Annual Report 2013-2014


Like tending a garden, your support helps bring our mission to real, messy, creative, beautiful life every day.


Thank you for helping us grow a community where children and families can play, create and explore the natural world together. Donations to Sunflower’s Operating Fund provide training for our teachers, and supplies and administrative support for our programs. Your gifts help keep our garden green, our swings swinging and our cabinets stocked with paint, clay, glitter, glue and costumes. Donations to the Sunflower Scholarship Fund ensure that even more families can share in the experience.
  Plant a seed in fertile soil. Last year, more than 160 families participated in Sunflower’s programs, including Sunflower Babies, Roots & Shoots club, and Share & Learn playdates, offered free to the community. Over 500 people attended our annual Ice Castle Festival & Play Day– the largest turnout ever for this free community event. Your participation in Ice Castle and Roots & Shoots International Day of Peace Celebration, our other free annual event– including over 400 volunteer hours– brought Sunflower’s playful and supportive community to a larger audience, planting even more seeds to sprout and bloom. Your support allowed our Seedlings early childhood program to grow by leaps and bounds, sprouting of a new program to compliment it, Little Seedlings. Both programs educate children along with their parents, creating a ripple efect throughout their lives. Parents learn effective communication skills and fundamentals of early childhood development, and gain the tools they need to confidently be the parents they want to be. Last year, over 140 families were served in our parent/child classes and parenting workshops.

Little Seedlings takes root

In May, we started our newest parent/child program, Little Seedlings (for ages 2-3), to fill a community need. Based on the same values as our longest running, most successful Seedlings program, Little Seedlings acts as a bridge for children (and parents) as they find their way from shorter mommy & me programs like Little Sprouts, to longer, more independent play in Seedlings. Growing from parents who asked for a program to fit this in-between stage, we’re thrilled at how it’s already become a cornerstone of what we do.

Tend it with water and love. Last winter, two Seedlings moms had an idea: what if we had a Game Night fundraiser? Their brainstorm made possible a welcome shower of donations for Sunflower. Thanks to these and many other Seedlings parents’ work and donations, our 2014 Adult Game Night brought together Sunflower and non-Sunflower families for the lively game of Pit, a Silent Auction featuring nearly 30 bidding packages, and delicious food and drinks– a night that resulted in Sunflower’s most successful fundraiser in our history! Proceeds from the Adult Game Night fundraiser benefitted Sunflower’s Operating Fund.
Special thanks to Game Night hostess, Kelly McMahon (in photo, right, with Susan Caruso), as well as party planners Courtney Salamone, Cherrise Pawlak, and Teri Brick. Their many volunteer hours, creativity and enthusiasm are the reason the spring fundraiser was such a success.

!Kelly and Susan

Growing the Sunflower Scholarship Fund

Sunflower has always offered a limited amount of need-based scholarships. Last year, for the first time, we established a dedicated Scholarship Fund to ensure our programs remain affordable and available to even more members of the community.

And you helped us grow it! Your generous donations– through the GREAT GIVE online fundraiser, Golden Ticket Raffle and elsewhere– helped raise over $8,000 for our next generation of Seedlings, Little Sprouts, Shakespeare Players and Circle singers. We thank you for helping plant the seeds for more joy, wonder, exploration and play in the lives of children. Special thanks to Helen Rockberger and Andrew Ammerman for their generous lead gifts.

I knew this was a special place from the minute my son and I walked through the gate. Sunflower is a safe place for children– and parents– to experiment, learn, succeed, fail and grow.

Lori M.

Seedlings Parent

And a whole lot of sunshine! Last spring we started the Sunflower Ambassadors Program, a parent volunteer corps that spreads the word about Sunflower family to family. We thank our awesome Ambassadors for their sunny enthusiasm in helping market and grow Sunflower’s programs. A big thank you to our unofficial ambassadors too–everyone who’s spread the Sunflower love as a friend, online follower, guest blog writer, Meetup member or playdate coordinator. We see what you’re doing! Your love and willingness to share Sunflower with your social networks means the world to us.  


In the Sunshine: Spotlight on Callie Bosch, Sunflower Ambassador Why did you choose to be a Sunflower Ambassador? I was eager to share what “play-based” really means. Also, being a part of Sunflower makes me feel like I have an extended family, and I want to expand the family even further!


   Why do you love Sunflower? At Sunflower, learning is organic. Today my son (age 3.5) wanted to go on an airplane. We decided that we needed tickets so I gave him paper and crayons to make some. He sat down and drew a circle. No one taught him how to draw a circle, but perhaps when he was dragging a hose through the sand, when he was sliding his finger through some shaving cream, or spinning on a tire swing, he learned about circles. Sunflower allows you to slow down and observe the miracle of development, without pressure, without judgment. Just a lot of love and a lot of play!

