CFSC approves $2.3 million in grants and scholarships for August-September
At its October meeting, the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County approved more than $2.3 million in grants and scholarships. This total included more than $250,000 for scholarships: $180,000 for adult learner, theater and performing arts, and certified nursing scholarships, and $73,000 for multi-year continuing college scholarships. Another $750,000 came from living and legacy donor charitable funds at the foundation.
Also included was $600,000 for distribution to nonprofit partners in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto Counties from the Season of Sharing Fund, which provides targeted financial assistance – primarily for rent or mortgage, or utilities – for individuals and families on the verge of homelessness. Although the fundraising for Season of Sharing takes place primarily from mid-November through January, nonprofits can apply for funding on behalf of clients throughout the year.
During this time period, grants totaling $168,000 were made for programming at Alta Vista Elementary School, where children are receiving year-round enrichment and parents have access to specialized career training and scholarships for in-demand careers. Inspired by the “two-generational approach” championed by Ascend of the Aspen Institute, the Community Foundation has focused attention on providing economic assistance and educational opportunities to move students and their parents forward in this economically-challenged community.
Also approved were grants in excess of $145,000 to All Faiths Food Bank, for needs including a new refrigerated truck for food delivery – this vehicle, funded through the Edward H. Lyman Fund, was dedicated on October 24 – and the restocking of high-quality foods in a freezer that malfunctioned.
“It was so fitting to provide such a significant level of support in September, as the community recognized ‘Hunger Action Month,’” said Community Foundation President and CEO Roxie Jerde. “Our Community Foundation – thanks to the generous donors to the Season of Sharing campaign – was privileged to be able to respond so quickly with support that enabled All Faiths to restock the freezer and continue its vital food distribution in Sarasota and DeSoto counties. All Faiths is truly a lifeline for the individuals and families who rely on the organization for food.”
Selah Freedom, an organization working on behalf of the victims of human sex trafficking, received $12,000 from the Margaret L. Bates Fund to support the Sexual Exploitation Residential Program within its first safe house in Sarasota. This home – which will be staffed 24 hours a day by trained coaches, clinicians and volunteers – is a haven to local women desperately needing a safe place to stay.
Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center (SPARCC) received $10,000 from the Margaret L. Bates Fund to provide funding for renovations to its Main Street Outreach Office to build a sexual assault forensic center within the facility.
The Englewood Elementary School received $15,000 from the Englewood Fund to support “The Eagle Enrichment Program.” This after-school program for children in kindergarten through fifth grade promotes academic success by providing homework assistance, technology training, physical fitness, accelerated reader classes, art and Spanish. When the program was supported by state and federal dollars, attendance ranged between 175-200 students. When that funding was cut and a “pay to stay” policy was implemented, the program suffered an attendance decline of over 50 percent: the majority of students who stopped attending could not afford the $7 daily fee. Community Foundation grant dollars will be used to support children on free/reduced lunch and to help attract matching money.
Girls, Inc. received nearly $25,000, including $22,000 for Project Santa’s Helper. This program, which the Community Foundation has now supported for three years, provides gifts and books for every child from approximately 100 families enrolled at Girls Inc. to help them have a happy holiday season.
Florida Studio Theatre received $30,000 from the John J. Clopine Fund to support the development of FST’s “For the Ages: A Cultural Gerontology Project.” Through this new initiative, a docudrama comprised of interviews with audience members and experts on the issues of aging will be created. This collaborative effort includes Embracing Our Differences, Senior Friendship Centers, Institute for the Ages, and Savvy Seniors.
Sarasota Season of Sculpture received $10,000, also from the John J. Clopine Fund, to support the 2014 exhibition on the Sarasota Bayfront. These funds will cover operational expenses related to this free and open-to-the-public event.