Fifth grade students attending Southside Elementary in Sarasota will be participating in Junior Achievement’s “Biz Town” in the years ahead thanks to an annual $20,000 donation from Eric Baird of Baird Inc. and the Gail Baird Foundation. Both entities are fully underwriting the costs for ongoing student participation. The program introduces fifth graders to economic concepts, workplace skills, and personal and business finances in a student-sized town built just for them. They work together to create business plans, calculate operating costs, design a marketing campaign, apply for jobs, vote for city officials, and explore careers. During their time at JA BizTown, students operate a simulated economy and take on the challenge of running businesses as Biztown citizens.
“The Biztown field trip is super fun and the students learn all about economy in the real world. However, it is quite expensive so we are grateful for all of the support of both Eric Baird and the Gail Baird Foundation,” said Southside Principal Jennifer Nzeza, Ed.S. “In addition to Biztown, the funds go to support other activities including a field trip to Florida Studio Theater every year, tying in with the school’s mission that all our kids get exposure to arts.”
Baird’s $20,000 commitment annually to Southside Elementary began in 2016 for and will continue for ten years. Baird’s daughter, McKenzie, attended Southside and experienced BizTown during her time there. “The quality of education my daughter, McKenzie, received as a Southside student is a direct reflection of Southside’s staff,” said Baird. “My mother, Gail, would have been so proud to see many dozens of students grow in their learning through her donation.”
Founded in 2012, the Gail Baird Foundation’s mission is to support initiatives committed to researching, increasing awareness, and curing ovarian cancer while continuing Gail Baird’s efforts to provide opportunities for aspiring female entrepreneurs and enrich the lives of seniors and veterans. The Foundation strives to perpetuate Gail’s dreams, a never-give-up spirit, and empowerment to smile in the face of seemingly relentless adversity. For more information visit http://gailbairdfoundation.com