For 20 years, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center has served the Sarasota community, providing health services to disadvantaged children, families and seniors.
Co-founder Dr. Kay Glasser died Monday after a brief illness, but Executive Director Phil King said the best way to honor her is to proceed forward.
So, after a moment of silence Tuesday morning, the center’s employees went back to work.
“It’s a great loss to the community,” King said.
Dr. Glasser opened the center in 1990, with a mission of delivering health and human services more efficiently.
The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, 1750 17th St., in Sarasota, provides rent-free office space to 17 agencies, which offer more than 100 programs that currently serve 11,000 people every month.
King estimates the center has given $10 million back to the Sarasota community, which Dr. Glasser considered her family. Dr. Glasser’s only child died at age 15, and her husband died just one-and-a-half years later in 1980.
“No one has done as much for the community as Dr. Glasser,” King said.
But she always felt there were more people to help. One of the last things Dr. Glasser told King was, “I’m not sure I’ve done enough.”
There will be no public funeral service, but a memorial will be held at 5 p.m. July 21, at the University of South Florida, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, in the main entrance rotunda.
We visited The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center for employees’ memories of Dr. Kay Glasser and what she meant to them.
Phil King, executive director, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
“She was one of the greatest leaders of our community. I appreciate her as a friend and what she’s done for the community and am dedicated to making sure that what she devoted her life to continues. And, there are lots of great memories of her, but I think most people will remember her for her famous toasts.”(scroll down for video)
Joan Fielding, executive assistant, The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
“Dr. Kay Glasser meant a whole lot to me — she was special. We had a special relationship from the day we met. She took me under her wing and was so gracious and elegant. She was a package of dynamite that wouldn’t quit.”
Elizabeth Boyle, managing attorney, Gulfcoast Legal Services
“I thought she was an inspiration and lived a heroic life. I am happy to have had the opportunity to have had her look me in the eyes and encourage me to continue in this line of work servicing people facing incredible odds. Tens of thousands of people were affected by her generosity and refusal to give up.”
Sandy Trieb, program operational manager, Bay Area Youth Services Inc.
“I think about how much fun she could be — she knew how to make everyone laugh. Dr. Glasser was so dedicated, and, if not for her, we wouldn’t be here. She will be greatly missed.”
Kristin L. Szafraniec, executive director, The Literacy Council of Sarasota Inc.
“She was a wonderful mentor, supporter and friend to me. She was a genuine person with a genuine spirit. Everything she’s done meant a lot to her personally. She would come in when I first started and check on me and tell great little stories to express what it meant to forge ahead. I was very attracted to her spirit.”
James DuPlantier, director of community engagement, Senior Friendship Centers Friendship Volunteer Center
“Our organization couldn’t afford to operate if not for her. We touch thousands of volunteers, and we are able to use the funding we get to outreach, rather than pay for overhead.”