More than 23 Years 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 23 years, 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 $38 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.
Over the campaign's 23-year history, this time-tested and trusted resource has distributed more than $38 million to more than 50,000 households, enabling individuals and families to get back on their feet.
Throughout the campaign's history, 55,000 gifts have been made--that's our community committing to the wellbeing of their neighbors and, in turn, all of us. Last year's campaign raised $3.67 million, 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. 13, 2022, through Jan. 31, 2023, 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 $600,000 from The Patterson Foundation, or $1.9 million since the initial match was offered.
Additional $100,000 Gifts From The Patterson Foundation
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 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:
Season of Sharing County in Greatest Need
To provide targeted financial assistance for necessities like rent, utilities, car repairs or other emergency expenses to individuals on the brink of homelessness. This fund supports the greatest need within Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties.
Season of Sharing Fund for Sarasota County
To provide targeted financial assistance for necessities like rent, utilities, car repairs or other emergency expenses to individuals on the brink of homelessness. This fund supports residents of Sarasota County.
Season of Sharing Fund for Manatee County
To provide targeted financial assistance for necessities like rent, utilities, car repairs or other emergency expenses to individuals on the brink of homelessness. This fund supports residents of Manatee County.
Season of Sharing Fund for Charlotte County
To provide targeted financial assistance for necessities like rent, utilities, car repairs or other emergency expenses to individuals on the brink of homelessness. This fund supports residents of Charlotte County.
Season of Sharing Fund for DeSoto County
To provide targeted financial assistance for necessities like rent, utilities, car repairs or other emergency expenses to individuals on the brink of homelessness. This fund supports residents of DeSoto County.
Season of Sharing Diane McFarlin Endowment Fund
To support the Season of Sharing program initiative to provide funds for its unrestricted use to maintain the Season of Sharing program as an effective resource to those in need in our community.
Donate by Mail
Mail your check – payable to Community Foundation of Sarasota County (please indicate 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
Each life touched by Season of Sharing has a story. Throughout its 20 continuous 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:
March 6, 2023
New Sarasota housing collaborative partners with landlords for more rentals amid crisis
February 13, 2023
Season of Sharing raises $3.67 million from community to help neighbors in crisis
February 13, 2023
Season of Sharing: Trading anxiousness for awe
January 30, 2023
Season of Sharing helps Sarasota teacher and family displaced by storm
January 27, 2023
Through grief and hardship: Season of Sharing helps Bradenton family keep the lights on
January 25, 2023
From heartbreak to homecoming: Season of Sharing helps Sarasota family plant roots
January 19, 2023
Purpose amid hardship: Season of Sharing helps Venice child welfare worker find stability
January 18, 2023
Broken to belonging: Venice man transforms with help from Season of Sharing
January 10, 2023
Power of laughter: Season of Sharing helps Lakewood Ranch couple raising grandkids
January 4, 2023