Go Oakland!

Not the Raiders, we’re actually Bucs fans … But we’re very enthusiastic fans of two innovative initiatives coming out of the California city.  One of the most ethnically diverse in the country, Oakland has faced some steep challenges with regards to poverty, inequality and crime … but has a lot of ground-breaking things happening for those of us in the “helping people” sector should be watching.

(Sidenote: I do NOT use the term “ground-breaking” lightly, in fact hardly at all, and only in circumstances like this one when it is truly called for … What’s happening in these two initiatives in Oakland are new territory and we’re excited about what they’re accomplishing).

Fund good jobs.   What if small businesses could be meaningfully supported to help create more GOOD jobs? These “mom-and-pop” shops have the best potential to create jobs within a 12-mile radius of where they are located.  What makes a good job? A ladder to move up, provides good wages and benefits as well as can be fulfilling to the workers. Read more in the recent PolicyLink article by clicking here.

Family Independence Initiative (FII).   What if I told you the people we in the nonprofit sector are “helping” do better when they help themselves and each other? Mind blown. Through small group networks, client-centered goal setting and many more resources, FII has also blown away traditional success indicators with their rich reserve of data.  Featured on NPR, Forbes, The New York Times, MSNBC and many more, this approach merits a close look for anyone in our sector who truly want to enable transformation.

A close friend of SCC’s will be visiting Oakland on a personal trip and we have already loaded him up with our questions for these inspirational groups. These, of course, are just two that we know of and would guess there are tons of amazing things happening in this dynamic city.

Hella cool (as the locals would say).

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Free coffee for interested volunteers!

free tax assistanceIf you can use a computer, add and subtract, you can make a difference!

Join SCC for free coffee to explore joining the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) team.   Each year, a team of volunteers help area individuals and families prepare and file their taxes for free.

This tax return service helps households making less than$53,000 annually. VITA helps families in our community avoid being victims of scams, lets them keep more hard-earned money in their pockets and helps them claim tax return money they have worked for all year.   No accounting experience necessary,IRS-training provided.   Information sessions will be held:

Downtown Bradenton: Wednesdays, October 22, November 5 and November 19 at 9:00 am at Jeanne’s Bistro (417 12th Street West, #101, Bradenton, FL 34205)

East Bradenton: Wednesdays, October 15, October 29 and November 12 at 9:00 am at Starbucks onSR 64 and I-75 (6521 East State Road 64, Bradenton, FL 34208)

VITA is managed by Suncoast Community Capital, a 501c3nonprofit that works with people of low income to achieve financial stability in our community.   SCC’s VITA Program is the only free tax return service in Bradenton that is available on evenings and weekends.

Come join a fun team to meet new people and stimulate the local economy.

Contact for more information: Catherine Ferrer 941-744-2666 ext 3 and catherine@suncoastcc.om

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Has anyone ever shopped on Amazon.com?

Ha ha, right.

amazonsmile 1Why are you asking? Well the reason we’re asking today (well in advance of the Holiday season) is because Amazon has rolled out a new feature called AmazonSmile.  Billed as “You Shop. Amazon Gives,” it allows you to make your shopping also do good in the community.

How does it work?  When customers shop on AmazonSmile and designate Suncoast Community Capital as their charity of choice, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the price of eligible purchases to support the SCC mission. It costs the shopper nothing and the money will be aggregated and sent directly to SCC.

How do I get started? Begin your Amazon.com shopping at smile.amazon.com and select Suncoast Community Capital as your preferred charity. Hundreds of area families served by SCC each year will thank you as your support provides the classes and resources that promote financial stability in our community.

So I’m done? Please consider this a great “add-on” to use Amazon’s lingo.  SCC is a 501c3 nonprofit and cannot do any work without the generous support of donors.  While we are happy to promote AmazonSmile, we also encourage people to not let this supplant their annual donation to SCC.

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SCC Graduates 13 from CareerEdge’s Bridges to Careers

A house fire that destroys half of your belongings five days after you lose the only job you have … This was the scenario faced by one student at the graduation for Bridges to Careers, a program of CareerEdge. She detailed the anxiety, the hotel stay that was no vacation, the struggle to focus and the hopelessness setting in when she came to Bridges in need of a job.

