GiveWell Community Foundation Receives National Recognition

Lakeland, FL (December 12, 2019) – GiveWell Community Foundation recently received accreditation with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® establish legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere.

“Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Randy Royster, board member of the Council on Foundations. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates the GiveWell Community Foundation demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity, and accountability as it carries out its mission.”

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking, and administration. With over 500 community foundations already accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

“This is critically important to our donors,” said Terry Simmers, President/CEO of the GiveWell Community Foundation. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely and honor their charitable wishes. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order.”

GiveWell Community Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs, or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the accreditation validates the Community Foundation’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“Grantmaking is a lot like investing,” said Jeffrey Cox, Sr., Board Chair of the GiveWell Community Foundation. “We need to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance, and operate fairly. With our National Standards accreditation, you can be assured that we’re doing just that.”

National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® is the first program of its kind for charitable foundations in the United States.

About National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations

The Community Foundations National Standards Board is a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations and is responsible for the quality, value, and integrity of compliance with National Standards. For more information on the National Standards Board, visit its website at www.cfstandards.org.


About GiveWell Community Foundation

GiveWell Community Foundation works with individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofits to build a stronger community throughout Polk, Hardee, and Highlands counties and beyond through charitable funds and competitive grant cycles. The foundation is home to more than 300 charitable funds and the Impact Polk and Empower Polk grant cycles. GWCF has awarded $182 million in grants since its founding in 1997. To learn more about GWCF, visit our website at givecf.org.


Florida Southern College to Hold Winter Commencements on Dec. 14

LAKELAND (Dec. 11, 2019) – Florida Southern’s mid-year commencement program will feature two ceremonies in Branscomb Auditorium on December 14, with the undergraduate ceremony to begin at 10:30 a.m. and a ceremony for the graduate programs at 2:30 p.m.

A number of FSC’s winter 2019 graduates already have been making an impact on society through internships and research projects, with some intending to pursue further academic studies in elite master’s and Ph.D. programs and others beginning important careers in the areas of health care, business, performance, the sciences, and education.

English major Karly Smyth of Lake Worth is among FSC’s graduating seniors who have made inspiring contributions, spending her past three semesters as an intern at PACE Center for Girls, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping young, at-risk women in Polk County. Smyth worked on grants that helped to raise more than $250,000 in funding for PACE, and she plans to pursue a career as a grant writer.

Todd M. Hall, M.D., one of the nation’s leading emergency orthopedic and trauma surgeons who practices at Lakeland Regional Health, will receive his Master of Business Administration degree in the afternoon ceremony. In total, Florida Southern will confer 160 undergraduate and graduate degrees.

At the morning commencement, Dr. Anne Kerr will award the President’s Scholar medal to a graduating senior whose academic standing is in the top 1 percent, who exemplifies the values of the College, and who has demonstrated a commitment to scholarship, leadership, and service.

The keynote speaker for both ceremonies will be FSC’s Bishop-in-Residence Robert E. Fannin. Following his graduation from Florida Southern College in 1958, he began his career as a salesman for Burroughs Computers before he answered a call to the ministry. He attended the Candler School of Theology, at Emory University, earning his master’s and doctoral degrees. Joining the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church, he served congregations throughout Florida, including Lakeland’s First United Methodist Church as well as serving as the Miami District superintendent.

Upon his election to the Episcopacy in 1992, he was assigned to the Birmingham Area Conference where he served with distinction for 12 years. Bishop Fannin’s years of dedicated Christian service include membership on the boards of trustees of Emory University, Birmingham-Southern College, Bethune-Cookman College, and Huntingdon College. Bishop Fannin currently serves on the Florida Southern College Board of Trustees.

As part of the undergraduate ceremony, FSC will confer the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters upon Richard T. Fulton, a 1970 grad from Orlando, whose highly distinguished legal career spans four decades and includes 12 years as legal services partner with the nationally renowned law firm Baker and Hostetler, where he directed the firm’s national network of practice groups and industry teams, comprised of more than 600 attorneys, and provided highly valued counsel to industry leader clients in countless businesses and real estate. Mr. Fulton is held in highest esteem by his professional peers and has been recognized nationally, including his selection by Florida Trend among its “legal elites,” and inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America and Chambers USA Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.


About Florida Southern College

Founded in 1883, Florida Southern College is the oldest private college in Florida. The College maintains its commitment to academic excellence through 70+ undergraduate programs and distinctive graduate programs in business administration, education, nursing, and physical therapy. Florida Southern has a 14:1 student-to-faculty ratio; is an award-winning national leader in engaged learning; and boasts 30 NCAA Division II national championships. It is ranked among the top 10 Regional Universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report; and is included in The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges, The Fiske Guide to Colleges 2018, and Forbes magazine’s America’s Top Colleges Guide. The College is committed to the development of the whole student through vibrant student life programs that prepare graduates to make a positive, consequential impact on society. FSC is conveniently located within an hour’s drive of both Orlando and Tampa. FSC is home to the world’s largest single-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2012. Named the “Most Beautiful Campus in the Nation” for two consecutive years by The Princeton Review and one of the nation’s “Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture” by Architectural Digest, Florida Southern is an internationally-recognized place of beauty and academic excellence.


