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Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Honors Sister Ann De Nicolo & the legacy of Louis and Gloria Flanzer at the 5th Annual Brims & Bow Ties event

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties hosted the 5th Annual Kentucky Derby Fundraiser: Brims & Bow Ties for the first time to carry on this special tradition in Arcadia. The Derby was held at the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club. The Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club is the organization’s sixth Club location and first site situated in DeSoto County.

Tom Shapiro, Board Vice President of Special Projects, and Sofia Gilot, Club Director, co-hosted the event. Dignitaries including County Commissioner Ashley Coone, City of Arcadia Mayor Keith Keene and Counsel Woman Judy Wertz-Strickland attended to support their local community and the impact Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counites has made within it.

The event honored two community champions, Sister Ann De Nicolo and the legacy of Louis and Gloria Flanzer, the Club’s namesake. The honorees were each presented with a Community Champion Award. The Community Champion Award is presented to those with a legacy of impact on local families through their service and their support. The first honoree, Sister Ann De Nicolo of the order Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, devoted her life to the service of others. In 2021, she retired from Catholic Charities, but continues to live out her order’s core values of freedom, education, charity and justice in the DeSoto Community.

The second award went to honor the lasting legacy of dedicated philanthropists, Louis and Gloria Flanzer. The late Louis and Gloria Flanzer were committed to helping strengthen families and communities. They established the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Trust in 2006, and their legacy continues through the work of Co-Trustees: Eric Kaplan and Dr. Dean Hautamaki.

With lead support from the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust, the Smith-Brown Recreation Center, located next to the current Club site, was transformed into the Peace River Citrus Products, Inc. Health & Fitness Center in 2019. This multi-purpose gymnasium was renovated to create a designated space for youth to participate in physical activities, project-based learning and enrichment programs that foster their personal development.

The evening would not have been possible if it wasn’t for the generous support of sponsors. Thank you to the Run for the Roses Sponsors: Louis and Gloria Flanzer Philanthropic Trust and The Mosaic Company. Millionaire’s Row Sponsors: Team Lippy’s BBQ, Mark and Kathy Morrison, Commissioner Ashley Coone, and Blistex. Triple Crown Sponsors: Alico Citrus, Crews Bank & Trust, Arcadia Centennial Lions Club, Peace River Citrus Products, Inc., DeSoto Memorial Hospital. Julep Sponsors: Lt. Quinn Jones for City Marshal, Wellpath Recovery Solutions, Judy WertzStrickland Arcadia City Council, Mayor Keith Keene, Sheriff Jim & Michelle Potter, Womack Sanitation. A special thank you to: The Sub Debs, Captivation Agency, Palm Printing, Suncoast Beverage, Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, Heather J Photography and Sights and Sounds.

All proceeds will go towards supporting the Louis and Gloria Flanzer Boys & Girls Club, including Club renovations and enhancing award-winning programs for Club members. The current Club building will be transformed into a Teen Center, where we will provide our Nationally-recognized teen programs, like STAR Leadership Training, Perlman- Price Young Entrepreneurs Program and the opportunity to learn trades such as Culinary Arts, Carpentry and Coding.


Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties have played an integral role in the lives of local youth for more than 50 years, providing daily programs and services to thousands of young people. The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens. 

The vision is to provide a world-class Club experience that assures success is within reach of every young person who walks through our doors, with all members on track to graduate from high school with a plan for the future, demonstrating good character and citizenship, and living a healthy lifestyle. For more information, visit or call 941-366-3911. 

To see additional media coverage, please visit the links below:

Herald Tribune

The Arcadian

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