On behalf of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, we are delighted to award scholarships this 2014-2015 academic year to four worthy individuals.

Carol Bello and MotherCarol Bello has been awarded the Bea Davis Memorial Scholarship.  Carol is the daughter of Martha Chavez, a member of our housekeeping department.  She is enrolled at Florida State University this fall, working toward her bachelor’s degree, double majoring in Criminology and Political Science.  Her longer term plans are to attend law school.  While her eligibility for the scholarship was due to her mother’s employment at Plymouth Harbor, Carol herself is employed as a dietary aide in the Smith Care Center for a few more weeks, as she prepares to return to school in Tallahassee this month.

Bea Davis was a 38-year employee of Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Her Memorial Scholarship is awarded annually to a housekeeping employee or their immediate family member.


Tara MitchellTara Mitchell has been awarded the Jane T. Smiley Scholarship.  Enrolled at State College of Florida, Tara is working toward her RN degree.  She is currently a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and has been an employee for over eight years.  She is completing her final pre-requisites to the RN program and will be able to begin that program this 2014-2015 academic year.  She plans to go on to earn her BSN after obtaining her RN certification.

Jane Smiley is a beloved resident of Plymouth Harbor who established this scholarship in support of our employees who wish to increase their education. 



Lucy Guzman

Amy RiceAmy Rice has been awarded the Evelin Corsey Scholarship. Amy is a Charge Nurse in the Smith Care Center and is a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).  She will use her scholarship to obtain a special certification in wound care that is available to LPNs.  Amy has been an employee of Plymouth Harbor for over one year.

The Evelin Corsey Scholarship was established through a bequest from Evelin Corsey, a resident at Plymouth Harbor who passed away in 2013.  Ms. Corsey loved the employees of Plymouth Harbor.

Lucy Guzman has been awarded a General Education Scholarship.  Lucy has been employed at Plymouth Harbor as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the Smith Care Center for nearly four years.  She is enrolled in and currently attending classes at the Sarasota School of Massage Therapy to obtain her license as a Massage Therapist.  Lucy is also a Certified Phlebotomy Technician.

General Education Scholarships are funded through the Plymouth Harbor Foundation by generous donors who wish to show their support for the employees of Plymouth Harbor.  

William_JohnstonWilliam (Bill) Johnston, member of The Plymouth Harbor Board of Trustees and Chairperson of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, was recognized as LeadingAge Florida’s 2014 Trustee of the Year at their annual conference earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency Orlando.

This very distinguished honor is presented annually to an exceptional LeadingAge Florida member Trustee.  LeadingAge is a professional association composed of over 6,000 not-for-profit organizations (over 400 Florida communities) dedicated to making America a better place to grow old.  At both the national and state level, the organization advocates, educates, and serves its members admirably.

At the July 30th luncheon ceremony with several hundred in attendance, Johnston spoke passionately about Plymouth Harbor and its mission toward older adults.  He also thanked all of those in attendance for the efforts they put forth in their respective organizations. Bill Johnston Award Acceptance

Bill Johnston is Past President of the New York Stock Exchange and is currently retired. However, he has transitioned to a new calling as a community leader and volunteer. As a highly effective trustee he leads by example and is a founding member of The Plymouth Harbor Foundation.

His parents were residents at Plymouth Harbor, as were two aunts and an uncle. With hopes of someday moving with his wife Betsy to Plymouth Harbor, Johnston serves as a strong advocate of continuing care retirement communities (CCRC).

Summing up the reasons why Johnston deserved the award, Plymouth Harbor CEO Harry Hobson stated, “Plymouth Harbor is a better CCRC today than it was prior to Bill Johnston becoming a Trustee. His leadership and passion for services to older adults is obvious in all aspects of his life. He had a reputation for being an ideal son to his parents regardless of his busy schedule on Wall Street. He never forgot his parents. He looks at this aspect of his life as paying back.”

Bill Johnston and PH group 2

PHOTO CAPTION: Those pictured at the awards presentation are:  (l to r)  Joe Devore, Vice President of Health Services, Harry Hobston, President and CEO, Liz Clark, Director of Assisted Living and Home Care, Karen Novak, Director of Health Services, Bill Johnston, Becky Pazkowski, Vice President of Philanthropy, and Gordon Okawa, Vice President of Marketing and Community Affairs.


Did you ever wonder what role Philanthropy plays in the whole scheme of things across the country?  We hear about the mega gifts from the Gates Foundation to end polio, or Warren Buffett’s bracket challenge, or how Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan were the top philanthropists in 2013, having made a gift valued at $970 million to a Silicon Valley charity…because this magnitude of giving makes the headline news.  But, important to know, and even surprising to discover, is how much is really donated to charities annually, where those donations go, and who made the gifts.

