3rd Annual Emerge Tampa Bay Nonprofit Fair Partners with Give Day Tampa Bay in 2015

Emerge

Megan Brown, Northwestern Mutual/ Emerge Tampa Bay Community Outreach Committee Member

I occasionally ask myself, “Is it better to give than to receive? Is there something missing in my life when a philanthropic spirit is not woven into my busy schedule or monthly finances?” I don’t think anyone would deny that a person feels a sense of fulfillment helping others in need.  Yet, we often find that lack of finances, time constraints or just not knowing where to find outreach opportunities can keep us from experiencing that blessing.

In an effort to overcome the obstacles that hinder outreach opportunities the 3rd annual Emerge Nonprofit Volunteer Fair partnered with Give Day Tampa Bay in Channelside Bay Plaza during their 24-hour online fundraising event. The goal was to not only raise money for nonprofits, but to present opportunities where you can donate your time.

If time constraints were a concern, people could choose among 549 nonprofits to donate to at the push of a button. Gifts totaling $1,734,540.75 were raised during Give Day Tampa Bay from nearly 10,193 donors!

For those wanting to donate their time, 24 local organizations set up tables in Channelside Bay Plaza to showcase their missions and highlight volunteer opportunities through the help of Emerge Tampa Bay.

There were a diverse group of nonprofits in attendance, providing opportunities for everyone. Whether your heart’s desire is to work with animals, children, disabled veterans, or others in need, attendees were bound to find something that appealed to their passion. I found that this event made for a fun and easy way to find opportunities that aligned with the causes I cared about. Check out the list of nonprofits who participated in the fair below.

As a busy, young professional juggling a marriage and the occasional budget blues, I still realize the importance of giving back but had all the excuses in the world not to be involved. Through the Emerge Nonprofit Fair, I met with representatives of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. They said the organization is willing to work with my schedule and only asked for some of my free time. I decided that their willingness to work with my schedule was a good fit for me. I cannot wait to meet a little brother that I will be paired with in the coming month.

Whether you donate financially or give of your leisure time, it is a valuable contribution. It is good to be reminded, every now and then, to take the time to care.

Just like my opportunity, Give Day Tampa Bay and the Emerge Nonprofit Volunteer Fair proved that there is an opportunity for everyone to be involved. If you are interested in learning about nonprofits in Tampa Bay, the Emerge Community Outreach Committee is the perfect place to start. Their meetings take place on the first Monday of every month. Join me sometime! The only question left is, “Are you ready to give back?”

3rd Annual Emerge Tampa Bay Nonprofit Volunteer Fair Participants:

2nd C.H.A.N.C.E Center 4 Boyz
Americans For Prosperity Foundation
American Lung Association
Best Buddies Tampa Bay
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay
Children’s Home Society of Florida
Cracker Country/Florida State Fair
Fellowship of Christian Athletes
Florida Aquarium
Florida Gulf Coast Paralyzed Veterans of America
Hillsborough Education Foundation
LifeLink Foundation
Instruments of Change
Meals On Wheels of Tampa
Metropolitan Ministries Inc.
Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay
Seniors in Service of Tampa Bay, Inc.
Solita’s House, Inc.
Special Olympics Florida – Hillsborough County
St. Peter Claver
Tampa Bay Beagle Rescue
Tranquil Shores Children’s Foundation
Visions of Hope International

Can LLC Members Sue Each Other for Damages?

By: Courtney Fernald

Courtney Fernald (00164840xBEBCA)Limited liability companies, or “LLCs,” have become an increasingly popular business entity choice in Florida due to their combination of favorable legal, business and tax attributes. Most of the appeal of the LLC lies in the “limited liability” concept that makes individuals feel shielded, but in reality LLC members can be individually liable to one another for any wrong doing.

When Can You Sue a Fellow Member of the LLC?

First look to the operating agreement and see if it contains a provision that expressly authorizes direct actions between members. If the operating agreement is clear that members are directly liable to each other, you may proceed and bring your action against the other member. Similarly, if Florida law mandates a statutory duty among members and you have a claim that such duty was breached, you may also proceed with your action against another member.

