recent college graduate and volunteer Mimi Faulhaber, 23, dove headfirst into tackling COVID through education “in a way that was innovative and helping to solve future problems, not just addressing the symptoms of the problem.” With this, COVIDUcation was born. It’s an interactive, brightly colored, cartoon-storybook-style website that helps young minds better grasp why they need to wash their hands more often or keep their mask on all day. The story, voiced by student volunteers, follows a young boy named Jacob as he gets ready to start school with the help of his favorite toy Knight. Chapters with themes such as “What are germs?” are presented as adventures, while short quizzes at the end are battles to be won to get to the next step. “Some have found it challenging to explain the details of COVID-19 to their young children and students,” says Renouf. “The COVIDucation web app is a fantastic resource for both families and educators alike—it helps explain COVID-19 through age-appropriate lessons that engage children safely.” The lesson plan has been rolled out to all local schools and was showcased to teachers during their week of safety training before classes officially began. “We are so grateful for the desire of these young people to be helpful during this pandemic,” notes Dr. Laura Kingsley, assistant superintendent and chief academic officer of Sarasota County Schools. “Their brilliance and energy combined to create an innovative solution for teachers and parents of our younger students. How can we encourage our children to engage in safe behaviors that will help keep all of us healthy? I believe this web app will be the go-to engaging resource for our families and teachers to use with younger children. It’s heartwarming to watch these students take an interest in the well-being of others in our community.” SRQ —Ariel Chates

Pictured left to right: Natalie Carrion, Naina Chauhan, Alexiya Mikerina and Mimi Faulhaber.


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SPIRIT OF GIVING CHAMPIONS SHARE THEIR STORIES Philanthropically-minded companies and individuals engage with an incredibly vibrant and diverse ecosystem of nonprofit organizations powering good in Sarasota and Manatee.



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ACTION AIR SARASOTA ACTION AIR OF SARASOTA HAS BEEN GIVING AWAY A FREE SERVICE THAT REDUCES COVID-19 CONTAGION RISK, ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGENS, & IMPROVES INDOOR AIR QUALITY TO ALL OUR CUSTOMERS. In January of 2020, Action Air of Sarasota implemented this new practice, that focused on the number of high-risk individuals in our communities such as the elderly, children, and persons with chronic pulmonary disorders. We implemented this complementary Brushless Duct Cleaning & Sanitization Service which introduces a disinfecting agent into the HVAC system, ductwork, & structure’s indoor environment via the ductwork vents. It serves as a hand sanitizer treatment for your HVAC system and indoor air/surfaces. Using the same active ingredient as hospitals, the Sanitizer eliminates 99.99% of pathogens, bacteria, allergens, & other harmful microorganisms from the air and surfaces. This service, valued at $300 is offered as a complementary service to ALL our customers, while on-site, performing any service. We have maintained this free service throughout 2020 & 2021. We also offer a NASA engineered Air-Scrubber & Purification Unit. A scaled down system as used on the space shuttle, the air-scrubber is a combination of UV light, oxidizer, and deodorizer. This airscrubber is a FDA approved technology, verified by two independent university studies, as successfully eliminating 99.99% of germs, bacteria, & harmful microorganisms from indoor air & surfaces. The air-scrubber creates ionic particles that seek out harmful microbes and eliminates them. Verified by two independent studies confirms the eradication of COVID-19, pneumonia, STAPH, influenza, Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, MRSA, H1N1, SARs, & more. 4411 BEE RIDGE ROAD #506, SARASOTA, FL 34233 | 941-371-6677 | ACTIONAIRSRQ.COM

or over 25 years it has been the mission of Action Air of Sarasota to provide the highest quality HVAC products & services to all our customers throughout South West Florida, using only the most professionally courteous and qualified personnel. As a locally owned & operated business, we are completely dedicated to honestly delivering heating & cooling services, provided by our qualified staff. Our integrity is built on experienced management team & service technicians, who are never assigned sales quotas, are not commission-based, and clearly communicate to our customers which services are needed versus those recommended. Our goal is to not only meet our customer’s expectations but to exceed them each and every time by proving that, “Action Speaks Louder Than Words”!



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ALL FAITHS FOOD BANK FOR MANY OF US, THIS TIME OF YEAR BRINGS HIGH EXPECTATIONS AS WE ANTICIPATE TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS, the exchange of gifts, and delicious holiday meals with the people we love. However, for those who have endured financial challenges—as well as those who are experiencing career and economic fallout more recently due to the coronavirus—the holidays will bring extra stress and pressure as budgets fall far short of holiday dreams. Even worse, while hunger has been a problem for many years in our region, the pandemic is likely to result in many more empty plates this holiday season. Since mid-March, All Faiths Food Bank has seen an overall increase in need of approximately 120%, with new clients increasing 45% at mobile pantry events. The organization has launched its “ThankFULL Tummies and Hearts” campaign, to fill plates and raise spirits this holiday season. All Faiths hopes that the ThankFULL campaign can raise enough to provide 4 million meals for those who are facing hunger. The holidays are going to be very different this year – the pandemic will likely change the way we all celebrate. But through your generosity, we can provide a joyful celebration and healthy meals for families who are struggling to put food on the table. With your help, we can ensure thankFULL tummies and hearts this holiday season.


ll Faiths Food Bank is the only food bank and largest hunger relief organization in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. Together with our partners, we provide healthy solutions to end hunger in our community. A member of Feeding America and Feeding Florida, we provide millions of meals each year through robust programs and partnerships with charitable organizations in the community. In addition to food distribution, All Faiths Food Bank operates a roster of innovative direct service programs that not only solve the immediate problem of hunger but strive to end hunger by helping families and individuals gain long-term food security, better health outcomes and self-sufficiency.



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at Depot is Sarasota’s leading feline-only free-roaming rescue, adoption, and education center recognized for excellence in serving the community and leadership in rescuing and finding homes for more than 17,000 homeless and abandoned cats and kittens since 2003. Cat Depot believes in treating every cat with humane kindness, love, and care.

TOGETHER – WE ARE CAT DEPOT! Cat Depot saves lives, finds loving homes, and provides resources and education needed to improve the destiny of homeless cats. Simply put— we serve cats and the people who love them. Never have they needed us more than in a year like 2020. With your help, our priority focus is to keep everyone safe, keep cats in homes, and keep our lifesaving programs running at full capacity: •

Rescue: Cat Depot works daily to rescue abandoned, abused, injured, and free-roaming community/feral cats and kittens. In 2019, Cat Depot assisted with local and national rescues due to both natural and man-made disasters. Adoption: Our goal is to find a good match and loving home for every cat who enters Cat Depot. Nearly 1,400 cats and kittens found forever homes in 2019 through Cat Depot’s adoption program. Community Food Bank: Cat Depot provides food for over 500 community cats and underserved personal pets each month. Cat Care Clinic: In an effort to care for sick and injured cats and their distressed owners, Cat Depot opened an affordable care clinic in November 2014. Over 6,000 cats and kittens receive treatment each year in the Cat Care Clinic. Humane Education: Cat Depot Is continually working to offer and develop pertinent educational programs and activities that will meet the needs of both homeless cats and members of the community.

2542 17TH STREET SARASOTA, FL 34234 941-366-2404 CATDEPOT.ORG


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he Children’s Cancer Center was founded in 1974. Mac and Cecile Burnett, whose daughter Helen passed away from leukemia, and Dr. Janifer M. Judisch envisioned an organization that would help alleviate the stress of coping with a child’s life-threatening disease. The philosophy of our original founders was that when a child is diagnosed, the entire family is really diagnosed. The Children’s Cancer Center has been serving families in the Sarasota area for over 45 years and has opened its first satellite location this year. Having a permanent location here will allow these families access to more of our regular programs.


CHILDREN’S CANCER CENTER YOU CAN MAKE AN IMMEDIATE IMPACT IN THE LIVES OF LOCAL CHILDREN AND FAMILIES BATTLING PEDIATRIC CANCER. The Children’s Cancer Center exists through the generosity of individuals, foundations and businesses. Donations received by the Children’s Cancer Center fund over 24 support programs offered to all members of the family. The Children’s Cancer Center is dedicated to serving children and their families who are battling cancer or chronic blood disorders with the emotional, financial, and educational support necessary to cope with their life-threatening illness. While other existing organizations are working to find a cure tomorrow, the Children’s Cancer Center is committed to helping families cope today. The Children’s Cancer Center’s programs focus on the following areas: EMOTIONAL SUPPORT: Kids need more than medicine to be well which is why our programs allow opportunities to connect, laugh and learn. Throughout treatment, children and their families are often isolated. We have programs from respite opportunities to individual counseling, all designed to improve the coping skills of not only the child but everyone in the family. EDUCATIONAL SUPPORT: Upon receiving a pediatric cancer diagnosis, all family members can benefit from educational support. Our programs offer the entire family educational opportunities through resources, guest speakers, experts in the field, as well as tutoring and interactive learning opportunities for the parent, diagnosed child and their siblings. FINANCIAL SUPPORT: Families who care for a child with cancer incur considerable costs during the diagnostic treatment. Financial concerns often emerge as a significant factor at a time when these families already are consumed with the challenges of the diagnosis. The economic burden can have long term effects on the financial security, quality of life and future wellbeing of the entire family. This is why we provide programs with financial support to offset expenses such as rent, car payments, and electric bills as well as grocery and gas cards. CHECKS AND GIFT CARDS CAN BE MAILED TO: 1343 MAIN STREET, SARASOTA, FL 34232 CHILDRENCANCERCENTER.ORG


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THE SAILOR CIRCUS ACADEMY, A CIRCUS ARTS CONSERVATORY OUTREACH PROGRAM has transformed the lives of youth in our community for more than seven decades. It’s an empowering program and a magical experience! Students are inspired by their coaches to work hard; know the thrills of performing; feel the incredible sense of accomplishment and experience the sheer fun that circus brings! Through this interdisciplinary, athletic performing arts program, students develop life management skills, self-discipline and confidence, while learning the circus arts. These experiences provide an environment where young people of differing abilities and backgrounds connect and learn the value of collaboration, teamwork, trust, respect and leadership in meaningful ways. And all of this takes place in a $5 million newly renovated Sailor Circus Arena, the largest state of the art youth circus arts training facility in the nation. The Circus Arts Conservatory has launched a special, limitedopportunity fundraising program to name seats in the Sailor Circus Arena. Naming proceeds will help build the new Sailor Circus Fund. This Fund will provide scholarships, equipment and maintenance, performance costumes and more to future generations of young artists. Please contact Karen Misantone at or call 941-355-9335, Ext. 311 for naming opportunities.



he Circus Arts Conservatory is a non-profit organization whose mission is to keep the Circus Arts Alive and Thriving. The CAC’s innovative programs enhance the incredible value and impact of the Circus Arts to both young and old in our community and beyond. Through world class performances, excellence in youth training and educational outreach, The CAC inspires a passion for the performing arts while offering quality opportunities to learn life skills as well as entertain appreciative audiences. 2075 BAHIA VISTA ST. SARASOTA, FL 34239 | 941.355-9335 | CIRCUSARTS.ORG


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he mission of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County is to enhance to the potential of students, promote excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in education, guided by strategic philanthropy. We believe that education can be transformative, and we help students graduate with purpose, prepared to lead successful lives. These words frame the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s story and serve as our ultimate goal. Today, the Education Foundation annually serves nearly 44,000 students and 5,000 instructional staff and support personnel in 53 public schools in the Sarasota County Schools district. With the addition of families, employers, and citizens who depend on an educated population, we serve many more thousands. Behind these figures are individuals whose unique stories, along with our community’s needs, serve to guide our expanding narrative. We remain the only organization exclusively dedicated to supporting students and teachers in Sarasota County Schools. We are dedicated to creating an educational ecosystem for our community that captivates learners and instructors at all levels of K-12 education.


EDUCATION FOUNDATION OF SARASOTA COUNTY TODAY IN SARASOTA COUNTY, A STUDENT, ENERGIZED BY THE WORK WE DO, IS ADVANCING ON A LEARNING PATHWAY LEADING TO A PURPOSEFUL, SUCCESSFUL LIFE. Our work is driven by a collective vision that each and every student graduate with purpose, fully ready to succeed in life. It’s about providing connections, access, and support for teachers, students and families, that give students the innovative resources they need to progress toward learning goals and aspirational dreams. Collaborating with community partners, we can create a greater generation of learners and future leaders by opening up more opportunities and working together to build a coherent network of resources to help all students and families throughout the education continuum. We are proud to be champions of public education with a vision to help each and every student succeed to reach their full potential and support our incredible teachers who show up and give their best. Your support of our students, teachers, and education community demonstrates that you believe, as we do, that education is the best investment we can make to change lives. Join us in creating brighter futures for our children. HEADQUARTERS | 1960 LANDINGS BLVD. #120, SARASOTA, FL 34233 COMMUNITY RESOURCE CENTER | LAUNCHPAD4U 1413 BLVD OF THE ARTS, SARASOTA FL 34236 941-927-0965 | EDFOUNDATIONSRQ.ORG


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Goodwill Manasota’s mission of “CHANGING LIVES THROUGH THE POWER OF WORK” continues Goodwill’s 118-year-old commitment to provide employment and training opportunities for individuals facing significant barriers to self-sufficiency. Among these obstacles are disadvantaging conditions that range from having a criminal record, being an older worker, or lacking a GED to more disabling conditions, like veterans struggling with PTSD, or individuals with severe physical or learning disabilities.

GOODWILL MANASOTA OUR MISSION STANDS ON THE CONVICTION OF GOODWILL’S FOUNDER, Reverend Edgar J. Helms, who believed that “everyone has the potential to work, and work provides dignity and empowerment for all individuals.” Goodwill Manasota’s mission provides a variety of services and programs that address the unique needs of our local community, and positively transform the lives of the individuals and families we serve, by offering them a “hand up, not a hand out” – not charity, but a chance. EMPLOYMENT IMPACT: Goodwill Manasota provides meaningful, long-term employment opportunities to people who have long struggled to find work. Through education and training, we help them overcome barriers that result from disability, lack of education, poor language skills, or a myriad of other obstacles that have kept them from entering or remaining in the workforce. EDUCATIONAL IMPACT: We provide opportunities for people to further their education and advance their careers. Our programs teach practical, real-world skills needed for success, skills that people might never gain without the help of Goodwill. ECONOMIC IMPACT: Goodwill Manasota has a positive local economic impact of more than $80.3 million, which in turn is invested right back into the community. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT: Each year, we protect and preserve our natural resources by diverting roughly 40 million pounds of materials that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.

