SARASOTA, Fla. – The Argus Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to joining business leaders from diverse industries and leveraging their talents and experience to benefit the community, recently recognized community leaders Michael Saunders, an honoree and past Argus Foundation president, and William Merrill Sr., a posthumous honoree, at its signature 15th annual Lifetime Achievement Awards banquet.
Over 375 attendees packed the Sarasota Hyatt Regency ballroom on Nov. 10 to pay homage to the local leaders. Saunders and Merrill join the other illustrious recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award – many of which were mentors and role models to many.
“My passion is making a difference,” said Saunders, addressing the crowd at the banquet. “For over 30 years, the Argus Foundation has done just that by forging public, private collaboration to make our community a better place.”
Michael Saunders runs the 47th largest real estate brokerage firm per dollar volume in the U.S. She is currently celebrating the 40th year of her real estate company, Michael Saunders & Company.
She has served on the boards of The Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, among many others.
William’s three sons, Mark, Robert and William, accepted the award on his behalf.
William Merrill, Sr. passed away in 2014. He had an enormous influence on shaping Sarasota’s legal community having served as president of the Sarasota Bar Association and developing some of our region’s biggest condominium complexes. Merrill was involved with some of the most important land sites in Sarasota County, including what is now the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, the former Sarasota Quay land and once co-owned the land that was purchased for the Mall at University Town Center.
He was a Shriner, a Mason, an Eagle Scout and a chairman of the Boy Scouts of America Troop 90. Merrill was a charter member and Elder at Church of The Palms.
Both award nominees share common values of a philanthropic spirit and dedication to the community and have left a lasting legacy on the region that exemplifies the philosophy of service to others.
Since 2002, the Argus Foundation’s Lifetime Achievement Awards has been an annual highlight for the organization, honoring business people of Sarasota like Saunders and Merrill who have made valuable contributions to the community throughout their lives. Past honorees include T. Mabry Carlton, John Cox, Fred Derr, Mary Francis Carol, Reverend Don Roberts and Dana Rollings, among others.
About The Argus Foundation
Established in Sarasota in 1983, The Argus Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to joining business leaders from diverse industries and leveraging their talents and experience to benefit the community. The organization, which seeks to facilitate communications between the public and private sectors, has more than 170 members from 50 different industries. For more information, visit ArgusFoundation.org.