Small Community, Big Heart

Categories: Leadership, Philanthropy,

While meeting with a wonderful couple who have partnered with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County for many years, one donor mentioned that as I get to know Sarasota County, I will find that it is a small community with a big heart. Although I have heard that expression before, it really struck me as that is precisely how I’ve felt over the past couple months as I’ve become more acquainted with my new home.

I see that big heart in many of my interactions around the area, both professionally and personally. Even in these early days of my addition to the Community Foundation team, I have been lucky enough to work with donors who know exactly what they are planning with their charitable investment and are looking for ways to measure the impact of their funding. Just recently, I had the opportunity to brainstorm with a donor as she thoughtfully considers her Philanthropic Investment Plan, working towards developing milestones that will indicate the success of the organizations she plans to invest in.

This long-term, strategic vision is what makes my interactions with these donors and others so enriching and rewarding.

This thoughtfulness is also reflected in my daily interactions at the Community Foundation. More than one of our board members has taken it upon themselves to introduce me around town, and another has helped me and my family tour neighborhoods to help us relocate from the Tampa area. I have seen philanthropy in action, by attending a groundbreaking of a new expansion project that will continue to help keep Sarasota on the arts and culture map.

I realize through all my meetings and Zoom calls, my coworkers genuinely care about one another and are keenly focused on being trusted stewards alongside our fundholders and how to support their objectives. All of these have been amazing experiences.

One interaction stands out for me on the personal front, which really encapsulates this feeling. While exploring downtown and getting a flavor of Sarasota over the weekend, my family headed to the local farmer’s market. I was buying some late-season strawberries and struck up a conversation with the vendor. Before I knew it, we discovered we were from the same part of New England, arrived in Florida at similar times, and ended up deciding we better grab coffee together before the summer settles in. Just like that, a new friend in town.

Small community. Big heart.

Reach Out

Connect with Jay Young, Vice President of Philanthropy | 941-556-7178 |