If the operating agreement does not provide for direct actions among members and there is no statutory claim to assert, you can only bring your action if you can show that you have suffered both (i) a direct harm that is independent of the harm suffered by the LLC, and (ii) a special injury that is separate and distinct from injury suffered by other members.  This can be daunting and difficult, and in many cases, an impossible test to overcome.

Due to the complexities involved in filing a direct lawsuit against an LLC member, it is important that you consult with an attorney before proceeding. Should you have any questions, please call Englander Fischer at (727) 898-7210 to see how one of our attorneys can assist you.

Leadership Tampa: Sports Day

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By: Darcy Calhoun, Tampa Bay Rays

Calhoun, DarcySports Day! It was finally here. It was a day a lot of us in Leadership Tampa were looking forward to and it definitely lived up to the expectations.

The morning began with us crossing over the bridge to the Tampa Bay Rays — and what a start to the day! While there, not only were we able to pick the brains of the likes of President Brian Auld and Senior Vice President Mark Fernandez, but we were also presently surprised with guest appearances by the Rays’ new manager, Kevin Cash, and Chaim Bloom, vice president of baseball operations. Their transparency and excitement for the new things going on with sports in the region were palpable. We all learned some fun facts about team manager Kevin Cash; he was on two World Series teams with the Rays’ fellow American League East rivals, the Yankees and the Red Sox. Even more interesting, we learned that Cash considers one of his biggest mentors in the game to be baseball legend Terry Francona.

Rob Higgins of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission graced us with his presence and showed us the great things he and his team are doing in order to get sports events from all over the country to have a presence in Tampa Bay. The success that they are having is extremely impressive!

Then off we were onto the bus and back across the bridge to enjoy lunch at the beautiful Amalie Arena where we learned from Steve Griggs what the Lightning has successfully done to transform their brand over the years, as well as what the future holds for them in the Tampa Bay community. Talk about innovative…what a great team they have working there! Following our lunch we were given a special peek at the Lightning practice on the ice for their game the following night (something I would recommend to anyone if given the chance to take part in). What a cool insight into the team on the ice!

Last but not least, we arrived for our final stop of the day at the Buccaneers facility. We got to toss the football around on their practice field and were given tours of their facility where we learned several things such as the very specific logic behind why their field goal posts are facing a certain way. Who would have thought that kind of thinking goes into practice fields! To top that off, we were able to learn more about the Buccaneers brand from some of their brightest, including newly-appointed Chief Marketing Officer, Brian Killingsworth (as we simultaneously tried to get them to answer our questions of ‘Winston or Mariota?’).

The day was exciting and thrilling to say the least and I think we all took away from it the same thing – we are very lucky to live in a place where our professional sports teams put such value on giving back to the community and the future has never been brighter for sports in Tampa Bay!

Is An Unsigned Contract Enforceable?

Man Signing Contract

By: Beatriz Sanchez, Associate – Englander Fischer Attorneys

beatriz_sanchezMost people think all hope is lost if a signature is missing from a contract, but that is not always the case. Contracts play a big role in business, and it is important to know that you do not have to give up your right to enforce a contract if one party did not sign it.

What Creates an Enforceable Contract?

The point of signing a contract is to show assent, however, signing a contract is not the only way to do that. In fact, Florida courts have found that where a contract was not signed but a party’s actions suggested acceptance, an enforceable contract existed. In one case, an enforceable contract was found to exist where a party did not sign the contract, but paid a deposit and subsequently paid invoices.

How Can You Uphold a Signed or Unsigned Contract?

Even if one party signed the contract but the other party did not, the contract may be upheld against the signing party, unless the contract expressly stated that the signature was conditioned on all of the parties signing the contract.

Given the various scenarios where Florida courts have enforced unsigned contracts, it is imperative to consult with an attorney before foregoing your contractual rights and remedies. Should you have any further questions regarding contract enforcement, please call Englander Fischer at (727) 898-7210 to see how one of our attorneys can assist you.

