Check out these recent posts from the Orlando News Room BLOG - Paula Wyatt reporting on interesting people and exciting places in Central Florida. 

 

 

Orlando, FL May 16, 2020 - KC Malhan invites you to vote daily for their design, since being selected as a finalist by Handbag Designer 101, in the Fourteenth Annual “Independent Handbag Awards,” to be live streamed June 10th, for the category of Most Socially Responsible Handbag.  Vote here:https://bellamag.co/contestants/kc-malhan/ for KC Malhan. And You're being encouraged to vote daily.  For KC Malhan, to meet and exceed the ethical and moral principles of the Most Socially Responsible Handbag category, they have embraced the standards where a “portion of the proceeds are given back to that country of manufacturing and bags must be made by country that employs local communities to create jobs and work in third world countries or poverty-stricken regions.” As the winner, KC Malhan will partner with Global Goods Partners and one of their artisan communities to fabricate an exclusive handbag design. The GGP handbag will then be available on the GGP website and promoted through GGP's social media and other outlets.  The sponsor, Global Goods Partners, is a fair trade non-profit social enterprise partnering with artisan women around the world to provide them with reliable fair wage incomes, design assistance, business management support, and access to a worldwide market.”
According to Adam H Putnam, Commissioner of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, game promotion is defined as a contest, game of chance, sweepstakes, or gift enterprise, conducted by an operator within or throughout the state and other states in connection with and incidental to the sale of consumer products or services, and in which the elements of chance and prize are present. Game promotions offering prizes totaling more than $5,000 must file with the department seven days prior to commencement. Even game promotions based in other states must be filed if they are conducted in Florida and/or are open to Florida residents and have prizes valued at more than $5,000. If you determine that your "promotion" is required to be registered in the State of Florida, you can now file your Gaming and Promotion Application online with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It's important to note that a surety bond or statement of trust is required from the operator unless they have conducted game promotions in Florida for at least five consecutive years and they have had no civil, criminal or administrative actions instituted against them for a violation of section 849.049, Florida Statutes, during that five year period. For more information on the State of Florida Gaming and Promotion laws visit their website, I find it very easy to navigate and you can download all the necessary forms. For more background on the legality of gaming and promotion laws and for information on how to manage all aspects of your small business I am fond of Legal Zoom. Resources: Rules for Raffles and Drawings - State of Florida  Visit Posh Abilities - FREE Nonprofit Resource Center
According to the current statues posted by the official website for the Florida Legislature: a "drawing by chance,” “drawing,” or “raffle” means an enterprise in which, from the entries submitted by the public to the organization conducting the drawing, one or more entries are selected by chance to win a prize. An organization that is exempt from federal income taxation may conduct a drawing of chance, pursuant to the authority granted by this section if the organization complies with a list of items.Don't let the potentially confusing information about raffle tickets and drawings of chance stop your Central Florida nonprofit organization from using this valuable tool to make money for your cause. Your organization will need to develop, publish and share rules on your promotion and if you are not using a professional event planner, you will want to read the statues COMPLETELY to ensure you are in compliance. There are swift penalties if you do not. But here are the primary points that Posh Able Events use when creating and running Raffles in the State of Florida. Create the rules document based on the FULL criteria in the statue Publish a PDF version on your website and have copies on-site in printed format All brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets disclose this website. The rules governing the conduct and operation of the drawing, name of the organization, and its principal place of business. The date, hour, and place where the winner will be chosen and the prizes will be awarded, unless the brochures, advertisements, notices, tickets, or entry blanks are not offered to the public more than 3 days prior to the drawing. State that no purchase or contribution is necessary. The winner may not be predetermined by means of matching, instant win, or preselected sweepstakes Statues say we can NOT require an entry fee or donation rather we should suggest a minimum donation Do NOT arbitrarily remove or disqualify any entry or discriminate in any manner Award Prizes and Post Winners on Your Web Page and Social Media Resources: Read and Understand Statute Before Publishing Your Rules Visit Posh Abilities - FREE Nonprofit Resource Center Visit Posh University  - Sharing Innovative Ideas and Helpful Hints on Event Planning, Image Building, and Philanthropy
