The annual Season of Sharing fundraising campaign, a partnership of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Herald-Tribune, is off to a big start this year, with local donors contributing in the first month alone more than $1.7 million – a badly needed lifeline to thousands of area families facing a surging crisis in affordable housing.
Added to those donations is $300,000 from The Patterson Foundation, which has had a longstanding commitment of contributing $100,000 for every $500,000 raised by local donors, according to the Community Foundation.
For 21 years, Season of Sharing has helped local families and individuals in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties overcome crisis and regain stability. With no administrative fees, all the funds go to providing rental and mortgage assistance or help with utility bills, child care and transportation.
While the Season of Sharing for years has proven to be an efficient and trusted way for donors to help their neighbors through challenging times, caseworkers report that they’ve considered it especially essential over the past year. Heading into a second year of the pandemic, when many lost work or jobs, local families and individuals on fixed incomes have been grappling with soaring rents and skyrocketing housing costs in a hot real estate market, depleting an already anemic supply of affordable housing.