2013 By recipient Org

2013 Contributions by Source

Giving USA is published, researched, and written by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.  It is the annual report on philanthropy for giving across the country.  Giving USA 2014 has just been published, and we are pleased to share with you some of the highlights from the report.  As noted above, some of this information may be surprising to you…we indeed have an incredibly philanthropic country!  If you would like to see more data related to this report, please contact me at ext. 398 at the Plymouth Harbor Foundation office.


Total 2013 contributions to charitable organizations: 


2013 Increase in Total Giving over 2012:  4.4%

2013 Increase in Individual Giving over 2012:  4.2%

2013 Increase in Bequest Giving over 2012:  8.7%

Giving by Foundations increased by 5.7%

Giving by Corporations decreased by 1.9%

Tom-Towler“When the time came for us to consider our next move, it was unanimously Plymouth Harbor.  When they asked me to consider a seat on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, it was also unanimous.  The Foundation is doing great things for life at Plymouth Harbor, today and into the future.  I am honored to be part of it!”

– Tom Towler, Trustee
Plymouth Harbor Foundation
Plymouth Harbor Resident since October 2009

Tom graduated from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and joined Mobil Oil Company for several years. He subsequently chaired the grocery non-food company for the Kroger Company, Top Value Trading Stamp Company, TV Travel, and served as an officer of the Baldwin United Financial Services Company in Cincinnati. He arranged the purchase of the S&H Green Stamp Company, taking them private from the NYSE public listing. Tom retired, moved to Siesta Key in 1984 with his late wife Sue, and then spent 5 years working as a property assessor with Goodnow Associates. He has a passion for volunteering, which includes Board positions with Sarasota Memorial Hospital Healthcare Foundation Board (chair), New College Foundation Board, Field Club Board, and Bay Plaza Board, and he was Chair of Siesta Key Utility Authority for six years. He is currently an elected trustee of Sarasota Memorial Hospital. Tom has four children and has encouraged each of them to be active volunteers. He and his significant other Nancy Lyon have a beautiful view of Sarasota from their 16th Colony apartment.  They are both “legacy residents,” as Tom’s sister is a current resident, and his late aunt and Nancy’s late mother were both residents of Plymouth Harbor.

Scholarship recipients Yaima Comas, the eldest of four siblings who moved to Sarasota from Cuba with their father in 2005, advises her younger brother and sisters to “take things seriously and pay attention to  your studies.”  Having escaped Cuba’s political oppression, and potential imprisonment for his beliefs, Yaima’s father values the freedom that education offers.  She is motivated to learn as much as she can, to achieve her goals and make her father proud.

Daphne Weeks also faced many obstacles in her younger years, but she is determined not let her past define who she is.  Her goals clearly developed and she has plotted her course to success.

Thanks to the foresight and generosity of former Plymouth Harbor residents Mildred and Bernard Doyle, both Yaima and Daphne will receive the financial support needed to help them achieve their educational goals.

The Mildred and Bernard Doyle Charitable Trust was established as a means to provide ongoing educational assistance to “a worthy and needy child of an employee of Plymouth Harbor” or “a worthy and needy employee seeking to increase their skills or to obtain a higher education.”  This was the result of their great affection for the employees they had come to know so well during their residency at Plymouth Harbor.

Twenty-five scholarships have been awarded to Plymouth Harbor employees and their children since 1999.  Each year a scholarship committee at Northern Trust Bank, which includes former Plymouth Harbor executive director Jack Smith who knew the Doyle’s well, selects two recipients of the $5,000 scholarship.

The two recipients this year could not have been more surprised or elated.  Each had put considerable effort into the application, but they knew the competition for this honor is stiff.

When Daphne and Yaima were invited to join a gathering of Plymouth Harbor’s management team on May 30, Daphne may have suspected the reason.  Before President/CEO Harry Hobson could even announce this year’s Doyle scholarship winners, tears were spilling down her cheeks. “I was speechless and overwhelmed when I heard the news,” exclaimed Daphne.  Daphne’s heartfelt emotion was contagious and before Harry finished his congratulatory speech, there were few dry eyes in the room.

Yaima added, “I couldn’t believe it at first.  I thought I was dreaming.  It took me a few hours to realize it was really happening!”

