Part of the funds will support youth education and outreach programs.
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has donated $50,000 to Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium to expand youth outreach and education programs, the organizations said Tuesday.
Part of the money will benefit Mote's Strategic Partnerships Program, which provides hands-on marine biology learning opportunities for students who otherwise wouldn't be able to take part. That includes more than 40 offerings, such as trips to Mote's floating classroom, explorations of Sarasota Bay and discussions about marine life.
"We try to make it personal to that group," said Mote Public Relations Manager Shelby Isaacson. "We don’t know who might walk though that door and who we may inspire.”
After it began in 2015 with 3,000 participants, the partnership program has expanded to reach more than 9,600 participants in 2017 and expects to top that total in 2018. Many of those served by this program come from other community organizations such as Girls Inc., the Boys and Girls Club in both Sarasota and Manatee counties and AMIkids.
With this grant, Mote hopes to also extend its in-classroom partnership with after-school programs and broaden its outreach to students in high school.
"We're very thankful because it means we can continue to expand our efforts and hopefully reach many more partners," said Mote Community Engagement Coordinator Elaina Todd.
The grant will also help fund a sponsorship for Egyptian student Maria Shehata to partake in Mote's Research Experience for Undergraduates program. Shehata will complete at least 160 hours of research while working with Mote scientists.
Additionally, a portion of the money will sponsor signature fundraising events for Mote including a presenting sponsorship of the upcoming Tea for the Sea, which recognizes women in science and philanthropy.