Category Archives: Contributions


Bonnet Springs Park Announces Major Gift

bonnet springs park

LAKELAND, FL The Board of Directors of Bonnet Springs Park, Inc. a 501C3 corporation in Lakeland, Florida announced a major financial gift and establishment of a perpetual care fund at Givewell Community Foundation today. Allen and Company, a premier financial advisory firm with a long-standing reputation for community involvement, made a significant step in the enablement of Bonnet Springs Park today.

The associates at Allen and Company have once again demonstrated their commitment to the quality of life in the Lakeland/Winter Haven area through the establishment of a fund to support the sustainability of this new urban park that is going to change the way citizens and visitors see and live in Lakeland. The 180 acre park, being designed by world class landscape designers Sasaki and constructed on the former CSX rail yard site, will expand the very footprint of downtown Lakeland and connect the northwest quadrant of the City.

“A privately funded public park is a new paradigm to central Florida and will require significant community support to sustain.” Said Ralph Allen, Chairman of Allen and Company. “We want to continue the company tradition of supporting quality of life in our community and through this gift we are hoping to lead others in support of this incredible undertaking.”

The Bonnet Springs enablement team understands that the vision for Bonnet Springs Park received a major boost today.  Thinking beyond the park construction to operational expenses is a sound business strategy for future success of the park and the seeds are now in the ground.

We encourage you to learn more about this exciting new park by visiting us at


Guest Post from Peterson & Myers, P.A.: Tom?to, Tomäto: Businesses and Credit Card Surcharges

You say “Tom?to”, I say “Tomäto”, a glass being half full should have the same meaning as being half empty, and a “surcharge” to one customer should be the same as a “discount” to another…but is it?

Florida law generally prohibits a seller from charging a surcharge to customers who pay by credit card. However, the law allows sellers to offer discounts to customers who pay with cash as long as the discount is offered to all prospective customers.  An exception to the general rule is that governments and municipalities are allowed to charge a convenience fee or surcharge, but that exception is not applicable to private businesses.  (See Fla. Stat. § 501.0117)

Surcharge Constitutionality

In 2014, a lawsuit was filed against the State of Florida by small businesses challenging the constitutionality of this law.  Cunning lawyers made the clever argument that the right to free speech was violated, because the statute prohibits or permits the surcharge for credit card payments (or discount for cash) based primarily on the words used to describe the pricing.

The United States District Court ruled in favor of the State, upholding the law.  The plaintiffs appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s ruling and concluded that the Florida law is unconstitutional.  The Eleventh Circuit remanded the case to the District Court.  The State appealed the case to the United States Supreme Court, but in 2017 the Supreme Court denied the State’s petition.  The District Court has not yet acted on the mandate.

The Eleventh Circuit agreed with other courts that have held similar statutes in other states to be unconstitutional, including statutes in New York and California. While Florida’s state courts will most likely be persuaded to follow the decision of the Eleventh Circuit, there is a conflict in Florida case law about whether the opinion should be considered binding on Florida’s state courts.  Until binding state court precedents come available, or the United States Supreme Court takes the case, there is not complete certainty that the Florida courts will follow the Eleventh Circuit.

Credit Card Contracts and Surcharges

In addition to the law, whether a seller can charge a surcharge may be controlled by the contract with a particular credit card company.  Before making decisions about whether to charge a surcharge, a seller should review the credit card company contract and seek legal advice.

The recent court rulings indicate change is in the wind, but there remains uncertainty in Florida whether the State will follow the Eleventh Circuit’s conclusion that the law is unconstitutional.  Until further determinations are made or the Florida legislature changes the law, sellers electing to charge a surcharge are proceeding at their own risk.


Alltek Services Offers Free Microsoft Excel Training

Excel is one of the most versatile and most useful programs in the Microsoft Office suite. It’s also one of the trickiest to master without a little help from someone who understands the ins and outs of Excel. That is why Alltek Services is offering a free Microsoft Excel Training this week.

Webinar Date: February 28th, 2018
Webinar Time: 2 PM
Registration URL: Click Here

In this month’s Productivity Series, they open the hood on Microsoft Excel and share some tips and tricks allowing you to become more efficient with your day-to-day work while creating professional looking spreadsheets with ease.

Microsoft’s spreadsheet program has a wide array of features that make it a handy tool for just about any project, and a host of functions you might not even realize have been there the whole time.

Learning how to use this amazing program to its full advantage and put it to use for your business starts with getting an up-close look at how Excel’s features work.

Join Melanie Esteves, our resident Excel expert on Feb 28th at 2 PM for our exciting free “Taking A Lesson From An Excel Expert” online training session.


Belk Inc. Signing Up Charities for Annual Charity Day Sale

Thousands of participating charities across Belk’s 16-state footprint benefit from Belk’s semi-annual charity sales. Belk believes in supporting the communities it serves and wants to continue that tradition.


Belk’s spring charity sale of the year will take place Saturday, May 5 from 6 a.m. – 10 a.m. in all Belk stores. The four-hour, in-store shopping event is an excellent fundraising tool for participating organizations that sell $5 tickets to their supporters. It’s also an opportunity for customers to give back to local nonprofits while taking advantage of special in-store discounts on purchases during the event.

100% of $5 Ticket Sale Proceeds Go to Local Charities

First 100 Customers Receive Gift Cards, Chance to Win More

On the morning of the Belk Charity Sale, the first 100 customers to arrive at each store will receive a Belk gift card, ranging in value from $5 to $100 and a chance to win one of three $1,000 Belk gift cards being awarded companywide. All customers will receive $5 back on their first purchase. Also, participating charities and schools will be registered to win one of three $1,000 donations from Belk in a company-wide drawing.


Last year, the two Belk Charity Sale events raised more than $13 million for thousands of schools and community nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Belk markets.


In addition to buying tickets from participating nonprofits, beginning Monday, April 23 tickets may also be purchased at Belk stores, with all revenues from in-store ticket sales equally divided among participating charities and schools in each local store.


Charity representatives interested in taking part in this one-of-a-kind fundraising event should contact their local Belk store manager for more information. In order to participate in the Belk Charity Sale, organizations must have an IRS Section 501(c)(3) designation from the Internal Revenue Service.


Click here to access the Spring Charity Sale’s FAQ document. For more information about the Belk Spring Charity Sale, contact your local Belk store @ (863)688-7872 or visit 


Supervisor of Elections Accepting Scholarship Applications

Polk County Supervisor of Elections, Lori Edwards, announced today that Florida residents still have time to apply for one of three $1,200 scholarships to be awarded by the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections, (FSASE), to Florida college students in 2018.  Ms. Edwards reminds applicants that they must be:

  • Registered to vote in the State of Florida
  • Enrolled as a full-time student in a senior college or university in Florida
  • Majoring in political science, public or business administration, or journalism/mass communications

Applicants must also possess at least a “C” average for the previous year, demonstrate financial need, and be available for an interview in the county where they are registered to vote.

“Interested students should contact the Supervisor of Elections in their county of residence to request an application packet,” said Ms. Edwards.  Polk County residents may contact Lori Edwards at 863-534-5888, or by email at  Additional information is available at FSASE’s website,

The deadline to return the scholarship application, which includes two letters of recommendation, is March 29th.