2705 51ST AVE. E. BRADENTON, FL 34203 | 941-355-2721 | EXPERIENCEGOODWILL.ORG


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umane Society of Manatee County is a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit animal welfare organization and is the lead animal welfare agency in Manatee County. The Humane Society of Manatee County operates the Second Chance Adoption Center located at 2515 14th Street W. and a veterinary clinic / high volume spay and neuter clinic at 2415 14th Street W. in Bradenton. Each year the Second Chance Adoption Center re-homes more than 800 dogs and cats through the adoption program. In September of 2015, Humane Society of Manatee County opened a 10,000 sq. foot state of the art veterinary clinic that includes a high volume spay and neuter clinic, wellness services, x-ray, dentals and vaccines. The veterinary clinic provides high quality, low-to-moderate cost veterinary care for cats and dogs in Manatee County and neighboring counties. HSMC Veterinary Clinic is now a full service veterinary clinic that is open to the public by appointment.


HUMANE SOCIETY OF MANATEE COUNTY PHILANTHROPY ABOUNDS IN MANATEE COUNTY and Sarasota County year after year as donors, supporters and the business community continue to support hundreds of area non-profits. This support has not only allowed the Humane Society of Manatee County to continue its life saving mission based work on behalf of the animals, but has allowed for an expansion of its veterinary clinic services. In addition to re-homing more than 800 cats and dogs each year through our Second Chance Adoption Program, Humane Society of Manatee County’s Pet Retention Program works to keep animal companions and their human families together. Pet retention programs include a cat and dog food pantry, behavioral training assistance and low-to-moderate cost veterinary services. Two great programs that need your support are the Angel Fund, which provides funding to help financially challenged owners get their animals the veterinary care they deserve and need for emergency cases. The Animal Cruelty Victims Fund has been established to fund veterinary care needed for animals who have suffered from neglect or cruelty and are being cared for by our medical team. Online donations can be made by going to and donations can be mailed to 2515 14th Street W. Bradenton, Florida 34205. Humane Society of Manatee County’s strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency have earned it a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for the fourth consecutive year. 2515 14TH STREET W., BRADENTON, FL 34205 | 941-747-8808 | HUMANEMANATEE.ORG


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s the area’s premier no-kill shelter, the Humane Society of Sarasota County (HSSC) engages the hearts, hands, and minds of the community to help animals. A home is found for every adoptable pet in our care. We also offer volunteer opportunities for teens and adults, humane education programs, pet therapy, fostering, obedience courses, and a full-service veterinary clinic that is open to the public. HSSC is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. We receive no federal funding, nor are we funded by or affiliated with any other humane organization—local or national. HSSC is the only animal welfare organization in Florida (and one of just three nationwide) with a 4-star rating and a perfect score from Charity Navigator, America’s premier independent charity evaluator.


HUMANE SOCIETY OF SARASOTA COUNTY A PLACE TO CALL HOME—it’s what all pets long for. At the Humane Society of Sarasota County, we are a safe harbor on an animal’s journey to its “furever” family. During their stay with HSSC, animals receive the essentials—nutritious food, medical attention, and safe shelter—but they also receive affection, attention, and enrichment. For some of these animals, we are the place where they first experience compassion and hope. Time after time, we see scared, hurt, and sick animals blossom while in our care. Their transformation continues when they are adopted into loving homes. When you support HSSC, you make this happiness possible. You give animals a home. Our HSSC “home” is also transforming. We are undergoing the most extensive renovation and expansion in our nearly 70-year history. Our new facility, located at our existing location on 15th Street in Sarasota, will be complete by May 2021. We already provide a temporary home for more than 1,800 animals each year. Our new campus will enable us to save 900 more each year. We are heading into our most exciting and lifesaving chapter, and you can be part of it. You can help us build the future. We envision a community where all animals are cared for and loved. You can be part of making that vision a reality. Adopt, foster, volunteer, or donate this holiday season, and, together, we will Bring Love Home. 2331 15TH ST., SARASOTA, FL 34237 941-955-4131 | HSSC.ORG


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arie Selby Botanical Gardens provides 45 acres of bayfront sanctuaries connecting people with air plants of the world, native nature, and our regional history. Established by forward thinking women of their time, Selby Gardens is composed of the 15-acre downtown Sarasota campus and the 30-acre Historic Spanish Point campus in the Osprey area of Sarasota County, Florida. The downtown Sarasota campus on Sarasota Bay is the only botanical garden in the world dedicated to the display and study of epiphytic orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns, and other tropical plants. There is a significant focus on botany, horticulture, education, historical preservation, and the environment. The Historic Spanish Point campus located less than 10 miles south along Little Sarasota Bay has one of the largest preserves showcasing native Florida plants that is interpreted for and open to the public, and celebrates an archaeological record that encompasses approximately 5,000 years of Florida history.


MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS THIS YEAR MARKS MARIE SELBY BOTANICAL GARDENS’ 45TH ANNIVERSARY. We are proud to uphold Marie Selby’s wish of providing a Botanical Garden “for the enjoyment of the general public.” Since our founding, Selby Gardens amassed the world’s best scientifically-documented collections of orchids and bromeliads and made significant contributions to their study and conservation. Selby Gardens provides access to nature and educational programming for more than ten thousand school children annually. In May of this year, Selby Gardens adopted Historic Spanish Point as a companion campus to our Downtown Sarasota location. With an additional 30 acres of bayfront to enjoy, Selby Gardens remains committed to being a place of respite for the community. As we move towards protecting Selby Gardens for the generations to come, the Downtown Sarasota Compromise Master Site Plan will preserve our history, safeguard our invaluable collections, and sustain our future. Additionally, we continue to expand our access to underserved youth and families, to contribute to the study and conservation of plants, to share our regional history, and to offer innovative programming that connects all with our mission. Today, you can make an impact for Selby Gardens creating a lasting legacy for the future of our bayfront sanctuaries in the region. Will you join us?


1534 MOUND ST, SARASOTA, FL 34236 337 N. TAMIAMI TRAIL, OSPREY, FL 34229 941-366-5731 | SELBY.ORG


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IN 1955, MOTE MARINE LABORATORY & AQUARIUM STARTED AS A SMALL, ONE-ROOM LABORATORY IN A SOUTHWEST FLORIDA TOWN. Originally focused on sharks, Mote has grown to include more than 200 employees, including more than 30 Ph.D. scientists. Mote conducts groundbreaking research with more than 20 diverse research programs focusing on the challenges facing our oceans today while addressing future impacts. Knowing that our existence is tied to the fate of our oceans, the advancement of this kind of research is vital to unlocking potential solutions to some of today’s most daunting global challenges. The research and conservation on degraded Florida reefs conducted at Mote has expanded to include restoring hundreds of thousands of coral fragments onto degraded Florida reef; restocking populations of common snook, one of Florida’s most important sportfishes that contributes to our thriving tourism and outdoors economy; rescuing and rehabilitating hundreds of sea turtles and dolphins entangled in fishing gear or struck by boats; using technology to find solutions to harmful algae blooms; protecting the ever-growing number of sea turtle nests on local beaches; and much more. The oceans support life as we know it, providing the food we eat, the recreation we enjoy, the very air we breathe. Oceans cover about 70% of Earth, and the challenges they face are equally vast. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is advancing research-based solutions to ensure our oceans can heal and thrive. Help us put leading-edge marine science and ocean conservation into action.


t Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, we are scientists, explorers and stewards of the ocean. We are an independent, nonprofit marine research institution comprising world-class marine scientists committed to the belief that the conservation and sustainable use of our oceans begins with research and education. Through our working labs, various research programs, public Aquarium and outreach & educational programs, we work together to create a better environment for ourselves and our children. The ocean is our passion. Science is our catalyst to help the ocean heal, thrive and continue to be a haven of sustainable life, life-improving science and life-giving solutions.


1600 KEN THOMPSON PKWY, SARASOTA, FL, 34236 | 941-388-4441 | MOTE.ORG/GIVE


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ur mission is simple: save as many dogs and cats as we can. Since 2008, Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue has been dedicated to helping neglected, abandoned and mistreated dogs and cats find loving homes. Each year, with the help of countless volunteers and an incredibly supportive community, we are able to save thousands of at-risk animals and care for them at our eight-acre, no kill shelter and adoption facility on Lorraine Road in Lakewood Ranch. With your continued help, we can expand our campus and increase our scope of services to save even more homeless animals every year.

NATE’S HONOR ANIMAL RESCUE MEET TIFFANY, A BRAVE DOG RECENTLY FOUND HIDING BEHIND A BUILDING, INJURED, DEHYDRATED AND TRYING TO KEEP HER 10 NEWBORN PUPPIES ALIVE. Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue answered the call for help, not only getting Tiffany the medical care she needed to mend her fractured pelvis and leg, but also finding a foster family to bottle feed her puppies while she recovered. Tiffany is just one of the thousands of helpless and homeless dogs and cats that we rescue each year. But we can save even more animals if we have the room and resources to do so. That’s why we have embarked on a $10 million campus expansion campaign, called Journey Home, that will double our current life-saving capacity and create an all-new kitty city. The enhanced campus plans include a new 20,000-sq.-ft. welcome and adoption center; a 4,000-sq.-ft. behavior and training center; and a 5,000-sq.-ft. intake building that will allow us to house and treat sick and special needs animals being transferred from other shelters where they would have otherwise been euthanized. Other site improvements include a veterinary clinic, children’s education center, community event rooms, a dog pool, walking path to help dogs learn to walk on a leash, and a fenced play area. We have reached about 70% of our fundraising goal and hope that you’ll join us on the final stretch of our Journey Home. Together, we can answer the call of so many more animals in distress in our community and help them find a loving home.



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e raise funds to support the students and faculty of New College of Florida, a nationally recognized institution of higher learning that educates intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement.


FEARLESS LEARNING. FORWARD THINKING. Founded in Sarasota in 1960, New College of Florida is the state’s legislatively designated Honors College of Florida and the nation’s #2 public liberal arts college. With more than 90 percent of students receiving some form of financial aid and nearly every admitted student being offered a scholarship, New College is one of the most affordable small colleges in the country. New College prepares intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement by providing each student with a highly individualized education that integrates academic rigor with career-building experiences and culminates with a senior capstone project. Students choose from 45 undergraduate majors in arts, humanities, social sciences, and STEM fields; a master’s degree program in data science; and certificates in technology, finance, and business skills. A higher percentage of New College graduates go on to earn PhDs than graduates of any other public university in the country. The beautiful, 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay houses three century-old mansions once owned by the Ringling family and the Caples family. The college’s iconic Pei Residences and Hamilton Student Center were designed by the legendary architect I.M. Pei. The Pritzker Marine Biology Research Center is the only marine biology research center in the country located on a liberal arts college campus.



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he mission of Resilient Retreat is to empower survivors of trauma to thrive through self-care and community. Based on the pillars of trauma informed care, Resilient Retreat’s variety of evidencebased and multi-disciplinary programs are designed to heal the whole person—mind, body and spirit. In addition to workshops and educational opportunities, Resilient Retreat will host multi-day retreats and day programs where participants will have the opportunity to try a variety of treatment modalities like yoga, neurofeedback, art and music therapy, experiences in nature, and more. These treatments will be hosted on the stunning 84 acres of conservation land that will house Retreat and Community Centers which will serve as a place to empower participants towards a life of resiliency and hope.



Far le : Free and confidential programs available now. Above: 30-bed Retreat Center to open December 2022.

THE AFTERMATH OF TRAUMA LASTS A LIFETIME AND RIPPLES THROUGH A COMMUNITY MANIFESTING IN ANXIETY, DEPRESSION, RISKY BEHAVIOR, CHRONIC ILLNESS, OR VIOLENCE TOWARDS OTHERS. Often those who suffer do not seek help. Stigma, shame, limited financial resources, lack of health insurance and disjointed services prevent those suffering from accessing care. With everything that is happening in the world today, the need to address the impact of trauma is now more important than ever. Advancements in neuroscience have also expanded our understanding of the ways that individuals who are indirectly involved in a traumatic incident also experience its impact. That is why Resilient Retreat is committed to serving both those who have experienced trauma themselves and those in helping professions, such as police officers, fire fighters, teachers, health care professionals and many non-profit workers. Resilient Retreat was founded in 2018 with the mission of empowering survivors of trauma to thrive through self-care and community. We provide a variety of workshops, trainings, and programs that are evidence-based, data driven and organized around the guiding principles of trauma-informed care, such as support groups, neurofeedback, yoga, journaling and animal therapy. Indeed, research suggests that participants that complete our programs report lower levels of depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and higher levels of happiness and emotional clarity. The chance to create a new model to help those suffering from trauma heal motivates us. The partnerships between trauma experts, community members, and people with real-life experiences of struggle and perseverance energize us. The generosity of our community bolsters us. We hope that you, too, are inspired and will join us in supporting our mission. Together, WE thrive. 1207 SARASOTA CENTER BLVD., SARASOTA, FL 34231 | 941-343-0039 | RESILIENTRETREAT.ORG


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THE SARASOTA BALLET THIS YEAR, THE SARASOTA BALLET CELEBRATES OUR 30TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON of infusing our community with the highest quality and diversity of dance in America. Since Director Iain Webb’s appointment as Director in 2007, the Company has received national and international acclaim, as well as invitations to perform in some of the Country’s most prestigious dance venues. Additionally, The Sarasota Ballet School provides professional instruction for students of all ages, and The Margaret Barbieri Conservatory prepares pre-professional level students for a performing career in classical ballet. We invite you to join us this Season as we mark thirty years of enriching lives, captivating emotions, and strengthening our community through the art of dance.

haring the artistry of ballet with the Sarasota community has been integral to The Sarasota Ballet since our very beginning. Many of you may already be familiar with our professional Company through our performances of ballets by some of the greatest choreographers of the 20th century, and some may also know our Education Programs through classes with The Sarasota Ballet School, or a student’s enrollment in The Margaret Barbieri Conservatory. A shining gem of ours, however, that often goes overlooked and in which we take great pride is our student outreach program, Dance – The Next Generation. In 1991, Dance – The Next Generation (DNG) was founded by Jean Weidner Goldstein and was designed as a dance program to directly impact underserved children in the local community. Each year DNG averages an enrollment of around 165 students, from third to twelfth grade, regardless of background, ability, or financial status. The Sarasota Ballet provides tuition-free dance education and enrichment to children in Title 1 schools who are considered at risk of dropping out. In addition to dance instruction, students are transported in DNG vans from their schools to our dedicated facilities where they receive healthy snacks through a partnership with All Faiths Food Bank. They also receive dance clothes and shoes, and participate in an hour of mentor-supervised homework in classrooms and state-of-the-art computer labs. But DNG is more than a dance program. The goal was and remains to nurture the development of the entire individual with emphasis on discipline, self-esteem, and the desire for higher education.


