Next year's event will be on April 22, 2017, once again in Historic Williams Park. For more information, contact Christopher Dixon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thousands gathered Saturday, April 23 at Historic Williams Park in downtown St. Pete to celebrate Earth Day, enjoy the music, food, and earth friendly shopping, and learn about sustainable living. Exhibits focused on Urban Birds, The Art of Green Shopping, Urban Gardens, Ocean Conservation, and Earth Friendly Transportation, including rides on a Proterra electric bus. Kids had access to free environmental books at Mother Nature's Book Nook or "Go Outside and Play," devoted to the concept of connecting kids to nature through structured and unstructured play. Visitors enjoyed craft beer and outstanding food, including a special cookout from Tryst Gastro Lounge's "Food for Good" program whose proceeds went to environmental and youth charities.
Chart 411 and the City of St. Petersburg, co-sponsors of the event, chose Historic Williams Park for its beautiful setting and history as a natural oasis dating back to the city's founding. Kicking off the celebration, Mayor Rick Kriseman said, "the sun does truly shine on all of us in St. Petersburg." He was joined by Congressman David Jolly, Representative Dwight Dudley, City Council Members Darden Rice, Steve Kornell, Ed Montanari, and Amy Foster, and County Commissioner, Ken Welch, all of whom remind us that protecting our planet is truly a nonpartisan issue.
Over 125 vendors and exhibitors attended and assured that there was a lot to see, do and learn. Area nonprofits, more than 100 volunteers, generous sponsors and, especially, St. Petersburg's Parks and Recreation Department all contributed to an outstanding community celebration.
Next year's event will be on April 22, 2017, once again in Historic Williams Park. For more information, contact Christopher Dixon at email@example.com.
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SPIFFS was founded in 1975 as an independent umbrella organization of ethnic groups who joined together to present a Folk Fair as part of the U.S. Bicentennial, which attracted 22,000 attendees. This October, SPIFFS will celebrate the 42nd Annual International Folk Fair.
SPIFFS is 100% owned by its members - around 40 different ethnic groups from around the Tampa Bay area. It is the only independent non-profit, multi-cultural folk fair organization in the country. SPIFFS member groups provide translators for a number of languages.
On Saturday, April 23rd, 2016, SPIFFS will hold its Annual International Ball to honor individual group members as SPIFFS Persons of The Year. This festive event will be held at The Gulfport Casino and all are invited!
SPIFFS member groups are available for folk dance performances, cultural exhibits and other events. Mark your calendars for a new festival that will take place on May 21st - World Day Festival of Cultural Diversity. In October, SPIFFS will present visiting Serbian professional Folk Dance Troupe TALIJA in concert.
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Member Guest Blog by Wonderment Creative House
Many business owners assume that if they’re using the channel to represent their business, they should automatically and/or exclusively post through their business page.
Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Like any other marketing strategy, you need to tailor your social media approach to your business, target audience, and the results you hope to achieve. Only you can decide what’s right for you, but here are a few guiding questions to take into consideration:
1. How big is your company? Most social media experts agree that larger businesses should have a business page. However, if you’re a small business owner or solopreneur, it might make more sense to share posts through your personal profile.
2. What feels most natural? While some business owners shy away from the spotlight and appreciate the anonymity of posting through a company page, others enjoy being the face of their organization. Choose the path that’s right for you, but if you elect post exclusively through your company page, you might want to consider signing posts with your own name or the name of another employee. Why? For better or worse, business is more personal than ever and people are more apt to engage with a human than a faceless corporation.
3. Do you provide products or services? According to social media consultant Mike Allton, businesses that provide services rather than retail products often find more success marketing themselves (through personal profiles) than with business brand pages.
4. How much time are you willing or able to devote to social media? Keep in mind that if you elect to create a personal profile and business page for every social platform you’re active on, you’re effectively doubling your workload or costs (if you’re outsourcing these duties). Each account will require you to find and post different content as well as engage with two sets of followers.
