COVID-19 Response

Categories: COMMUNITY CARE: Emergency Needs & Disaster Relief, Leadership, Season of Sharing,

(Updated 10:00 a.m., 3/23/20)

Dear Friends,

The changes taking place in our community and across the world in response to coronavirus are happening rapidly and can be overwhelming. At the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we are fortunate to be part of a caring, generous, and resilient community. The health and safety of our partners, staff, neighbors and community is always our top priority.

Following are updates on steps we are taking to address any impact Covid-19 may have on upcoming events, activities, and operations. We will provide additional updates and recommendations as necessary in the coming days and weeks via email, our website, and social media.

What to do now

What we can do now is be informed and prepared. We encourage all of our friends to closely monitor updates and review valuable health and safety resources from the The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the Florida Department of Health, as well as local health departments. We will continue to monitor local updates from Sarasota County Government, and area school systems.

Find Community Resources and Help.

Preparing for what comes next

Together, our community and country are facing an unprecedented pandemic. While the circumstances are evolving and we are facing the unknown, as a community foundation, we exist to serve our community, especially in times of critical need.

As an initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are relying on the time-tested and trusted Season of Sharing partnership with the Herald Tribune Media Group and our multiple nonprofit agencies to help the most vulnerable individuals and families with immediate basic needs such as payments for utilities, childcare and rent. Even in regular times, Season of Sharing is vital to many in our community, and we are fortunate to have it to help in addition to the government and private measures being developed.

As a response to this crisis and to bolster Season of Sharing funds, our longtime partner, The Patterson Foundation, has committed up to $1 million to strengthen this important safety net. The commitment includes an immediate $500,000 contribution, along with an additional dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000.

In times like this, philanthropy can truly shine, and we appreciate every gift of any size that can be made at this time to help our friends and neighbors.

Please make a gift to Season of Sharing today.

Request help through Season of Sharing

Nonprofit Support

To support local nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in short-term response and longer-term recovery, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has several grant funds available.

We anticipate multiple phases of funding and are collaborating with other local foundations to learn about different community needs. Together, our organizations will coordinate resources to further support the changing government and private measures that are being developed.

In addition to Season of Sharing, current grant funds available (as of 3/19/20) include:

  • Community Impact Grants. Rolling grant cycles for requests up to $10,000 are reviewed regularly with an online, streamlined application.
  • Healthcare Grants. Healthcare grants are available through support from the James Franklin Warnell & Dorothy J. Warnell Fund. Applications are open through May 1, 2020.
  • Giving Challenge 2020. The Giving Challenge remains scheduled April 28-29, as it is first and foremost an online giving event, and the unrestricted funds to be raised during the campaign provide our nonprofit partners the flexibility to respond to community needs, especially as those needs evolve and change.

Grant Opportunites Available

If there are opportunities to assist organizations that work with affected people, families and industries, or we learn of specific needs for our community, we will share those updates here.

Nonprofit Need Assessment & COVID-19 Survey:

Local Foundations are currently gathering information to better understand needs of social service organizations and nonprofits during the COVID-19 virus pandemic. Please have the appropriate leader at your organization respond to this 19-question survey by Monday, March 30. Only ONE person per organization should respond. Your time will help us inform the community.

If you work with or for a nonprofit organization and you identify an increased need in your services because of COVID-19, or your operations are significantly impacted by the virus, please let us know.

We appreciate the generosity of our community now, and always. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is committed to a healthy and resilient community where we all can thrive.

Thank you for your support, strength, generosity, and resiliency, and for being one of many to care for our friends and neighbors.

With gratitude,

Roxie Jerde
President & CEO


ACCESS TO OUR OFFICES

We will be following recommendations from public health officials related to social distancing. Our staff remain accessible and we continue to process grants, contributions and distributions regularly, and we are communicating with our nonprofit partners to assess the needs of our community as we move through this emergency situation. The majority of our team began working remotely beginning March 16. Our main phone number, 941-955-3000, will be answered as normal from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

We will review this policy on a daily basis following guidelines from the State, CDC and the Sarasota County Health Department and share updates as needed.

GRANTS

Contribution processing, grants processing and distributions will continue.

Any grants submitted to the Community Foundation by fundholders via the online Donor Central portal will be processed and mailed out weekly as regularly scheduled.

To support local nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in short-term response and longer-term recovery, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has several grant funds available.

We anticipate multiple phases of funding and are collaborating with other local foundations to learn about different community needs. Together, our organizations will coordinate resources to further support the changing government and private measures that are being developed.

In addition to Season of Sharing, current grant funds available (as of 3/20/20) include:

  • Community Impact Grants. Rolling grant cycles for requests up to $10,000 are reviewed regularly with an online, streamlined application.
  • Healthcare Grants. Healthcare grants are available through support from the James Franklin Warnell & Dorothy J. Warnell Fund. Applications are open through May 1, 2020.
  • Giving Challenge 2020. The Giving Challenge remains scheduled April 28-29, as it is first and foremost an online giving event, and the unrestricted funds to be raised during the campaign provide our nonprofit partners the flexibility to respond to community needs, especially as those needs evolve and change.

Grant Opportunites Available

NONPROFIT TRAININGS

We are in the process of transitioning workshops from in-person events to virtual webinar formats. More information will be shared when available on our "Events" page.

However, our upcoming March 26th Nonprofit Training – “Documenting the Day” – has been cancelled and, at this time, will not be rescheduled. For those looking for digital resources to use for the 2020 Giving Challenge, visit the nonprofit toolkit on the Giving Challenge website. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

While we understand that many attendees were looking forward to learning how to maximize their campaigns for the 2020 Giving Challenge, there is still an opportunity to learn how to do so. From 2-3 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31, we will be hosting an online webinar about the “Final Steps to Success for the Giving Challenge.” In this webinar, we’ll go over last-minute tips and best practices to engage with your supporters and be successful during the 24-hours of the Giving Challenge. The Giving Challenge team will also be available to answer any and all of your questions.

The important thing is: there’s still plenty of time to make sure your online Giving Challenge campaign is ready to go! Register for the March 31 Webinar today. If you cannot watch the live webinar, don’t worry: we will be recording the webinar and posting it on the Community Foundation and Giving Challenge websites on April 1.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation throughout the 2020 Giving Challenge. We hope to see you for our March 31 Webinar.

ROOM USAGE

We are canceling all scheduled room reservations of our training and conference rooms through April 17, effective immediately. Any organization that has scheduled use of any of our office spaces for the remainder of March and April will be notified directly via phone and/or email by close of business on Friday, March 13. We apologize for any inconvenience and will work to reschedule dates on a case-by-case basis.

FUNDHOLDERS & DONORS: INVESTMENTS PERFORMANCE

As global markets continue to experience volatility we want to assure fundholders and nonprofit endowment partners that the Community Foundation focuses on making investments with an eye towards the long-term and sustaining the wellbeing of our region.

Our Investment Committee, comprised of seasoned finance professionals, will continue to monitor our investments in the days and weeks ahead.

About Author

Roxie Jerde

President and CEO