While her story was dramatic, every one of the 13 graduates had his or her own version of overcoming struggle to seek sustainable employment.

representative darryl rousonThe graduation for Bridges to Careers, a job-readiness program of CareerEdge, featured Representative Darryl Rouson of the Florida House’s 70th District.

He told the story of how at one of his first big appearances during the campaign for his seat in 2008, his opponent stood up and listed everything he had done wrong in his past. An aspiring politician, an unconventional past described in maximum negative detail and a room full of high powered business leaders “most of whom did not look like me” as Rouson recalls with a smile. To most people, it seems like a recipe for humiliation.

What Rep. Rouson did next made all the difference … “Everything my opponent just said is true” he began that day and made the point both then and at the graduation that people can be defined more by their future than their past.

Rep. Rouson shared his experience to drive home the point that “it does not matter as much what you did, it’s what you’re going to do next. How are you going to take what you’ve learned and use it? How are you going to help make this community a better place?”

In their speeches, the Bridges to Careers graduates thanked everyone involved in the CareerEdge program and demonstrated this idea that what happens next can make all the difference.

Jessica Ruter of Suncoast Community Capital, an organization that manages Bridges to Careers for CareerEdge explained the program in these terms: “13 people spent four weeks learning the specific skills it takes get a job – interviewing, resume building, computer skills, and professionalism.  What they gained in the process was confidence, a positive attitude and a new support network.”

“What sets Bridges to Careers apart is the dual emphasis on what employers need and what employees can gain,” explained program creator and funder Mireya Eavey of CareerEdge. “For Bridges to Careers, CareerEdge and its partners research and adapt to what our regional employers need in their entry-level workforce so that we can properly train the unemployed to fill those jobs.”

Bridges students complete the Florida Ready-to-Work test, which measures math, reading and locating information skills.  Modeled on the national Work Keys test, it helps take the guesswork out of determining which job seekers have the skills to succeed in the workplace.

Several graduates from this class were not present at the graduation ceremony having already found jobs and begun working.  The rest are planning to go back to school, will start their jobs in the coming week or have interviews and leads lined up to accelerate their job search efforts.  As one graduate put it “I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m no longer stuck in the place I was.”

For more information about the next Bridges to Careers Program, please contact: Jessica Ruter at Suncoast Community Capital 941-744-2666 ext 2.

aug_sept_2014_bridges_class_collage

 

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Setting goals with students in Bridges to Careers, a program of CareerEdge

guest speaker volunteer employment class

Danny Preston of Tempo News

SCC’s session of Bridges to Careers, a program of CareerEdge kicked off today with guest speaker Danny Preston, Account Executive with Tempo News. A graduate of Wilberforce University, Mr. Preston has lived all over the country and held a number of high-level professional jobs.

His message to the students today was about goal setting. He recalled the “telephone game” kids play, where one person starts by whispering a statement to the next person and on down the line.  What almost always happens is that the last person to hear the original statement ends up with something completely different than what was said. Preston related this to goal setting when we only think of our goals in a general way.  

He encouraged the students to make goals that are clear, concise, specific and measurable objectives.  And to WRITE DOWN THOSE GOALS. By writing down the goals, they stay clear instead of succumbing to the “telephone effect” of getting hazy or forgotten over time.

Organizations, businesses, churches and associations do this kind of thing regularly, so why not people?  The students in this Bridges to Careers class are busy writing down those goals right now.  Stay tuned because this group is going to do great things …

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BUSINESS 9 – Total Performance Mobile Detailing

Every month, SCC will use 9 facts to tell the story of a small business that has been helped in some way by our services. We hope you will find it informative, but most of all consider the importance of seeking out these unique, local (mostly micro)businesses as you decide where to spend your money.

OLIVER CADE – TOTAL PERFORMANCE MOBILE DETAILING

Oliver Cade owns Total Performance Mobile Detailing and has been in the car detailing business for almost 15 years.  He recently spoke with SCC about his life, his business and shared his expertise.  Here are Oliver’s 9 facts.

DECEMBER-MARCH
This is Oliver’s busy season with Total Performance Mobile Detailing.  Gift cards are coming back after the holidays and snowbirds are in town so more cars to wash more often.  Thursdays and Fridays are his busiest days as people get off work and want their cars in tip-top shape for the weekend.  He prefers to work in the morning before the heat of the day but details vehicles on the customer’s schedule.

