“During the pandemic, we’ve seen people learn a lot about themselves,” says Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, which has matched donors with causes ranging from basic services to arts and culture since 1979. “People have gotten closer to their values during this critical time.”
Sarasota is among Florida’s most affluent communities, yet COVID-19’s economic effects have rendered some families just a paycheck away from homelessness.
“The hospitality industry was hit so hard,” Jerde says, “and the effects fell disproportionately on servers and others doing those jobs.”
A community’s stability depends on families being able to remain in their homes and feed their families, emphasizes Jerde. “Families hit a bump in the road, they get behind on rent, and if there’s a court order involved, that record may work against them in the future.”