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Donors of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County met Oct. 6 to surprise employees of several service agencies with orchids. Photo by Loren Mayo.
Sarasota Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011 6 years ago

Community Foundation donors deliver smiles

by: Loren Mayo Black Tie Editor

Harry Leopold is attempting to sneak out of a group photograph. He’s already in the elevator at the Community Foundation, heading upstairs, where he plans to watch 15 volunteers squeeze together and try not to block their faces with the tall blooming orchids they’re about to deliver to local nonprofit organizations. Unfortunately for him, the group is paying attention. A minute later, he’s back in the photo.

“Harry brought in this triple orchid arrangement to the receptionist to say thank you — a brighten-your-day kind of arrangement,” says Leigh Anne Novak, a Community Foundation donor. “When he got a card in the mail with her photo on it and comments about how much it was appreciated, he thought it should be done for everybody.”

Organizations such as the Cancer Support Community, Girls Incorporated and the Child Protection Center are just a few of the 30 human-service agencies and nonprofits that will be beneficiaries of an orchid delivered by volunteer ambassadors every quarter. Since the program started four weeks ago, 22 orchids have been delivered.

“Harry is a dynamo — this quiet, reserved, modest person who’s got a heart of gold and makes things happen,” says Novak. “He gets so tickled at people’s reactions.”

When Bill Johnson, a volunteer at Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County, delivered a pink-and-white orchid in a two-tone black vase to the organization, oohs and ahhs came from every direction.

“It was just such a surprise, and it really brightened up everyone’s day,” says Marisa Monroe, director of program operations at Girls Inc. “It’s proudly displayed at the desk, where 150 girls walk through all day.”
Novak and the other donors and volunteers hope that other community organizations will pick up the program.

“It’s really touching how exciting and happy people are,” Novak says. “Once the volunteers do it, they’re hooked.”

Contact Leigh Anne Novak at 378-1840 or email [email protected].

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