Hiring Employees with Disabilities

The Learning Academy Employment Services at USF 

The_Learning_Academy

Employers know that staff turnover is very expensive. From hiring time, to retraining, to supervising new employees, employers spend countless hours and dollars sustaining their workforce. People’s lives change all the time causing them to leave their jobs and move on. A more stable workforce that is loyal, responsible and dedicated to the business is what many employers wish for.

If your company has considered hiring people with disabilities, The Learning Academy Employment Services at the University of South Florida can assist with finding and developing the right people for the job, while building a diverse and sustainable workforce. Our goal is to minimize turnover costs by connecting businesses to competent people who are seeking long-term employment. We will work with you to identify the position requirements, match a person with the qualities you are seeking, assist in the hiring and training process as needed, and be available to consult on a regular basis to maximize successful outcomes. We provide all this at no cost to the employer.

To speak to one of our successes, Izzy is a graduate of the Learning Academy, a social skills and employment readiness program we offer at the University of South Florida for young adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder. When asked what she’d like to do next, she said she was interested in a job serving food. We approached Aramark, a food service company, to introduce them to Izzy. When the interviewers met Izzy and saw her portfolio, they became interested in supporting her to find a job with them.

Izzy now works for Champions’ Choice, a student dining hall at the University of South Florida run by Aramark that caters to student athletes. She has been a server and cleaner there for almost three years and loves her job. She won a service award and was recently given new responsibilities of baking cookies, her dream job come true.

Izzy likes her work routines and wearing a uniform, and she gets along with her coworkers, but she also appreciates that other people understand her and let her be herself. She gets along well with her supervisor, and also has a coworker she can talk to if needed. She is always at work early, in spite of a difficult commute.

Success stories like Izzy’s reminds us that it does not take much for an employer to support an employee with a disability. We hope to create a network of future business leaders who pave the way for diversity efforts that benefit employers, employees, and positively impact our economy.

Top 5: Food for Thought for Employers:

  • Sometimes the way we’ve always done it isn’t the way we need to do things. Hiring people with disabilities should move from a theory of American’s With Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance to practice of inclusion for all.
  • Hiring people with disabilities is the right thing to do when the person meets the essential qualifications for the position with or without accommodations.
  • Each person is an individual and hiring decisions should be made on a case by case basis.
  • In addition to people with disabilities having a variety of education levels and skill sets, people with disabilities, also bring a diverse and unique problem solving perspective into the workplace based on accommodating their disability throughout their lifetime.
  • It’s alright to let employees with disabilities and the agencies that support them know that you are still learning about disabilities and how to best accommodate employees as needed.

SusanRichmondTo schedule a meeting to learn more about what the Learning Academy Employment Services can do for your business, please contact Susan Richmond, Learning Academy Coordinator at 813-974- 2996. You can also access our website at http://learningacademy.fmhi.usf.edu/employment/index.html.

Leadership Tampa: Arts and Culture Day

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Leadership Tampa Class of 2015 Discovers the HeARTbeat of Tampa
By: Kerry O’Reilly, Tampa Bay Times

O'Reilly, Kerry

Kerry O’Reilly

Our minds were awakened by Renoir and Chagall. Our blood got pumping by the drumming rhythms at Stageworks.  Our imaginations were aroused by the beautiful, lovingly-designed prints at Graphicstudio.

And that was all before lunch.

On November 11, members of the Leadership Tampa 2015 class toured several of Tampa’s arts and cultural jewels.

Our thoughts were also expanded by Dominique Labauvie and his rugged steel sculptures, palates pleased by the culinary arts courtesy of Mise en Place and conventions challenged by an activity at the Patel Conservatory.