Ambassadors are parent volunteers who spread the word about Sunflower family to family. Interested? Contact us to join

Spreading our roots This is truly your Sunflower, and last year you helped gain visibility and grow our community in unprecedented ways. Here’s one: In April, Sunflower was named Educational Program of the Year by Florida Atlantic University’s Pine Jog Environmental Education Center for our commitment to teaching environmental values and  sustainability. Sunflower’s programs have always been nature-focused and green– but we truly couldn’t bring these values to life without the participation of our families. Thank you!






Program $134,633 Donations & Fundraising $45,938 Total Operating Income $180,571


(including scholarships*) 

Program $134,372 Administration $31,449 Fundraising $14,684 Total Operating Expenses $180,505

leaf charts

Full financials available upon request. *Sunflower awarded $8,800 in need-based scholarships during 2013-2014. Scholarships were recorded as part of Program Expenses. In 2014-2015 they will be represented as a separate Scholarship Fund.

2013-2014 DONORS (Operating Fund and Scholarship Fund)

Many thanks to these generous gardeners whose

contributions helped Sunflower grow over the past year.

*Donors for fiscal year 2013-2014. Please let us know if we accidentally excluded anyone.

Andrew Ammerman Amy and Edgar An Cindy and Rich Andresen Anonymous (3) June Backer/Nationwide Interpreter Resource, Inc. Sharon and Scott Baker Patty and Bob Bender Susan Berkowitz-Schwartz and Elliott Schwartz Vanessa and Fred Boltz Callie and Matthew Bosch Lauren and Jonathan Bowne Tracy Branning Matthew Buchholz Mij Byram Mary and Bob Cadwell Susan Caruso Karyn and Richard Conrath Cecilia and Brian Dan Diana Davidson Colleen Dicarlo Joyce Doppelt Susan and David Dubbin Stephanie and Aubrey Dunham Wynna and Gary Dunmyer Merriah Fairchild Claudia and Justin Fisher Devra Gerber Lisa and Michael Glas Elaine and Walter Gordon Victoria and Vince Green Jaime and Brett Greenberg Margaret and William Greenfield

Maris Hayashi and Jim Tracey Cindy Hirsch Elisabeth Hofman Astrea Hupfel Angela and Dante Ionata Shelia James Ethan Jones Junior League of Boca Raton Lauren and Roger Kalina Jill Kay and Stefano Papaleo Judy and Jefrey Keiser Julie Kelly and Barry Goldman Allison and Gregory Koslowski Doug Koval Elisa and Alan Leavitt Tayler Mariner and Martin Lee Jennifer and George Ligeti Martin Lipschultz Melissa and Jay Livingston (gift in memory of Karen Blair) Pam and Jef Lucia (gift in memory of Bob Hirsch and the Hirsch Family) Crystal and Mike MacLean Christine and Bob Manze Joy McClellan Lora Peers McCoy Meade Peers McCoy Saskia Meckman and Fares Khalidi Maria and Gian-Paolo Melis Carolyn and Mark Miller Natalie and Rob Mitchell Mia and James Moore Ginny Moro

Lillian Murray Stacy and Ronald Muzii Keith O’Donnell Janine and Jared Opper (gift in memory of Edris Ferguson) Gary Peters Viji Ranganathan Judith and Murray Rapaport Mr. and Mrs. Owen J. Rheingold Jessica Rinaldi Helen Rockberger Mercy Romero Jamie Saccullo Lia Schultz Sue and Bob Shattuck (gift in honor of Sofia and Dahlia Charbonneau) Tanya and Jason Shattuck Sneiderman Family (gift in honor of Play) Ellen and Marshall Stone Dorota Szladewska and Ernesto Salas Claire and Michael Teller Brandi and Kel Thompson Tracy Tilson Laux Shannon Tracey and Peter Jarausch Maria and Manuel Vergara Erika and Victor Villalobos Connie Walters Janice Watson Daria Wels and Daniel McNalis Lisa and Jim Wheeler Kimberly and Steve Wilde Sylvia Winsberg and Mike Jameson

New connections are sprouting up everywhere!

Over 100 new families joined our community through the Sunflower Meetup group. We surpassed 1,200 followers on Facebook, and this Sunflower Facebook post was shared 106 times and has been seen by over 6,748 people in at least 14 countries around the world!

We need to look at learning

A HOME FOR SUNFLOWER – Capital Campaign 

From full classes with wait lists, to increased visibility in both the local community and the world of early childhood education, we’ve been expanding our reach. And we intend to keep growing– to better serve local families and act as strong advocates for Play, Nature, and the Arts for years to come.

Last year we began the first stages of a journey to find a new home for Sunflower, including a Capital Campaign to fund that home. Like all journeys worth taking, the beginning of our quest was filled with challenges and surprises, but it also was filled with an outpouring of love and dedication from the Sunflower community that was beautiful to behold.

