Community Foundation of Sarasota County Announces Leadership Promotions

Categories: Grants, Leadership, Two-Generation Approach,

SARASOTA, FL – The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has promoted two internal team members to key leadership roles that help guide its community impact strategy and nonprofit partnerships.

Kirsten Russell

Kirsten Russell has been appointed Vice President of Community Impact. Russell has supported and guided the foundation’s two-generation focus on investing in families for the past five years, building relationships across sectors. In this expanded role Russell will assess community needs and determine high impact initiatives to strategically lead the foundation’s initiatives that improve the quality of life for area residents.

Abigail Oakes has been promoted to Director of Community Impact. Oakes previously served as Manager of Nonprofit Services, notably leading the highly-successful efforts supporting transparency in charitable giving through The Giving Partner and The Giving Challenge. In addition to these important projects, Oakes will also refine systems to better serve the foundation’s nonprofit partners, both through grants and connecting data across sectors to guide investment resources.

“We have an amazingly talented team made of people who are passionate about the role philanthropy plays in building the community we all want to live in,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “I’m impressed by the loyalty and commitment Kirsten and Abigail have for our donors, nonprofit partners and the greater community with their laser focus on results for impact. The knowledge they both will bring to these new roles will add to our ability to be an even more effective partner for positive change.”

The two new positions also allow for a smooth transition of key responsibilities with the retirement of longtime and valued team member Patricia Martin, Director of Grants and Scholarships, who has announced her retirement effective June 30, 2019 after 12 years with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

“Patricia has been an incredible member of our foundation family and we are going to miss her very much,” Jerde said. “Thankfully she is here to help oversee this transition with Kirsten and Abigail taking on their expanded leadership roles that are key to our mission of powering community impact through philanthropy.”

Last year the Community Foundation proudly awarded more than $34.3 million in grants – including $2 million in scholarships – from nearly 1,500 individual funds in diverse fields such as arts and culture, animals and environment, civic engagement, education and human services. In the last five years the Community Foundation’s assets have grown by $119 million thanks to our generous and caring donors. Across the foundation’s nearly 40-year history, more than $251 million has been granted in support of strengthening our community.


About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of over $398 million in nearly 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $34 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. For more information, visit or call (941) 955-3000.