WAX
The key to keeping any car in great shape.  Oliver recommends car owners wax their vehicles monthly (a service Total Performance Mobile Detailing provides with skill).  When Oliver details, he will even wax the headlights to keep them from getting “clouded over.” In addition to this monthly treatment, Cade suggests washing your vehicle weekly and is happy to work out a plan for regulars who are interested in this type of plan.

1970 CUTLASS
Oliver’s favorite car (that he’s ever owned).  He had one of these when he was 23 and beefed up the 350 engine so that it could really move!  He’s currently considering purchasing a 1978 Camaro and is a big fan of the “muscle cars” from the 70’s.  An old car fan, Oliver has experience detailing antique and vintage cars from all eras through his business, Total Performance Mobile Detailing.

WHITE and GRAY
The exterior car colors that are best at hiding dirt. The worst? Black, “it’s impossible to keep a black car clean,” says Oliver, “the moment you finish washing it, dust, lint, anything touches the surface and shows up like dirt.”  A word to the wise if you are currently car shopping.

WORD OF MOUTH
The most effective form of business development for Total Performance Mobile Detailing. Oliver has built much of his business on referrals from current clients, body shops and his own network of family and friends.  He also has print materials and a facebook page.  This year he hopes to create a web page and get a new look for his mobile detailing van, maybe a wrap or a new paint job with signs.

SCOTCH GUARD
Oliver recommends using this product on interior fabric finishes, even carpet.  Once the interior has been cleaned, a light, even spray of Scotch Guard will keep the dirt from getting deeply inside the finishes.  For durable interiors, Case sees leather hold up the best and unless carefully cared for, those light-colored fabric interiors like tan or gray tend to wear the worst.

32” RIMS
Some of the details about a vehicle can take longer – one car he recently detailed took up to 15-20 minutes on each wheel because of the size and complexity of the rims.  You can see this burgundy beauty on his facebook page under Photos.  In addition to cars with specialty accessories, Total Performance Mobile Detailing has experience detailing vehicles like -limousines, boats and RV’s.

FAMILY
Cade is a family man, with three adult children and two grandchildren.  He relates that cars and speed have always been a part of his life and currently enjoys spending time with his cousin, IHRA Drag Racer Stanley Albritton, Jr. at SAJ Motorsports.

“GO FOR IT”
Oliver’s advice to anyone who is thinking of starting his or her own business. “It’s not hard, just go out there d market yourself.” Oliver is grateful to the boost he got in classes and one-on-one counseling from Suncoast Community Capital because he had detailed cars for 10 years but never owned a business. When asked what he enjoys most about owning his business, he replied “Being my own boss.”

Total Performance Mobile Detailing can be reached at 941-357-3265 and is on facebook as well.

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Do small business owners support raising the minimum wage?

Saw this very interesting article:

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RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE (with Business for a Fair Minimum Wage)

The federal minimum wage was last increased five years ago, in July 2009, to $7.25 an hour. A striking 61% of small business employers nationwide support increasing it to $10.10. This finding is higher than reported in previous small business polling, indicating growing support for the increase. Read the complete poll report, produced with Business for a Fair Minimum Wage.

Small business owners believe a higher minimum wage at the scale proposed would bring several benefits. The poll found:

  • 58% of small business employers say that raising the minimum wage would increase consumer purchasing power.
  • 56% of small business employers say raising the minimum wage would help the economy.
  • 53% of small business owners agree that with a higher minimum wage, businesses would benefit from lower employee turnover and increased productivity and customer satisfaction.

Small business owners are less partisan than Congress on the minimum wage. Contrary to common perception, Republican small business owners are evenly split – with 49% against and 49% in favor of increasing the minimum wage and adjusting it to keep up with the cost of living. Not surprisingly, support for raising the federal minimum is stronger among Democratic respondents, with 84% favoring, and independents, with 61% favoring.  Also, small business support for raising the federal minimum wage is strong across all regions of the United States.

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All of which tells me, YES! Small business owners support this in levels much higher than the people in our informal office poll would have thought. Read the entire post, small business owners had some interesting things to say on other recent “hot button” topics like climate change, access to credit and water pollution.  Read more here:

2013 Poll of Small Business Owners (from the American Sustainable Business Council)

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