Scene: Embracing the Spirit of Giving

January 31, 2019

A girl running in the playground
Children with their arms reaching out to feel the rain pouring down

January 2nd, 2019 – Like so many area residents, Frank and Katherine Martucci started off as Sarasota snowbirds. “We rented here for one month out of the year,” reports Katherine. Then it was two months. And in 2017, she explains that “we found we were spending more and more time here. We felt like THIS was our home. So we became residents.” While they still spend a few months each summer at their working farm in upstate New York, the Martuccis live here full time now, and they love finding ways to get involved. And one of their great loves is The Sarasota Ballet.

They knew Executive Director Joe Volpe from his time as General Manager of The Metropolitan Opera, so it was an easy sell to get Frank onto their board. “What we love so much about The Sarasota Ballet is the caliber of performances,” Katherine explains, and the Martuccis know about good ballet, having attended the best that New York City offers—American Ballet Theater, the Joffrey, Martha Graham Ballet, and others. In short, they’ve seen the best of the best. “When we came down here,” Katherine admits, “we didn’t know what to expect, and we were completely bowled over. Iain and Margaret do such a fine job—they’re so committed and devoted. But what I like most about ballet here is the variety. It’s never stagnant. You don’t just see the same thing over and over again.”

When asked where the philanthropic spirit in his life comes from, Frank again draws from philosophy. “We’re all connected. There’s a spiritual overlay to it all—we’re all deeply connected,” he says before hearkening back to his philosophical hero. “Emerson uses the word ‘ought’ as in that one ‘ought’ to be part of the human race, and because of that, we should be helpful wherever that help is needed.” Both Katherine and Frank embrace this spirit of giving. They’ve also sought to pass on that commitment to service to their family.

“We have three wonderful children and five equally wonderful grandchildren,” Katherine notes. “We’ve tried to teach them how fortunate they are, and that giving back is imperative—we’re proud to say that our kids have learned that lesson well.” And it’s not just the idea of wanting to help, but that the rewards for getting personally involved are often greater than those of simply writing a check. Just ask Katherine who not only serves on the board of Children First, but regularly helps out in classroom settings as a teacher’s aide. “Having those kids see me walk in and then they run up and give me a hug—it means more than anything to me.”

She also serves on the board of Selby Gardens, an organization that does so much for the community. “They really dodged a bullet last year with the hurricane,” she says, which is just one reason that she’s championing the drive to get their facilities upgraded and improved. “We have to turn away too many cars and visitors because the parking is not adequate.” The new upgraded buildings and storage facility will better protect the world-class collections and create a state-of-the-art botanical experience that our community deserves.

What brings it all together for the Martuccis is Gulf Coast Community Foundation, where they have a donor-advised fund. “Hermione Gilpin, our advisor there, is a terrific partner who both steers us in the right direction and helps make things happen,” says Frank. “We love working with her and GCCF almost as much as we love being part of the wonderful community that we now call home.”

To read the full article from Scene Magazine, please click here.