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LBK Foundation to kick off $1 million campaign

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  • | 11:00 p.m. December 16, 2014
Longboat Key Foundation Chairman Bob Simmons with Vice Mayor David Brenner, board members Warren Simonds and Jeff Mayers, Longboat Key Mayor Jim Brown and Tom Aposporos
Longboat Key Foundation Chairman Bob Simmons with Vice Mayor David Brenner, board members Warren Simonds and Jeff Mayers, Longboat Key Mayor Jim Brown and Tom Aposporos
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The Longboat Key Foundation has been operating quietly since it formed in late 2013, but now, it’s ready to step into the public eye.

The nonprofit organization will embark on a fundraising campaign this month to raise $1 million within six months to help create a medical center.

“The foundation will support the initial purchase of equipment and the build-out of the space we select, and then, for one-and-a-half to two years, will continue to support the practice and underwrite any losses that may occur,” said Bob Simmons, chairman of the foundation.

Although the foundation has honed in on five areas of focus (see sidebar), a medical center is its first priority.

“It’s been the one issue that’s been raised the most for us that we don’t have primary care,” Simmons said. “We think there’s a void and that there should be a primary care physician on the island, and we’re recognizing that it’s going to take some time to get started.”

Simmons, a retired health care executive and 12-year Key resident, said the foundation has locations it is considering for a medical center but declined to name them, citing ongoing negotiations. The foundation has also been in talks with a Sarasota County physician about practicing at the facility.

Sarasota Memorial Hospital plans to open an urgent care facility at the current St. Armands Medical Center in late 2015 or early 2016, but Simmons does not believe it would compete with a Longboat Key medical center because the St. Armands facility will offer emergency services.

“A lot of people would like to have their own doctor, and consequently, Sarasota Memorial is not a primary care doctor,” said Dave Brenner, former Longboat Key vice mayor and current managing director of the foundation.

The foundation’s board of advisers will discuss specific plans for fundraising at a meeting next week, including whether to organize events to raise money. So far, board members plan to start out with individuals they know who might be interested in donating and “fan out,” primarily through word of mouth, Simmons said.

Although the foundation has kept a low profile during its first year, it has already raised approximately 10% toward its $1 million goal.

The medical center is the foundation’s top priority in the short term, but donors can earmark their contributions to be used toward any of the foundation’s five areas of focus.

“We set those up as focus areas in the event that it appeals to someone in particular, if someone wanted to donate a park or expand a recreational area, for example,” Simmons said.

The foundation also seeks to be involved with an arts and cultural building if a town center in the Bay Isles area becomes a reality.

The Longboat Key Foundation was established through the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and exists “for the support and benefit of exclusively charitable purposes in and for the benefit of Longboat Key, Florida and its residents,” according to its fund agreement with CFSC, which provides administrative support and philanthropic expertise. Because the CFSC is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, contributions to the Longboat Key Foundation are tax-deductible.

Five areas of focus

The Longboat Key Foundation will focus on the following five areas:
Arts and culture
Environment and sustainability
Parks and recreation
Health and human services

Board of advisors
Bob Simmons, chairman
Dave Brenner, managing director
Bob Coyne
Cheryl Loeffler
Jeff Mayers
Warren Simonds

Tom Aposporos
Dave Brenner
Jim Brown



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