What’s going on in our world


Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Board approves $6 million in grants

Recent funding from Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation strengthens its focus on some of the community’s most pressing issues, including red tide, mental health and housing.

To view the list of grants, click here.

Hosana Fieber Elected to Board of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation

Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation announces the election of Hosana Fieber, Chief Financial Officer at Tervis Tumbler, to serve a three-year term on its Board of Directors.

Fieber leads the company’s sustainability mission and has been involved with Rotary Club, Habitat for Humanity, and Girl Scouts.

“We are excited Hosana is joining us as she demonstrates our core values of stewardship, integrity, and service, as well as bringing unique skills to further our mission” says Teri A Hansen, President | CEO of Barancik Foundation.

Crisis Text Line: 24/7, free counseling. Simply text #HERE4U to 741741

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that suicide is now the second-leading cause of death for children ages 10 to 18. This data point is deeply troubling to the Barancik Foundation and Sarasota County Schools (SCS).

Schools are a hub for connecting teens to valuable preventative resources. In addition to existing mental and behavioral health services, the new Crisis Text Line Awareness Campaign will ensure middle and high school students have even more wraparound services available to them.

Created by child advocate Nancy Lublin, Crisis Text Line is a free, 24/7 support system for those in crisis. Users can text 741741 from anywhere in the US to instantly start a text conversation with a trained Crisis Counselor. The organization has processed over 62 million messages to date, and notes that 75% of their users are under the age of 25 and 10% of their users are under the age of 13.

Through a grant from Barancik Foundation. SCS placed informational signs in high-visibility areas on campuses, such as main hallways and restrooms. These signs will direct students to text the keyword “HERE4U” in their initial message, enabling the service to track trends to better inform Sarasota County Schools about student needs.

Barancik Foundation hires Murray Devine as Communications and Learning Officer

The Barancik Foundation announced the hiring of Murray Devine for the newly created position of Communications and Learning Officer. Previously with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Devine will direct the Barancik Foundation’s communications strategy, publicize the impact and institutional learnings of Foundation grants and initiatives, and consult with local nonprofits on effectively demonstrating stories of impact created through Foundation support.

In 2018, the Foundation increased its grantmaking by 50 percent and launched three new initiatives: First 1,000 Days Sarasota County, Teacher Recruitment|Retention, and Mental Health Environmental Scan.

“We are at a significant time in our growth where we need to strategically capture the organization’s history and key findings from our grants and initiatives,” says Teri A Hansen, president and CEO of Barancik Foundation. “Murray’s talent and relationships within the community are incredible assets that will help us—and our nonprofit partners—tell stories about the important work they are doing.”

What Do You Wonder About This Giant Jar of Skittles?

That’s how a math lesson at a local elementary school started. Fun. Creative. Engaging.

A partnership between Barancik Foundation and Sarasota County Schools has reinvented elementary math instruction so that every lesson includes these elements. The multi-year initiative, Maximizing Math Mentality, trained every single elementary teacher on ways to bring math to life through creative hands-on scenarios. The math teacher training was part of the district’s plan to help students think algebraically early on in their academic careers. What wasn’t part of their plan, was how the initiative would completely transform the way professional development is delivered.

Learn more, and find out how many Skittles are in the jar, by reading the newly released report, Maximizing Math Mentality: How one school district reinvented the way elementary schools teach math.

Barancik Foundation Hires Jessica Polk as Operations Manager

Amid exponential growth in its community impact and operational needs, the Barancik Foundation hired Jessica Polk for the newly created position of operations manager.

In 2018, the Foundation increased its grantmaking by 50 percent and launched three new initiatives—First 1,000 Days Sarasota County, Teacher Recruitment|Retention and Mental Health Environmental Scan.

Previously with Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Ms. Polk will add depth to the existing staff team of three by managing a host of internal functions essential to the foundation’s operations. “Jessica is incredibly talented,” said Teri A Hansen, President and CEO of Barancik Foundation. “Her knowledge of the inner workings of a foundation will help us as we continue to expand our impact and make a meaningful difference in Sarasota.”

Ms. Polk served as the corporate secretary, special assistant to the President|CEO and supported the community investment team at Gulf Coast. She also worked in international business development for MoneyShow, producing conferences in London, Hong Kong, Toronto, and Vancouver.

