Community Foundation of Sarasota County Honors “Unity Award” Winners with Grants that Support their Passions

Categories: Grants,

SARASOTA, FL – In honor of Sarasota Magazine’s 9th annual “Unity Awards” that celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion in our community, Community Foundation of Sarasota County has awarded grants from its President’s Fund to each of the non-profit organizations that this year’s award winners devote their time to.

The recipient organizations are:

  • The Dharma Footprint Project in honor of Claudia Baeza
  • Friendship Centers, Library Foundation of Sarasota County and Boys and Girls Club in honor of Bob and Pat Gussin
  • Asolo Repertory Theatre’s IllumiNation in honor of Mary Braxton Joseph
  • UnidosNow in honor of Hector Tejeda
  • Second Chance Last Opportunity in honor of April Glascow
  • Harvey Milk Festival in honor of Shannon Fortner
  • Manatee Special Olympics in honor of Pam Fazio
  • Florida Rights Restoration Coalition and Sarasota Chapter CAN Community Health in honor of Demetrius Jifunza

“Each Unity Award winner represents in their own unique way what we know is so terrific about our community – by helping others succeed and find hope, we all can make a difference in another person’s life, changing hearts and minds along the way,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation. “Thanks to Sarasota Magazine for the vision to recognize those extraordinary individuals in our community whose personal stories propel their passion into action for a better community.”

The awards were presented Tues., Feb. 19 at Michael’s On East in Sarasota and are profiled in the magazine’s February issue, which can be found online here.

“The Unity Awards shine a light on our diversity and the passion so many of us who live here have for bringing people together for the betterment of all who call our region home,” Jerde said.

The Unity Awards were first presented by Sarasota Magazine in 2010. The awards honor people who bridge divides, promoting respect, acceptance, cooperation and tolerance with a goal of equality among every racial, ethnic, religious, sexual orientation, ability and socioeconomic group.


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 more than 1,400 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.