In times of crisis, communities come together in many different ways. Our government agencies offer relief and emergency support. Business leaders advocate for and drive economic relief. And, many of us want to help our neighbors, which often results in a surge of charitable giving. Philanthropy adds another layer of care to augment responses for immediate action, short-term relief, and to prepare for longer-term recovery.
We know the need is going to be unprecedented with a “new normal” that we are just beginning to grasp. That is why as an initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has quickly reactivated its time-tested and trusted Season of Sharing community-wide partnership to be prepared to help the most vulnerable with immediate basic needs such as payments for rent, utilities and childcare before deferred payments stack up over time.
As a longtime partner and supporter of Season of Sharing, The Patterson Foundation has committed up to $1 million to strengthen this vital reactivation, including an immediate $500,000 contribution along with an additional dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000 for all gifts made to Season of Sharing during this time. Thanks to our generous community, we have already seen an outpouring of support. When this match is completely fulfilled by the community, there will be at least $1.5 million more in additional funds for distribution in the four-county region. Even in ordinary times, Season of Sharing is a vital safety net for those on the verge of homelessness and losing stability. Season of Sharing and its network of more than 60 nonprofit partners have the experience, knowledge, and trust to be able to help those who will be served through the fund. As one of several strategic responses available to assist our community, Season of Sharing provides us a great starting point and calls on the key ingredient of any community’s success: collaboration.
There are also other local and regional funds accepting donations that may respond in different ways to get us through the next phases of immediate response and what will inevitably be a longer recovery.
Now is the time as a community to focus on what is possible, and we all have an opportunity to consider how we can offer solutions.
This solutions-oriented mindset should also apply to our local nonprofit organizations. As COVID-19 has uprooted traditional sources of income and fundraising, nonprofits of all sizes look to philanthropy as a bond of dependability, one that has the resources and means to create and strengthen these strategies.
As one way to support those organizations on the frontlines, we have continued several long-standing grant opportunities to enhance the wellbeing and resiliency of grantees, including a healthcare grant through the James Franklin Warness & Dorothy J. Warnell Fund, and a rolling application cycle for “Community Impact Grants,” which are offered to assist nonprofits to assist critical needs.
Another opportunity to strengthen our nonprofit community is the 2020 Giving Challenge, a 24-hour giving event returning on April 28 and 29 that connects donors with nearly 700 nonprofits to support a diversity of causes. As one of several grant-funding tools available to help with our community’s evolving response, the unrestricted funds raised during the Giving Challenge provide nonprofit partners the flexibility to respond to community needs, especially as those needs change. To strengthen this impact, The Patterson Foundation is once again generously providing a 1:1 match for all unique donations made during the Giving Challenge from $25 up to $100 per donor, per organization.
In moments like this, philanthropy can truly shine and be relied upon as a beacon of hope for so many people and organizations. More than ever, each one us can be the one to ensure our community remains healthy, resilient, and united so that we all can thrive and realize our full potential as we, together, get through this pandemic, and get through it we will.
As a community foundation, we exist first and foremost to serve our community as a trusted partner and inspire hope, especially in times of critical need. The future is unknown, and it likely won't be easy in the short-term, but it is up to us to create it. Together.
Take care, be safe, and stay healthy.