Through the process we all realized that everyone defines “good art” differently. However, I believe our experience taught us that we all agree on a few things:

  • We are fortunate to have dozens of world-class arts and cultural choices in our area. Within walking distance of Curtis Hixon Park, you could attend the Tampa Museum of Art, Straz Center for the Performing Arts, Florida Museum of Photographic Arts, Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa Theatre, Tampa Bay History Center and Stageworks – maybe even all in one day if you hurry!
  • Arts and culture play a vital role in attracting visitors and permanent residents to Tampa. When family comes to town, you don’t take them to visit the new multi-million dollar section of interstate that just opened up (unless you don’t want them to stay very long). You take them to a museum or a show. When young and old are looking for a place to live, many ask the same question: “What is there to do around here?” Fortunately, the answer is “Lots!”
  • The arts add fuel to the economic engine. According to a recent study done by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County, the arts industry in Hillsborough County employs 8,300 people full time and more than $298 million is spent within the arts industry every year.
  • Life without art would be rather dull. Imagine driving home from work to silence on the radio, a tasteless meal for dinner, bare walls in your home to stare at, nothing to watch on Netflix, no novel to read at night as you head to bed. No thanks.

Looking for ways to support the arts? Visit www.tbbca.org/cultural-directories. You’ll find a directory of options and many ways you can get involved.

Leaders in Action: Leadership Tampa Alumni Help Feed 5,000 Families

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By Melody Marrs, Goodwill Industries – Suncoast, Inc.
Leadership Tampa Class of 2005

Melody Marrs

Melody Marrs

I was one of the lucky ones! Lucky because I was with 25 fellow LTA classmates and members who joined together on Thursday, November 20 at Feeding America Tampa Bay to help stock the shelves and pack food bags for the hungry living in our community. What a difference 25 extra pairs of hands made for 5,000 hungry families! Together we unfolded bags, stocked them with potatoes, stuffing and canned goods and then folded and packed the food bags into huge containers to be delivered to the Salvation Army in Tampa for distribution the next day.

Feeding America Tampa Bay said that we were lifesavers as they had a shortage of volunteers and staff that day to pack the bags! But really, isn’t it true that Feeding America7 Tampa Bay and other nonprofits who serve people in need in our community are the true lifesavers? They are the ones to be thanked! I am proud to say that we had nine class years represented on Volunteer Day –  from 1989, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and yes, even a current 2015 class member came to volunteer. It was easy to see that 2014 was strongly represented and many of them shared the memory of their own Community Outreach Day during their LT 2014 class year. These experiences truly bring home just how much one person can help another.

So, to those who volunteered last week with us, thank you so much. And for those of you who volunteer often and for a variety of causes, thank you for giving your time and resources to help make a difference in someone’s life.

I wish each and every one of you a blessed holiday season and I am confident that our fellow LTA classmates will be out working in the community helping others this holiday season. Happy Holidays all!

Leadership Tampa: Education Day

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By: Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D., The University of Tampa

Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D.

Stephanie Russell Krebs, Ph.D.

My Leadership Tampa Education Day started like a typical day (just a tad earlier).  I got up bright and early and went into my 8-year-old daughter’s room to kiss her goodbye. I looked into her eyes and told her I loved her as I wished her a great day at school.  I then peeked into my 18-month-old son’s room as he slept and then left for Education Day. That morning  I didn’t fully realize the true privilege of education my children will have in their lifetime, that other children, just as sweet and beautiful as mine, do not have readily available to them.  By the end of that transformational day my perspective had changed.

Our day started at the Glazer Children’s Museum where we were given the opportunity to return to our childhood.  We were reminded that kids need unstructured time to be creative and just play.

We were then shuttled to Blake High school and were entertained by the amazing talent of a student guitarist, a musical performance group, and a dance ensemble that made us feel like we were at a Broadway show.  We were reminded how these intensive magnet programs truly save lives.  These children find their passion and that passion drives their education.

Then we headed to Academy Prep, a true gem in Tampa Bay.  Their school director reinforced that all students deserve a quality education regardless of their economic status or their zip code.  We spent time with the children in their classrooms and also heard the angelic voices of their gospel choir. These children were eager to learn about our backgrounds and it was evident they were destined for greatness.