5555 NORTH TAMIAMI TRAIL, SARASOTA, FL 34243 941.359.0099 | SARASOTABALLET.ORG Top photo by Ma hew Holler | Below photo by Fred Doery


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SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS GIVING BACK TO OUR COMMUNITY, OUR YOUTH AND OUR PLANET IS SARASOTA JUNGLE GARDENS’ FOCUS. Our programs are designed to inspire appreciation for nature through education. We offer hands-on learning to well over 140,000 local, international and student visitors every year. And 95% of our profit is reinvested into our mission. We sponsor elementary schools; we donate hundreds of admission tickets and allow other non-profits use of our facility for their events at no charge. We have supported Muscular Dystrophy, Lighthouse for The Blind, The American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, Make a Wish, YMCA, The Sarasota County Library, and others for years. Every August we hold our Back to School Bash where purchasing one adult admission allows 3 kids in for free. We also participate in Sarasota County’s Ed/Explore program giving school age children hands-on opportunities to fulfill state education standards at reduced admission rates. We feel that reading about an alligator and holding one are vastly different things. Face to face with a beautiful, yet peculiar, flamingo hand feeding and walking among them make for lasting memories. While founded in 1939, Sarasota Jungle Gardens has been family owned and operated since 1971. We are hopeful that through the generosity of others we may further support migratory bird conservation programs, including flamingos and water fowl, offer Zoo Camp (summer camp) scholarships and invest more into enriching the lives of our over 300 animals, most rescued and some endangered species. We are proud to be beloved by generations of families.



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SARASOTA MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION BRINGING HOPE HOME When it comes to cancer, no one should have to leave home to receive the best cancer care. That’s why Sarasota Memorial’s vision to bring comprehensive cancer care to Sarasota has finally become a reality. In 2019, the health system broke ground on the Brian D. Jellison Cancer Institute Radiation Oncology Center at University Parkway, which opened in August 2020, and the Oncology Tower on the hospital’s main campus—slated to open fall 2021. Patients and families facing a cancer diagnosis will finally get the care and support they need here at home. The Healthcare Foundation and its generous community of donors are playing an integral part in helping to ensure that the programs, patient care, technology and more are state-of-the-art and accessible to all. To date, our campaign has raised over $50 million toward our $75 million goal. Knowing that cancer has touched the lives of most of us, we are counting on community support to help bring hope home. If you are interested in supporting the Jellison Cancer Institute, please visit our website at or call 941-917-1286.


arasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation is the philanthropic partner that helps Sarasota Memorial Health Care System bring world-class care to our community. Today, the Healthcare Foundation’s Leading with Care campaign is helping Sarasota Memorial bring comprehensive cancer care to our region.



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enior Friendship Centers is a nonprofit organization serving older adults in four counties in Southwest Florida by promoting health, dignity and quality of life throughout the journey of aging. We are the safety net for close to 15,000 seniors living in our service area, providing services such as home delivered meals, dining centers, caregiving resources, adult day services, exercise classes, lifelong learning, economic assistance, and socialization. A belief in “People Helping People” has been the foundation of Senior Friendship Centers for more than four decades. Volunteers serve in nearly every facet of the organization, helping older adults to live active, healthy lives and maintain their independence. Through essential programming, support, and state and local partnerships, Senior Friendship Centers is improving the health of thousands of uninsured seniors on limited incomes and helping older adults in our community feel connected in powerful ways.


THE POWER OF CONNECTION. Over the past few months, we have all come to know and understand the importance. All at once, we recognize the things we’ve taken for granted – leaving the house, connecting with friends and family, sharing a meal, giving someone a hug. Not being able to do these things affects our physical and mental health. As the founder of Senior Friendship Centers Brother Geenen said, “Isolation is the malnutrition of the elderly.” Imagine if there was no end to the isolation. That’s how homebound seniors feel every day. In Sarasota County alone, more than 40,000 seniors, or about 23% of the population, live alone. As the only safety-net nonprofit for seniors in the four counties we serve, our most vulnerable population needs us now more than ever. Many of the seniors we help have been isolated for weeks…months…years…and are experiencing the devastating effects that loneliness can have on your mind, health and wellbeing.



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THE BISHOP MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND NATURE THE BISHOP MUSEUM OF SCIENCE AND NATURE IS AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE REGION’S EDUCATIONAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL LANDSCAPES. We are grateful to our supporters for making it possible for the Museum to help people understand the world around them through “wow” moments at the Museum and during our programs, learn about Florida’s natural history, explore the universe and help manatees in need. A gift to The Bishop affects tens of thousands of visitors every year who come from Manatee and Sarasota counties, all 50 states and more than 25 countries. We also provide field trips virtually and at the Museum, in addition to offering a variety of resources for students. The Museum continues to grow and evolve to meet the needs of the community and the region. In response to public health issues created by COVID-19, the Museum added virtual programming and digital resources to its offerings. Our Museum from Home webpage ( provides engaging videos for students, parents, home schooling families and curious people of all ages. New protocols are in place to keep Museum visitors, volunteers and staff as safe as possible. As a private nonprofit, the Museum relies on philanthropy and revenue from admissions and the Museum store to support day-to-day operations. Even though the Museum is open, revenues are dramatically reduced. During this time, support from our community is critically important and very much appreciated. For information about making a gift, please contact Senior Advancement Officer Declan Sheehy at (941) 746-4131, ext. 149 or

201 10TH ST. WEST, BRADENTON, FL 34205 941-746-4131 | BISHOPSCIENCE.ORG


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or more than 40 years, The Florida Center for Early Childhood has been the leading provider of therapeutic services, early education and healthy development for young children in southwest Florida. We offer a seamless delivery of services for the whole child and their family. Today, the agency is nationally recognized for its early childhood expertise in a variety of specialties. The Florida Center provides developmental therapies, mental health counseling, Starfish Academy preschool, the Healthy Families home-visiting program and the state’s only Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders clinic. For more information, visit or call 941-371-8820.


THE FLORIDA CENTER FOR EARLY CHILDHOOD A STRONG NON-PROFIT IS LIKE A WELL-MADE QUILT; IF STITCHED TOGETHER WITH PURPOSE AND COLLABORATION, IT SELDOM UNRAVELS. The Florida Center for Early Childhood, which serves more than 3,500 children and their families annually, is one such organization. Its eight programs are funded through a patchwork of sources from individuals, foundations, community partners, and state and local government. Like the pieces utilized when creating a quilt, each donation, no matter the size, becomes an integral part of the fabric of the organization. This helps local children overcome developmental delays, disabilities and emotional trauma through critical therapeutic services, and other supports. Nothing has tested the seams of our programs like 2020. But our strong network of individuals and community partners have helped The Florida Center stitch any tears in the system and become a stronger organization in the process. Here’s how they contributed: •

With the goal of raising at least $100,000, businesses and individuals supported a virtual event in place of the agency’s annual gala. Others participated in the “Achieve 100 Challenge,” completing 100 of an activity of their choosing in 100 days or less, to inspire donations from their peers.

Multiple community foundations and partner organizations have contributed funding to help The Florida Center expand its critical care services virtually, reaching families during a time of their greatest need.

We invite you to become part of our quilt! Any contribution will become a treasured addition to the fabric of our organization.

4620 17TH ST., SARASOTA, FL 34235 | 6929 OUTREACH WAY, NORTH PORT, FL 34287 941-371 – 8820 | THEFLORIDACENTER.ORG


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iger Lily Flowers is dedicated to providing extraordinary floral services to individuals, couples, families, and businesses in Sarasota, Lakewood Ranch, and Bradenton. Our team is led by Linda Domenico who is inspired by almost 40 years of experience as a floral designer, a lifetime of travelling, and her adventures in entrepreneurship. Linda and our team see each new floral design as an opportunity to tell a different story; an opportunity to innovate and be creative in a unique and unforgettable way. As a whole, the team at Tiger Lily Flowers has dedicated decades to learning how to use the language of floral design to bring clients’ love, friendship, romance, sympathy, empathy, hospitality, and gratitude to life.



WE BELIEVE THAT THE TRUE SPIRIT OF GIVING IS MOST ALIVE WHEN COMMUNITIES COME TOGETHER. As a floral studio we may be a little biased, but we love being able to bring people joy through the gift of flowers. We frequently donate our time and talents in the form of creating and delivering floral arrangements to local organizations. We also pride ourselves on finding creative ways to inspire the spirit of giving in others like our petal it forward event in Sarasota. We packed our delivery truck full of beautiful bouquets and drove from St. Armand’s Circle through the heart of downtown Sarasota handing out flowers to everyone we could. We gave each person two bouquets: one to keep for themselves, and one to “petal it forward” and give to someone else so they too could help spread some joy. The most wonderful part of this event was seeing people walking around the city with our flowers, just because someone cared enough to share. We are proud to be an active, positive influence in our community and are so grateful to have the opportunity to work with many incredible local businesses and organizations like SRQ Media’s Women Who Roar, The Lighthouse of Manasota, Mote Marine, and Women of Influence.


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Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary is a 501c3 non-profit organization. Our mission is to provide a safe, loving and permanent home for exotic and domestic animals in need, and to educate our guests on the importance of species preservation to ensure the survival of these magnificent animals for future generations. We are firmly committed to keeping alive the HumanAnimal connection in our world and in our community. BIG CAT HABITAT IS ABLE TO PROVIDE CARE AND SUPPORT to Big Cat Habitat is able to provide care and support to over almost 200 animals thanks to the generous donations from our supporters, and from gate admission revenues. All of the funds that we receive directly impact the lives of the animals in our care: from our goats, tortoises and primates to our wolves, bears and big cats! Every animal is provided with special diets, enrichments and habitats that are specifically designed for their species’ needs. We share this community and world with all of these beautiful fauna, and it is important that we each do our part to secure their future existence; therefore we make it our goal to educate children and adults about the importance of animals and the conservation of their habitats. 7101 PALMER BLVD., SARASOTA, FL 34232 941-371-6377 | BIGCATHABITAT.ORG


Since 1986, JFCS of the Suncoast has provided a wide variety of services including counseling, personal support, and temporary financial assistance to residents of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. We help youth navigate the challenges of being a teenager, adults get beyond living day to day, veterans secure the supports they need to prevent or no longer be homeless, and seniors struggling with social isolation and loneliness. Inspired by the Jewish tradition of helping all people, services are provided regardless of religious background.

THIS PAST SPRING JFCS OF THE SUNCOAST RAISED AND DISTRIBUTED over $500,000 through its COVID Emergency Hardship Fund that helped over 400 area families. Most of the funds were used for rent and mortgage relief. Here is one of those stories.Shaterra has been taking care of her sister’s three children for the past two years. She worked as a cook at a Sarasota restaurant and was laid off due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 19. Shaterra slipped into depression that would last for the next six months. She lost the job she loved, had no money to pay bills and had three children living with her. The praying she did every day stopped. Her world was coming to an end. Shaterra’s water was shut off in March shortly after she lost her job. She paid portions of what bills she could. By June, she worried that her truck would be repossessed and she would be homeless. “Unemployment only carries you so far.” JFCS of the Suncoast provided $1,500 that paid Shaterra’s rent in July, and $632 from Season of Sharing paid her past-due water bill. Karen Lang from JFCS described Shaterra as a “fighter”. “We see people at their hardest, most desperate moments. Shaterra not only came back to say thank you, she sent me a heartfelt message that I will never forget.” The combined help bought Shaterra some extra time to find work again and renewed her spirit. It took her over six months to find another job. She’s now working at a distribution facility in Sarasota. JFCS OF THE SUNCOAST 2688 FRUITVILLE ROAD, 34327 JFCS-CARES.ORG


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Florida Studio Theatre (FST) is Sarasota’s contemporary theatre. Founded in 1973, FST has grown to a village of five theatres. FST is the largest subscription theatre in the state and among the largest in the country, serving more than 230,000 live attendees each year across its six core programs: Mainstage, Cabaret, Stage III, Children’s Theatre, Education, and New Play Development. Hip and historical, entertaining and challenging, we are the theatre where everyone is welcome to engage in the art of theatre. FLORIDA STUDIO THEATRE IS FIRMLY COMMITTED to making the theatre accessible and affordable to as many people as possible. Our ticket prices are some of the lowest in the nation. Ticket revenue covers only about 70% of our actual operating costs. We rely on generous contributions from our individual donors along with support from Foundations to make up the difference between our low ticket prices and the actual costs of all our programming. FST develops theatre that speaks to our dynamic, ever-evolving world. FST believes the theatre is a vital part of human life and we strive to provide affordable, quality theatre programming that reflects the diversity of the world. We believe that if you put the world on the stage, you will find the world in your audience. Photo credit: Stuart Alexander in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. Photo by Ma hew Holler.

For over 60 years, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has been the center of Jewish life for Sarasota and Manatee counties. Our mission is to strengthen Jewish life and identity in our community, provide for Jewish people in need and promote support for Israel. With a local Jewish population that has almost doubled in twenty years, we are now reimagining our 32-acre campus on McIntosh Road to better serve the needs of our growing community.

TIKKUN OLAM, OR REPAIRING THE WORLD, IS A MAJOR TENET OF JUDIASM. That value was deeply evident during this Covid 19 pandemic. Beginning in March, our Jewish community came together to help those struggling from the crisis by donating more than $330,000, including a $100,000 from a Federation board restricted fund, to the STRONGER TOGETHER: Coronavirus Relief Fund at The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee. Using those monies, Federation granted $285,189 to 15 different Jewish organizations and synagogues. Monies were given at three different intervals, in the spring, summer and fall. Needs ranged from food security to personal protection equipment (PPE) to much-needed technology upgrades at synagogues to provide virtual services and programs for many in our community who are isolated and alone due to the pandemic. Photo credit: Shabbat Meals for those less fortunate at Chabad of Bradenton & Lakewood Ranch



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TAKING BACK THE HOLIDAYS ’Tis the season to take back the fun. Seize the cheer and jollification in this year’s Holiday Gift Guide of good times guaranteed. SRQ editors hit the ground running to pull together a mixed bag of feel-good goodies to hygge out at home if you’ve become accustomed to a socially distanced lifestyle. Tf not, flip through to our picks for outdoorsy adventure gear to enjoy a quintessential Gulf Coast outing. Or, dive into some ticketed activities and local excursions we stumbled upon for more experiential gift ideas. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t feature a cellar’s-worth of celebratory bubbles to manifest a holly jolly good time upon the end of an historic year of pandemonium. This holiday season, you deserve more than ever to “treat yourself” and your loved ones. 2020, it’s been real, but it’s time to let loose, pop a little champagne and recoup on some missed merrymaking. COMPILED BY BRITTANY MATTIE, ARIEL CHATES AND OLIVIA LIANG | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN

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DECK THE YARDS SunDry Afternoons Reverse Clamshell Brim River Guide Hat Chaparral, $50; GreenThumb Bypass Pruner 8�, $11; GreenThumb 7-Pattern Real Trigger Hose Nozzle, $16; Botanical Interests Herb Packets, $2 each; Border Concepts Iron Garden Hanger, $3, Dotchi Garden cultivator, $8, Dotchi Gardening trowel, $8, Your Farm & Garden, 735 South Beneva Rd., Sarasota, 941-366-4954, Cacti/Succulent varieties, from $2; Garden Genie Gardening Gloves, $5; Terra-cotta Clay Pot Varieties, from $3; Albritton’s Nursery, 4151 Proctor Rd., Sarasota, 941-9250344,, @albrittonsnursery.

