“2015 has been a breakthrough year for iTNSunCoast in serving the Greater Sarasota area”, according to Arthur Lerman, its Executive Director. “We have expanded our service area, changed our name, significantly increased the number of rides we are providing, and reduced our charge per ride by nearly 50%. We have also developed new relationships that increase the opportunities for people to stay active in the community after they decide that driving themselves is neither safe nor sensible.”
iTNSunCoast is a local non-profit organization that provides rides to people 65 and older and adults of any age with vision impairments. Rides are provided for any reason on any day at any time within the area from Bradenton to Englewood, including Longboat Key. iTN, which stands for Independent Transportation Network, relies mostly on volunteer drivers. “We do use paid drivers to complement our volunteers when we have more ride requests than we can fulfill using volunteers exclusively”, says Lerman. “We are always in need of more volunteers.”
In addition to the achievements noted previously, iTNSunCoast signed a ride services agreement with Alderman Oaks (a retirement residence in Sarasota), participated in “Age Friendly Sarasota” community discussions, made a presentation to the residents of The Pines assisted living program, expanded the Road Scholarship Program that provides rides at reduced rates for individuals on limited incomes, conducted a pilot project of reduced cost rides for residents of The Jefferson Center, and is working with the arts and cultural community to provide rides to performances and events. “iTNSunCoast is doing everything we can, given our limited resources, to provide area residents, particularly those in their 80s and 90s, with transportation for necessities, fun, and enrichment regardless of their ability to pay”, says Executive Director Lerman.
iTNSunCoast is different from other transportation providers in the area. Rides are provided mostly by volunteers using their own vehicles. All drivers are screened and trained. The drivers provide whatever support an individual needs to get from their home to the vehicle and from the vehicle to their destination. In addition, the rates charged by iTNSunCoast are significantly less than many other transportation options.
“On behalf of the iTNSunCoast riders, Board of Directors and staff, we wish our volunteers, supporters and the entire Greater Sarasota community very Happy Holidays” said Lerman. “Thank you for making 2015 so successful and we look forward to reaching new heights in 2016”.
A more complete list of iTNSunCoast’s 2015 achievements follows.
For more information, contact Arthur Lerman, Executive Director, iTNSunCoast, at 941-364-7530.
2015 iTNSunCoast Accomplishments
- Increased the number of rides provided fourfold to over 500 rides per month
- Expanded our service area to extend from Bradenton to Englewood
- Changed our name to iTNSunCoast to reflect our expanded service area
- Reduced our rates by 50% to make our rides affordable for more residents
- Expanded our Road Scholarship Program that provides rides at reduced rates to individuals on limited incomes and initiated a pilot project at the Jefferson Center
- Signed Ride Services Agreements with 2 two assisted living facilities: Alderman Oaks and Horizon Bay Sarasota
- Partnering with Florida Studio Theater and other arts/cultural venues to offer “Your Ride to the Arts”
- Working with Florida Studio Theater on their PEOPLE’S PROJECT (an initiative to find and tell the stories of our community BACK to our community), which is developing new plays about what it really means to “age”
- Participating in “Age Friendly Sarasota” community discussions on meeting transportation needs and distributed copies of their community survey
- Continued to coordinate efforts with Lighthouse of Manasota
- Expanded our number of volunteer drivers
- Added new members to our Board of Directors and Advisory Council
- Received grants from a number of foundations
- Raised $6,000 during the 2015 Giving Challenge
- Received 3 car donations
- Held our First Annual Non-Event Event Fundraiser