Next we traveled to the University of South Florida for an engaging panel of university 047 USF-X2presidents and the Hillsborough County Public Schools Superintendent.  The lesson I took away from the panel was that collaboration and creating community in education is what is needed for true economic impact.

One of my favorite parts of the day was our lunch at Chamberlain High School where we dined at the Chamberlain Outback restaurant, courtesy of the talented students in the culinary arts program.  This program, like the fine arts program at Blake, connects student with their passion, which significantly increases their likelihood for academic success.

Next we visited the training center at Hillsborough Community College and were introduced to another type of important education.  We visited the mechanical workshop, the fire safety program, and the shooting simulation studio.  It was apparent that education comes in many forms and our community needs them all.

The day concluded our day at my home away from home, The University of Tampa.  A panel consisting of two millennial students and two employers discussed alignment between how students learn and how this translates to the workforce.

So from looking into the eyes of my children at the start of the day, the middle school students at Academy Prep, the high school students at Blake and Chamberlain, to the non-traditional students at HCC, to the millennial college students from UT and USF, one thing is apparent.  All of these students are born with great potential, have a yearning to learn, and in the right environment will flourish. There are many of these impactful learning environments in the Tampa Bay area.  My challenge to myself, to my LT classmates, and to the greater Tampa Bay area is:  How can we individually and collectively make sure that all children are provided pathways to these learning environments?  We must treat all of the children in our community like our own.

Leadership Tampa: Law Enforcement Day

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By: Jennifer Currence, Mario Camacho Foods
 Jennifer Currence

Jennifer Currence

The Leadership Tampa class of 2015 was fired up (no pun intended) for Law Enforcement Day on October 15. Most of us had already done our ride-alongs with a Tampa PD or HSCO patrol officer, and we had many jaw-dropping stories to share and listen to over the course of the day.

We started the morning at the Falkenburg jail. I was amazed to hear that our local law enforcement is desperately seeking recruits. It’s a pervasive problem that came up several times over the course of the day. Major Mike Perotti indicated to our class that only about 3 percent of all applicants are selected to join the force. It’s a rigorous hiring process that few are able to get through, and the number of applicants is dwindling. It’s an issue that will require some fresh solutions in the upcoming years.

We then broke into groups to receive tours of the Falkenburg facility by seasoned veterans of the staff. We were able to see the clinics, the pods (which hold 72 inmates with one unarmed deputy), and the suicide watch room (I forget the official name for it). We heard from Ollie Gagnon of Homeland Security where we learned that cyber crimes have increased 650% over the past 5 years (that’s no typo). After lunch with several of TPD and HCSO’s finest, we headed to tours at the Orient Road jail where we saw their pods (again, manned by one unarmed deputy), the clinic, the intake area for the entire county, and the control room, which houses cameras to watch what’s going on throughout the jail. Here are some interesting facts that stuck out to me:

  • Incoming women take a pregnancy test. If they are positive, they go straight to the clinic and stay there for their entire gestational period. They go to Tampa General to have the baby, then they come back to the prison to complete their sentence.
  • The Falkenburg facility typically houses people who are incarcerated for less than a year. If they are sentenced to longer than a year, then they go to the Orient Road jail (although Orient Road also holds people for short amounts of time).
  • Most inmates are allowed to take free classes. The social worker who spoke with us said that the most necessary class for them is based in fundamental psychology. He said inmates don’t understand that their choices and their actions are what got them to jail… that their incarceration really is a product of their own life choices, and not someone else’s fault.
  • The suicide watch ward was fascinating – and a tad bit uncomfortable. In addition to constant camera monitoring, the guards there do physical rounds every 15 minutes to monitor the inmates to make sure they don’t kill themselves. Inmates might spit out their meds or chip off pieces of the wall to slice their wrists. They are made to wear “turtle suits” so they can’t shred their orange jail suits and use them to hang themselves. The turtle suits (so named for their green color) look like padded gunnysacks with Velcro on the shoulders.
  • The disposition of the guards – in both places – was very calm. It was impressive.
  • The total capacity of both jails is about 5000 inmates.
  • There are many cases of mental illness at the jails. The root cause of why most of the people are in jail is drugs, and the number one drug type they see is Spice and Bath Salts (ok, I guess that’s two types). We learned that one bad hit of Spice can put an individual into a vegetative state for life. Wow. I ran home and told my teenagers about that one.