MAITLAND, Fla. (May 15, 2020) – The American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund) has announced an expansion of its support to qualified nonprofit organizations throughout the nation beginning immediately. A simple application form is available online at www.AmFund.org/Giving for organizations wishing to be considered for these expanded funding opportunities. “Each year, AmFund partners with 400 nonprofit organizations. In response to the unprecedented need, we are expanding our support to 650 nonprofits in 2020 and 800 in 2021. We will also accelerate and expand our year-end financial grant program through a simplified application process for awards in July and December this year”, said Deborah Marshall, Chief Operating Officer of the American Fundraising Foundation. AmFund’s President and Co-Founder, Wade West expressed concern for the services provided by nonprofits. “We all realize this pandemic created incredible challenges for nonprofits. Not only are donations down, but people, animals, the arts and many worthy causes need support now more than ever.” The American Fundraising Foundation, a GuideStar Platinum rated 501©3 nonprofit, has distributed over 36 million dollars to other service-providing nonprofits over the course of the past 20 years. “Our mission is to empower worthy nonprofits by providing much needed unrestricted funds,” Marshall said. “We are taking action through this additional funding to ensure the continuation of services for those in need.” “We anticipate that the response to this offering will be significant and are asking interested nonprofits to complete the online application as a first step toward consideration.” Marshall explained. “AmFund has been and will continue to be a trusted advisor to nonprofits as we provide educational seminars, media training, a speaker’s bureau and much needed unrestricted funds for all the exceptional work being done by nonprofits that are devoted to saving and enhancing lives and communities every day”. To apply for AmFund’s special programs, visit www.AmFund.org/Giving Media Contact: Deborah Marshall Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer dmarshall@amfund.org (407) 895-8000 About the American Fundraising Foundation Each year, the American Fundraising Foundation (AmFund) carefully chooses organizations to support through sponsorship of events, year-end grant distribution of financial support, virtual silent auctions, and other programs to raise much-needed unrestricted funds for the important mission of those organizations. AmFund is recognized with the GuideStar Platinum Seal of Transparency and since 1999 has raised more than $36 million for worthy causes. Its signature silent auctions featuring once-in-a-lifetime experiences are presented at organizations’ special events, drawing admiration, praise and excitement as the entire process elevates the event in the eyes of patrons, board members and the community. Leveraging more than two decades of fundraising experience, AmFund also provides expert training on a wide variety of topics and offers subject matter expertise through its Speaker’s Bureau for groups ranging in size from 12 to 500. Additionally, AmFund annually distributes unrestricted grants to select organizations. For more information, visit www.amfund.org or call (407) 895-8000. Read AmFund’s blog at www.amfund.org/blog and connect on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. ###
13.05.2020
Paula Wyatt
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GROWING A HEALTHY AND HAPPY TEAM  (Winter Park, Florida) - Winter Park Construction (WPC) believes that the foundation of a strong and healthy organization is built by healthy and happy employees - and their families. For over 45 years, WPC has taken a holistic approach to employee happiness, ensuring not only that their 140+ full-time employees enjoy the highest level of safety on the job - but by designing an environment in which healthy habits are nurtured and rewarded. WPC President, Jeff Forrest knows of the importance of growing a healthy and happy workplace, he comments: “As a community and as an industry, we’ve been compelled to establish new operational and communication procedures as we define our new-norm in a post-covid world. As the world is opening back up, safely and slowly, at WPC we are reinforcing our commitment to what we’ve always believed - that healthy employees make a happy workplace” Every year in May, Global Employee Health and Fitness Month aims to improve the health of the global