The Story of a Street Angel: Steve Seidensticker

In August, Sarasota lost one of its most beloved (and loving) residents, Steve Seidensticker. Steve, a longtime restaurateur and philanthropist, died of cancer at the age of 65.

A memorial fund has been established at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. Contributions will benefit Miss Susie’s Newtown Kitchen, the community-based restaurant and redevelopment project in north Sarasota that Steve conceived to give the Newtown community an economic engine and place for food and fellowship.

Miss Susie’s Newton Kitchen was part Tableseide Cares, the nonprofit arm of the family business.  In recent years, Steve’s focus was being a champion for helping people and communities through his philanthropy. “When it came to helping someone in need, “No” didn’t seem to be in his vocabulary,” wrote Carrier Seidman in the Herald Tribune on August 15.

His big heart knew no boundaries—perhaps in part because of the love and care he received as a young man battling alcoholism and substance abuse.  Steve was given a second chance at life and made sure to pay it back every chance he got. “He was a street angel and would take in people and care for them in unassuming ways,” said Teri Hansen, close friend and president of Barancik Foundation.

This week a banner was hung at the construction site of Miss Susie’s for all to remember the man who gave so much and whose philanthropic legacy endures.

Other news on the passing of Steve Seidensticker and Miss Susie’s:

Serving up some thanks, Herald-Tribune, September 7

Seidman: The Lasting legacy of Steve Seidensticker, Herald-Tribune, August 14

Builders break ground on new nonprofit Newtown restaurant, Sarasota Magazine, February 20

Safely Delivering Babies into the World.
Safely Delivering Families into the Community.

First 1,000 Days Sarasota County is a collaborative effort to give our most vulnerable neighbors a better chance at life. By pulling together our partners’ resources, this initiative will provide better access to the prenatal, newborn, and early childhood development care that gives babies and families a crucial opportunity to thrive. Click here to read more.

Lesson on building companies and community from Chuck Barancik

Written by Susan Burns, Sarasota Magazine

Chuck Barancik, his wife, Margery, and their three children started the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation with $100 million in April 2014. Since then, the foundation has awarded nearly $29 million across 255 grants and initiatives. A Chicago native, Barancik had a genius for buying and developing companies in industries as diverse as bakeries, fire prevention and office furniture. Most of these acquisitions and their employees were spread out across the country, and yet Barancik ran the operations out of his Chicago office with only three other people. Active, engaging and razor sharp, Barancik says his family and his philanthropy are what he cherishes most.

Read the complete Sarasota Magazine article

“I’LL BE 90 IN MAY. I grew up on the South Side of Chicago, the third of four children. We were not a close family, and that is an understatement.”

“MY DAD WAS A DOCTOR, FIRST-GENERATION AMERICAN. His parents came from Poland. He worked like a dog and it ruined his health. My mother’s family came from Russia. She was a wonderful pianist, went to the Chicago Musical College, and graduated with all sorts of honors. [Growing up] was a difficult time. I didn’t get guidance from them.”

“I MET MARGIE, WHO CAME FROM A LOVING, CARING FAMILY, AND THAT OPENED MY EYES. I didn’t know such a thing existed. I just loved them.”

“I LOVED MATH IN HIGH SCHOOL. In college, I chose accounting. When I got out I went to work for a small accounting firm in Chicago. I became the head of accounting after a few years, but I was not happy.”

“THE FIRM HAD A CLIENT IN CALIFORNIA. He made acquisitions, and I was assigned to handle his affairs. That was an eye opener for me, seeing how he purchased things, drugstore chains, hotels, a small loan company, multiple banks. I thought, ‘This is what I want to do!’”

“I KNEW A LAWYER IN TOWN WHO HAD SOME VERY WEALTHY CLIENTS AND I TOLD HIM I WANTED TO BUY A COMPANY, BUT I NEEDED PARTNERS. He said, ‘You find the company, I’ll get you the backers.’ I was 29 when I bought the first company in 1957. We made milk can washers and sold to dairy farmers. I didn’t know anything about due diligence, but [already] out in California, they were milking cows automatically into vats that were emptied into tankers to go for processing and bypassing the milking. So, we had to remake the company. We took the conveyor systems and adapted them to other uses in a whole new market.”

