Dear Friends and Family:
Our community’s capacity to heal is measured by its willingness to hope. A trusted guidepost and beacon for so many, hope is an infinite resource we all share. Hope is a catalyst for advancing optimism. And, perhaps most importantly, hope drives action. In the face of unprecedented challenges that changed our lives in a matter of weeks, our community has once again demonstrated its commitment to hope by rallying behind equally unprecedented responses of courage and compassion.
At the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we have been overwhelmed with joy to see this inherent generosity grow as a hallmark of our region’s unique culture. So many of you have opened your hearts to those in needs these last six weeks through opportunities like Season of Sharing and the 2020 Giving Challenge. Thank you, again and again.
In each instance, you selflessly rose to meet this moment of heightened need and passionately responded to changing someone’s tomorrow today.
The Giving Challenge
Nearly 59,000 of you united in the unparalleled outpouring of support during the 2020 Giving Challenge just a few days ago. Together you raised nearly $11 million in critical, unrestricted funding for 686 local nonprofit organizations within just 24 hours. Enhancing this wave of generosity was by a 1:1 match for all unique donations up to $100 provided by our longtime partner, The Patterson Foundation, which amounted to a stunning $7.5 million additional funds for a grand total of $18.4 million. Now more than ever, these unrestricted gifts will provide a vital lifeline and much needed flexibility for our nonprofit partners as we move forward together to strengthen our community.
Season of Sharing
This same spirit of hope and resiliency reemerged in mid-March upon reactivating Season of Sharing as an initial response to COVID-19. Once again, collaboration inspired our partners at The Patterson Foundation to provide a $500,000 match opportunity on top of an initial $500,000 contribution to bolster this time-tested and trusted network and, more importantly, to inspire local philanthropy. And inspire it did! In just 26 days, our community raised nearly $2 million with gifts ranging from $15 to $250,000, far surpassing the initial match and encouraging additional matching gifts. This includes another $200,000 dollar-for-dollar matching gift from an anonymous donor and a $100,000 from the Community Foundation’s Board of Directors. I am happy to share with you that this match, too, was met in record time and that through Season of Sharing an additional $2.4 million is here to help individuals and families with rent and mortgage payments, as well as utility bills and childcare.
I truly believe the outpouring of support for these initiatives, as well as the surge in individual giving these last several weeks indicate our community’s capacity to heal will be greater than most. The actions of each you prove that we all have the ability to help another person, even in the most uncertain of times.
When we all find value in giving to others, hope transforms into a powerful connecting force, one that brings us closer together and strengthens our collective efforts to inspire change. Thank you for filling our hearts and sharing your generosity with us. While the future remains uncertain, your kindness has permeated every corner of our community and has helped pave the way to a brighter, more hopeful future for us all.
With deepest appreciation,