“Season of Sharing” Gifts Meet Match, Inspire More Giving in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Categories: COMMUNITY CARE: Emergency Needs & Disaster Relief, Season of Sharing, The Patterson Foundation,

Generous community raises nearly $2 million in less than a month, meeting matching challenge and sparking additional matching gifts to assist individuals and families in need.

SARASOTA, FL – In just 26 days donors across southwest Florida helped raised nearly $2 million for the time-tested and trusted Season of Sharing to quickly and proactively help the most vulnerable individuals and families with immediate basic needs such as payments for utilities, childcare and rent.

In mid-March, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s longtime partner, The Patterson Foundation, committed up to $1 million to strengthen this important safety net with an immediate $500,000 contribution, along with an additional dollar-for-dollar match up to $500,000. By April 10 the community responded with 808 gifts ranging from $15 to $250,000, surpassing the match and inspiring additional matching gifts.

“The swift response of the emergency call to support Season of Sharing affirmed that our community is one where neighbors help neighbors, and are inspired by neighbors,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Every gift is important because, as we all know, the needs our neighbors are going to be facing will be prolonged and evolve over the months to come.”

The initial $1.8 million raised during the 26-day period, as well as additional gifts still being made, is added to the $2.4 million given during the annual Season of Sharing campaign held between November 2019 and January 31, 2020. Funds are distributed through a network of human service agencies working across the four-county region of Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties that have been a part of this 20-year-old initiative.

“The Patterson Foundation is inspired by how givers must give during a crisis — this time helping people who, while they may never meet, could be their neighbors facing unforeseen financial burdens due to this pandemic,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “It was just a few months ago when generous individuals propelled Season of Sharing toward reaching its highest donation level in its 20-year history. Yet, when this discombobulating crisis hit, The Patterson Foundation along with donors across the region responded quickly by contributing to this time-tested and trusted network. The Patterson Foundation was proud to be a catalyst for the more than $2 million raised in under a month’s time with its $500,000 donation and 1:1 match offer.”

An “inspired” match

Inspired by The Patterson Foundation’s initial matching challenge, an anonymous donor has authorized another $200,000, dollar-for-dollar matching gift. The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors has also approved another $100,000 to augment that matching opportunity to $300,000 for future gifts.

Donations to the Season of Sharing fund may be made online at any level at www.cfsarasota.org/season-of-sharing or by sending a check (payable to Community Foundation of Sarasota County) to Attn: Season of Sharing, 2635 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34237. There are no administrative fees and 100 percent of your gift goes to helping the people and families who are working to stabilize their lives. All donations are tax-deductible.

“Season of Sharing is here to be an emergency resource, but it is also an indicator of our community’s capacity to heal,” Jerde said. “Our region proves time and again we all have the ability to help another person and to safeguard basic needs which are being threatened while providing a shining beacon of hope.”

Major contributions from the first wave of responses to Season of Sharing in response to COVID-19 included gifts from several private foundations and businesses:

  • The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation
  • The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation
  • Bank of America Charitable Foundation
  • Anspar Foundation
  • PNC Bank

Since Season of Sharing’s inception in 2000 by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Herald-Tribune Media Group, more than 35,000 families and individuals have been touched by our community’s generosity, which is amplified by the approximately 3,000 annual contributions to sustain and strengthen the campaign’s reach. Requests for assistance should be directed to United Way 2-1-1.

We anticipate multiple phases of funding and are collaborating with other local foundations to learn about different community needs. Together our organizations will coordinate resources to further support the changing government and private measures that are being developed.

To support local nonprofit and other community organizations engaging in short-term response and longer-term recovery, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has several current grant funds available and applications are accessible at www.cfsarasota.org.

To read stories from families and individuals who have been helped by Season of Sharing, visit www.heraldtribune.com/seasonofsharing.


About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $418 million in more than 1,500 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $21.5 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $274 million to area nonprofit organizations to our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.