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ABOVE: BABY, IT’S SUNNY OUTSIDE SlowTide Huahine Multi Beach Towel, $30; YETI Sage Daytrip Lunch Box Cooler, $80; Rue Ames Solid Red 9.75’ Greendough Surf Fin, $83; The Florida Flavor “High Tide” Flat-Brim Hat, $30; Flynn Mt Back Mirror Shades, $150; Salty Crew UV Face Gaiter, $20; Nautilus XL Reel 6/7wt in Custom Green, $445; Enrico Puglisi Black Treuse Lure and Sand Ghost Minnow Two-Pack, $8.50 each; 16-Ounce Compound Silipint, $12; Compound Boardshop, 3604 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-5529805,, @compoundboardshop. Chaco Chillos Slide Fossil, $50; NRS Tuff Sack 15-Liter Dry Bag in Blue, $26; GILI Stand-Up Paddle Coiled Leash, $25; Economy Tackle/Dolphin Powersports, 6018 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-922-9671,, @economy_tackle. OPPOSITE PAGE: ROCKIN’ AROUND THE BATHTUB LemonLavender Microfiber Turbo Hair Towel, $12; Jane Unc. Eyestea Tea Bags, $5; Sheabrand CBD 25-mg Bath Bomb Set, $25; Sheabrand Transdermal Soothing CBD Patches, $20 each; Sheabrand Multifunction 50-mg CBD Body Butter, $30; Bomb Cosmetics Handmade Essential Oil Soaps, $8 each; The Jade Roller Stone Massager, $24; Molly’s: A Chic & Unique Boutique, 1874 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, 941-921-1221,, @mollys_srq. Musee Therapy DreamWeaver Lavender Flowers & Lime Epsom Salts, $22; MU Rubber Duckie Blue Bath Balm, $7; Gidgets Coastal Provisions, 5242 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, 941-343-7646,, @gidgetssiestakey.

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Jingle Bell Cork Whether you’re looking for an affordable bottle of bubbly to simply cheers and get the job done or a top-shelf showstopper to impress your Secret Santa or dinner guests, these robust local bottleshops and wine bars’ retail walls are worth stopping at this holiday season. Pick up a gift that means “unwrapping” the fancy foil off the cork and collerette.

PICTURED: Conundrum Sparkling Rosé, $26, Siesta Key Wine Bar, 5138 Ocean Blvd., Ste. C, Sarasota, siestakeywinebar. com; Vilmart & Cie Coeur de Cuvée Premier Cru Brut Champagne, $124, Sea Grape Wine Co., 4333 South Tamiami Trl., Unit F, Sarasota,; Belstar Prosecco Brut DOC, $14; 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop, 1445 2nd St., Sarasota,; Bollinger Special Cuvée Champagne, $60, Grand Cru Wine Bar, 1528 Main St., Sarasota, gcwinebar. com; Dom Pérignon Brut, $170; Venice Fine Wine & Spirits, 421 South Tamiami Trl., Venice,; Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Brut Rosé Champagne, $69, Fine Wine & Tastings on Main LWR, 8111 Lakewood Main St., Unit J105, Lakewood Ranch,; Vino Loco Brachetto-Italy (Private Label), Vino Loco Wine Bar, Tapas & Bottle Shop, 420 West Dearborn St., Englewood,; Collet Champagne Brut Esprit Couture, $100, Magnum Wine and Tastings, 2300 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota,; Champagne Collet Brut ‘Art Deco’ Premier Cru, $49, Rumours Wine Bar, 1807 Englewood Rd., Englewood,

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cargo The Most Bubbly Time of Year

Dress to the nines and head out for a night sipping sparkles on a downtown rooftop or intimate lounge. This fleet of flute-filled varietals can be found at local restaurants and bars with an impressive bubbles menu to order either by the glass or popped by the bottle. Raise a toast to the end of a year that has made us especially appreciative of the social sound of clinking glassware.

GLASSES OF NOTE Sea Smoke Sea Spray Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine, Central Coast, CA, $160/btl, Ophelia’s on the Bay, 9105 Midnight Pass Rd., Sarasota,; Rose d’Or Crémant de Brut Rosé, Bordeaux, FR, $14/gls, $46/btl, Burns Court Bistro and Wine Bar, 401 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, theburnscourtcafe. com; Domaine Spiropoulos Ode Panos Brut Certified Organic, Mantinia, GR, $55/btl, Blu Kouzina, 25 North Blvd. of the Presidents, Sarasota,; Castello di Gabbiano Cavalier d’Oro Brut Prosecco, Veneto, IT, $15/gls, Summer House, 149 Avenida Messina, Siesta Key,; PiperHeidsieck Cuvée Brut NV, Reims, FR, $92/btl, Crow’s Nest Restaurant & Marina, 1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice,; Lucien Albrecht Crémant d’Alsace Brut Rosé, Alsace, IT, $55/btl, GROVE Restaurant, Patio and Ballroom, 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, grovelwr. com; Domaine Carneros Champagne Taittinger, Napa Valley, CA, $54/ btl, PIER 22 Restaurant, Patio and Catering, 1200 1st Ave. W, Bradenton,; Graham Beck Brut Rosé NV, Coastal Region, SA, $14/gls, $48/btl, Michael’s On East, 1212 East Ave. S, Sarasota, bestfood. com; Bellavista Franciacorta Alma Cuvée Brut, Lombardy, IT, $63/btl, Café Baci, 4001 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota,; Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne, Épernay, FR, $20/gls, $80/btl, Clásico Italian Chophouse, 1341 Main St., Sarasota,

ABOVE: PICTURED Juvé & Camps Cava Brut Rosé, Catalonia, SP, $9/gls, $17/btl, 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop,; Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label Brut Champagne, $97/btl, Shore St. Armands and Shore LBK,; flute and coup glassware, courtesy of Sage SRQ, OPPOSITE PAGE: A HOLLY JOLLY NIGHT IN MudPie Throw Blanket in Gray, $36; Katie Loxton Sweet Dreams Luxury Silky Sleep Mask, $20; Faceplant Dreams Terry Spa Wrap, $40; BIA Jasmine Magnolia Soy Candle, $28; Molly’s: A Chic & Unique Boutique, 1874 Stickney Point Rd., Sarasota, 941-921-1221,, @mollys_srq. Kitsch Beauty Satin Pillowcase Standard, $23.50 each; Faceplant Dreams Fluffy Slippers, $29.50; Thymes Goldleaf Home Fragrance Mist, $21; Thymes Goldleaf Lotion, $17.50; Garden Argosy Gift Shop, 361 St. Armands Cir., Sarasota, 941-388-6402,, @garden.argosy. 14-Ounce OM Swig Wine Marble Slab, $28; Gidgets Coastal Provisions, 5242 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, 941343-7646,, @gidgetssiestakey. 70 | srq magazine_ DEC20 live local

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ABOVE: UNDER THE MISTLETOE Woodstock Chimes Agate Wind Chime in Blue, $30; Tiki Table Glass Torch BiteFighter, $8; Evergreen Diamond Decorative Hanging Glass Vessel, $25; HAWS Watering Can in Steele Blue, $16; Hanging Sea Urchin/Jellyfish Air Plant, $10; Your Farm & Garden, 735 South Beneva Rd., Sarasota, 941-366-4954, Handmade Siesta Key Marine Wildlife Christmas Ornaments, $10 each; Gidgets Coastal Provisions, 5242 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key, 941-343-7646,, @gidgetssiestakey.

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11/17/20 12:52 PM

Online Shopping. Locally, Of Course.


Shop from the comfort of your home from the screen of your choice. Support locally-owned online shops that operate and rely solely on e-commerce traffic, hashtags, geotags and virtual shopping carts. Let’s give Amazon a run for their money—these guys provide swift delivery service too. BORN FROM A WAVE Women’s Recycled and Sustainable Swimwear, @bornfromawave FRECK & SOAR Contemporary Women’s Fashion Boutique, @shopfreckandsoar AMI WALL ART Handmade Nursery Prints and Baby Goods, @amiwallart BLOSSOM & BURN CO. Hand-Poured Natural Soy Wax Candles, @blossomandburnco ETHNIC ORIGIN COMPANY African Decor and Artisan-Made Homewares, @ethnic_origin_company OAK & STONE CLOTHING CO. Men’s Athletic and Modern Apparel @oakandstoneclothing THE FLORIDA FLAVOR Patch Hats and Men’s Fishing Apparel, @thefloridaflavor SMITI AND ROME Nature-Inspired Gifts and Home Decor, @smitiandrome UPBEET + ROOTED Plant-Based Marketplace and Eco-Minded Goods @upbeetandrooted GIGI POSITANO Designer Brand Women’s Shoes and Sandals, @gigipositano BÄHKO EYEWEAR Polarized Sunglasses and Active Eyewear, @bahkoeyewear PET WANTS SARASOTA Natural Dog and Cat Products and Treats, @petwantssarasota

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THE WET-NOSED REINDEER Huggle Hounds Holiday Red Fleece Super Squeaker Bone, $39; Tall Tails Travel Bowl (1.4L), $13; Nerf Dog LED Glow Tennis Ball, $13; Earth Animal No Hide The Feast Turkey/Pumpkin/Cranberry Medium Dog Chew, $15; Bocce’s Bakery Lumps of Coal All-Natural Charcoal Treats, $7; DogLine Biothane Collar Black (L), $14; West Paw Glow Zisc with Zogoflex (L), $18; Tall Tails Plush Buoy Toy, $13; Tall Tails Leash Rope Red (5”), $22; Puppia Soft Harness Grey (M), $16; Zippy Paws Waterproof Treat Bag Forest Green, $9; Jax + Bones Good Karma Rope Toy Cactus, $15; PoochieBells Signature Tracks Print Doggie Doorbell Training Method, $17.50; DogGoneSmart Chenille Rectangle Bed Green (26 x 34), $85; DOGPerfect, 4820 South Tamiami Trl., Sarasota, 941-564-0094; 11605 FL-70 E, Lakewood Ranch, 941-803-4496; 5419 University Pkwy., 941-803-4464,, @officialdogperfect. 74 | srq magazine_ DEC20 live local

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11/17/20 11:58 AM

A Tisket, A Tasket Arguably the two greatest parts of the holiday season are presents and food, so why not combine the two for the ultimate festive gift? A basket chock-full of curated culinary delights and artful items is a unique and inventive way to spread cheer to those you love. Bottles of wine, farmer’s market jam, handmade jewelry and infused olive oils all come together in these exciting gift baskets ready to celebrate.

CLOCKWISE: A TASTE OF EUROPE GIFT BASKET Basket includes: Assortment of Eastern European candies, jams and sauces. Price varies per assortment, 2130 Gulf Gate Dr.,, 941-921-9084. ARTISAN CHEESE COMPANY Basket includes: Sheridans, Irish Rye and Linseed Crackers $7; Fat Toad Goat Caramel $15; High Lawn Cultured Ghee $20; Spicewalla Spices range from $5–14; Bobby Sue Nuts $6 for a small package, $13 for a large glass jar; Meadow Land Simple Syrup $18; Shelburne Farm Cheddar 1/2 pound $18; Pickled Ramps $14; AR’s Hot Southern Honey $12l Matiz Wild Spicy Sardines $9. THE SAND WITCH SHOPPE & BAKERY Basket items can include: cookie box (dozen) $15, assorted handmade bracelets $25, or assorted handmade necklaces $35, THE ANCIENT OLIVE GIFT BASKET Basket includes: Proteak Wood Cutting Board, Naturally Med Wooden Spoons, Sarasota Candles (set of 3), Maovata Penne Eggplant and Bell Pepper, Honey Feast Orange Blossom Honey, Colleen’s Breadsticks, Blood Orange Olive Oil, Pomegranate Balsamic Vinegar, Meadow Land Pumpkin Spice Syrup, Cucina Antica Tuscany Pumpkin Sauce, Mill Press Almond Stuffed Olives, Gracious Gourmet Cranberry Raspberry Blood Orange Spread and Large Lidded Wire Basket with Linen Fabric. $225, 26 North Blvd. of the Presidents,, 941-388-1414. MORTON’S ITALIAN GIFT BASKET Basket includes: pasta, salami, sauce, tapenade, breadsticks, cookies, and wine. Items vary per basket. Small $100/Large $125, (not shown) Morton’s Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave.,, 941-955-9856.

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11/17/20 12:00 PM

cargo TOY TO THE WORLD Djeco Rainbow Tigers 1,000-Piece Puzzle, $16; Djeco Origami Facile Dinosaurs, $7; Djeco Dinosaur Mosaics, $8; Plus Plus Mermaid 3-D Puzzle, $9; Crazy Aarons Hypercolor Thinking Putty, $12; Eeboo Scratch Paper Stickers Space Adventure, $12; Eeboo Double-Sided 24 Color Pencils, $9; Kinsmart Toy Space Shuttle and Toy Cars, $9-$10 each; Schleich Dinosaur Figurines, $9-$21 each; Wild Republic Rainforest Frog Slap Watch, $7; Crocodile Creek Shark Throw Football, $16; Toy Lab, 1529 Main St., Sarasota, 941-363-0064,, @toylabsarasota.

