"Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile."
- Albert Einstein
Philanthropy is such a core element in our city and I am consistently impressed with the scale and the scope of the money and time that is invested. In 2019, it is estimated that up to $100 million was employed into the various nonprofits and the programs they execute herein Sarasota. Absolutely staggering for a town of this size.
Kathy and I attempt to do our bit on a much smaller scale and we contribute more of our time versus our money. I was the President of the Rosemary District Neighborhood Association for 14 years, which was almost a quarter of my lifetime. Kathy has participated in many gala committees and was the President of the Florida Women Sailing Association for 2 terms. I relished that time when she was President because she did such a great job but also because I could brag that “I slept with President Bush.” Certainly, created awkward moments until I clarified “Kathy, not George W.”
But I would like to share something that seems to fly below the radar screen but gives us great enjoyment. We have supported the Ringling College Library Association and its town hall speaker series for many years.
The Ringling College Library Association (RCLA) is a local non-profit dedicated to the ongoing development of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library at The Ringling College of Art and Design and acts as a catalyst for the educational growth of students, faculty, and the community. The Association is one of the largest cumulative donors to Ringling College with contributions and commitments exceeding $11 million dollars, which includes $3.8 million towards the construction of the Alfred R. Goldstein Library.
Our participation with RCLA has been two-fold, I was on the Library Board during the time we raised $20 million to build the new library on campus and we have supplied the seating vignette on stage at the Van Wezel for each speaker during their town hall lecture series.
As much as it seems quite simple to put a couple of chairs on stage, there is much more of a science than an art to creating the vignette. The things that we must take into consideration are the speaker’s personality, the size of the speaker, a sense of what colors they are wearing, their complexion, the contract terms that may govern their seating requirements and more. And then, we must take same factors into consideration for the Town Hall President that also operates at the moderator. You will not believe the number of times that we are concerned about the moderator looking like “Edith Ann” when we try to keep the chairs in proportion for speakers taller than 6’5” and the moderators at 5’ 4”.
Our most memorable experience was with Bill Clinton. His front team came into the showroom a week before his speaking event. They selected 2 chairs that worked with his body shape and fair-skinned complexion. Perfect, except for one thing. A couple walked into the showroom a couple of days before the event and wanted to buy the chairs and have them delivered the next day. Well, that’s a problem.
So, after explaining the chairs will be “used’, providing a discount, and giving the couple our tickets to see Clinton speak, the deal was done. Bill got to sit in the chairs and the couple received the used “Clinton” chairs after the speech. And maybe the best part, the couple was from Hope, Arkansas and Bill’s grandfather had worked in their factory.
And the most requested chair is the Fritz Hansen licensed Egg Chair. The chair is such an iconic chair and it swivels, rocks, and in red fabric, makes the speaker stand out that much more.
Please enjoy these images of previous speakers
that have used that chair!
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson
Author Wes Moore
Kathy and I and the team at Home Resource strive to make a difference every time we can. We take great pride in having the privilege to serve you and to give back to our community. We intend to continue to support organizations like the Ringling College and their Library Association and the many others here in Sarasota in our effort to make a difference in our community.