Art is an important part of the cultural identity and economy in St. Pete. In October, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance, the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership and City of St. Pete launched a new planning effort to create a Comprehensive Arts Strategy for the community, and your feedback is needed. To complete a survey that will help refine and prioritize some of the themes that have emerged in creating the new strategy, click here. The surveys will close at noon Friday (Jan. 22) so be sure to weigh in now.
The Community Foundation of Tampa Bay and Stetson University College of Law have welcomed three new Community Fellows as part of the Alliance for Advocacy and Philanthropy partnership. As part of this collaboration, the Foundation offers paid fellowships each semester for students attending Stetson. The fellows will have the opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of community philanthropy and have hands-on experience in working with nonprofit organizations. The recipients are Bailey Peterson and Shannon Walker, who will receive their degrees in 2021 and Blake Radford, who will receive his degree in 2023.
Pepsi has announced new giveback initiatives it is rolling out in Tampa and across the state for Super Bowl LV as part of its Pepsi Stronger Together platform, a tailored grassroots-based program giving back to communities across the nation. In Tampa, the program is partnering with the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation to donate $100,000 in grants and support to help struggling Bay area restaurants. Through the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, Pepsi and the NRAEF will award $10,000 grants to Tampa restaurants which will be announced Super Bowl Sunday. Qualifying restaurants will also be offered membership in the FRLA and National Restaurant Association. Additionally, Pepsi Stronger Together will also work with nonprofit Force Blue by hosting Dive55, a beach and ocean cleanup day on Anna Maria Island Jan. 25.
Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa has named Ted Schilowitz, a futurist at Paramount Pictures, to its 36-member national board of directors. Schilowitz, a news release states, has dedicated his career to exploring new and emerging technologies in areas such as virtual reality and advanced interactive storytelling. His resume includes stints with 20th Century Fox, also as a futurist, and Red Digital Cinema, where he helped develop the ultra-high-resolution Red One and Epic cameras that are now being used to shoot major motion pictures.
A group of community partners teamed up with the NFL, the Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a Super Bowl project that put nearly 4,500 books, pieces of sports equipment, school supplies and games in the hands of local children. The project, called Super Kids-Super Sharing, has been implemented in every Super Bowl host community for the past 22 years. More than 30 Super Kids partner locations hosted collections at their facilities in December. Donated items were then shared with the children they serve and with Boys & Girls Clubs of Tampa Bay. Participating in this effort were the YMCAs of Tampa Bay, Replay Tampa Bay, Hillsborough Education Foundation, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation, City of Tampa Parks and Recreation, Keep Tampa Bay Beautiful and six Diocese of St. Petersburg schools.
The St. Petersburg city council unanimously approved a nine-month $850,000 contract with Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services to hire a program director and staff for the St. Petersburg Police Department's new Community Assistance Liaison program. The program, which was announced last year following the death of George Floyd, will send community and social service professionals instead of uniformed police officers on some non-violent calls. Initially, plans call for social workers to respond to calls alongside officers, though the goal is for social workers to go out on 80 percent of calls alone by the program's sixth month. The pilot phase of CAL will run through September when council members will evaluate it and determine what the next steps will be.
Although all the workshops have been canceled, Eckerd College's annual Writers in Paradise conference will go on, virtually, with two days of evening readings. Authors (view the list here) will read Jan. 17 and 18 via YouTube. Writers in Paradise was founded in 2003 by Sterling Watson and Dennis Lehane. All information about the 2020 event changes can be found here.
Bridgette Heller, a longtime business executive who now leads a St. Petersburg nonprofit, has been named to the Newman’s Own Foundation board of directors. Founded by the late actor and philanthropist Paul Newman, the foundation has donated more than $560 million to charitable causes over the years. Heller, following a long career with major companies such as Kraft Foods, Nutricia and Johnson & Johnson, founded and serves as CEO of the Shirley Proctor Puller Foundation, which, according to a news release, works to close the achievement gap for underserved students in south St. Petersburg.
In collaboration with St. Petersburg College’s WorkForce Institute, the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance will present its annual Arts Business Academy for emerging creative businesses. This certificate course will provide artists, musicians, writers and graphic designers with the skillsets and confidence to launch an arts business career. Local arts professionals and business leaders will provide training on topics including goal definition, pricing, marketing, media and banking. In addition to the sessions, participants will have access to SPC’s supplemental non-credit workforce training courses. The cost for the series is $199 per person and will include five interactive Zoom sessions plus three online classes. Limited full scholarships are available by emailing tracy@
The Tampa Bay Super Bowl LV Host Committee selected 28 local nonprofits to receive microgrants through its Forever 55 Legacy Microgrant Program. The grants total nearly $280,000 and are part of a $2 million commitment by the NFL through the NFL Foundation and the Host Committee to create, support and implement long-lasting initiatives throughout the Tampa-St. Petersburg area. Recipients will use the funding for projects such as promoting healthy lifestyles for children, providing holiday meals to those in need, and building solid communication between youth and their community, a news release said. See a complete list of grant recipients here, in the Impact section of St. Pete Catalyst.
The University of South Florida has received a $2 million gift to the USF Foundation that will benefit students and faculty in the College of Engineering. The estate gift from David Miga, owner and president of Electronic Design Specialists, will establish the David Miga Endowed Scholarship for Electrical Engineering and create the David T. Miga Innovation Facility Fund. The gift will ease the financial burden of college costs for students while supporting the operational needs of the College of Engineering for at least 10 years. Specifically, the college will receive funds for equipment, supplies and maintenance associated with an open use “maker space” for students. This will provide the critical, tangible tools needed to effectively teach the hands-on aspects of the engineering curriculum.