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11/17/20 11:59 AM

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cargo Gift an Experience Spaced safely along the animal enclosures of the Big Cat Habitat, morning mindfulness and de-stressing stretches move out of the studio and into the sanctuary during Yoga with Tigers. Spot a lion from your downward-facing dog or stretch alongside yawning tigers—all of whom will be abiding by social-distancing guidelines—and join Sarasota yogi Erika Cain to channel your inner “spirit animal” with some seriously wild inspiration. Trading in those Nature Noises playlists for the real deal, immerse yourself in the outdoors and gain a new perspective on exotic life while renewing your inner peace. This ongoing series and partnership offers monthly morning events and includes refreshments, snacks and a day pass to return to the Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary for $40 per person, supporting the neighborhood sanctuary and all its residents. And with all levels welcome and a view far more enticing than that yoga studio mirror, just bring your mats and they’ll supply the cats. Perfect for animal lovers and zen-seekers alike. Register in advance at


Six-pack? Check. Life vest? Supplied. Bike shorts? Probably overkill. Pack a cooler and get ready to hit the road (or sea) with Sip-N-Cycle Cruises and tour Siesta Key with party music on and quads put to work—or just sit back and let your friends do all the heavy pedaling. With up to 16 seats, launch from Midnight Pass on the bright green Cycleboat, a 31-foot pedal-powered catamaran, then just “Sip, Sip, Away” as they say as the world floats by one pedal and drink at a time. For those without sea legs, hop on the mega Pedal Party bikes that stroll through Siesta Key Village, scaring souvenir-shopping tourists as you sing offkey without a care. Pedal in style with costumes and decorations to celebrate or simply hang out with your Pedal bike’s driver and server, who will kick up that handy electric assist when your legs are no longer up to snuff. Peloton spin classes not quite your speed? Wishing that Fitbit was saying, “It’s five o’clock somewhere” rather than 5,000 more steps to go? Sip-N-Cycle Cruises may be your cycling solution this holiday season. Perfect for an eclectic evening getaway, office party or family bonding for the tourist in all of us. Reserve online at


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11/17/20 12:01 PM

FLIGHT FANTASTIC For an adrenaline rush that honors Sarasota’s history, learn to fly with Tito Gaona’s Trapeze Academy and follow in the soaring footsteps of Tito Gaona himself, who by age seven was deemed “the world’s youngest flyer.” Enroll in an introductory class and hear your heartbeat as you ascend to the launching platform, feel the weight of the cinched safety belt as you prepare to step off with confidence, then swing through the air in a basic hold or bump it up to a knee hang before landing safely in the net below. Or if that feels like child’s play, there’s always the catch and return to up the ante. The Flying Gaonas have long since come and gone from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, but Tito still flies high at his trapeze park in Venice. And with students ranging from ages 3 to 86, he invites you to do the same—enhancing focus, gaining strength and flexibility, fleeing reality and, of course, learning to fly. Enroll in trapeze classes, experiment with the aerial arts, reserve group events or even join the Trapeze Fitness Club for full-body aerobic workouts. Visit to book.

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SANTA BABY Bella Tunno Silicone Wonder Bib in Yellow, $16.50; Bella Tunno Silicone Suction Wonder Bowl, $18.50; MilkBarn Organic Artichoke 3–6 Month Onesie, $26; Emerson & Friends Headband in White, $12; FL Kid Co. Florida Swaddle, $29.50; Warmie Lavender Sloth Stuffed Animal, $24.50; The Life & Times of Lilly the Lash Jungle Jive Children’s Book, $20; Turtle Tracks True Tales Book, $10.50, and Happy Hatchlings Turtlets Collectible, $9.50; Maybe Children’s Book, $17.50, and matching Pig Pal, $19.50; Garden Argosy Gift Shop, 361 St. Armands Cir., Sarasota, 941-388-6402,, @garden.argosy. Tubby Scrubby Bath Tub Pals Flamingo, $7; Toy Lab, 1529 Main St., Sarasota, 941-363-0064,, @toylabsarasota.

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Returning for its second year, SRQ Magazine presents the winners of the 4WALLS Visionary Design Competition recognizing buildings in five categories— commercial building, residential building, mixed-use building, public space or structure and future building. Four adjoining walls may make a space habitable, but after evolving through the design process realized buildings become activated with purpose and narrative. Celebrating the most impressive recent multi-unit and multi-story projects, the 4WALLS Visionary Design Competition recognizes the Sarasota and Bradenton Area region’s built portfolio with the 4WALLS Platinum, Gold and Silver awards selected by our judges.



An architect with global experience, over the past 15 years Matthew has enjoyed living and working in numerous cities, including Philadelphia, Washington DC and London. Finding a home in Vancouver BC, his focus is on designing public-sector works meeting the vision and needs of clients and communities. He enjoys working on projects of various scales, delivering sustainably-oriented, high-design projects. Matthew is an Associate Vice President with HDR, responsible for the Education practice in Western Canada.

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Keith Nelson brings to TruexCullins a keen understanding of the design, project management and construction process with a focus on resorts and hospitality. He has served as project architect and designer for resort and hospitality projects, corporate office buildings, commercial development, private residences, academic institutions, and master planning projects. Keith’s strengths lie in client relations, management procedures and construction coordination. He is an effective and communicative leader and is a valuable member of any team.

Stephen Charles Smith is an Architecture Faculty at University of Hartford, Practitioner in Residence at the University of New Haven - Department of Art & Design, and principal of Stephen Charles Smith Architects, founded in 2017. He has also previously taught Architecture at Barnard College and has been an invited design critic at Pratt Institute. Stephen earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Virginia Tech in 2009 and a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in 2017. He is a Registered Architect in Connecticut and Rhode Island, a LEED AP, and has been an active member of the AIA community. At AIA CT, Stephen was Chair of the Emerging Architectural Community Committee, served on the Intern Task Force, and was a member of the Board of Directors from 2010-2011.



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Residential Building



The Greensboro Hall Student Housing Facility is a new state-of-the-art five-story dormitory building located in the heart of the Ringling College of Art + Design campus. The facility includes 75 suites with 271 beds, 13 student lounges, four study rooms and a large collaborative project area. The facility was designed as a contemporary 21st-century facility with mid-century modern interior styling and decor. Interior finishes include luxury vinyl tile, terrazzo, encaustic tile, polished concrete, Italian porcelain tile, architectural wood cabinetry, custom wood paneling, Moz metal panels and Arktura Atmosphera wood ceilings. Building systems include energy-efficient LED lighting, emergency generator backup power, high-speed wireless Internet mesh networking, centrally located gas water heaters, chilled water fan cooling units and advanced energy recovery ventilation fully optimized through an enhanced independent commissioning process. The facility was built as a high-performance green building and received USGBC LEED Silver Certification.

Architect: Ayers Saint Gross Architects Contractor: Willis A. Smith Construction Interior Design: Ayers Saint Gross Architects Structural Engineer: Snell Engineering Consultants Mechanical Engineer: TLC Engineering, Inc. Landscape Architect: David W Johnston Associates Inc. Flooring: ProFloors, LLC and Creative Terrazzo Systems

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Residential Building



Architect: Ayers Saint Gross Architects. Contractor: Willis A. Smith Construction. Interior Design: Ayers Saint Gross Architects. Structural Engineer: Snell Engineering Consultant. Mechanical Engineer: TLC Engineering, Inc. Landscape Architect: David W. Johnston Associates, Inc. Flooring: ProFloors, LLC and Creative Terrazzo System. Photographer: Ryan Gamma.

The new Bridge Student Housing Facility is a three-story structure overlooking Whitaker Bayou. The facility will include 50 student apartments, for a total of 185 beds. Also included are laundry facilities, a project room and six study spaces. The structure is of masonry and hollow core planks on pile foundations. The exterior is finished with stucco and paint. There is a membrane roof system and insulated impact storefront glass. The flooring is a combination of LVT and terrazzo. There is a chilled water HVAC system and an underground stormwater vault. The facility received USGBC LEED Certification.

Residential Building


Architect: Fawley Bryant Architecture. Contractor: Tandem Construction. Interior Design: Fawley Bryant Architecture. Structural Engineer: TRC Worldwide Engineering. Mechanical Engineer: TLC Engineering Solutions. Landscape Architect: Stantec. Photography by Gamma Photography.


The Atlanta Braves continue to develop their campus in North Port as a player development destination for their organization. The latest component to that is the Braves Player Academy. Nestled in the center of the training facilities, the player academy is a 45,627-squarefoot dormitory for minor-league advancement. The overall design of the building was driven by three core elements: function, flow and flexibility. Addressing the function of the facility, the building needed to be an on-site home for athletes being developed by the Atlanta Braves. The interconnectivity and placement of each space was designed to create a transitional flow that follows the daily routine of an athlete in training. The final component of the facility was to design spaces that were flexible and able to serve multiple functions strategically. The dining hall can easily be converted into a meeting space. An open floorplan places the recreation area next to teaching spaces and includes removable partitions. The Atlanta Braves wanted the Academy entrance to be visible upon entering the parking lots of CoolToday Park. Metal detailing on the front of the building complement design elements located in the park, helping to create a cohesive campus aesthetic. Color selections, graphics and imagery all celebrate the heritage of the Atlanta Braves baseball organization.

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11/17/20 1:49 PM

Commercial Building


PLATINUM The Art Ovation Hotel is positioned in a central location in downtown Sarasota, serving as a connector between cultural institutions, restaurants and locally-owned shops. The challenge for the design of this boutique hotel was to create a space that would appeal to local residents and travelers in search of an authentic Sarasota experience while also enhancing a vibrant public streetscape. Recognizing the vibrancy and cultural identity inherent in Sarasota, the architect envisioned a hotel completely dedicated to the arts that would extend the artistic experience. It’s evident from the moment guests walk into the art-filled lobby lounge that Art Ovation captures the infectious creative spirit of the city center. This all-day space is designed for both comfort and aesthetic appeal, where guests can mingle and enjoy food and beverages, live entertainment, and the hotel’s original art collection and curated gallery exhibitions. Sustainability was a key component in the design and construction of Art Ovation Hotel. The path of the sun was studied to bring natural daylight into rooms, hallways and the main lobby. Energy-efficient windows and doors were installed. Low-flow plumbing fixtures save water. Rainwater is collected from the rooftop “urban park” and directed into a 100,000-gallon subterranean water cistern located beneath the skybridge. The result is a true reflection of the Sarasota experience, embracing art and connecting travelers to the local community.

Architect: Jonathan Parks, AIA, SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture. Contractor and Developer: Prime Group. Structural Engineer: Karins Engineering Group. Mechanical Engineer: JLRD. Landscape Architect: Kimley-Horn. Photography: DJWC Photography.

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Commercial Building


W E S T C O A S T B L A C K T H E AT R E T R O U P E - L I V E T H E AT E R A N D A D M I N I S T R AT I O N B U I L D I N G W I L L I S A . S M I T H CO N ST RU CT I O N Architect: C. Alan Anderson Architect, P.A. Contractor: Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. Interior Design: C. Alan Anderson Architect, P.A. Structural Engineer: Wilson Structural Consultants, Inc. Mechanical Engineer: ATP Engineering South, PL. Flooring: Floor Source of Florida, LLC. Photographer: Odell Photos

The renovations for the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe began with the renovation and restoration of the historic 18,000-squarefoot Binz Building. The WBTT wanted to preserve the historical aspects of the exterior of the building while modernizing the interior to create space for on-site education, an entertainment space and administration offices. The rooftop can be utilized for group events. The second phase of the project included the entire renovation of the theatre building. The Donelly Theatre is the mainstage for the company with cushioned, fixed seating to accommodate 205, and the smaller Howard J. Millman Theatre, which will be used for rehearsals and special-event programs. The new stage is wider and deeper with extra height allowing more room for sets and drops to be raised and lowered. In addition, the project featured a new lobby entrance, concession area, larger restrooms, upgraded dressing rooms and rehearsal space for cast members, and improved parking facilities for all. New HVAC, lighting and sound equipment was included, as well as renovations to the stage areas. These renovations enhance patrons’ theatergoing experience and actors’ working conditions.

Mixed Use Building


Architect: Jonathan Parks AIA, SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture. Contractor: Gilbane Building Company. Developer: Rosemary Square LLC / Mark Kaufman. Interior Design: SOLSTICE Planning and Architecture. Structural Engineer: Snell Engineering Consultants. Mechanical Engineer: Global Sanchex, Inc. Landscape Architect: KimleyHorn & Associates. Overton Contractor: Ritz Construction Corp. Sarasota Ballet School Contractor: Firmo Construction. Photography: Dylan Jon Wade Cox, Andrea Hillebrand, INSTUDIO E Photo, Ryan Gamma.


The Rosemary District, adjacent to downtown Sarasota, isknown as the Cultural Capital of Florida. The vision for Rosemary Square was to create a “living room” for the neighborhood, which had become rundown over recent decades and without any form of public park. From the beginning, the goal was to bring arts organizations into the project. In order to keep the rents down and more accessible for nonprofits, the architect embraced an industrial aesthetic—combining functionality with design. Concrete blocks and galvanized metal purposely evoke the feeling of a city warehouse district. Vivid colors accent walls and outdoor hallways, inspired by the practice of the École des Beaux-Arts to paint bold colors through their building sections. Rosemary Square features numerous green aspects. The project color palette is mostly white (walls and roof) to reduce the amount of solar radiation and heat absorption. Building forms were designed and composed to create natural cross-ventilation in the courtyard—with breezes present even in the middle of summer. With the project’s completion, the surrounding neighborhood exploded with activity, including 1,500 new housing units within walking distance of Rosemary Square. The result is a new hub for not only the surrounding district but the city of Sarasota.

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Architect: Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors. Contractor: Tandem Construction. Interior Design: Sweet Sparkman Architecture & Interiors.. Structural Engineer: Snell Engineering. Mechanical Engineer: TLC Engineering. Landscape Architect: DWJA. Renderings: Sweet Sparkman.

Future Project



For more than 60 years, Asolo Repertory Theatre has been a cultural pillar in Sarasota County. What began as a small summer festival in 1959 has evolved into a nationally recognized theatre that employs hundreds of people and presents a full season of extraordinary productions. This notoriety has built a demand for larger spaces to expand programming. Asolo Repertory has recently purchased the parcels adjacent to its existing rehearsal and production facility. This new facility will build on Asolo Repertory’s reputation as a center for creating world-class theatre. Expanding production facilities will provide exemplary, state-of-the-art facilities and make it possible to launch new work and national tours from Asolo Rep. With the ability to produce intricate theatrical work, Asolo Rep will be able to create unique, Broadway-bound masterpieces. The new Super Rehearsal Hall will allow Asolo Rep to rehearse full productions on-site. The space will feature sprung dance floors and mirrors, and will be 26 feet in height to accommodate all choreographic and set needs. The signature exterior architectural element of the Koski Production Center will be the new entry and gathering Trellis, featured prominently at the main entrance to the building. This unique architectural feature provides a prominent entry facade and entry pathway. The new Koski Production Center will be a model for sustainable development in the southwest Florida region. At the heart of the project’s sustainability is reusing and repurposing 24,000-square-feet of existing buildings. Through careful planning and design, a majority of the existing building materials and exterior finishes will be reused, which will significantly reduce the new facility’s overall embedded carbon footprint. Through master planning and architecture, the Robert and Beverly Koski Production Center will have state-of-the-art sustainable facilities that are unified by a cohesive aesthetic. The new Robert and Beverly Koski Production Center will enable Asolo Repertory Theatre to flourish and achieve the next level of professional and community success.

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Public Building



The restoration of the original 62,000-square-foot Gothic-style 1926 Sarasota High School building began with a full exterior restoration that included tuck pointing of the entire brick facade, replacement of the windows, and repairing and replacement of decorative terra-cotta. Careful attention was paid to keep the original aesthetic appeal of the building. Interior finishes included restoration and replacement of existing terrazzo flooring, new interior partition walls, joists and windows. The existing tower is utilized as a 30-foot clerestory via skylight. A loading dock was being added and new elevators were installed in existing stair shafts and a new cast-in-place decorative concrete shaft. The first floor houses classrooms, gallery spaces, an auditorium and a gift shop. The second floor features the museum of contemporary art for both traveling and temporary exhibits. The third floor encompasses additional galleries as well as support offices for continuing education and museum staff. During the design phase, the Sarasota County School Board turned over a 25,000-square-foot Paul Rudolph–designed single-story building to Ringling College to be incorporated into the design. This building originally housed the School’s technical classes, including auto repair and shop classes. True to the College’s vision, the building offers continuing education spaces to those curious to learn about the arts and a contemporary art museum with rotating exhibits to allow local art lovers to keep a fresh perspective on new practices and techniques. As stated by Dr. Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College, “The Ringling College Museum campus is intended to act as a creative cluster in this region. The experiences offered will enable visitors not only to redevelop their creativity, but also to become part of a community involved in dialogue that stretches their thinking.”

