What’s going on in our world
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.
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.
Vote YES on March 20 for Sarasota School Tax Referendum
The following op-ed by Teri A Hansen ran in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on February 11, 2018
I will never forget the way that Mrs. Beck, my eighth-grade English teacher, made words come to life. She piqued my curiosity, sparked my imagination and inspired me to study journalism in college.
While I did not pursue journalism as a career, the academic and emotional impacts Mrs. Beck had on me were immeasurable.
At the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, we believe that every student deserves a “Mrs. Beck” and that’s one of the reasons we enthusiastically support extending the Sarasota County School District’s 1-mill tax through the March referendum.
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.