Double your nonprofit donation; Patterson Foundation to match $25-$100 gifts

Categories: Stories of Impact, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Uniting Community, Giving Challenge,

This year's 24-hour online Giving Challenge is off to a record-setting start well before the clock strikes noon Tuesday - with more than a half-million dollars already committed to help hundreds of nonprofits In Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.

The 2024 Giving Challenge, hosted by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, runs from noon Tuesday to noon on Wednesday.

During the challenge, every donation of $25-$100 to the nonprofit agencies participating will be matched - dollar for dollar - by The Patterson Foundation.

Even before it starts, three funders have followed the lead of longtime community philanthropists Joe and Mary Kay Henson in joining what Giving Challenge organizers unofficially call the "100 Percent Club."

That means they have pledged $100 to each of this year's 725 participants - nonprofits whose causes range from food stability and human services to the environment, animal welfare and cultural institutions.

In addition to the Hensons - who are participating in the "100 Percent Club" for the second time - these funders are the Frank G. Berlin Fund; the H. Gladstone McKeon Trust; and the Sarah Greer Mayer Fund.

Thanks to the match from The Patterson Foundation, the $100 donations from these philanthropists will turn from $290,000 into $580,000 - the highest start to the Giving Challenge since it began in 2012.

"These generous gifts are a testament to the important work that our nonprofit partners undertake every day to make our community one where everyone has opportunities to thrive," said Roxie Jerde, the Community Foundation's President and CEO. "We didn't realize just how much impact this match could have - the Hensons have shown us the possibilities are truly limitless, and it is heartening to see others step up to join."

Since 2012, the Giving Challenge has raised $75 million in unrestricted funding for hundreds of nonprofits, which can spend the funds wherever they determine to be the greatest need - whether it is on personnel, supplies, or programming for the thousands of area residents they serve.

Nonprofit organizations that participate in the Giving Challenge do so by registering in what's called The Giving Partner - a searchable online database that includes information on agencies' missions, impact, leadership and financials.

The Giving Partner provides potential donors the ability to search for nonprofits that work on causes close to their hearts while offering transparency. The Hensons say this setup - coordinated by the Community Foundation - brings assurance to donors like them that they are contributing to well-qualified agencies. The chance to double the impact of their gift is also very attractive.

"We are thrilled to spearhead the '100 Percent Club,' and encourage others to join us to expand the club even further," Joe Henson said. "These dollars can create transformative change in our community and there's really no better vehicle for impact than the Giving Challenge because of the incredible matching opportunity."

In addition to The Patterson Foundation's match, many of the participating nonprofits have developed their own additional matching funds, as well as creative mini-challenges and outreach campaigns - adding to the buzz ahead of the event.

For instance, Harvest House - which serves people in Sarasota and Manatee counties through supportive programs related to affordable housing, addiction recovery, food security and workforce development - is encouraging donations to its "village" by asking supporters to post videos online describing their own "village" of belonging and help.

One powerful video includes the story of a young woman who went from surviving an abusive childhood and living in a tent as a teenager to reconstructing her village and life at Harvest House.

"Each video can have a ripple effect on our mission to rebuild the village," the nonprofit announced.

Since the beginning of the Giving Challenge, donation totals have risen, from $2.4 million in 2012, to $11.7 million in 2018, then $16.2 million in 2022. The vast majority of gifts come in at $100 or less.

But organizers and supporters say that the Giving Challenge involves more than money.

"This initiative isn't just about funding," said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation.

"It's a testament to the power of community, and a reflection of our shared belief in the boundless potential of what we can achieve together knowing that everyone can be a philanthropist," Jacobs added. "The donors - true to the spirit of 'what's possible?' - are not merely supporters; they are possibilitarians at heart."

This story comes from a partnership between the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Saundra Amrhein covers the Season of Sharing campaign, along with issues surrounding housing, utilities, child care and transportation in the area. She can be reached at