Six years after its inception, the Sarasota Police Foundation is beginning to get off of the ground — and its founders are looking to the community for assistance.
Larry Twill, president of the Sarasota Police Foundation, founded the organization in 2008 as a way to help fund the Sarasota Police Department. No chief expressed an interest in working with the organization until last year, when Chief Bernadette DiPino announced that she was reviving the foundation.
Some city commissioners expressed concern about the relationship between the foundation and the department, but the commission unanimously gave its blessing to the foundation after Twill and attorney Dan Bailey spoke at a December meeting about the organization’s goals.
Twill and Bailey, who had planned to step away from the organization and bequeath it to a new board, are now in charge of finding that new board, per the direction of the City Commission. For the past two months, the duo has worked with attorney and philanthropy consultant Charlie Ann Syprett to develop a strategy for selecting board members, according to a press release.
After meeting with officials from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the group developed a list of tasks to assist in creating the new board. Those tasks included developing a list of written responsibilities for the board and individual board members, selection criteria for board members and a written process by which those board members could be recruited.
Twill, Bailey and Syprett also focused on engaging with the community to get input on who or what citizens would like to see on the board of the police foundation. The group met with the Coalition of City Neighborhood Associations in February to discuss the goals of the foundation, and plans to continue its community outreach.
In the future, the group plans to distribute a survey to community leaders and the heads of human service nonprofit organizations to get a sense of the community’s priorities for the police foundation.
“We trust this effort will pay dividends, enabling us to assemble a groundbreaking board that will build community support and raise supplemental resources for our city police department,” Bailey said in the release.
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