Architect: Lawson Group Architects, Inc. Contractor: Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc. Interior Design: Lawson Group Architects, Inc.. Structural Engineer: Wilson Structural Consultants, Inc.. Mechanical Engineer: AM Engineering, Inc. Landscape Architect: David W. Johnston Associates. Flooring: The Wood Floor Store. Photographer: Ryan Gamma Photography. Museum Design Consultant: Keenan & Riley Architects.

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11/17/20 6:07 PM

Public Building



The downtown Bradenton area is an emerging epicenter for young professionals, families and residents of all ages along the Gulf Coast of Florida. An iconic 182,867-square-foot structure, the parking facility offers more than 500 spaces across four levels. One of the most intriguing challenges faced in this design was the question of how to bridge the aesthetic gap between the historical context of Old Main Street with the contemporary design of the new Mosaic Backyard Universe addition of The Bishop Museum. The design team was able to achieve this objective by focusing on the use of art along the transitional facades. The north facade displays an enchanting mosaic art piece depicting the story of Bradenton, while the southern facade along 3rd Street utilizes sculptural metal screens that peel away from the building, peeking out toward both the historic and new architecture of the city. The design aesthetic of the garage evolves along 3rd Street, with the more traditional face of Main Street reflected in the west-facing facade, while the east-facing facade embodies the more modern aesthetic of The Bishop Museum’s Mosaic Backyard Universe expansion. The colors utilized in the design reflect the warm and welcoming tones of Bradenton, dubbed “the friendly city” by its residents. While parking remains the primary function of the City Centre Parking Garage, the opportunities to incorporate the Chamber of Commerce and retail spaces help blur the line between garage and commercial building. In the short time since its opening, the Bradenton City Centre Parking Garage has become an iconic piece of the Bradenton riverfront skyline and urban fabric. Contractor: Fawley Bryant Architecture. Construction: NDC Construction. Interior Design: Fawley Bryant Architecture. Structural Engineer: TRC Worldwide Engineering Mechanical Engineer: TLC Engineering Solutions. Landscape Architect: 7NS Engineering. Photographer: Gamma Photography / Bayside Media.

Public Building


SILVER The Sarasota Municipal Auditorium is one of less than a handful of historic Art Deco buildings that remain in Sarasota. It was built as a public gathering place with funding from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration (WPA) program in 1937. With a $500,000 historical preservation grant from the State of Florida, the new architect was hired to update and restore the structure while also making it ADA-compliant. It was important to honor the existing architecture and strengthen it for decades of future use. New historically accurate windows on the second floor were reproduced by a local metal fabricator to match the original 1938 design. Great care was taken to re-stucco the facade. All the original glass blocks were resecured, repointed and cleaned. Entrances were reimagined to be more universally accessible, adding ramps, stainless steel railings and doorways with easier egresses. The careful renovation was completed over a one-year period and has updated this iconic structure for future generations. The result is a stunning restoration that is sensitively executed in a manner true to Thomas Reed Martin and Clarence A. Martin’s original design. Architect: Jonathan Parks AIA. Contractor: DM Constructors, LLC, Rep Chuck Evans. Developer: City of Sarasota. Structural Engineer: Hees & Associates. Mechanical Engineer: Crawford Williams Engineering, Inc. Photographer: After photos by Ryan Gamma. Before photos by Jonathan Parks.

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ELITE RETIREMENT LIVING The importance of finding a retirement, or long term care center, that offers thoughtful, safe, and fulfilling care has never been more important. In this edition, we invite retirement communities to share with our readers what sets their teams and facilties apart from the rest.


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Enjoy the best of both worlds – independence when you want it and compassionate support when you need it. Anchin Assisted Living’s 38 apartments and Anchin Memory Care’s 26 apartments provide a warm and inviting space that is entirely your own! Abundant activities and lifelong learning classes, access to campus amenities, weekly housekeeping, and restaurant-style dining keep life exciting and worry-free at the same time. Our boutique-style approach to living ensures that residents receive the care and the lifestyle that fits their individual needs while also being part of a dynamic community. At Anchin at Aviva, we have created a comfortable, safe, and home-like neighborhood with everything you need at your fingertips! In our community, we strive to provide an innovative and engaging environment, along with the freedom to enjoy amazing new experiences and cherish old memories. Daily social and recreational activities include fun and educational programs, an entertainment lounge, an on-site beauty salon and barbershop, and so much more. Our emergency call system ensures our highly trained licensed nursing staff and certified nursing assistants are at your service 24/7.

At our Anchin communities, our priority is your health, and we are proud to offer excellence in healthcare services. Utilizing state of the art equipment uniquely designed to target specific areas of health, including balance, memory function, and diet, each resident, can create a daily routine that fits perfectly with their needs. Don’t just take our word on the excellence in service! We are proud to be recognized by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid in conjunction with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration as a zero-deficiency community. This distinction makes us one of less than a dozen facilities in Sarasota to receive this recognition. Anchin at Aviva is located in the heart of Sarasota and is surrounded by shopping, art, dining, and more. On-campus, there’s a lot of great ways to get in on the fun too! We encourage our residents to take advantage of the resort-style living at our senior living campus. Have a gourmet dinner in the Kobernick dining room, take a trip to the theatre with friends, or participate in one of the dozens of on-campus clubs. Whatever you’re interested in, we’ll help you find your thing.

1951 N. Honore Ave. Sarasota, FL 34235 | 941-225-8369

MISSION STATEMENT Founded in 1993, Aviva – A Campus for Senior Life is Sarasota’s only senior living campus which offers all levels of living on a rental basis. Our picturesque community nestled in The Meadows of Sarasota, just a short drive from downtown. As a Jewish faith-based community and not-for-profit organization we are proud that our deeply rooted values provide residents of all faiths the ability to experience a world of new possibilities. Come see what makes Aviva a one of a kind community, all that’s missing is you! Call 941-225-8369 or visit to schedule a tour today.


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BENDERSON SKILLED NURSING & REHABILITATION AT AVIVA Benderson Skilled Nursing at Aviva offers personalized care in a nurturing and healing home-like environment. Our holistic approach to care focuses on mind, body, and spirit, supported by our compassionate, skilled nurses are available 24-hours a day. Benderson Rehabilitation at Aviva offers one-on-one physical, occupational, and speech therapies to help you get back to regular activity. Successful outcomes start with our clinical team, whose specialized training and experience help patients return home as quickly as possible. Benderson at Aviva is a 5-star skilled nursing and rehabilitation center under the guidelines from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. As part of less than 25% of communities state-wide, this rating highlights our passion for providing high-quality care in a specialized environment that ensures every resident’s long-term health and wellbeing. As a result of our focus on maintaining excellent continuity of care, our residents report excellent results within short timeframes, with a low return-to-hospital rate and a high return-to-home rate. We understand the desire to recuperate and get back to normal as quickly as possible. It is our privilege to partner with residents and families during recovery – and to become your strongest advocate on the road to reclaiming total wellness.

1951 N. Honore Ave. Sarasota, FL 34235 | 941-225-8369 MISSION STATEMENT Founded in 1993, Aviva – A Campus for Senior Life is Sarasota’s only senior living campus offering all levels of living on a rental basis. As a Jewish faith-based community and not-for-profit organization our deeply rooted values provide residents the ability to experience a world of new possibilities.

THE WINDSOR OF LAKEWOOD RANCH Assisted Living at The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch, a Legend® Senior Living community, offers a tailored approach to nursing services. With The Windsor’s customized plans of care, you can be confident that services are just right for you. Legend Senior Living was founded by CEO and President Tim Buchanan, who pioneered the Assisted Living concept. Residents enjoy independence and social interaction, in a comfortable environment purposefully designed by the Legend Experts In Senior Living™. Our Residence Director is a certified Director of Assisted Living by the Senior Living Commission. We emphasize the health of the whole person — physical, mental and spiritual with culinary art, cultural and community events, religious services and outings. Our services include transportation to appointments, housekeeping, 24hour staff, licensed nursing associates, three chef prepared meals a day, an advanced emergency call system and a calendar full of activities. A well-respected neighbor and employer, The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch benefits from the metropolitan conveniences and thriving arts community of Sarasota, Florida. Within a five-mile radius lie scenic lakes, a country club, fantastic shopping and the interstate 75 highway.

8220 Nature’s Way Lakewood Ranch, Florida 34202 941-907-9177 | Beth Widell, Residence Director MISSION STATEMENT Legend Senior Living® is dedicated to the highest standards of service, environment and care to residents and their families. We value independence, dignity, and quality of life above all else. We are commited to providing a positive reinforcing work environment that recognizes the value of all staff.


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Below: Dried Cherry and Carmelized Onion Stuffed Pork Loin


Through starts and stops, Blasé settles into the Southside neighborhood offering elevated Southern cuisine with a New Orleans flair. Andrew Fabian

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AS FORREST GUMP’S MOMMA ALWAYS SAID: “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” The simplicity of the word aphorism belies the depth of its wise admonition that it is best to eat life’s unwanted chocolates with a measure of grace and an optimistic eye for a future full of better chocolates. Such was the attitude of Kevin Skiest and Cynthia Breslin when they opened the second Blasé restaurant on Hillview Street last winter, just before the bitter, COVID-19-flavored chocolate forced restaurants and bars to close. The original concept in that sweet yesterday was Blasé Bistro, a more upscale version of its Siesta Key sibling, The Blasé Café & Martini Bar. The inside of the bistro retained some of the eclectic aesthetic they have become known for, with a hodgepodge of framed art and charmingly mismatched decor signaling to guests that it’s OK to lighten up. But when the bistro transitioned to takeout only in the wake of statewide shutdowns, Skiest and Breslin asked themselves some tough existential questions, including questions of identity. “Even before the shutdown, we had concerns that our guests were seeing the bistro as too much of a special-occasion type of place,” says Skiest, unlike the cafe and martini bar on the Key where patrons like to dine and drink more casually and regularly. After suffering through the summer with a belly full of anxietyflavored chocolate, the owners decided to pivot completely to rebrand and relaunch the bistro as Blasé Southern Style this past October. The new menu, designed and executed by Virginia transplant Robert Clark, rides a delicate line between high and low art with a heavy New Orleans vibe. Chef Clark grew up in Virginia and was heavily influenced by Southern cuisine and mid-Atlantic seafood dishes. He even owned his own Southern restaurant in Portsmouth, VA called Sassafras, where his approachable yet elevated dishes garnered mentions in Southern Living and Gourmet magazines. And with a few recipes picked up along the way, including one for collard greens learned from a friend’s grandmother, the enlivened Blasé offers diners items that are familiar and loaded with flavor, but still augmented enough to hint at the panache of a seasoned chef. srq magazine_ DEC20 live local | 101

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forage The baked oysters take the richness of the New Orleans–style Rockefeller dish, already delicious with its heap of creamed greens, butter and herbs, and adds caramelized onions, bacon and Parmesan before tossing in the oven. Oysters have never been this jazzy and hefty. A side of truffled hollandaise adds even more richness to an already loaded half-shell. Crispy chicken wings continue the trend of elevated Southern food with their impossibly sticky bourbon lemon glaze. The skin forms a crunchy, sweet shell around the tender meat inside, while the lemon gives it a bit of pep. That pep seems to have been designed specifically to pair with the Louisiana Lemonade, a Blasé signature cocktail of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, St-Germain, Cointreau, lemon and prosecco. The two form an altogether delightful and confounding pair, evoking both a tailgate party and an afternoon on the veranda sipping cocktails in linen clothes.

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Below: Baked oysters, rich, warm bartop vibes and the Carolina club sandwich.

A pork loin stuffed with dried cherries and caramelized onions comes glazed with bourbon—which will make one more appearance for dessert—with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and collard greens. Tender, rich and savory with a hint of bitter notes, the collard greens, like fried brussels sprouts before them, are poised to change what people think about greens. “I learned a lot about balance from a Taiwanese chef I used to work with,” says Clark, “that cuisine is excellent for that and I wanted to do something similar with this dish.” The highlight of the menu, and the dish most likely to run out on a nightly basis, is the gumbo-style mac and cheese. “I was going to put a gumbo on the menu but I decided to try something a little different,” says Clark. It begins with the Cajun trinity of diced celery, bell peppers and onions, with a creole-spiced bechamel borrowing more juju from The Big

Easy. It all gets tossed with macaroni, chicken, shrimp, andouille sausage and smoked Gouda before being baked with Ritz cracker crumbs. Topped with fried okra, each part contributes to the amalgamation of Southern comfort and New Orleans flair. The andouille sausage, dry and a tad spicy, stands out the most, accentuated by the N’awlins-themed flavor profile. For dessert, bourbon makes its third appearance in the bourbon-infused whipped cream atop Blasé’s pecan pie. Light, sweet and boozy, the whipped cream could come served in a bowl on its own. Drizzled with honey, the pie is as saccharine as molasses, crunchy, sticky and sized perfectly for sharing, with the whipped cream shifting the flavor profile just enough to let you know that this ain’t your mama’s pecan pie. Unless, of course, Mama had some fun in the Blasé kitchen with a Jazzman cocktail, the restaurant’s swanky take on an Old-Fashioned. SRQ


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local spots bottle up delicious goodness.

Ariel Chates | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

A BURGER WITHOUT KETCHUP? Blasphemy. The unsung hero of all our favorite dishes is the rarely revered humble sauce. The savory cherry on top of all the best meals, it takes any food from mundane to mouthwatering. These local Sarasota spots have perfected these edible table toppers, from Columbia Restaurant’s cult status salad dressing to a tomato sauce created by the son of Italian cookbook legend Marcella Hazan. So buckle up, things are about to get saucy.