“I ALWAYS SEEMED TO BE THE VICTIM OF TECHNOLOGY ADVANCES, BUT I MANAGED TO THRIVE. I bought a rather small publicly owned company with 85 bakeries in 65 cities. Every bakery had its own kitchen. Then Sara Lee came out with a central baking facility, freezing the goods and shipping them out. I bought Mayline, which made drafting furniture-drafting tables and accessories; that gave ground to computer-aided design.”

“I BOUGHT A COMPANY CALLED JUSTRITE MFG. CO THAT MADE FIRE PREVENTION EQUIPMENT. When I took it over in 1965, it had a single product. From a single product we developed a complex array of products that prevented fire and explosions in companies that dealt with hazardous materials. Justrite Mfg. Co generated the money for me to buy many of these other companies. We got up to $45 million in sales. We had Justrite for 29 years.”

“GOOD BUSINESS PRINCIPLES PREVAIL IN ANY SITUATION. Day 1, you meet with the key people in that organization. We tried to support the officers of each company we owned, and it generally worked.”

“I WASN’T EVER LOOKING FOR THE LAST DOLLAR. We compensated our officers handsomely. And I’m not a fist pounder. If we have a problem, we’ll talk about it. Very rarely did I have to let somebody go. I don’t think anybody’s ever quit me.”

“THE CHILDREN, MARGIE AND I WERE ALL SHAREHOLDERS OF OUR COMPANIES. But I wanted to give an incentive [to employees] because a lot of these things I couldn’t run myself. So, we established a program of dedicating 25 percent of each company’s pretax profits to be allocated to profit sharing plans and bonuses. In the event of a sale, the officers got 20 percent of a gain. Why? I loved these people. They were beating their brains out for me.”

“THERE WAS AN UNDERLYING FLAW IN ALL OF THIS. I didn’t have any outside board members. We were inbred. I could have been much more successful had I done what I did with our foundation, bringing in people who had life experiences, business experiences, who knew what they were doing.”

“ABOUT 30 YEARS AGO, I TOLD MARGIE, ‘I CAN’T TAKE THESE CHICAGO WINTERS ANYMORE.’ Margie said, ‘Why don’t we take a look at Longboat Key?’ We fell in love with it, bought and moved in 28 years ago. I haven’t seen snow in 20 years and that’s just fine.”

“[AFTER WE SOLD THE COMPANIES], MARGIE AND I SAT DOWN ONE DAY, AND WE DECIDED WE HAVE A NICE LIFESTYLE, AND I SAID, ’WE DON’T NEED THIS MONEY. Let’s give back.’ Everybody was on board. In Sarasota, my family can make a difference.”

“I REALIZED WE HAD TO HAVE PROFESSIONAL MANAGEMENT. That’s how we hired Teri Hansen. It’s not just supporting organizations. It’s creating initiatives. Teri’s out there every day investigating and talking and meeting. She finds a need and we zero in on it.”

“OUR TWO MAIN INTERESTS ARE EDUCATION AND HUMANITARIAN. We just love what we’ve been doing with Sarasota County Schools and Reading Recovery. We teach kindergarten, pre-kindergarten kids and first graders, too, [because] if they’re not reading at the third-grade level by the time of the end of their third year, they will never achieve their potential. Reading Recovery has an 85 percent success rate.”

“OUR THIRD AND FOURTH AREAS OF INTEREST ARE CULTURE AND THE ENVIRONMENT. MEDICAL IS OUR FIFTH CATEGORY. We’re only going to get involved in medicine where a family member has had an issue. We give away $400,000 a year to a national multiple sclerosis society, dedicated to research, not to services. Our daughter has MS.”

“I WOULD LIKE OUR FOUNDATION TO HAVE IMPACT FOREVER. That’s in the bylaws. We pay a mandatory 5 percent a year of net assets on an average, and they can go up to 7 percent if there’s an extraordinary increase in the value of the assets. This is to be in perpetuity. You have no idea how rewarding this philanthropy has been.”

Six Ways to Make a Difference: Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Projects
21ST CENTURY LEARNING INITIATIVE A $3.7 million donation to this pilot project (in partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Sarasota County Schools) outfitted 319 Sarasota County middle school classrooms into high-tech learning environments, giving more than 10,000 students access to computers, tablets, digital microscopes, wireless handhelds and digital cameras, shifting the classroom from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered teamwork and problem solving.

BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF SARASOTA COUNTY A donation of $827,655 to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County helped open the Newtown Estates Park Club, which offers summertime and school-year programming for neighborhood youth.

READING RECOVERY AND KIDS READ Also in partnership with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Sarasota County Schools, the Barancik Foundation invested $800,500 in Reading Recovery, which teaches the bottom 20 percent of first grade students to read. Literacy experts, trained through the program, are in all 23 elementary schools. The program has an 85 percent success rate. Kids Read is the summertime version of Reading Recovery.

TEACHER MATH TRAINING The Barancik Foundation invested $1.1 million to train 800 Sarasota County elementary school math teachers how to better teach a subject that causes so much fear among students.

CORAL REEF RESEARCH AND RESTORATION In the last 40 years, Florida’s coral population has declined in many areas by more than 90 percent. The Barancik Foundation invested $625,000 to help build Mote Marine Laboratory’s new research facility in Summerland Key to expand coral reef restoration and research.

THE RINGLING MUSEUM The Barancik Foundation contributed $175,000 to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s Where Everyone Belongs program to make sure low-income children and their families can participate in museum programs.

Reading Recovery: A Playbook to Improve Literacy in First-Grade

Reading Recovery helps struggling first-grade students achieve grade-level reading in just 12 to 21 weeks. The internationally acclaimed literacy intervention program is in its third year in Sarasota County and over 400 students have completed Reading Recovery.

Thanks to a rapid growth plan funded by the district and philanthropy, all 23 elementary schools have a trained Reading Recovery teacher who serves as the literacy expert at their school.  The literacy expert also trains teachers to increase literacy education understanding and skill sets across the entire school. We are strong believers in Reading Recovery’s impact and created a playbook in hopes this life-changing program will spread to other school districts.

Why teachers are celebrating the complete transformation of Sarasota County’s middle school classrooms

“The biggest thrill is to hear kids say things like ‘learning is fun,’ and ‘I like finding information and doing something with it,’ ” reports a 6th grade science teacher. This teacher’s excitement joins a choir of praise for the impact of an initiative that has transformed Sarasota County middle schools.

The vision was hatched in 2009, when philanthropic and school district leaders realized middle schools classrooms were not preparing students for jobs of the future. What transpired can only be described as monumental and completely transformative. Teachers have changed the way they prepare and deliver instruction, students collaborate in teams to complete assignments and technology is at the center of learning.

The initiative to re-design middle schools is called 21st Century Schools and was led by Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Sarasota County Schools and many community partners. These partners invested $18-million over nine years to reshape instruction and learning in all 300+ middle school classrooms.

The teachers who made this all possible were recently honored at a celebration marking the culmination of the classroom transformation. Go here to see photos from the event.

The impacts on student achievement and teacher satisfaction are documented in the report, “Who Hates Leaving Middle School.” Practical lessons learned are also shared in the hopes other districts will replicate this successful initiative.

Meet your future doctor

The Florida State College of Medicine Science Students Reaching Instructional Diversity and Excellence (SSTRIDE) prepares students for careers in science and medicine. The program began last year at McIntosh Middle and leads rising 8th and 9th grade students on an science-focused academic path through high school. Barancik Foundation helped launch this program because our region needs more trained medical professionals. The SSTRIDE program is 20+ years old with a proven record of influencing the rate student’s graduate from high school and go one to earn STEM college degrees.

Crisis Text Line

We hosted Nancy Lublin, the founder of Crisis Text Line, who shared her organization’s story about using data and technology to help individuals in crisis. Crisis Text Line is the world’s largest mental health database and its crisis intervention volunteers are assisted by an algorithm able to gauge the texter’s true level of need. For example, if a texter names any over-the-counter pain relief pill, they are 16 times more likely to attempt suicide than a texter who uses the word “suicide.” We are in discussions with Nancy to establish a keyword for our region that will allow us to get data dashboards about the issues and frequency our residents text for help. Leaders at Sarasota County Schools are ramping up efforts to make teens more aware of this life-saving resource. Thanks to Nancy, we will all be smarter about how we do our work. Go here to see a photos from the event.