workforce. Through initiatives and helpful programs, the campaign encourages employers to engage their employees in healthful activities. #EmployeeHealthAndFitnessMonth WPC is participating in the national 2020 Healthiest Employers Awards Program. Awarded locally by the Orlando Business as Central Florida’s Healthiest Employer Award, finalists announced this fall. WPC Health and Wellness Programs for Employees The WPC Run Walk Club gives employees and their families an opportunity to participate in year-long events across Central Florida ranging from family walks to competitive marathons. WPC funds the activities, with all ages and levels being represented, nearly 30% of the WPC team in the club. Plus, participants earn points per kilometer walked. WPC pays employees to STOP SMOKING. Employees sign up to kick the habit and check-in at regular intervals with the program administrator. The Company starts participants off by reimbursing up to $500 for smoking cessation aids. At the 180-day milestone, employees receive a $500 reward. After another six months, they receive another $500 reward. The program began in 2013 and so far, 18 employees have kicked the habit. WPC Weight Loss - WPC employees can earn between $3 and $15 per pound lost on the program. The program offers information, support and accountability. WPC Gym Membership Program - WPC contributes up to $1,000 a year for employees to join a local fitness facility, plus pays up to $500 for their family members. To encourage results, employees report attendance, which equates to how much they will get paid.  Wellness Program - WPC offers a full menu of health insurance options, in which employees can earn discounts by participating in the WPC Wellness Program. WPC partners with Nurtur to provide employees with a comprehensive internet-based health management program that offers healthcare information, assessments and customized programs. Plus, by participating in the Wellness Program, employees can earn discounts on their healthcare plans - for things as easy as getting their annual physical. WPC President, Jeff Forrest, “Safety is a top priority in the construction industry and having employees that are in good shape and feeling great, absolutely makes for a safer, more efficient and healthier environment.” Since 1974, WPC has provided general contractor, pre-construction, construction management and renovation services to Central Florida and the southeast United States. With over $200M in projects set from completion in 2020, WPC provides employment for 140+ full-time employees and thousands of subcontractor positions. With a portfolio rich in many sectors, in 2020 WPC is focusing on construction projects in the hospitality sector and in the senior housing market as well as on major renovation projects.
09.05.2020
Paula Wyatt
No comments
Every 40 seconds someone in the U.S. has a stroke and around 800,000 people have a stroke each year in the United States. A stroke is a blood vessel blockage going to the brain. A stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and can lead to significant disability. Control your risk factors to improve your brain health.  Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death for Americans, but the risk of having a stroke varies with race and ethnicity.The risk of having a first stroke is nearly twice as high for blacks as for whites, and blacks have the highest rate of death due to stroke. Though stroke death rates have declined for decades among all races and ethnicities, Hispanics have seen an increase in death rates since 2013. Reference Link. Research has shown that unhealthy behaviors such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking have an adverse effect on health and increase your stroke risk. For example, smokers have a 2-4x increased risk of stroke. During National Stroke Awareness Month, we urge everyone to take a look at their stroke risk factors and pledge to make at least one change to reduce their stroke risk. Here’s how much prevalence of stroke would be reduced if each were eliminated:– Hypertension 47.9%– Physical inactivity 35.8%– Lipids (blood fats) 26.8%– Poor diet 23.2%– Obesity 18.6%– Smoking 12.4%– Heart causes 9.1%– Alcohol intake 5.8%– Stress 5.8%– Diabetes 3.9% Orlando Neurosurgeon Dr. Ravi Gandhi says of his personal experiences with stroke, "I have had a significant family history of stroke. My grandfather had a stroke when I was young which left him paralyzed on his left side of his body. He ultimately died from complications related to this stroke. This was my motivation for dedicating my life to helping people who have had a stroke. It is because of this that I hold strong desires to educate people about stroke and encourage people to adopt healthy lifestyles." He urges everyone to learn about stroke risk factors, talk with a physician, and to make good lifestyle choices. Understanding Stroke Risk in Women Understanding Stroke Risk in Men For more information - Orlando Neurosurgery.