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ANNALIDA’S GOURMET FOODS SAUCE, $10, Morton’s Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave.,, 941-955-9856 . MCCLAIN’S OLD FLORIDA GOURMET SAUCE DILL DELIGHT, HONEY MUSTARD DELIGHT, $7, Morton’s Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave.,, 941-955-9856. LICK MY SPOON CARAMEL SAUCE, CHOCOLATE SAUCE $13, Morton’s Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave.,, 941-955-9856. PAT’S HO-MADE BBQ SAUCE $4, Morton’s Market, 1924 South Osprey Ave.,, 941-955-9856. BOYLAND WAKE N’ BAKE CHIPOTLE HOT SAUCE $8,, @boylandsauceco . GIULIANO’S CLASSIC ITALIAN TOMATO SAUCE, $12, 550 Central Ave.,, 941-951-7860. COLUMBIA RESTAURANT 1905 DRESSING, $5, 411 St. Armands Cir.,, 941-388-3987. NANCY’S CHIPOTLE SAUCE, $7, 14475 East State Rd. 70,, 941-999-2390. INDIGENOUS “MOM’S ITALIAN” SALAD DRESSING, $8, 239 South Links Ave.,, 941-706-4740. BAVARO’S PASTA SAUCE, $8, 27 Fletcher Ave.,, 941-552-9131

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MASTERS OF SMOKE Pitmasters tame the inferno to fashion a perfect smoked brisket.

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Opposite page and below: Nancy;s Bar-B-Q brisket sandwich.

IT EMERGES FROM THE SMOKE A CHARRED AND SMOLDERING WRECK like a stone belched from the maw of some malignant volcano, flecked here and there with granules as though dragged across an ashen and rocky terrain. This lump of burned matter glows with heat and primordial evocations, altogether a thing that is both a beginning and an ending. This thing is also edible and, as Nancy Krohngold of Nancy’s Bar-B-Q tells it, “the most ornery cut of meat.” It is smoked brisket, the monstrous, gelatinous and, in exceedingly rare cases, delicious slab of beef that demands more care in its preparation than just about any other meat.


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“First of all, a brisket is really two entirely different cuts of meat,” says Krohngold. A whole beef brisket is comprised of the deckle, which contains most of the fat, and the flat, which is lean. The fibers in these two sections run in all directions like a confusing highway interchange and a dense mass of connective tissue binds them together, a portion of which must be carved out before smoking. Where pork butts are more forgiving on account of their more even distribution of fat, smoking a brisket is as precarious as entering the home of a bear family and selecting from three servings of soup. Cooked too long or too hot and the flat crumbles into a dry wreck, not cooked long enough, and the fat in the deckle remains un-rendered, making it chewy and inconsistent. “It’s tricky to get the whole thing to cook evenly,” she says. Smoke management (and patience) is the most difficult skill to hone in pursuit of the perfect brisket. “You’ll screw up two or three before you get it right,” jokes Washington

Perry of Perry’s Original Roadside BBQ. Mr. Perry admits it took him about six years to master the art of low and slow. To complicate matters further, he uses two different kinds of wood: oak and pecan. Well-seasoned oak burns evenly and turns readily into charcoal, those glowing embers that generate the consistent heat needed for low-temperature, indirect cooking while the bark helps to generate smoke. Pecan wood adds a touch of sweetness and nuttiness to the meat, though most pitmasters would not recommend the use of pecan exclusively. Like mesquite, the flavor of pecan can overtake the flavor of the meat and rub, rendering each of them useless. Of course, wood is a naturally occurring commodity subject to variations like any other living thing. The way it burns will depend on how well it’s seasoned, how thick it’s cut, the climate it came from and its exact species. Like the brisket itself, no two logs are exactly the same, and in the imprecise science of smoking, a degree of supervision is warranted.

“The first time I smoked something low and slow it was a pork butt on a little Weber kettle grill,” says Krohngold. “I started at six at night and was up every hour to check on it. You’re exhausted by the time you deliver it.” Many purist pitmasters still operate this way. The 85-year-old Tootsie Tomanetz of Snow’s BBQ in Lexington, Texas—recently featured in the first episode of Netflix’s Chef’s Table: BBQ gets up in the wee hours of Saturday morning to start the fires. She still waddles around the pits with a sauce mop and a shovel, carrying oak coals to and from monolithic smokers, dabbing the meat with her wand, toiling like Mickey Mouse in Fantasia in pursuit of some alchemical transmutation. Ray Mabalot started out that way, too, minus the waddle. A plumber by day, Mabalot’s BBQ outfit, Mouthole BBQ, began as something between a passion project and a hobby. “I’m a premium cigar smoker,” he says, “and whenever my wife and I would have friends over for cigars and drinks, I’d smoke meat for

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Opposite page: Nancy’s Bar-B-Q preps its illustrious brisket on a cutting board of requisite ingredients. This page: Perry’s coaxes flavor from its beef brisket.

everyone.” For these weekend gatherings, Mabalot would wrap up his grueling workweek, clean himself up a bit and prep his smoker for an all-nighter. “Starting the fire and getting the temp up is about an hour, then I’d be at the smoker every 45 minutes to add wood and rotate the meat,” he says. In between, Mabalot might catch 20 minutes of sleep. And so it went for the first four years of Mouthole’s existence. “I can’t even remember the last time I had a day off,” he says. The sleepless nights and difficulty in achieving consistency when smoking briskets in large quantities have contributed to the rise of pellet smokers. Pellet smokers make use of wood bits that have been pressed into little vitamin-shaped pieces. These pellets burn more consistently than logs and are easier to manage. “I was totally against it at first,” says Mabalot, who expressed initial skepticism that pellet smoking could put a hard smoke on the meat. “But I finally gave in and tried it, got a full night’s sleep and none of our customers noticed a difference.”

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The thick smoke rings and textbook bark on his brisket support his claim. The heart and soul of Krohngold’s operation is a commercial pellet smoker that releases pellets automatically throughout the night. “It beats the old drum where you’re up all night,” she says, and her particular model will even notify her in the middle of the night if the temperature falls outside of the parameters she programmed into it. “The key to success is consistency,” Krohngold says. Pellet smokers also take the guesswork and grunt work out of building and maintaining a fire. “When we started getting gigs during the week, I wanted my wife to be able to work the smoker on her own without having to fuss so much with a fire,” says Mabalot of Mouthole’s transition to pellet smokers and their ease of use compared to traditional hardwood smokers. Still, some pitmasters stick to the triedand-true. Mr. Perry still uses chopped hardwood despite the allure of pellet smokers, with pallets of seasoned oak sitting outside of his operation in North Sarasota. “I

forage use a local tree trimmer, and every now and then he’ll run across an oak tree, cut it up, split it and put it to the side for me.” Between his usual start time in the afternoon and his years of experience, Mr. Perry manages to get some shut-eye despite using split wood instead of pellets, checking on his briskets every three to four hours throughout the day and trusting his process as a safeguard against over- and undercooked brisket. By the time a brisket comes out of either style of smoker, it has well over 12 hours of time invested in it. During those long hours inside a 200-degree, barrel-shaped container of metal, fire and smoke were coaxed into existence and guided around the hunk of meat as though by sorcerers of some crude and ancient magic. The process of “low and slow” is the only way to get that ornery meat to do the bidding of its pitmaster. “It’s why brisket can be so expensive at BBQ joints,” says Mabalot, “because it’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make it.” Such is the cost of taming the inferno. SRQ

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FEEDING THE FRONT LINES When the service industry shut down, Gordon Lippe wasted no time in pivoting to feed the front lines of the pandemic. Andrew Fabian

PAYCHECKS SHRANK OR DISAPPEARED ALTOGETHER FOR COOKS, SERVERS AND BARTENDERS. Work hours for hospital staff evaporated. In a matter of a week, many in the service industry were introduced to an unforeseen crisis: food insecurity. “Things got bad really quickly,” says Gordon Lippe, chef and owner of commissary kitchen Your Culinary Place. Even as he mourned the sudden quiet of his once bustling facility, he set about to find a solution for his colleagues and community. First, he turned the entrance to his facility into an airtight, medical-grade delousing foyer, with a disinfectant-soaked welcome mat, a hand-washing station, an air purification system, a touch-free thermometer, remote keyless entry, and enough rubber and latex gloves for each entrant to double-wrap their hands. “I was also cleaning the entire space two or three times a day,” he says. It seems excessive, but for what he had in mind, safety and cleanliness would be central. “I sent an email to José Andrés of World Central Kitchen and started scrambling to put a nonprofit organization together,” he says. World Central Kitchen, a national nonprofit, provides meals in the wake of natural disasters. Lippe wanted to do the same for the Sarasota area, so he applied for his nonprofit status with the IRS and began tapping into his vast network of food-industry reps for donations. “Surprisingly, not a single one of the big suppliers wanted to help,” says Lippe. “It was actually local suppliers that came through for us.” Big Apple Market and Sarasota Seafood Company chipped in immediately with big crates of produce and fish packed in ice. And Lippe did what chefs do: He made magic with what was available. The produce, fish and other food donations became prepared meals for unsung frontline workers. “Who was feeding grocery store employees or overnight janitors at the hospitals? If these people weren’t showing up to work, we’d be in a lot of trouble,” he says. Word of his food program spread quickly, with television appearances and social media shares translating into donations of both food and money, all in the first two weeks of his call to action. By the time Lippe heard back from Chef Andrés and the IRS, he had already established Your Culinary Place as a fully functioning nonprofit organization operating under the name Chefs Feeding Florida. Under the World Central Kitchen model Lippe adopted, a sliding scale for meals capped them at $10. Soups and salads were available daily for $3 and $2, respectively, and those fortunate enough to be able to pay full price started tacking on donations on top of their food orders. “It was $50 here, $100 there,” says Lippe, “until finally I was able to hire some out-of-work chefs and cooks to come help out.” Once production ramped up, Lippe and his crew cranked out 75 to 100 meals a day and broke even with sales and donations. Those donations continue to subsidize free or reducedcost meals for anyone in need. “As the richest country on the planet, we should never have someone go hungry because of a disaster,” says Lippe. “And with all the uncertainty of not having an income, not being able to pay bills; a hot meal is a lifeline, it’s a chance to just sit down and breathe and enjoy some food.” SRQ

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nosh CROW’S NEST MARINA RESTAURANT 1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice, 941-484-9551. CASUAL FINE DINING The Crow’s Nest is a casual fine dining restaurant, serving fresh seafood, steaks and other traditional Florida favorites. Located on the Island of Venice and nestled between the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Intracoastal Waterway on the north and east, Crow’s Nest has become a waterfront fixture for surf ‘n’ turf. M–W 11:30am-10pm. Th 11:30am–11pm. F-Sa 11:30am–12:30am. Su 12–10pm. GECKO’S GRILL & PUB 6 convenient locations. Serving AMERICAN PUB FOOD WITH A GOURMET TWIST Fresh fare, smooth spirits & exceptional hospitality since 1992. Locally owned and operated, Gecko’s polished casual atmosphere, fantastic food, service-forward culture and specialty cocktails make it an enduring community gathering place. Serving Lunch, Dinner & Late Night and a favorite of Locals and visitors alike. Voted “BEST SPORTS BAR.� Featuring daily Happy Hours, weekly Chef’s Specials, locally sourced seasonal produce & beef from our farm and ranch partners, all your favorite sporting events, award-winning Kids Menu and teams of friendly hospitality professionals. GROVE 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941893-4321. CONTEMPORARY GOURMET DINING GROVE Restaurant, Patio and Ballroom is the newest offshoot of PIER 22, the award-winning waterfront destination

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headed by restaurateurs Hugh Miller and Greg Campbell. A full-service restaurant and events venue offering contemporary gourmet dining. The menu is elevated yet approachable and locally inspired. Housemade dishes emphasize fresh seasonal ingredients as well as innovative cooking methods, and with 27,000 square feet of dining space including an elegant 400 person ballroom there’s room for everyone at the table! M-Th 11:30am-10pm, F-Sa 11:30am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm. MARINA JACK 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, 941-365-4232. SEAFOOD, STEAKS AND PASTA The Sarasota landmark offers its customers exceptional food and great atmosphere while dining on the water. Come to the dining room on the second floor and try some new items on the dinner menu. Start with braised mussels in a chorizo broth or short rib tostadas, which feature Gouda cheese and pulled slow-braised short rib. Open daily for lunch and dinner. M–Su 11:15am–11pm. MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET 1924 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-9856. GOURMET GROCER It’s the place where you can spend a lazy Sunday morning sipping coffee and breaking off pieces of a scone, a frenetic Friday evening collecting rare cheeses, meat and wine for Saturday’s soiree or a quick lunchtime bite to go. For the la er, Morton’s fresh-made sushi, salad bar or ready-to-go tea sandwiches are longstanding local faves. M–Sa 7am–8pm. Su 9am–6pm.

PIER 22 1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, 941-748-8087. CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN Pier 22 takes waterfront dining to a new level. On the mouth of the Manatee River, the picturesque se ing is relaxing and the perfect backdrop for any outing. With over 26,000 square feet of space, Pier 22 also offers catering and space for events. They focus on fresh, homemade fare and unique twists on everyday dishes. For lunch, try their so -shell crab sandwich with jalapeno tartar sauce, with a side of poutine. While watching the sunset on the patio, dine on their fresh game of the day, sourced from around the world and always a surprise. M-Th 11:30am – 10pm. F-Sa 11:30am-10:30pm. Su 11am-10pm. Happy hour daily 3pm-7pm and Sunday Brunch 11am-3pm. TSUNAMI SUSHI & HIBACHI GRILL 100 Central Ave, Suite 1022, Sarasota, 941-366-1033. ASIAN FUSION In the heart of downtown Sarasota Florida, Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill stands alone for creative sushi, fresh sashimi and a new spin on asian fusion--all at remarkable prices. FRESH SUSHI- Made fresh before your eyes by their talented chefs. FULL BAR- They feature a full bar, with specialty cocktails like the Hibiscus Rose, Japanese Julep and Shinsu Sour. ASIAN ENTREES- Fresh and flavorful with the unique taste of Japan. M-F 11am-Close; Sat/Sun 12pm-Close; Closed Daily 2:30-4:30pm.

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Learn Coding With a Coach and Your Peers Welcome to theCoderSchool, a place where kids learn to code all year round (and, due to social distancing, kids are learning REMOTE too!) Rather than using static one-size-fits-all curriculums, our core program uses an immersion and mentoring approach in a super-small student to teacher ratio (typically 2:1). This allows our Code Coaches® to personalize and customize based on the students, making for a much more engaging experience. Instead of linear learning of concepts from a curriculum, we immerse the kids in coding by building stuff and then building more stuff! —The Coder School of Sarasota.

Creativity in Music Celebrating 30 years of music education in Sarasota, the Suzuki Institute offers a full program of music instruction with highly qualified teachers all year-round, with flexible hours. Lessons are available for all ages and skill levels, from beginner to adult, for violin, drums/percussion, guitar, piano, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and flute. Registration is now open for lessons taught by expert and experienced teachers. —Suzuki Institute School of Music

Spanish Immersion Camps Born in the spirit of connecting cultures, our guiding principle is to impart the knowledge of a second language, its culture, and its traditions to promote understanding across linguistic barriers. Our proprietary, Montessori inspired, immersion curriculum is designed to teach languages through fun, creative and engaging activities. Full Spanish immersion preschool wtih small class sizes with COVID precautions. Spanish language and culture is learned through songs, games, movement, arts and crafts and creative play. —Spanish Legacy Preschool, 2822 Proctor Road, Sarasota.

