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REAL cares – Suncoast Charities For Children

Suncoast Charities for Children

Suncoast Charities for Children

Making A Difference

By Ed Bertha

Click HERE to download the story.

Suncoast Charities for Children continues to make a unique contribution to the well-being of children, teens and adults with special needs. Each year they provide a grant to the Suncoast Foundation, thanks to fundraising events such as the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix and Thunder By The Bay. These grants have enabled the Suncoast Foundation to construct buildings in the Sarasota, Venice and North Port areas valued at over $20 Million serving over 5,000 clients annually. This equates to upward of 73,000 square feet of space occupied by Children First, The Haven, The Florida Center for Early Childhood, and Sarasota County Special Olympics for only $1 per year. Loveland Center in Venice also receives support.

During the construction of these buildings many local businesses from the construction industry have donated products and services such as plumbers, roofers, electricians, and dry wallers. More recently, these annual grants help support continued maintenance on these aging facilities, so that program and service funding remains untouched and can go directly to clients.

Suncoast Charities for Children

The Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix was formed by a group of local businessmen 34 years ago, primarily from the construction industry. Founders included John Stafford, Ron Foxworthy, Cal Erb and the late Hollis Tucker and Gene Whipp. The organization (then known as the Suncoast Foundation for the Handicapped, Inc.) was launched as a means of combining Whipp’s passion for powerboat racing with a desire to expand the opportunities available to help children with special needs. The group’s early endeavors included an annual beach picnic for children with special needs. As the organization grew, Whipp launched the first annual offshore powerboat race in Sarasota, with a race course that ran between St. Petersburg and Venice.

The concept gained popularity, expanding from a single race to a week long festival now featuring a golf classic, car show, motorcycle charity ride, boat and personal watercraft fun run, three day fan festival, meet & greet reception with participating race teams, comedy night, a “Friendliest Catch” fishing day for the physically and mentally challenged, and the signature Grand Prix Race. Both City and County Commissioners have awarded special proclamations in honor of the Festival over the years.

Suncoast Charities for Children

Lucy Nicandri, Executive Director for Suncoast Charities, recently shared these comments. “Expanding the Grand Prix from a weekend race to a Festival was critical for sustainability. Change is constant and with any longstanding event you need to keep things fresh. Our goal was to not only feature a boat race but also offer a variety of events for the entire family to enjoy leading up to the race weekend. Suncoast Charities for Children has really captured the spirit of our community, creating opportunities for people with diverse interests to come together to support a great cause and also generates a huge economic impact.”

As local needs have evolved, so have the efforts of Suncoast Charities. The organization has significantly increased its fundraising efforts, reaching out to the community with an array of opportunities to make a difference in the lives of others.

Suncoast Charities for Children

Each year begins with the Thunder by the Bay Music and Motorcycle Festival, attracting motorcycle enthusiasts from around the world. The festival consists of a Sporting Clay Tournament, “Born to be Wild” Kickoff Party, “Cruise for Cash” ride for charity, and a three day Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds. The Festival is entering its 21st year and has raised over $1.8 Million for charity since inception and continues to generate a significant economic impact for the community.

Thunder By The Bay and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival are the organization’s most high-profile fundraising events, but area residents can also enjoy New Year’s Eve Bayfront Fireworks, July 4th Bayfront Fireworks, and the Holiday Boat Parade of Lights. These events are also produced by Suncoast Charities for Children and are integral to the success and sustainability of the charity.

Suncoast Charities for Children

Nicandri indicates that the direct impact these events have is significant in so many ways. “We receive calls from parents of clients receiving services thanking us for our fundraising events. That means the world!! Events like the Grand Prix Festival help Sarasota County save operational and capital dollars that they would have to invest in social services, which preserves tourism marketing dollars. The City of Sarasota is also impacted. A significant portion of clients receiving services live within the City limits and fall below the state poverty level. It is a win-win situation for so many people”, said Nicandri.

Suncoast Charities for Children

SUNCOAST CHARITIES FOR CHILDREN BENEFICIARIES:

Children First

Children First

Thanks to the generous support Suncoast Charities for Children provides Children First through the Suncoast Foundation, Katressa has been able to overcome adversity and build a better life for her family.