Capital Income to date $113,973 

Thank you to everyone who stepped forward to support Sunflower last year as we embarked on the much-needed next step in our organizational development. Together we raised over $113,000 towards a Home for Sunflower. Note: Capital expenses, below, include campaign website and materials, staff time and preliminary real estate expenses.

Capital Expenses to date $16,112


Amy and Edgar An Keith Backer Sharon and Scott Baker Jill and Walter Baum Stacy Brown and Steve Goldner Mike Budd Ileen P. Carter Angelo Caruso Steven Caruso Susan Caruso Danielle Casale Carlee Cohen and Jeremy Barr Mary L. Cohn Kerri and Steve Deitsch Suzanne Deutch Dockerty Romer & Co Stephanie and Aubrey Dunham Wynna and Gary Dunmyer Dionne Ekendiz Lisa and Michael Glas Connie and Barry Gluck Margaret and William Greenfield

Kristin Harkness Astrea Hupfel Rosemary Justice Patricia and Paul Kilgallon Candy and Martin Kopczak Le Petit Prince Jennifer and George Ligeti Martin Lipschultz Tayler Mariner and Martin Lee Lora and Jim McCoy Nationwide Interpreter Resource, Inc Virginia Perez Evan Phalon Ami Polonsky Helena Redman Emma Risley and Scott Schereschewsky Sharon Rosenthal and Roy Trachtenberg Sue and Bob Shattuck Ellen and Marshall Stone Dorota Szladewska and Ernesto Salas

We are grateful to the following individuals for their services, advice and guidance:

Edgar An Calisha Anderson, CaliBrand Consulting Teri Brick, Sunflower Ambassador Gary Dunmyer Bill Epstein, William L. Epstein Pa Terrence Glassman John Glidden, GliddenSpina + Partners Brett Greenberg Cindy Hirsch Elisabeth Hofman Hari Kalva Chad Kenney, BB&T Paul Kilgallon

Kyle Kuhlman George Ligeti Jim McGinn, Leighton McGinn Lillian Murray, Sunflower Ambassador Keith O’Donnell, Avison Young Diane Paez, Lang Realty Tom and Michele Peel Lucia Ramos Randy Reinas, Compass Commercial Mortgage, Inc. Elliot Schwartz Joe Snider Alan Sperling Michael Woody, Bank United

Thank you to all our donors, supporters and friends.

Please let us know if we accidentally excluded anyone from these lists. 


A home for family For 22 years, Sunflower has been a home away from home for families, a loving community where kids have the freedom to be kids and adults are supported as they define their own parenting styles. Sunflower’s programs nurture both children and parents, making a lasting difference for entire families. A home for learning At Sunflower learning for all ages takes place within the context of Community, through hands-on experiences in Play, Nature and the Arts. Our programs form a basis, not only for children’s future academic success, but also for their growth into whole, healthy human beings. A home for childhood At Sunflower we are advocates for children. We give them opportunities to be heard, to learn—and to just be kids. Our programs set the stage for the development of social emotional intelligence, imagination, problem-solving skills, innovative thinking and the creativity needed to successfully lead future generations A home for Sunflower Sunflower’s growth in numbers and in personal impact has been truly phenomenal. Unfortunately we physically cannot grow any more in our current location. Our waiting lists are full, and we are bursting at the seams. A new home will allow us to blossom into a year-round facility to meet the needs of many more families in our community, as well as further expand our outreach and advocacy efforts.

Capital Campaign


  Sunflower’s future depends on you. Your generous donation will enable us to buy a building—a real home for years to come. Families tell us they desperately need the programs we provide. We imagine a future in which all children have access to the benefits of Play, Nature and the Arts. But that future isn’t possible without your help. Please contact us to learn how you can make a donation to Sunflower’s Capital Campaign. We’ve come a long way, and we’ve touched countless lives. Imagine how much further we can go with your support!


Help Sunflower blossom

Three ways you can help: Tell your friends Like us on Facebook and ask your friends to like us too. Join the Sunflower Ambassadors program. Contact us to learn more. Volunteer An hour a week or an hour a year, we need your help! Contact us to find a match for your skills and our needs. Donate Consider a first-time financial gift or an increase to your giving. Give online:   Our youngest We Love Shakespeare! players (ages 8-13) joined Sunflower’s Teen Shakespeare Intensive in a free community performance of “Macbeth” at Mizner Park Cultural Arts Center in Boca Raton last January.


Ensure that children get the gift of Play, Nature and the Arts!

Board Members  Jennifer Ligeti, President Susan Dubbin, Secretary Tayler Mariner, Treasurer Edgar An Bill Epstein Elisabeth Hoffman Lora Peers McCoy Susan Caruso, Director


  Sunflower Creative Arts, Inc. is a 501c3 organization, which provides its services and benefits to children and families without regard to race, color, nationality, religion, gender or ethnic origin.

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