Currently serving as a certified nursing assistant (C.N.A.) in the Smith Care Center, Daphne says she has always dreamed of pursuing a career in nursing.  She began early with dual enrollment at Sarasota High School and Sarasota County Technical Institute, earning her C.N.A. when she was just 17 years old.  She wanted to immediately earn an LPN, but there were hurdles and obstacles to conquer before this would be possible.

Daphne has served the residents of Plymouth Harbor for four years, first in the Callahan Center.  Now she feels her way is clear and she is laser-focused on attaining her end goal of earning a master’s in nursing.  The past is not something that Daphne wishes to dwell on.  Having paid attention to the devastating impact of human trafficking and domestic violence in the community around her, she hopes to eventually work with young women in these situations and help to set them on a positive path.

This past month Daphne completed her AA in Arts, a prerequisite for State College of Florida’s nursing program.  It will take four more years to complete her undergraduate degree and then, with the good grades she intends to earn, it will be on to the graduate nursing program at Florida State University. “I keep a positive attitude and just concentrate on my studies,” Daphne shares.  “I know it will be challenging, but I have prepared myself for this journey.”  In the end, who knows, she may well change the world, one confident young woman at a time.

“I’m a numbers person, not science,” divulges Yaima.  Although she is an excellent C.N.A. providing Home Care and Home Health Agency support, it is clear her rewards come from helping people in ways beyond the clinical aspects of nursing.  “I feel I can help more people in medical administration,” she adds explaining her choice to earn her bachelor’s degree in health care administration, which will take another two years of study at State College of Florida.

During her 3-1/2 years on staff at Plymouth Harbor, Yaima has thoroughly enjoyed working with her coworkers.  The fact that the team has kept the same members throughout this period is evidence of the dedication and commitment of Plymouth Harbor employee service.

In Home Care, Yaima appreciates the flexibility she has to serve and speak with residents on an individual basis.  Sharing their lives is a most rewarding aspect of her work and reminds her of the extended family she left back in Cuba.  Working full-time at Plymouth Harbor and attending classes part-time, she is motivated to succeed academically.  Where will Yaima be ten years from now?  She plans on being a manager in a public or private medical facility or hospital and continue to realize the dream of freedom that led her father to escape to the U.S. with his family.

While Yaima and Daphne are just beginning their educational journey, they would do well to look to another early Doyle Scholarship recipient for inspiration.

Dr. Crystal ChapmanCrystal Chapman, daughter of Home Care LPN Bridget Chapman, was first awarded the Doyle Scholarship in 2002 and received it for four subsequent years.  As a single mother raising two children at the time, Bridget recently shared with a Foundation Forum audience the impact the scholarship had on Crystal’s life and her ability to achieve her goals.

This was certainly money well spent, an investment in every sense of the word.  In 2006 Crystal received her bachelor’s degree in nursing, and in 2009, her master’s degree in nursing.  In 2013 Crystal earned a Ph.D.

Dr. Crystal Chapman Lambert is now an Assistant Professor of Nursing at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As Plymouth Harbor Foundation scholarship benefactor Jane Smiley so aptly stated recently, “The most important thing you can give a child, besides love, is an education.”

Mildred and Bernard Doyle were touched by the staff who made their lives at Plymouth Harbor abundantly better.  Their generous gift in return, expressed through the Doyle Scholarship, is truly changing lives. 

“Plymouth Harbor has been an important asset to Sarasota for almost 50 years now.  My sister’s first job was in the dining room as a server during her high school years.  I am pleased to be able to serve this wonderful organization, as it serves the residents of our community in many ways.”

Carla Plush Smith
Secretary, Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board of Trustees

Carla Smith, founder of Plush Smith PA, is a 25+ year Florida CPA who has an extensive background in tax, estate and personal financial planning.  Carla served on the Board of Trustees of Plymouth Harbor from 2005 to 2011 and served as Board Chair in 2010 and 2011.  A Sarasota native (unique in itself), Carla is a graduate of Leadership Sarasota and has served as an officer and director on numerous community boards.  She is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting, and a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling from the University of South Florida.  Carla has also earned designations as a CFP, PFS, CLU, and ChFC and has held her private pilot and nautical captain’s licenses.  She and her husband, Peter, enjoy three grown sons and a golden doodle, are members of the Sarasota Field Club, and enjoy boating, water skiing, and travelling.


We are delighted to share with you a new program of the Plymouth Harbor Foundation, made possible by the generous Gifts of Art that many of you have donated.

The Gifts of Art program will be launched this summer.  You have probably already seen the start of the Energy Center corridor, between the Mayflower Dining Room and the Smith Care Center, being transformed into an art gallery for your viewing pleasure.

