Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium is honored to receive a $50,000 partnership grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for programmatic and sponsorship support.

“We are proud to be a part of the positive impact Mote is having locally, nationally and internationally,” said Roxie Jerde, President & CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Their programs have an innate ability to reach and resonate with individuals of all ages and encourage forward thinking, ingenuity and passion for our environment in a unique and memorable way.”

This year’s grant will support several Mote programs, including its Strategic Partnerships Program. This initiative takes age-appropriate science programming developed at Mote directly to audiences that are underserved and underrepresented with respect to marine science opportunities. Mote’s Strategic Partnerships Program engaged 10,000 participants in 2017 and is projected to increase its participants in 2018. Many of those served by this program come from other community organizations such as Girl’s Inc., Boys and Girls Club in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, AMIkids and numerous YMCA locations.

Mote also works directly with schools, such as the Triad Alternative School, which is part of the YMCA in Sarasota and a place where kids who have not been successful in traditional schools can get back on track with their education. As part of their science curriculum, a group of students come out to Mote each month where they engage in a lab activity or help with field sampling in addition to a guided tour of the Aquarium.

In addition to this program, the grant will also provide a significant sponsorship for a Mote Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) intern, Maria Shehata from Egypt. Shehata will be working along side a Mote mentor scientist as she completes a semester-long hands-on research program as part of her Eugenie Clark Marine Research Fellowship that is a joint effort between Mote and New College, and sponsored by an anonymous donor. Shehata will complete at least 160 hours of research during her internship with an opportunity to extend her experience beyond this semester. Shehata is also the recipient of the prestigious Daughters for Life scholarship.

“We are pleased to receive this grant that supports of our partnerships in the local community and beyond,” said Erin Kabinoff, Chief Development Officer at Mote. “The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a wonderful partner that enables Mote to continue to seek answers to some of the most significant issues facing the world today while inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards.”

A portion of the funds will also be used to sponsor signature fundraising events for Mote including a presenting sponsorship of the upcoming Tea for the Sea, celebrating women in science and philanthropy, which will be located at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club on Feb. 28.