By uniting people with organizations, we have created opportunities for families across generations.
For the past 40 years, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has created an environment where people can make charitable donations, knowing their gifts will be handled with care, supporting causes they desire to help. By uniting people with organizations, we have created opportunities for families across generations to improve their lives through cultural, educational, economic, and social support.
40 Years of Creating Community
First orchestrated by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council, a committee of volunteers helped formed our community foundation in 1979 to meet an increased need for an independent organization that could address the needs of the community and ensure charitable giving desire of donors were met.
In our first decade our volunteer leadership sought to improve the quality of life as the community saw needs appear by building connections and establishing priorities. As a young foundation, the primary goal was to fundraise and prove to the Sarasota community that the foundation was a trustful and reliable partner.
Once trust was established, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County became a trusted resource for the community, expanding our role from grantmaking to an organization that could bring others together to address larger community issues. Through a genuine sensitivity to community needs, we reflected a deeper culture of collaboration and, as this commitment expanded, the Community Foundation began uncovering and addressing deeper needs.
Once trust was established, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County became a trusted resource for the community.
Partnerships further connected the Foundation with opportunities to tackle even larger challenges, one of the most concerning being the threat of homelessness. In 2000, through the ingenuity of Diane McFarlin, former editor of the Herald-Tribune and a former board chair of our foundation, an idea based around helping families avoid homelessness grew into the Season of Sharing campaign, which continues today 20 years later. By providing funds to aid a variety of needs such as food vouchers, utility bills, and childcare, Season of Sharing resulted in deeper connections among nonprofit organizations to focus on homelessness prevention.
In recent years, the Community Foundation has ushered in a community-wide culture of philanthropy by taking new approaches to integrate charitable work.
Under the guidance of Roxie Jerde, the new President and CEO, the Foundation invited everyone to be a philanthropist through events like the Giving Challenge, which commenced in 2012.
With a continued focus on helping families, the Community Foundation has expanded its support for two-generation initiatives to new horizons, transforming donor vision into summer learning programs for both children and their parents. With enhanced collaborations all throughout our region, the Community Foundation has crafted special relationships that make our community — and its families — stronger.
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County will continue to evolve as the needs of the community and the hopes of our donors grow and change. Although the future is unwritten, the Community Foundation of Sarasota county is committed to loyally serving the community and fostering connections, and it will always strive for a better tomorrow for all.