SPCA Florida Matching Campaign Challenge

Lakeland, FL— SPCA Florida is reaching out to all NEW donors to help save the lives of Polk Counties’ homeless animals. During this Season of Giving, the Ronnie Hedrick Family of Polk County is giving hope to dogs and cats who are still in desperate need of care.  To end their suffering and replace it with love, the Hedrick Family will double each and every NEW donor’s donation up to $1,000 for a total of $40,000 during the month of December.

“We are in a race to save the lives of an additional 1,500 homeless dogs and cats in Polk County this year!  We even have transports of kittens leaving for Illinois and Maine in time for Christmas. To save these precious lives we need our communities support. And, there has never been a better time to give. Until December 31, $1.00 will become $2.00, $10 will become $20 and $1,000 will be doubled to $2,000! The generosity of the Hedrick family is undeniable life changing for animals at risk. If everyone can reach into their hearts and help us, we will save more lives this year than ever before in Polk County. We are asking for everyone’s support. And, we are sincerely grateful for every life saved,” said SPCA Florida Executive Director, Shelley Thayer.

Their hope, your generous heart, and SPCA Florida’s care, can make a difference! If you have never given before, this is your chance to double your gift of love. Go to spcaflorida.org  or call 863.577.4600 and save a life. Together we can change their lives.

About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida exists to eliminate animal suffering and engage the entire community in the welfare and well-being of animals. SPCA Florida will help and heal 70,000 dogs and cats through its McClurg Animal Medical Center and provide direct care for 6,500 animals through its Adoption Center this year. Ani-Meals, which provides food and medical care for animals of homebound families, helps thousands more dogs and cats each year.


The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl Kicks Off December 30

Highland City, FL (Grassroots Newswire) December 10, 2019 — SERVPRO is proud to present the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, scheduled to kick-off on December 30, 2019, at 12:30 ET at the Gerald J. Ford Stadium, located on the campus of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in University Park, Texas. This is the second annual SERVPRO First Responder Bowl, and it honors the sacrifice and service of those who stand as the first line of defense in local communities – the brave men and women who respond when the unexpected or the unthinkable happens, says David Touchton of SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands. This year’s game, televised by ESPN, will feature the Western Michigan University Broncos and the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers.

This year, SERVPRO asked their franchisees nationwide to submit the name of a local first responder to be considered for special recognition at this year’s game. SERVPRO has selected one first responder from this group of nominees to be honored with an award during a presentation on the field at the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. In addition to the award presentation, SERVPRO will provide the selected first responder with complimentary airfare, accommodations, and tickets for the game.

Even if you can’t attend the game, you can still participate. Highland City area residents who wish to honor the dedication of these hometown heroes across the country may purchase a “Sponsor a Responder” ticket for $15 at https://www.firstresponderbowl.com/first-responders-1 to help send a first responder to the game for free. According to Touchton, SERVPRO’s goal is to distribute more than 10,000 complimentary SERVPRO First Responder Bowl tickets to first responders and their families nationwide. Everyone who chooses to “Sponsor a Responder” will be recognized on the stadium’s video board during the game.

First responders – including police officers, firefighters, EMS workers, correctional officers, search and rescue teams, dispatchers, security guards, federal agents, border patrol agents, and military personnel—may register to receive complimentary tickets at https://reservations.aresttravel.com/attraction/single/7045/1425.

“Every day, across the nation, ordinary people make an extraordinary commitment to their friends and neighbors to put themselves in harm’s way when the unexpected happens,” said Rick Isaacson, CEO of Servpro Industries, LLC. “The SERVPRO First Responder Bowl is one way we celebrate these dedicated first responders and their families as the hometown heroes they are.”

SERVPRO specializes in disaster restoration, cleanup, and repair services, helping to remediate damage, making it “Like it never even happened,” for both commercial and residential customers. For more information on SERVPRO of Bartow/Lakeland Highlands, please contact David Touchton at (863)510-5962 or dastin10259@gmail.com. For more information about SERVPRO, please visit https://www.servpro.com.

Founded in 1967, the SERVPRO franchise system is a leader and provider of fire and water cleanup and restoration services and mold mitigation and remediation. SERVPRO’s professional services network of more than 1,700 individually owned and operated franchises responds to property damage emergencies ranging from small individual disasters to multi-million dollar large-loss events. Providing coverage in the United States and Canada, the SERVPRO system has established relationships with major insurance companies and commercial clients, as well as individual homeowners.


SEU Launches Young Alumni Networking Group

SEU Launches Young Alumni Networking Group

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Southeastern University Alumni Association will be holding an event on Tuesday, December 17, for its new young alumni networking group, known as Spark. The purpose of Spark is for alumni in Central Florida to connect with other local alumni, share resources and form partnerships. Spark is for Southeastern graduates who are aged 35 and under. The event will take place at Concord Coffee (1037 S. Florida Ave.) in Lakeland from 5 to 7 p.m. Southeastern alumni can RSVP for the event at seu.edu/alumni/spark. Admission is free for Southeastern graduates.

For more information, contact the Advancement Office at 863.667.5400 or email alumni@seu.edu