In it's 11th year, Tampa Bay's largest film festival will return on April 28th through May 1st. As one of only a handful of festivals that are recognized and sponsored by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Sunscreen Film Festival offers the best in great films for the public to enjoy.
The Sunscreen Film Festival is an annual film festival hosted by the St. Petersburg-Clearwater Film Society Inc., a Florida non-profit corporation. The Festival's primary goal is to encourage the creation, production, and exhibition of independent film in Florida through our educational programs and public screenings, thereby increasing awareness and support of local film making as a cultural and economic asset.
The Festival and it's board members, including Ryan Tarrant, St. Petersburg Chamber Member of the Year, hope to continue to consistently entertain and challenge audiences and create memorable moments for filmmakers, special guests, judges, and the film-loving public.
Founder, Tony Armer noticed that there was a gap in the market and knew that downtown St. Pete would be the perfect backdrop for a Florida film festival.
Sunscreen Film Festival offers attendees the opportunity to see great independent films, attend fantastic parties and have the chance to rub elbows with the people who worked and acted in the films. Previous festival's have attracted John Travolta, Patrick Wilson, Billy D. Williams, WWE's John Cena and the Bella Twins.
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Public Policy Council
The Chamber held a very important Public Policy Council meeting on April 5th with regards to the Pier Project Update. There are currently two design architectural teams working towards one project dedicated to enhancing the visitor experience at the downtown waterfront and Pier. There have been plans for renovations to Spa beach, the transit hub building, an education center, and the pier head. One will be greeted with the opportunity to engage with the water as soon as they walk onto the pier. There will also be plenty of coastal thicket present in efforts to protect the sea grass and ecosystem.
The central hub of this pier concept will be the 3,000 ft. education center. This center will provide educational experiences, ecological experiences, and give an opportunity to experience the water. There will also be a kayak boat house, boardwalk, floating dock, and beautiful fishing platforms. The Pier-Head Building was designed to encourage people to come to the edge of the pier for fishing. It ultimately helps minimize opportunity for entanglements with turtles and birds. It is a controlled experience. The designers also discussed the importance of creating a restaurant to take advantage of the views, and to fulfill this request, the plan has been flipped to face city and western views.
Architect for this project, Harold Somarriba, states that the Pier Project must be family oriented with a central idea that pedestrians are first. Providing an ecological experience along with a push to improve the marine habitat is equally as important. Shade and greenspaces become key in this project for people to be able to enjoy themselves. There has also been a proposed market closer to downtown core to maintain vibrant synergy. To enhance the public’s experience, there has been a creation of loops instead of straight lines, especially with the Pier’s building of a tram system. There is a “desire to make this space active, vibrant and functional,” said Somarriba.
Many concerns about the availability of parking were brought up to the design team. Chris Ballestra explained that implications need to be understood as a base case for a two-way road and parking won’t be resolved for another two months in the project. He says it is important we “don’t junk up waterfront with cars, if people have a hard time getting in and out, it’s a one and done experience.” Bayshore drive parking is being explored, but this could propose a financial issue. The tram also does a great job of helping to alleviate this parking congestion. The team is currently still working with a transportation engineer and parking is being heavily considered. All in all, the project seems to be lining up nicely with what the public wants. Demolition is underway and needs to get done by the end of the summer.
John Curran expressed his excitement in the meeting talking about how architecturally the space will have a sense of one-ness. He tell us that as an architect the design is growing on him and that the uniformity in the architectural detail is going to be exquisite. He remarked, “I am very confident that this will be a fantastic beacon for the city of St. Petersburg”
Diversity and Inclusiveness, Ronnell Montgomery
Montgomery talked about CRA and economic development occurring in the 22nd street area, and the importance of job training relation to developing business on 22nd street. The women’s forum has been talking about next steps and what is means for the Chamber. This task force is looking at April 21st for the next meeting.
Education, Dr. Kevin Gordon
Gordon tells us that there is no surprise that Pinellas County public schools are still failing and under investigation by the OCR in the US Dept. of Education, and as long as they remain segregated, they will continue to fail. Another issue that will come before review is whether or not they are proving access to quality teachers. If investigators look deeper at the resourcing they may be able to see something out of order.
