The 2,850 instructional staff employed by Sarasota County Schools will receive an unexpected gift in the form of $350 discretionary grants that may be used for personal or professional purposes. The Education Foundation of Sarasota County (EFSC) will administer the grants, which are made possible through a $1,075,000 cash donation by Sarasota businessman Eric Baird, who owns Baird Inc., an investment company specializing in real estate and senior debt lending. Baird attributes his inspiration to reward teachers with the gift in honor of his late mother, Gail Baird, who believed that anyone could achieve their dreams with support and guidance. Jennifer Vigne, EFSC president, said the organization is excited to give the grants to teachers as the donation’s purpose aligns with the EFSC's mission, which includes promoting excellence in teaching. The awards will be mailed to teachers by the end of this calendar year.