Tidewell Foundation, Inc., an independent charitable foundation exists to sustain wellness programs and services provided through the not-for-profit mission of Tidewell Hospice. In order to continue its philanthropic strides, the foundation recently partnered with local handbag atelier, BSWANKY. Founded by designer Gretchen Bauer in Sarasota, BSWANKY created a luxury handbag collection to support Tidewell's Blue Butterfly Family Grief Centers. Blue Butterfly, launched in 2018, remains the only evidence-based program in the region that helps grieving individuals through professional counseling, peer-support groups and therapeutic activities. “Blue Butterfly offers a safe and caring environment for children, teens and caregivers to connect with others and grieve in a way that makes them feel supported,&rdq uo; says Tidewell President and CEO Jonathan Fleece. “Thanks to the generosity of donors, Tidewell is able to offer these services at no cost and we are incredibly grateful for that.” Therapy and bereavement services remain completely donor-supported and available for free to community members, in addition to its hospice patients and their families.
According to the foundation, each year, more than 8,000 children in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties experience the loss of a parent—increasing their risk of struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues. Inspired by the personal stories of children and families apart of the Blue Butterfly program, Bauer jumped on board with the common belief that no child should ever grieve a lost loved one alone. Creating a give-back collection, dubbed Sofita Mariposa (mariposa translates to butterfly in Spanish), each honey-colored heritage leather handbag comes hand-painted by Dallas-based artist Cherie Fruehan. Fruehan donated her services to hand-paint each one-of-a-kind, luxury bag to represent the Blue Butterfly program. Much like its namesake, the partnered Mariposa collection was created by the two women to symbolize hope and life—truly making this fashion accessory an emotive, meaningful piece of art. “At BSWANKY, we empower people through fashion,” says Bauer, “whether they are the women handcrafting or carrying our luxury handbags, or the community we give back to with initiatives like these.”
Fifteen percent of the total sale of each Mariposa handbag, and one hundred percent of the total sale of each Sapphire Mariposa BSWANKY keychain, will be donated to the Tidewell Foundation to fund the Blue Butterfly Family Grief Centers and programs. "We hope that with the sale of these limited-edition luxury handbags we can help women and children alike to spread their wings."
Sofita Mariposa recently launched on August 25, and has already been included in PURSEonality: A Stylish Handbag History exhibit curated by Ilene Wood. The collection, along with three other artisan BSWANKY handbags, will be on display at the Historic Bethlehem Museum in Pennsylvania, until it moves down to Coral Gables Museum this fall for Floridians to visit from September 15, 2020 - January 15, 2021.