At the end of the day they are protected by the unitary status granted in 2000 and have the right to not be in a court order for desegregation. The only way to guarantee changes is at policy level school board and to have different school board members. Short of that, it is an uphill battle to be able to do something substantive in real change about the curriculum as well.
No one has conversed about schools being segregated in all of this mess. We know that neighborhoods with high rates of poverty are related to the five failing schools. The trapping of poverty and environmental issues associated with these children are brought directly into school. He believes we will not see anything substantive unless changes in policy and the schools board occurs.
Today the Chamber hosted a room-filled coffee chat with Commissioner Charlie Justice to learn about current efforts working in St. Petersburg. Commissioner Justice explains that he sees county government to be the “offensive line” of government. The county commission started to go on a downhill route in 2012 until Commissioner Justice and Commissioner Long stepped in. They both work hard to make sure they are making good sound policy decisions. Commissioner Justice told us that he decided to run to continue his public service.
Pinellas has 24 cities and much less funding than Hillsborough County, with similar size in population. Commissioner Justice states that because of this, “We have to make partnerships work in order to get anything good done in Pinellas County”. Some of those important relationships have been frayed in the past and social services plummeted because of it. When the organization is not running well, it affects every service you have to offer. He is committed to making good and lasting changes to better our community.
Some of the following partnerships that the County Commission is doing are:
Sheri Kendrick, founder of Little Light of Mine, Inc., is passionate about children, and for the past 2 years, the non-profit has offered professional photography services, free of charge, to families with children fighting life-threatening illness or injury.
Many families who are caring for a sick child fall into financial hardship and cannot afford professional photography services. Little Light of Mine, Inc. offers on-call and scheduled photography sessions for these families. They partner with organizations and attend community events to inform others of their services.
Earlier this year, Little Light of Mine, Inc. and its founder were recognized by Bay News 9's Everyday Hero series. This spotlight shed light on the important work the organization is accomplishing in our area. Click here to see the clip.
The non-profit is in the process of opening a new space at 2452 Central Avenue in the heart of the Grand Central District in downtown St. Petersburg.
Donation and volunteer opportunities are available for those interested in helping this organization continue to brighten the lives of local families in need.
For additional information on Little Light of Mine, Inc., click here.
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The Leadership St. Pete® (LSP) Class of 2016 invites you to a series of fundraising events to achieve their goal of raising $125,000 to renovate ALPHA House of Pinellas County, Inc. To date, the group has raised nearly $60,000 in cash and in-kind donations from local businesses and personal donors. Click here to see the list of our generous sponsors and register to attend any of the following events at stpete.com/ALPHA or make a donation. All are open to the public:
Thursday, March 31st, 6:00PM – 8:00PM
Brews for Babies
534 Central Ave.
No RSVP needed.
Tuesday, April 5th, 5:30PM – 7:30PM
Cocktails on the Canopy
Silent auction and live music
340 Beach Drive Northeast
$25 per person in advance or $30 at the door
(includes two drink tickets and hors d’oeuvres)
Friday, April 15th, 7:10PM
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Chicago White Sox
Premium box at Tropicana Field
$75 per person or $130 per couple
(includes food and adult beverages)
Sunday, April 24th
Shuffleboard Sunday FUN Day, 1:00PM – 4:00PM
St. Petersburg Shuffleboard Club
559 Mirror Lake Drive
$20 per adult person; Kids free
(includes face-painting, DJ music, balloon art, and unlimited shuffleboard play)
Ground was “broken” in mid-March with more demolition days ahead at ALPHA House on three upcoming Saturdays, April 2nd, 9th, and 16th. The deadline for completion of this year’s project is May 7th, 2016.
Wonderment Creative House is a full service marketing agency established on the collaboration of divergent design and convergent execution. Business owners Jason Liggitt, an old school true creative talent, originally from England, and Carolyn Ruby, a Pinellas native with fresh strategic concepts.
