The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is thrilled to announce that the annual Season of Sharing campaign has reached new heights, breaking the $2 million mark. These funds will help more than 2,800 individuals in need to stay in their homes.
This year’s campaign, which launched the week of Thanksgiving, outpaced previous years, reaching the $1 million mark in early January. Also noteworthy was the speed at which The Patterson Foundation’s $500,000 match for new and increased gifts was reached. When campaign organizers met with area philanthropists Chuck and Margie Barancik – whose gift of $100,000 last year helped the community to meet the match – discussion centered on the possibility of aiming for a stretch goal of $2 million.
In mid-January, with the campaign standing at $1.6 million, the Baranciks pledged $150,000, to be activated when the community campaign reached $1.8 million. The Patterson Foundation agreed to match the $50,000 increase in the Baranciks’ gift. The campaign officially exceeded the $2 million mark the week of March 3.
“I am absolutely thrilled that this community has, once again, stepped up with incredible generosity to reach the $2 million goal,” said Herald-Tribune Media Group publisher Pat Dorsey. “I continue to be amazed at how this community always comes through to meet critical needs of our friends and neighbors. This is especially true when supporting programs that have proven to be efficient and effective, as has been done by the Season of Sharing program. We will now be able to help even more families that are struggling and close to losing safe housing.”
Season of Sharing prevents homelessness by providing targeted financial assistance of up to $1,000 (per family, per year) for crucial needs like rent or mortgage, utilities, and other expenses such as car repairs, child care, food vouchers and more. While most of the funds are raised around the holiday season, from November through January, assistance from the Season of Sharing Fund is available all year long through participating social service agencies for those in need in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Our nonprofit partners are critical in identifying those in need and administering the funds. They do this without any administrative fees – just like the rest of the partners – showing their caring and compassion and ensuring more families on the brink are able to stay in their homes.
A significant feature of Season of Sharing is that none of the participating organizations take any fees or receive reimbursements for overhead expenses related to the Season of Sharing campaign – 100% of all donations go to direct assistance for families at risk of homelessness.
The campaign has been a success thanks to the generosity of thousands of donors and numerous businesses throughout the community. More than 130 businesses contributed gifts ranging from $15 to $7,500, resulting in nearly $43,000 in Season of Sharing contributions. Of the nearly 3,700 gifts to Season of Sharing, 70% are $100 or less – gifts of less than $100 make up nearly 10% of the total fundraising total. The Season of Sharing campaign proves that everyone can be a philanthropist, and every gift makes a difference.
“How exciting it is for the Season of Sharing campaign to reach such incredible new heights,” said Community Foundation of Sarasota County president and CEO Roxie Jerde. “Because of this community’s giving spirit and heart, thousands of area residents at risk of homelessness will be able to stay in their homes. Big thanks go to the Baranciks for stepping up, for motivating others to give and for believing that there is no goal our community can’t reach if we come together around a worthy cause. And another loud ‘shout out’ to The Patterson Foundation and its inspiring contributions that have encouraged continued and increased giving.”
The Patterson Foundation, which has willingly and happily exceeded its match limit for new and increased gifts for several years (contributing $540,000 in 2012 and $555,000 last year) will be matching a whopping $632,000 this year.
"When we began our support of Season of Sharing in 2009, we knew our caring region would rise to the occasion to meet our dollar-for-dollar matching challenge to help families on the verge of homelessness," said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. "Each year, generous people have stepped up to surpass our expectations. We believe we live in one of the most generous places in the nation – this milestone proves it yet again."
Season of Sharing, now in its 14th year of raising emergency funds, is a partnership of the Herald-Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Since 2000, more than $11 million has been raised to prevent homelessness.
The partnership is enhanced by a collaboration of media partners that have joined to spread the word, spurred to action by the urgency of the times. Collaborative partners include the Bradenton Herald, Brighthouse Networks, Clear Channel, Sarasota Magazine and Biz941, SNN Local News, WWSB ABC 7 and the One to One Group.
“We can not thank our media partners enough,” Jerde added. “The donations of column inches and airtime by the Herald-Tribune and the other collaborating partners were critical in informing the community of the need, and engaging new supporters in the cause.”