Getting Your Smile On Freeman Orthodontics is committed to providing you and your family with exceptional orthodontic care in a welcoming, attentive and professional environment. Dr. David Freeman (a Board Certified Orthodontist) and his team are trusted and well known throughout the community for their quality care, treatment results and community involvement for over 16 years. —Freeman Orthodontics,

Sarasota Ballet


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We are delighted to be back in the studio again. We offer continuous registration, so it’s never too late to register your child to take lessons in person or virtually via ZOOM. The Sarasota Ballet School provides professional instruction for students of all ages. We offer the very best in training in beautiful new studios at our Rosemary Square location in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Our programs offer students ages three and above the opportunity to discover the joy of dance. Each class is fun, engaging and builds confidence, technique and develop lifelong skills. Be part of our friendly family community with many students and parents developing new friendships through their love of dance. —The Sarasota Ballet School, 1400 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota.


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houghtful goodies for the kids this holiday season.


FIRST NOEL Bangladesh Granny Square Cushion, $45; India Footed Shark Onesie (9–12 month), $30; Kenya Knitters Rasta Octopus, $30; Peru Alpaca Fur Penguin, $62; Peru Alpaca Fur Sheep, $51; Mr. Ellie Pooh Sri Lanka Hedgehog Wood Puzzle, $30; Peru Elephant Bank, $30; Guatemala Hacky Sack, $5; Artisans’ World Marketplace, 128 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-365-5994, 118 | srq magazine_ NOV20 live local | special RocketKids winter 2020 special section

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houghtful goodies for the kids this holiday season.

12 DAYS OF GAMES Kid Made Modern Mystic Jewelry Kit, $20; SLAPZI Card-Slapping Game, $20; TENZI Dice Party Pack, $25; Kid Made Modern Go Wild Craft Kit, $13; BUILDZI Block Tower Card Game, $25; STEMulators Bath Bomb Science Lab, $13; Craft Tastic Yarn Llama, $23; Play STEM Plant Maze Botany Kit Set, $23; SolidRoots Mind the Gap Trivia Game, $30; PlayFoam SculptaPalooza Party Game, $25; Kangaroo Super Cool Slime Lab Kit, $15; Children’s World, 4525 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota, 941-955-6999,

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was founded in 1959 and opened its doors to 54 students in first through fourth grade with two Sisters of St. Benedict as teachers, Sister Helen and Sister Lucy. Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School is the only Catholic elementary school in Venice and has served its parish and local Venice families with quality education for over 60 years. Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School is home to 167 students in Pre-Kindergarten (3s and 4s) through 8th grade. Our school serves as a partnership with teachers, parents, families and feeder parishes in reinforcing morality, spirituality, and other Christian values in the faith-filled teaching process. We adhere to best instructional practices, current curriculum, latest technology, and hire quality teachers. Of our 32 teachers, 12 teachers have Master’s Degrees in their field of study or in Educational Leadership and 12 teachers hold certifications in ESE, ESOL, or Gifted.


941-488-2215 ECSTIGERS.COM

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Our programs and curriculum are accredited by The Florida Catholic Conference and we follow the guidelines for the Florida State Standards. Epiphany follows a STREAM Curriculum which is an interdisciplinary, standards-based model that integrates science, technology, religion, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Educational specialist teachers complement the classroom teacher in the areas of: Music, Spanish, Technology, Library, Art, and Physical Education. We offer a variety of athletic, artistic, and educational competitive teams and clubs. Community service is an integral part of our daily lives and we offer a number of outreach programs organized and completed by our students. We believe all students have the capacity to learn in an environment that fosters academic excellence through diversified instruction. Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School offers a safe and nurturing environment for our students.

School’s Mission Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School provides excellence in education which nurtures a loving relationship with God and builds a caring community that serves others. How are we living out this mission at Epiphany? We offer advanced math classes in our middle school which can lead to high school credit. Daily Religion class and weekly school-wide Mass. School wide service or donation projects. National Junior Honor Society—open to 6-8th graders who meet the GPA requirement and the standard for service, leadership, citizenship, and character.

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NewGate School—Upper School in Lakewood Ranch for grades 7 to 12.

FOUNDED IN 1907 BY DR. MARIA MONTESSORI, the Montessori Method highlights a child-centered education supported by neuroscience research that promotes the development of executive function and learning at every age. Known as the “gold standard” for early childhood education, current research also reveals the effectiveness of the Montessori Method throughout one’s lifetime, inspiring a practice of lifelong learning. NewGate School is the Lab School of The Montessori Foundation and an international university-preparatory school that offers a Montessori approach to the IB Diploma Program at the secondary level. NewGate’s mission to cultivate a love of life and inspire academic excellence galvanizes students to approach learning as a journey and not a race. What distinguishes NewGate’s Montessori IB program is its focus on a balanced middle and high school life. Montessori and IB trained faculty cultivate students’ curiosity, creativity, and imagination while nurturing their unique gifts, self-confidence and self-discipline. The IB program is an excellent match because approximately one-third of our community is international, and the Montessori IB program offers our


students the option to attend universities in the US or overseas. At the heart of a great education, are the talents and gifts shared by outstanding professional educators and from inspired and interested learners with supportive families. The future belongs to those who think outside of the box, solve problems, create new solutions, and get people to work together to get things accomplished. NewGate students endeavor to think deeply, express themselves clearly, and put their knowledge to practical application. NewGate provides many different programs to help ignite the minds of students and help them understand the world of professionalism at a very young age. NewGate is an established, triple-accredited school in a region that is becoming increasingly more international every year. A Montessori education creates an entrepreneurial culture. Programs for NewGate’s Middle and High School students include annual internships, drama immersion weeks, research trips, and service learning. NewGate School works with students as unique individuals to ensure they develop their full potential.

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THE MONTESSORI FOUNDATION was established in 1992 by some of the top leaders in Montessori education. It is an international non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of Montessori education and school reform worldwide. It is a primary resource of assistance, encouragement, and support for the international Montessori community. The Montessori Foundation works to establish schools and prepare Montessori educators “We believe and leaders worldwide. Today, and education with the advent of COVID-19, The should Montessori Foundation works with be a journey, over 5000 Montessori schools in not a race.” 50 countries, and today focuses its — Tim Seldin, efforts on supporting and connecting Co-Head of School schools during a worldwide pandemic. Through connection and collaboration, the Montessori Foundation offers its members access to a vast community of educators who bring their wisdom and experience to the table during both times of crisis and times of joy. The Foundation chose Sarasota because of Montessori’s commitment to the arts, intellectual life, diverse outdoor recreation experiences, and it is home to New College—the undergraduate honors college that is most aligned with Montessori’s core values. The work of the Montessori Foundation inspires a revolutionary change in education that is based on decades of brain research and the time-tested, world-wide success of more than 22,000 Montessori schools.


• ADMISSIONS Rolling Acceptance Rate: 76% • ACCREDITATIONS AdvancEd/SACS; International Montessori Council, International Baccalaureate Organization • LANGUAGES TAUGHT Spanish and German • KEY PROGRAMS

Fully implemented Montessori; IB Diploma grades 11 and 12 • TEACHING PHILOSOPHY Montessori • NUMBER OF FULL-TIME TEACHERS 25 • NUMBER OF STUDENTS 168

Highlight When COVID-19 shut down schools all over the world, The Montessori Foundation was there to help. Mobilizing its online expertise, town hall meetings attended by thousands of participants discussed strategies to mitigate risk, support families and children, and focus on each other’s social-emotional well-being. NewGate School also went into action, and the spirit of entrepreneurship, adaptability, and flexibility in our community was apparent. That spirit motivated the school to purchase PPEs early on and organize weekly virtual community meetings focused on listening to families’ concerns and insights. The school established a medical task force to guide policy and protocols for opening. Montessori teaches us to think out of the box, to be flexible, observe our surroundings, and take into account the emotions of others. Throughout the summer, groups of stakeholders came together with a “can-do” attitude. NewGate School opened its doors on August 10, 2020, with students attending campus in-person as well as online. The core values rooted in collaboration, community, creativity, and compassion supported an uninterrupted educational experience for all students. Today, the school boasts a robust eLearning program for students from 4 states and three countries. Its local eLearning program allows students with health concerns to continue their studies. The in-person program continues to offer everything Montessori is famous for: deep engagement, hands-on, experiential learning that fosters collaboration and entrepreneurial experiences.



941-922-4949 UPPER SCHOOL






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THE OUT-OF-DOOR ACADEMY Established in 1924,

The Out-of-Door Academy is home to approximately 745 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. The school offers an innovative program focused on educating the whole child in a caring, supportive community. Out-of-Door continually implements new programs and strategies to meet the emerging educational needs of the next generation. Through its evolution, the School has honored the legacy of its visionary founders who established a school where important lessons would be learned “out-of-door,” LOWER SCHOOL HISTORIC SIESTA KEY CAMPUS 444 REID STREET, SARASOTA 941-554-3439 | PRE-K – GRADE 5


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or outside the classroom. Central to that vision was a belief that education should integrate hands-on learning experiences, physical activity, and the arts. Two campuses boast space for visual and performing arts opportunities, as well as 12 interscholastic team sports. More than 50 student-run clubs and activities, including cultural, arts, and service organizations are offered. The Out-of-Door Academy remains dedicated to its longstanding commitment to the development of self-confident, well-rounded graduates who become responsible, contributing members of the global society.

The Mission The Out-of-Door Academy is an independent, college preparatory school with campuses in Siesta Key and Lakewood Ranch. Students in preschool - grade 12 achieve high academic goals and build character through a balanced program of academics, athletics, and the arts. Using a student-centered educational philosophy, ODA prepares students for college and for life.

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ST. MARTHA CATHOLIC SCHOOL (SMCS) in Sarasota offers a challenging, faith-based academic experience to students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. “In an effort to serve God and our community, students, staff and families work together to maintain high academic standards, develop Christ-centered relationships, and provide stewardship to Sarasota and the surrounding areas,” a spokesperson for SMCS says. “Students have consistently performed in the top 20 percent across the nation year after year.” The school follows a STREAM

curriculum (an interdisciplinary, standards-based model that integrates science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics). Teachers design units of study that challenge and empower students, creating an environment that encourages problem-solving, collaboration, student-led inquiry and hands-on projects. A science lab, vegetable and prayer gardens, open fields and the Zazarino Center serve as dynamic learning spaces. The Catholic faith is woven into all subjects and grade levels, promoting a culture of innovation and ethical action.

The School’s Mission



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In partnership with Jesus Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church, the mission of St. Martha Catholic School is to provide each student with diverse opportunities which develop strength in faith, and excellence in knowledge and learning. Students build character through their Christian service to the school, parish and world communities. ADMISSION CONTACT: MRS. MARIA SMITH 941-552-3577 MSMITH@STMARTHASCHOOL.NET @StMarthaCatholicShool




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last flight

a recent day in the life? First and foremost, coffee. On a normal day I wake up around 7am, make some coffee and plan out the day. Depending on the weather, I can get a lot of artwork cranked out— the sunshine helps tremendously. I’ll go treasure hunting (dumpster diving) for more off-the-wall items I can use for canvases. When you were a kid you dreamed of . . . Jessica Alba. I had (still have) such a big crush on her. I saw her in the movie Into The Blue when I was 10. That’s all you need to know Your guilty pleasure . . . Jessica Alba . And baked goods, preferably cinnamon rolls. Thought you had driving to work this morning . . . Thankful that dogs don’t have to wear clothes. For what fault have you been the most tolerant . . . Diet. We are what we eat. No exception. In our hometown, we do too much worrying and too little going to the beach.

LOVE CONQUERS Spread Love Artist Brandon Thrift Paints Harder Than You. Brittany Mattie

A RARE NATIVE OF SARASOTA, a former craft bartender at Sage

restaurant, an occasional heavy metal drummer for Dealey Plaza, and now a makeshift garage artist gone viral. Brandon Thrift has made waves this year with his ‘Spread Love’ art movement that started locally—popping up around city hotspots, parks and street corners, as well as outside buildings, inside businesses, galleries and markets— and has since spread nationwide on his recent cross-country road trip through 13 states. From Florida, across the American Southwest, all the way up the Pacific Coast and back down again, the long-haired painter and feeler dropped his splattered signs with a higher message as he crossed state lines and made his way back to the SRQ with quite the following from social media and word-of-mouth around town. Busier than ever foraging for canvases to pump out more of his recognizable artwork for public donations or custom commissions, Thrift presses the pause button on throwing paint and petting dogs to talk an everlasting crush on Jessica Alba, denim fedoras and climbing up rusty rollercoasters. Follow @artbybrandonthrift. 128 | srq magazine_ DEC20 live local


Your favorite villain in fiction . . . Michael Myers, Danny Devito as The Penguin (for obvious reasons), low IQ henchmen of any sort. Your favorite villain in real life . . . Selfdeprecation, the Ab Wheel and low sugar diets My last supper would include . . . Probably something with tofu in it and a mountain of veggies. I love me some spicy cauliflower. Words you use too often . . . “For sure!” “Dude” “Absolutely” What is one thing that you will never understand . . . Hate. Ignorance. Your favorite music artists . . . At the moment, I’ve been in love with anything Cold Wave, Men I Trust, King Gizzard, John Prine, Brenda Lee and Mac DeMarcos demos.

If not yourself, who would you be? Either a Labrador or an alligator. Being a lab in a family with kids would have to be the absolute best life. So many treats, so many ear scratches, always excited. And alligators are just absolute units. Kings of nature. If you could undo one invention in the world, what would it be? Consumerism What was the funniest thing you remember doing as a kid? I remember being 5 or 6, getting home from Sunday family beach day with my brothers and riding bikes naked around our neighborhood. Also having grapefruit fights instead of snowball fights. We were goofy kids. What is the scariest thing you have ever done? I just recently went urban exploring in New Orleans and visited the abandoned Six Flags and the old factory on Market Street. Between climbing to the top of the rusty rollercoaster and the 80-ft tall decaying staircases of the factory, my hands have never been more clammy. Please don’t tell my mom. If you had your own talk show, who would your first three guests be? Eric Andre, William Shakespeare and Mother Teresa. Your favorite food of the moment is . . . Cashew cream cheese on an everything bagel with jalapeños. Or anything from Leaf & Lentil. Love that place. You have to wear a t-shirt with one word on it, what would it be? L O V E. If you could snap your fingers and appear somewhere else, where would you be? Bora Bora or mountains with a ridiculously rewarding view, like Mt. Fuji or Everest. What in your mind is the biggest fashion faux pas? Are denim fedoras a thing? What song best describes your life right now? “Just A Phase” - Puma Blue SRQ ILLUSTRATION BY CHRIS LEVERETT.

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