While working at Tech Data, owners Carolyn Ruby and Jason Liggitt built reputations as out of the box and forward thinking leaders. Requests for outside endeavors developed, allowing the soon to be entrepreneurs to entertain opening a creative marketing agency. They took a leap of faith, finding inspiration in one another's ability and excitement in free enterprise.
Many marketing firms have a strong focus on either design or marketing alone and look at the other as secondary. At Wonderment, the team approaches all client projects from both sides of the brain, bringing strategy and design together. Whether it be an email campaign, advertising campaign, or website they don't look to just service the client and provide a deliverable, but rather deliver a comprehensive solution to their marketing objectives.
When asked why the owners chose St. Pete, they explained that St. Petersburg is a vibrant and creative city, which matches the culture and focus of their business. Planting their roots in downtown St. Petersburg was a natural fit, allowing connectivity with a mix of established and growing businesses, artistic professionals, and a thriving community.
At Wonderment, their team believes in entrepreneurial spirit, embraces philanthropic ideals and gets excited about local and global economic development. Their mission is to accelerate growth in businesses - from entities with a global footprint in need of a brand refresh, to a local start-up looking to ignite a dream. They work largely with start-up companies, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs enjoying contribution in their evolution.
Sustainability Task Force
Discussion within the Chamber’s Sustainability Task Force began with a recap of efforts completed by the four Working Groups.
Chamber Internship Program
Steve Smith is leading the group toward the creation of a system which will be presented to the Chamber Board and will be available to Chamber members. The system will consist of a database where businesses can post internship opportunities including their requirements and these can be matched by area schools who post the credentials of students seeking these opportunities. The Chamber acts as the gatekeeper and will provide access to those businesses who are members. This initiative will provide value to Chamber members and to local students by creating greater connections within the community through the alignment of theory and practice. The working group has finalized their initial documents and are moving forward with conversations within the Chamber to understand next steps.
David Randle updated the task force on the recent alignment by Mayor Rick Kriesman to the group’s efforts for the city to gain the United Nations World Trade Organization’s designation of a Sustainable Tourism Observatory. Initial efforts to acquire this designation are being pursued and include the clean marina and clean port initiatives, sustainable fishing areas, and the use of biogas generators which are being installed within some businesses around the city. Additionally, through the group’s alignment with the Mayor’s office greater opportunity for connection between the City and the Chamber are becoming available as the Mayor has requested assistance in efforts to increase diplomatic connections with Cuba.
Robert Bruno provided an update on the current status of the two solar amendments that were before the Florida Legislature. The measure “Consumers for Smart Solar” is currently before the Florida Supreme Court for review to ensure the language presented is appropriate for an amendment to the constitution. This process will conclude on May 5th. The second measure “Floridians for Solar Choice” was able to pass review by the Supreme Court, however it did not gain the necessary petitions required for it to be listed on the November Ballot as such it is no longer available for consideration.
Chamber Sustainability Strategy
To move the Chamber Sustainability Plan forward Janet Hall will be speaking with the Chamber’s CFO on Monday to establish a baseline understanding of how to operationalize sustainability within the organization while gaining a deeper knowledge of impacted stakeholders. Once this baseline is established and efforts are taken within the Chamber the streamlined “plan” will be made available to Chamber Members who are seeking to integrate sustainability within their operations.
Following the working group updates, Sharon Joy Kleitsch gave a short presentation on the impact and opportunity that Sea Level Rise will have on the economic longevity of our community. She began by sharing an article written by Robert Trigaux in 2014 titled “Climate Change Threatens Economy.” This got her thinking about economic trends surrounding the topic which led her to establish networked connections between people, resources, and ideas. One area where she sees individuals from the chamber having the greatest impact would be through their active participation in conversations regarding changes to our climate and how these changes will shape the future of our community. This is a critically important topic when considering significant infrastructure investments like the Pier Park. To contribute to developing conversations a workshop is being held on Wednesday March 30th from 3 to 5pm at the SPC Epicenter, 13805 58th St N, Clearwater, FL 33760. To attend or for more information please contact Sharon Joy at firstname.lastname@example.org.