Green Building Certification Awarded to FDOT’s  Regional Transportation Management Center Sanford  Lake Mary, Florida – The U.S. Green Building Council awarded LEED certification to the Florida Department of Transportation’s (FDOT) Regional Transportation Management Center (RTMC) in Sanford, Florida. The FDOT RTMC project achieved certification under the LEED 2009 New Construction and Major Renovations rating system. LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the leading program for green buildings and communities worldwide. The U.S. Green Building Council identified “FDOT RTMC Sanford” as a showcase example of sustainability demonstrating leadership in transforming the building industry. The Collage Companies served as General Contractor for the FDOT RTMC Sanford project, which began operations in 2019. Rob Maphis, Vice President and COO of The Collage Companies says this of his firm’s involvement: “Our team has a long history of completing successful projects for the FDOT and of building green buildings throughout Florida. On the FDOT RTMC project, we were able to combine this knowledge and experience into the delivery of a facility that accomplishes FDOT’s sustainability objectives.” From this technology hub, FDOT monitors and manages traffic for District Five, which includes an area that covers nearly 9,000 square miles spread over nine Central Florida counties. The RTMC’s state-of-the-art technology uses more than 500 cameras, sensors, and other technology to monitor traffic, including speed and the number of vehicles on the roadways. It also pinpoints traffic jams, accidents, and other emergencies, while providing immediate coordination with law enforcement, fire and emergency crews when needed. The Collage Companies is an established integrated services firm with capabilities and expertise in Design Build, Construction Management, and General Contracting. Collage has served Florida and the southeast since 1982 from their headquarters in Lake Mary, Florida - pursuing community–centric projects with an emphasis in the hospitality, religious, transportation, education, government and parks and sports sectors. The Collage Companies was honored as one of GrowFL’s 2018 Florida Companies to Watch.
Meals for Heroes The Cure Bowl / Orlando Sports Foundation has partnered with FLAG of Central Florida to provide meals for medical workers and first responders on the front lines of the Coronavirus pandemic. Your $10 donation will provide a free meal and ticket to the 2020 Cure Bowl for these heroes. Join the Cure Bowl in saying ‘thank you’ to the brave men and women leading the fight against COVID-19. Click Here to Donate Nominate a Wednesday Warrior Today!  The Orlando Sports Foundation announced its Warrior Wednesday program for community heroes that are on the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic. Do you know someone is who making a difference in the fight against COVID-19? We want to hear their story!  Our warriors will be featured every Wednesday on Orlando Sports Foundation’s social media accounts. They will also receive tickets to the Cure Bowl and be recognized on-field during the game! Nominate a Warrior
If you are planning an event of any size for any reason in 2020 - here are some things to keep in mind if you are canceling, postponing or rescheduling your event. 1. Notify Your Event Venue in Writing - As convention centers, hotels and event venues are scrambling to build their own COVID-19 event plan safety protocol, I've been successful with 100% of the Central Florida hotels and venues that I'm currently working with to allow my clients to cancel or postpone without a penalty. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all). 2. Notify Your Event Vendors in Writing - Your event vendor list is comprised of anyone providing a product or service for your event such as catering, decor, entertainment, audiovisual, photography, videography, parking and valet, security, etc. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all).  3. Communicate With Your Attendees - It's fair to say that it would likely be assumed by the general public that any event set for the Spring of 2020 is canceled. But as we enter Summer, Fall and Winter things become less clear. In any case, you will want to communicate with your attendees.  Your event ticket platform will have a list of registered guests. I use Eventbrite and they offer a wonderful resource page.  Send personal emails or use your email marketing platform to confirm cancellation (and ideally a new date) with all of your invited guests, whether they have confirmed or not.  I use Mail Chimp - they are offering free Standard Mailchimp accounts through at least June 30, 2020, to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits, and other organizations that are sending critical public health information about COVID-19 to their communities. 4. Communicate With Your Event Partners - Make a personal phone call as well as send an email to touch base with your sponsors, volunteers, media, in-kind donors, speakers, and local dignitaries who are a part of your event. Let them know, you will circle back when things settle.  5. Pause All Event Marketing - Update your event website page, cancel your Facebook events. Pause any scheduled social media posts. I use Hootsuite for social media - they announced that they will provide free access to their Professional Plan to nonprofit organizations and small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 6. Re-Set your Event Plan and Marketing Strategy NOW - Work with your convention center, hotel, event venue, and event vendors to "soft hold" a tentative date in summer, fall, winter - whatever makes the best sense for your organization. Don't publish the date until it's certain. When the world un-freezes there will likely only be a handful of Saturday nights left in 2020 - so be flexible to consider adjusting to a daytime or weekday event. Stay Safe - But Save Your Place at the Table for 2020 events.
