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Goodwill to honor 2023 Community Ambassadors of the Year

Nonprofit organization to recognize advocates and leaders in the areas of veterans services, philanthropy and community partnership



SARASOTA/BRADENTON, FL – Goodwill Manasota is proud to bring back – for the first time since 2019 – its Community Ambassador of the Year awards. This year’s event, which will recognize advocates and leaders in the areas of veterans services, philanthropy, and community partnership, will take place on Thursday, October 12, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Michael’s On East (1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota).


The honorees this year are:

Veterans honoree: Rob Kehs. U.S. Navy veteran Rob Kehs, who served from 1985-1989 as a jet engine mechanic, is known as an “unsung hero” who never cares about receiving recognition for all that he does for veterans in our community. Kehs has been the vice president of SRQ Vets – an all-veteran, all-volunteer organization that connects and assists area veterans with services including VA assistance, job placement, home and auto repair and maintenance, PTSD/TBI assistance, and more – since 2018.


Philanthropy honoree: Sarasota Private Trust Company, New York Private Bank & Trust Company and The Milstein Family. In the wake of Hurricane Ian, Sarasota Private Trust Company, New York Private Bank & Trust Company and the Milstein Family donated $1 million to assist community members impacted by the storm. Goodwill served as the pass-through agency for $750,000 of the total gift, which was used to purchase gift cards and subsidize Goodwill vouchers for individuals and families severely impacted by the storm. Fourteen partner nonprofit organizations opted in to assist in distributing these hurricane resources to more than 2,500 local households. The gift cards were redeemable at Publix, Walmart and Wawa for food and gas; the Goodwill Manasota vouchers could be redeemed for clothing, household items, and furniture.


Community Partner honoree: Easterseals Southwest Florida. Goodwill Manasota and Easterseals are longtime partners, collaborating on initiatives to assist those with disabilities in finding and retaining employment. The organizations recently began working together to help area veterans through the Operation1Stride program, which provides equine assisted learning to support life and leadership skills, help veterans regain their courage and ability to trust others as well as to connect participants with additional social services for any unmet needs.


Additionally, Goodwill will present its inaugural Robert W. Rosinsky Achievement Award – made possible by the Louis & Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust and affectionately known as “The Rosy” – to team member Dora Talamantes. This annual award will serve to recognize a team member who embodies the qualities and dedication to the Goodwill mission that 50-year Goodwill leader Rosinsky – who retired in June of 2022 – brought to the organization over the course of his decades of service.


“We are so thrilled to bring back this event, which recognizes those in the community whose contributions of time, resources, expertise and passion for helping others have enabled our organization to expand our mission impact,” said Goodwill Manasota President and CEO Donn Githens. “We could not succeed in our work of strengthening the community without the leadership, support and collaboration of people and organizations like those we will honor during the luncheon on October 12.”


Tickets, which are $125, are available via Goodwill’s website: www.experiencegoodwill.org/communityambassadoroftheyearawards


PHOTO ID: From left, Goodwill Manasota team member Dora Talamantes, winner of the Robert W. Rosinsky Achievement Award; Pavitra Ciavardone, director of community engagement; and President and CEO Donn Githens.

Courtesy photo/Goodwill Manasota


About Goodwill Manasota

Goodwill Manasota is an industry-leading 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that changes lives through the power of work. With philanthropic donations and revenue generated by the sales of donated goods, Goodwill is able to assist people with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and those with other barriers to employment by providing jobs, job skills training, and free career services. For more information or for a listing of locations, visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721.

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