The Suncoast Business Masters (SBM), a group of local business owners and managers, raised $42,000 at their recent 15th annual Dinner & Auction held at Tuscany on the Meadows. The funds raised at this event were donated to the Early Learning Coalition of the Nature Coast (ELC).
The ELC operates and oversees two programs critical to the preparation of young children for educational success — Voluntary Prekindergarten (VPK) and the School Readiness Program (child care subsidy to assist eligible families with the cost of child care). All funds raised at the event benefit at-risk children and families in Citrus County.
As a result of this charitable effort by local business people and community members, the state will match each dollar raised with $15.67, resulting in a total amount of $704,340 to support the School Readiness Program in our community. The funds will be used to provide quality child care/early learning services to approximately 155 at-risk children in Citrus County for one year. Research has shown that young children who participate in a quality early learning program prior to kindergarten entry are more likely to earn higher monthly wages as adults, are more likely to own a home, and are more likely to have completed higher levels of schooling than children that did not have the opportunity for participation in such programs.
SBM meets every Wednesday for lunch at Black Diamond Country Club for networking. Business people who may be interested in joining the SBM should contact President, Lora Wilson at 352-637-1960.