You won't find the "events and event marketing" industries on the list of recession-proof businesses. That's for sure! Having worked in events and event marketing for over 15 years - I've seen the impact that a natural disaster or a terrorist attack can have on the industry. While no one can report knowing what will happen with COVID-19 and how it will impact their respective industries - as far as events and event marketing goes - we carry on. We are busy rescheduling events, staying informed about safety mandates, maintaining a positive outlook for clients, staying task-focused and being aware of the legal and contractual obligations of our clients (to convention centers, hotels, event venues, and event vendors). We are silently working on building new event plans and event marketing strategies so that when it's time...we are ready to activate our post-COVID events. As the owner of an event planning company, I have implemented a comprehensive COVID-19 Event Action Plan for all of our clients. I wanted to make this helpful information available to anyone planning an event (of any size for any reason) in 2020. On March 15 the Center for Disease Control recommended that for at least 8 weeks (5/15/20) that event organizers should cancel or postpone any events consisting of groups of 50 more. Shortly after, states and local leadership layered to the mandate (now including groups of 10 or less) and eventually, nearly all events are under mandatory cancellation. It remains unclear the myriad of ways in which COVID-19 will reshape our world, but for the post-COVID events industry, our new world will no doubt include significantly enhanced public safety measures. View CDC Resources for Large Community Events & Mass Gatherings. Without question, it's safety first but then the next question is likely a financial or legal one. In particular, the legalities surrounding the cancellation or reorganization of contracts with convention centers, hotels, event venues, and event vendors. The legal industry has not yet had enough time to respond with best practices and standard COVID-19 language. The closest legal guideline we had in a Pre COVID world, was the "natural disaster clause" contained in most conventions, meetings, and events contracts. Which reads something like: "In the event that any obligation of either party is prevented or delayed by circumstances of natural disaster, such party will be excused from any failure to perform any such obligation under this Agreement to the extent that such failure is caused by any such circumstances."  It will be interesting and important to follow the legal industry's response to COVID-19 and how it will impact contractual legality and best practices for the events industry - which was valued globally at $1,100 billion in 2018. COVID-19 Event Action Plan 1. Notify Your Event Venue in Writing - As convention centers, hotels and event venues are scrambling to build their own COVID-19 event plan safety protocol, I've been successful with 100% of the Central Florida hotels and venues that I'm currently working with to allow my clients to cancel or postpone without a penalty. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all). 2. Notify Your Event Vendors in Writing - Your event vendor list is comprised of anyone providing a product or service for your event such as catering, decor, entertainment, audiovisual, photography, videography, parking and valet, security, etc. You should: prepare a letter notifying them that due to CDC Guidance on large events and mass gatherings, effective as of the date of this letter, your event has been canceled. (Date it -Sign it -PDF it). Email this to everyone you've worked with at the venue and print a copy and place it in certified mail (save proof of all).  3. Communicate With Your Attendees - It's fair to say that it would likely be assumed by the general public that any event set for the Spring of 2020 is canceled. But as we enter Summer, Fall and Winter things become less clear. In any case, you will want to communicate with your attendees.  Your event ticket platform will have a list of registered guests. I use Eventbrite and they offer a wonderful resource page.  Send personal emails or use your email marketing platform to confirm cancellation (and ideally a new date) with all of your invited guests, whether they have confirmed or not.  I use Mail Chimp - they are offering free Standard Mailchimp accounts through at least June 30, 2020, to local governments, schools, healthcare providers, nonprofits, and other organizations that are sending critical public health information about COVID-19 to their communities. 4. Communicate With Your Event Partners - Make a personal phone call as well as send an email to touch base with your sponsors, volunteers, media, in-kind donors, speakers, and local dignitaries who are a part of your event. Let them know, you will circle back when things settle.  5. Pause All Event Marketing - Update your event website page, cancel your Facebook events. Pause any scheduled social media posts. I use Hootsuite for social media - they announced that they will provide free access to their Professional Plan to nonprofit organizations and small businesses most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. 6. Re-Set your Event Plan and Marketing Strategy NOW - Work with your convention center, hotel, event venue, and event vendors to "soft hold" a tentative date in summer, fall, winter - whatever makes the best sense for your organization. Don't publish the date until it's certain. When the world un-freezes there will likely only be a handful of Saturday nights left in 2020 - so be flexible to consider adjusting to a daytime or weekday event. Stay Safe - But Save Your Place at the Table for 2020 events!
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