We concluded the day with some demonstrations from TPD and HCSO, including a patrol helicopter, the water unit, one of the canines, a SWAT truck, and – the highlight – how a Taser works. In fact, some of my classmates got a first-hand experience of how it feels to be Tasered. (I stuck with the experience of simply shooting a Taser gun.)

Lastly, we heard from a panel which included a judge, a member of the state defender’s office, the state prosecutor’s office, Colonel Ken Davis from HCSO and TPD Chief Castor. I was super impressed with Chief Castor, and I asked her what obstacles she had to overcome to be a female leader in a male-dominated industry. Her reply (which I loved): “Everyone will be discriminated against. It’s all about what you do with it.”

Diploma-See 2014

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By: Stephanie Newton, Community Outreach Committee 

Am I relatable? Will they think I’m a phony? Is the ONE bag of candy enough to appease them? These were just a  few of the questions racing through my mind as our group of Junior Achievement Diploma-See volunteers gathered in a side classroom to polish off the prep on our exercise materials and slam down some coffee to get our energy where it needed to be. These were middle school students we had to teach finance to, after all. It was go-time.

Each year the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce activates volunteers to participate in Junior Achievement’s Diploma-See program. Jose Valiente, the founder of the program, came up with the idea while he was Chair of the Chamber. Volunteers visit Hillsborough County Title-1 Public Schools and teach basic financial principals. Volunteers are required to participate in a 2-hour training session and then go into the classrooms for a half day and teach. I along with eight other Emerge Tampa Bay members decided to participate this year together.

As soon as the door opened and a collection of student ambassadors were waiting to guide us to our classrooms, all of my fears subsided. This was going to be fun. As we chatted on our short journey to our destination, I commented on the school mascot and the upcoming dance. (Getting to tell my Georgia Tech-alum boyfriend later that day that I got to teach a classroom full of “Yellow Jackets” was certainly noteworthy. He did help me prepare the lessons the night before, after all.)

There is something very unique about the adrenaline that rushes through your body at the onset of having to introduce yourself to young people who are a mirror reflection of the person you are not entirely that far removed from – the only difference being that your life has accelerated at an increasing pace. As students came up to the whiteboard and identified with a sticky note on a poster full of the career choices where they believed they saw themselves, I remember standing back and thinking, “How lucky are they?” My favorite part of the entire morning was just watching students rush up to the poster with unfaltering confidence, knowing they had the exact job path in mind and then stop and take a second look at the options before committing. You could see the wheels turning. That’s when I knew this program was truly something special. When asked what a “cosmologist” and a “chemical engineer” did for a living, I felt like I held the greatest amount of power in the world.

Another tremendous takeaway of the day for me was getting to reinforce the notion that education doesn’t end beyond college, graduate school, or even doctorate-level work. The slew of certificate programs, trade classes and seminars one can attend throughout their working life to acquire new skill sets really opened our students’ minds to the flexibility that now surrounded them.

Ownership of what the students really did know regarding finances started to speed up and shine when talk turned to credit and debit cards. And did they waaaant to talk about credit cards, let me tell you. The perspectives in the room were cut across a wide array of economic backgrounds and experiences, which made the discussion rich and eye-opening.

When we debriefed following the three-hour session with our classrooms, my mind was blown to hear about the projects the students were undertaking in aerospace, aviation and engineering. Building components of a fighter jet? O….kay. Can I blame my classroom for not 100% being able to differentiate premiums and co-pays? Absolutely not. The rare opportunity I had to impart what I hope was valuable financial knowledge that perhaps a few months or years from now even one student pulls out of their memory files and goes “a-ha!” with will be a victory for me. That and leaving a middle school classroom with completely flipped perspective of what the students were capable of before entering. For that, I thank Junior Achievement – where to next?