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State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota recently received a grant from The Mosaic Company for more than $350,000 to be awarded over two years for a Manufacturing Opportunities for Skills Advancement and Innovation Collaborative. The collaboration will enhance the college's Engineering Technology program to offer 10 new employer-requested manufacturing courses beginning this fall.

The Patterson Foundation recently gave more than $310,000 to match investments made toward earned-income plans developed by the nonprofits participating in its Margin & Mission Ignition initiative, generating a total investment of nearly $870,000. Margin & Mission Ignition helps regional nonprofits adopt and implement earned-income strategies through 18 months of learning opportunities and consultation.

The SunTrust Foundation recently awarded Embracing Our Differences a $10,000 grant to help fund its educational outreach programs. Embracing Our Differences' annual teacher workshops and retreats provide area educators with skills, strategies and resources to provide curricula and lesson plans relating to art appreciation, character building and diversity education.

The Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee recently presented a $5,000 sponsorship to Habitat for Humanity Sarasota. The association is playing an important monetary and volunteer role in the construction of a Habitat for Humanity Sarasota home on Sterling Lane.

First Step of Sarasota, a nonprofit that provides addiction recovery programs in Sarasota, Manatee and Desoto counties, recently served its 200th patient through its sober living program. Since 2007, the organization has operated an 18-bed sober living facility to assist individuals in transition. The sober living program provides support for a person in recovery in a safe environment with likeminded people who are making an effort to live a drug-free lifestyle, hold a job and begin a new addiction-free life. The nonprofit is currently assisting 15 individuals.

Kindergarteners from Sarasota's Hershorin Schiff Community Day School recently visited with 3- and 4-year-old children at Children First. The children read books, played and enjoyed a snack together over the course of the morning. The event celebrated learning milestones achieved in the Community Day School kindergarten classroom. Children First is Sarasota County's exclusive provider of Head Start and Early Head Start programs.

The School District of Manatee County’s Food and Nutrition Services Department will provide free lunch for children during spring break, which takes place March 20-24. The free meals will be offered to kids, 18 or younger, as part of the Spring Break Food Service Program. The Food and Nutrition Services Mobile Feeding Bus will deliver the meals to three stops: Southeast High School, 1200 37th Ave. E., Bradenton, from 11:30 a.m. to noon; Bradenton Village Apartments, 1302 Third St. W., Bradenton, from 12:30 to 1 p.m.; and Lincoln Park, 501 17th St. E., Palmetto, from 1:30 to 2 p.m.

Cutting Loose Salon is raising money for the five performers injured on Feb. 2 at Circus Sarasota while practicing for their upcoming show. Guests who donate a minimum of $10 while at any Cutting Loose Salon location will receive a gift from the salon. The benefiting fund has been set up to assist in covering the necessary medical and rehabilitation expenses incurred by the performers. All expenses will be routed through the nonprofit Nik Wallenda Family Foundation and will be distributed in their entirety to the injured performers.

Southeastern Guide Dogs is holding six family-friendly 3K events to raise money through the end of April. Now in their 31st year, the walkathons are the largest fundraisers for the organization, which pairs the visually impaired and veterans with PTSD with dogs that transform their lives at no cost. For details, click here.

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