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SCOPE, which stands for Sarasota County Openly Plans for Excellence, has been around since 2001. It began as a community-wide process that brought the people of Sarasota County together to build a shared understanding of the qualities that make it a good place to live, work, and raise a family.

The idea for SCOPE emerged following a series of discussions among a broad-based group of Sarasota County residents concerned about the county’s future. After several informal meetings, a diverse group of community leaders came together to discuss the idea of undertaking a visioning or community goal-setting process.

A steering committee was formed, with initial support coming from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. Now many others, including local governments, United Ways, businesses, and individuals, are also supporting SCOPE.

Since it began SCOPE has:

  • Composed five annual Community Report Cards.
  • Introduced "People Count" in September 2003 and "People Count: Race and Ethnicity" in February 2005.
  • Produced Study Group reports on Affordable Housing, Traffic Flow and Congestion, Mental Health, School Dropout, Family Violence and Community Change: Redevelopment and Infill.
  • Created four "Stories Project" documentary films on issues of mental health, high school dropouts, family violence and redevelopment and infill.
  • Collaborated with Ringling School of Art students to create provocative illustrations for indicators from Community Report Card.

The following community activities are related to previous studies (specific study recommendations) and promoted by engaged community members:

  • Sarasota and Manatee Counties and the Florida Department of Transportation pursuing the development of an Intelligent Transportation System.
  • A two county discussion of regional transportation at the county commission level and the Metropolitan Planning Organization completion of a study examining the feasibility of a regional transit authority.
  • The Sarasota County Commission has created a community land trust and an affordable housing trust fund.
  • Sarasota City Commissioners developed incentive allowing increased density in return for developer contribution to affordable housing trust fund.
  • Sarasota County School District created full time administrative position to focus on dropout prevention.
  • United Way’s Success by Six and School Readiness Coalition partnering to develop a community strategy for early childhood issues.
  • Mentoring Task Force, led by County Commissioner Paul Mercier, adopted SCOPE Study Group recommendations and working with local organizations to implement them.
  • Suncoast Workforce Board groups working to make education more relevant to students goals through technical training, career planning, and partnerships with business.
  • Sarasota County government, along with contributions from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, created a full-time Mental Health Coordinator Position .
  • Community Alliance created a consortium to bring all service providers together and eliminate fragmentation in mental health services.
  • Crisis Intervention Team training teaching law enforcement to recognize and better handle people with mental illness. More than 100 officers completed training, with more classes scheduled in the future.

The Community Health Improvement Project (CHIP) has completed its two-year experiment in community-based health impact. Based on the SCOPE model of engagement and fact-based considerations, significant work has been accomplished in terms of better understanding the health issues facing our community.


Each year, SCOPE publishes an annual report to reflect on and share our activities in the preceding year. Here is a collection of SCOPE's annual reports for you to look back at what we have accomplished working together as a community:

> 2005 Annual Report (PDF)

> 2006 Annual Report (PDF)

> 2007 Annual Report (PDF)

SCOPE ~ 1226 North Tamiami Trail, Suite 202 ~ Sarasota, FL 34236 ~ (941) 365-8751~ Fax: (941) 365-8592

Photos courtesy of Kazuaki Nagata & PolaBran Summers