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The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Sarasota Class of 2015 hosts the grand opening of the Bay Preserve Discovery Zone next Saturday, May 30*. The new outdoor learning center opens at 11 a.m. and the celebration goes until 2 p.m. Organizations and businesses attending include Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Home Depot Kids Workshop, Gold Coast Distributing, Sarasota Bay National Estuary Program, The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Southern Smoke BBQ, Paradise Pops, Gecko’s Grill & Pub, Hospice Caring Clowns, KGB Evo Martial Arts, Sarasota Trolley, AAA, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota’s Teddy Bear Clinic, Katelyn Prisco Photography and Common Ground Adventures. Project contributors include Kimal Lumber, Lowes, The Home Depot, J&T Holland Nursery, Dave’s Integrity Tree Service and Sun Hydraulics. Go here for more information or to RSVP.

*Correction: This post previously read that this event is happening tomorrow. The correct date is Saturday, May 30. We apologize for the error.

 


 

Sarasota-based DutchCrafters Amish Furniture, an online retailer of Amish furniture, is the primary U.S. sponsor of Bike to GROW, which is raising funds for Mennonite Economic Development Associates’ Greater Rural Opportunities for Women program supporting women entrepreneurs in Ghana. This week, Mary Fehr and Sarah French, former MEDA interns, began biking across Canada with the goal to raise $150,000 for GROW. DutchCrafters will match up to $5,000; go here to donate. The program helps women farmers access quality seeds and other supplies and plans to reach 20,000 women over six years.

 


 

The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Saks Fifth Avenue and IMG Academy partnered to teach fifth graders from Gocio Elementary School teamwork, etiquette and presentation skills that will help them succeed in careers as part of Gocio’s annual Career Week. Chef Caleb Taylor of Jack Dusty taught the children about hygiene in food preparation; Kathryn Burks of IMG taught the children about nutrition and hydration; and Sally Schule of Saks led a class in etiquette.

 


 

Venture Construction Group of Florida sponsors numerous ALS charitable events throughout the state for its 2015 annual corporate giving campaign. The company kicked off the campaign at the Walk to Defeat ALS in Miami-Dade County and will sponsor another Walk on Sept. 26 and a Ride to Defeat ALS in Tampa on Nov. 7.

 


 

Community Haven for Adults and Children with Disabilities received a $20,000 donation from Halfacre Construction Company for the building and completion of Marlene’s House, a 4,800-square-foot group home. Additionally, a team of xByte Technologies volunteers helped spruce up Friendship House on the Community Haven campus with a fresh coat of paint.

 


 

Pines of Sarasota and The Glenridge on Palmer Ranch are commencing a program at the off-campus Fabulous Finds Thrift Shop, 1038 N. Orange Ave. in Sarasota, to establish a retail cooperative between the two organizations called Pines of Sarasota-Glenridge Employee Co-Op. Donations of furniture and other household items considered expendable by Glenridge residents will be sold at Fabulous Finds, which directly supports Pines of Sarasota.

 


 

Designing Daughters of Sarasota netted more than $30,000 for local nonprofits from its pre-party and annual gala events, exceeding last year’s total by $10,000. More than 250 people attended the Fashionable Gala: Mystery Men and Bond Girls at the Sarasota Classic Car Museum. The event directly benefited Designing Daughters’ grant program and all proceeds are awarded to local nonprofits or used for future fund-raising events.

 


 

The Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County awarded 43 scholarships of $1,000 each to Sarasota County residents to either complete or continue their education toward an employment goal. The scholarships serve nontraditional female students who are accepted to or are attending an accredited postsecondary vocational school or institution. Scholarship donors included Betty Schoenbaum, Andy Fox and Sara de Soto chapter of the Daughters of Revolution.

 


 

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County awarded a gift of $7,000 from the Robert R. Harlan and Susan H. Lowy Harlan Donor Advised Fund to Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. The grant will help Conservation Foundation in its mission to preserve special natural lands in the region.

 


 

 

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast received more than $31,000 from local organizations. The United Way of Charlotte County provided $5,250 for the Decisions to Win program and $14,175 for One to One Mentoring; Smugglers Enterprises Foundation of the Charlotte Community Foundation awarded $2,400 for Decisions to Win; the Darden Foundation awarded $2,000 for One to One mentoring; Jerome & Mildred Paddock awarded $5,000 for the Juvenile Justice Mentoring Initiative in Sarasota County; and the Vern and Florence Martin Charitable Trust awarded $2,250 for Decisions to Win.

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