Beginning Fall 2023, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County will be renovating its headquarters at 2635 Fruitville Road. During the time that the 20-year-old facility is being updated, our team will continue to serve the community while maintaining a temporary office space in nearby downtown Sarasota at 1819 Main Street.
We anticipate returning to our home office in late Spring 2024.
Our headquarters opened nearly 20 years ago in 2004 thanks to a generous $2 million gift from former board member and board chair Leila Gompertz. Thanks to that gift, we have owned our building without any debt since its opening.
Over the past two decades our Community Foundation has grown from 10 employees and about $100 million in assets under management. Today we have 32 employees and nearly $500 million in assets under management. This renovation will allow us to operate more efficiently and ensure our facilities meet the needs of our team today, and long into the future.
While our team worked successfully in a remote environment during the COVID-19 pandemic, that time underscored that our success is based on relationships, both with our donors and nonprofit partners, but most importantly within our team. By intentionally building a culture of trust and respect through face-to-face relationships among team members, that trust grows outward and is transferred to everyone we work with.
The planning for additional space began in 2021 with the goal to gain more office space, providing an updated work environment for collaboration, communication, and overall facilities along with improving the donor and community members experience with our meeting rooms.
The original plan was to build an addition and make interior updates, but zoning requirements and discovery of other functional needs gave us the opportunity pause and reimagine the building within our current footprint. In the end, we feel this is a more responsible use of the space provided to use from Leila Gompertz, and our plan allows us to make updates to the building that will improve efficiencies in operating (e.g. energy improvements), as well as a better use of space for our operations.
Recognizing the renovation will go more quickly if we vacate the building and save costs, moving to a temporary location was a necessary decision. By transitioning to 1819 Main Street through a short-term sublease, we are ensuring our business continuity and maintaining our team’s strong relationships and service to donors and community partners continues.
This project has been approved and fully supported by our Board of Directors. Thanks to thoughtful management through the pandemic, operating surpluses for two years that came as a result of less external activities at that time were allocated for this project. At the same time, our long-term, prudent fiscal management policies guiding our operating reserves and administrative endowment will support this project, which does not require any financing. The costs of temporary operations and moving are also included in the project budget.
We will gain 14 new workspaces, expanding our capacity for up to 46 team members. The redesigned space will include three (3) new private conference rooms, three (3) internal team collaboration spaces, a coffee bar, expanded break room, two (2) improved patios and new carpet, ceilings, electrical, paint and other cosmetic updates throughout the building, while also greening the building where possible and other improvements.
We will continue to have a main meeting room for nonprofit trainings, public discussions and convenings and other programs.
We have hired DSDG Architects for interior design, led by principal Mark Sultana. After a competitive bidding process, Jon Swift Construction was chosen as general contractor. The Community Foundation’s interests in this project are being overseen by our agent Jenn Stutler of Stutler Strategies, Inc.