Important to note about these art exhibits is that each piece of art was donated and will be identified with information about the art and the donor.

Each new exhibit will be one month long in duration.  During the final week of each exhibit month we will hold a silent auction for all residents, guests, and employees to bid on the art that they would like to purchase.  The winner of each art auction item will be announced at the end of the month.  Proceeds from the Gifts of Art auctions will benefit programs at Plymouth Harbor, to be named at the time the exhibit begins.

We hope you will enjoy viewing these works of art, and will feel inspired to participate in the silent auctions.  More information will follow, as we prepare for the first exhibit soon.

Art lovers . . . stay tuned!

This month marks the one year anniversary of the eTEAM.  If you don’t already know, the eTeam is comprised of volunteer youth who bring their patient smiles and tech savvy to Plymouth Harbor on Saturday mornings. Residents who feel they need some extra help or tutoring on new computers, smart phones, iPads or other devices that seem to confound even the most technologically oriented-adult of a certain age, schedule an appointment with the eSmart eTeam eTechnicians and solve a bundle of puzzles in one session.

We held our first eTeam clinic on June 8, 2013 and it has been a great success ever since.   Thank you to everyone who has asked the eTEAM for assistance – a fair number of our residents have participated.

Special accolades and showers of gratitude are due our wonderful eTEAM members:  Jared White, Paul Nicowski, Sarina Swalm, David Yaegers, and Marinna Okawa. A special word of good luck to David Yeagers who leaves us this summer to start his college studies at the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Curious about what we’ve achieved?  Here are some interesting facts about the eTEAM usage, as of May 1, 2014:

Total Resident Visits: 335

Total Residents Served:110

Total Volunteer Hours:    218


Memorial Day is an important day in America, as it is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.  We are very grateful for what these soldiers did for our country, and for what they have done to make life better for us.

This Memorial Day, let us also remember those close friends and family we have loved and lost over the years.  We see more loss in the senior living industry than some others, as those we serve are perhaps a bit closer to the winter of life than the spring.  However, what strikes me as one of the most rewarding aspects of the retirement industry is that we are able to spend these important years with our residents and community members—those years when we are done proving to the world who we want to be, but accept and find comfort with who we are.  Wisdom, confidence, generosity, and warmth are qualities that describe most of those age 70+ whom I know and have come to respect and enjoy immensely.

This Memorial Day, say a little prayer for your loved ones who graced our world and left, knowing that each of us leaves the world a little better than it was when we arrived.  The Plymouth Harbor Foundation is grateful for the many gifts over the past year made in memory of the friends and family listed below.

Remembering with Gratitude
Zach Abuza
Barbara Argenti
Katherine Barbera
William Beckert
Gil Bosse
Gloria (Glo) Broderick
Sally Brown
Sheldon W. Brown
LuVerne Conway
Wendy Gremban
Lydia & Marco Hecht
Frank Heider
Gordon Jones
Ranier Josenhanss
Donald Kerr
Harley Koets
Jenny Lassen
Gena Magoon
Robert McNulty
Robert Merrill
Hope Mitchell
Betty Monroe
Jeanne Nunn
George Peters
Walter Schachtel
Dan Siesel
Tena Underwood
Tom Vandervalk
Elton & Penny Yasuna

 The Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil

One special person we can all remember and be thankful for on Memorial Day is the Reverend Dr. John Whitney MacNeil, who would have celebrated his 103rd birthday on the 29th of this month.  Indeed, the Reverend Dr. MacNeil left this world a good deal better as a result of his visionary leadership.  The founder of Plymouth Harbor, the Reverend Dr. MacNeil and his small group of rainmakers set out in the early 1960s to build a retirement community of distinction, and in 1966 Plymouth Harbor opened its doors.  He was also the driving force behind New College.  As a man who some said would never reach the peak of his ambitions, he truly made a tremendous impact on Sarasota during his tenure here.  The Reverend Dr. MacNeil died in 1979, at the young age of 68.

“I am happy to serve on the Plymouth Harbor Foundation Board, as what we do is important to life at Plymouth Harbor.”

Bruce Crawford, Trustee
The Plymouth Harbor Foundation

Bruce is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Tuck School.  He has lived in Sarasota for 24 years, twenty of them at The Meadows, prior to moving to Plymouth Harbor.  While living at The Meadows, he served on the Board of its country club.  He has been involved with the Dartmouth and Ivy League clubs in Sarasota, where he served as president and program chair for each.  Bruce is a member of the Sahib Shrine.  He spent his career as vice president of sales and marketing for an insurance company.  His summers are spent in New Hampshire on Lake Winnipesaukee.