For more than a dozen years now, I’ve called Sarasota County home. While I may have lived a longer span of time elsewhere, I feel at home here because of both my love for the location, and even more so because of the people who are welcoming, innovating and caring. Interestingly, the notion of “home” holds more than one meaning: there’s proximity, and then there’s belonging.
The first easily connects us to our neighbors through a sense of place. In philanthropy, this is where we’re able to witness firsthand the impact of volunteerism and charitable contributions that contribute to the overall prosperity of our own hometowns.
The second is more experiential and defies traditional boundaries. When we encounter someone with similar stories as our own, or that we can sympathize with, we find ways to “pay it forward” to either help spare others a trauma we’ve endured or to help give to others the benefits we’ve enjoyed. The cancer survivor donates to cancer research. The alumnus contributes to the university endowment. The theater patron supports local performances.
August presents an opportunity for neighbors to lend support to our local Black-led and Black-serving nonprofits, which straddle both these definitions of home. Through the sixth-annual Give 8/28, a national giving event supporting Black-managed and Black-benefiting nonprofit organizations presented by Young, Black and Giving Back, Give 8/28 operates much like our local Giving Challenge with an aim of strengthening nonprofits.
By providing services that help shrink disparities in outcomes for Black people, including educational attainment, health, and prosperity, these nonprofits are uniquely poised to empower the communities they serve. The result: our entire community gets a boost.
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has proudly supported the initiative for four years, incentivizing participation of nonprofit organizations with a $275 Kickstarter grant that covers each organization’s registration fee and provides the first donation to their campaigns.
This year, to increase visibility of this national giving day and the needs it serves, the Community Foundation is partnering with the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe to host a Give 8/28 community mixer on Aug. 28 from 5-7 p.m., which is free and open to the public. There, guests can meet the people behind the robust Black-led, Black-serving nonprofit community that makes an impact from neighborhoods to national recognition.
Give 8/28 is one effective way to highlight the contributions of our local Black community and underscore how we each have the power to impact another person, a cause, a community – and in this case, also showcase nationally the breadth of our community.
Roxie Jerde is President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
PHOTO COURTESY WESTCOAST BLACK THEATRE TROUPE.