When Katressa faced teen pregnancy, she found the support to set goals and achieve them while her daughters received high-quality education and care they needed at Children First.

“When I hit a hard time, I knew I could talk to my Family Advocate and they would provide me the confidence and support I needed,” said Katressa.

Katressa graduated high school with scholarships and earned her Associate’s Degree in 2014 while working at Children First. Her three daughters participated in the Early Head Start and Head Start programs at Children First, and are now doing well in school extracurricular sports and activities. Katressa recently achieved her dreams when she purchased her own home and earned a promotion to Operations Coordinator at Children First. She is currently finishing course work to earn a Bachelor’s Degree in International Trade and Business.

Children FirstChildren First
1723 North Orange Avenue
Sarasota, FL 34234
(941) 953.3877
ChildrenFirst.net

Loveland Center

Loveland Center

Loveland Center has existed for more than 50 years in our community. Throughout those 50 years, there have been many trials and triumphs that individuals with developmental disabilities have faced.

Thanks to the annual funding support Suncoast Charities for Children provides to the Suncoast Foundation, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Loveland Center have benefitted from a quiet multi-sensory room that aids in destimulating and minimizing anxiety levels.

Loveland CenterLoveland Center
157 South Havana Road
Venice, FL 34292
(941) 493.0016
LovelandCenter.org

Special Olympics

Special Olympics

Thanks to the generous support Suncoast Charities for Children provides Special Olympics Florida – Sarasota County, Jonathan experiences the joy and achievement of sports training and competition.

The Gene Whipp Center multi-purpose gym and outdoor track offer Jonathan excellent facilities to develop his skills and advance to state-level competitions in powerlifting and track & field. As an athlete, he is empowered to overcome obstacles and achieve even more in both sports and in life.

Special OlympicsSpecial Olympics
10 Gulf Coast Boulevard
Venice, FL 34285
(941) 412.0402
SpecialOlympicsFlorida.org/Sarasota

The Florida Center

The Florida Center

Flynn, a recent graduate of the Starfish Academy preschool, began working with staff from The Florida Center for Early Childhood when he was two years old. Flynn was unable to engage with adults, had behavior issues, and could not communicate with adults or peers. His Autism diagnosis was very difficult for his parents who knew little about this condition. Thanks to the annual funding support Suncoast Charities for Children provides to the Suncoast Foundation, Flynn was able to receive services that included speech- language and occupational therapy in addition to behavioral support. He grew significantly in his ability to engage with others, follow home and classroom rules and routines, and communicate using both technology and some words. Pre-Kindergarten graduation was a special occasion for Flynn and his parents, as well as for the teachers and therapists who worked together to help him succeed.

With continued community support, children like Flynn can receive the special services they need to overcome their challenges and thrive.

The Florida CenterThe Florida Center
4620 17th Street
Sarasota, FL 34235
(941) 371.8820
TheFloridaCenter.org

The Haven

The Haven

Thanks to annual funding support Suncoast Charities for Children provides to the Suncoast Foundation, Rebekah has been able to receive individualized, intensive therapies including speech, occupational, physical and behavior therapy, which are not readily available.

Selby Preschool, at The Haven is an early intervention and school readiness program for children with disabilities ranging in age from six-weeks to five-years. The ultimate goal of early intervention therapy is to prepare the child to enter mainstream elementary school and learn to function and thrive in an inclusive environment.

The HavenThe Haven
4405 Desoto Road
Sarasota, FL 34235
(941) 355.8808
TheHavenSrq.org

Please join Real Exclusive Magazine in supporting Suncoast Charities for Children and be part of a winning team.

Make a difference in someone’s life!

Suncoast Charities for ChildrenSuncoast Charities for Children
7015 Professional Parkway East
Sarasota, FL 34240
assist@suncoastcc.org
(941) 487-7904
www.SuncoastCharitiesForChildren.org

Copyright © 2018 REAL Exclusive Magazine www.getrealexclusive.com
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