Season of Sharing Campaign

Over Two Decades of Stability, Flexibility, and Neighbors Helping Neighbors in Crisis

While Sarasota is ranked among Florida’s most affluent communities, hundreds of hardworking families are one paycheck away from the threat of homelessness, one emergency away from having to make a disturbing choice between buying food or paying the electric bill. 

Hurricane Ian has reminded us that many of our neighbors are vulnerable to unexpected crises that can dramatically affect their lives; the massive devastation has placed even some of our most stalwart neighbors in the throes of instability. 

As a community-wide vital safety net, Season of Sharing has helped thousands of people in our region avert cascading crises by providing one-time financial assistance for essential living expenses. For more than two decades, Season of Sharing has empowered neighbors to help neighbors in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties to rebound from setbacks with dignity. 

All money collected through Season of Sharing is distributed to those in need in our four-county region and may be used for rent or mortgage assistance, utility bills, child care, transportation,  or other crucial expenses to help families restore a sense of security when it is needed most urgently.

Hundreds of hardworking families in our region are just one emergency away from facing homelessness.

Since its inception in 2000, Season of Sharing has distributed more than $42.5 million to more than 50,000 households, thanks to our community's generosity.

As a reflection of our belief that anyone can be a philanthropist regardless of means, Season of Sharing is an open invitation to all members of our community to give what they can to help their fellow neighbors. To this day, Season of Sharing remains a grassroots campaign that depends on generosity at all levels.

Since its inception in 2000, this time-tested and trusted resource has distributed more than $42.5 million to more than 50,000 households, enabling individuals and families to get back on their feet.

Throughout the campaign's history, more than 60,000 gifts have been made--that's our community committing to the wellbeing of their neighbors and, in turn, all of us. This year's campaign raised $4.21 million through 2,652 gifts, demonstrating our community's generosity. 

Year after year, Season of Sharing showcases the uniquely generous spirit of our community, the eagerness of those who are able to pay their good fortune forward to sustain the health of these communities we call home. 

The Patterson Foundation is strengthening the givers in our region who make Season of Sharing’s impact possible. From Nov. 6, 2023, through Jan. 31, 2024, The Patterson Foundation contributed $100,000 to Season of Sharing for every $500,000 donated by the community — with no cap on the number of $100,000 contributions donors can activate throughout the campaign. Learn more about The Patterson Foundation’s support for Season of Sharing. This year, that meant a total contribution of $700,000 from The Patterson Foundation, or $2.6 million since the initial match was offered. 

Additional $100,000 Gifts From The Patterson Foundation

How is Help Requested through Season of Sharing?

  1. To request help, those in need call 2-1-1—United Way’s hotline that assists potential clients in finding the appropriate agency—or work with a social worker.
  2. During this call, clients will be referred to one of fifty agencies that best fit their needs and location, whether that be staying in their home, keeping the lights on, or repairing a car so they can get to work.
  3. Following consultation with a social worker, funds from Season of Sharing will be distributed directly to the client’s landlord, utility, childcare provider or car repair shop.

Fundraising for Season of Sharing officially runs annually from November to January, but charitable giving continues throughout the year. Because the Community Foundation provides grants directly to nonprofit agencies, individuals must be working with a case worker at a social service agency to receive funds.

If you need assistance, United Way 2-1-1 helps potential clients find an appropriate agency. Visit United Way 2-1-1's website to begin your search. 

Season of Sharing was created by the Herald-Tribune Media Group and the Community Foundation, but has since been enhanced by a collaboration of media partners: The Patterson Foundation, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and other funders who provide significant matching dollars, in addition to local donors who contribute gifts of varying amounts.

How to Donate

Donate Online

Donate to the Season of Sharing Fund. As always, all of your donation — 100% —  goes directly to helping families stay in their homes. Please select from the following individual funds:

Donate by Mail

Mail your check – payable to Community Foundation of Sarasota County (please indicate "Season of Sharing: County Designation" on memo line) – to:

Season of Sharing  
c/o Community Foundation of Sarasota County  
2635 Fruitville Road  
Sarasota, FL 34237

Donate by Phone

Call 941-955-3000. 

Stories of Impact: Season of Sharing

Each life touched by Season of Sharing has a story. Through the years, Season of Sharing has embraced the belief that heartfelt storytelling – by learning about someone’s personal experiences—can unite and inspire our community.

The courageous families and individuals who share their stories during their most difficult times demonstrate how we are all deeply affected by the current pandemic, including those who have recently received support:

Read More Stories from Families & Individuals Helped By Season of Sharing

Get Involved

Jay Young

Vice President, Philanthropy