Our recovery is only as strong as the tools, resources, and voices that come together to create it. 

As a community connector and convener, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County is committed to listening and relying on the voices of our community to guide our philanthropic response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through surveys, reports and conversations, we are gathering insights from local cause leaders to better understand the severity of the ongoing pandemic’s impact on our community, and provide support in multiple ways.

As a reflection of this commitment, Community Voices was created to bring together experts from nonprofit and community organizations to share insights about our community's evolving needs in a series of virtual panel discussions. 

You may listen to previous discussions or read a blog post recapping key insights and stories shared. This page will be updated as these community-wide dialogues are ongoing.

Listen to Community Voices: 
Virtual Panel Discussions


Adapting the Human Services Model During a Pandemic
August 5, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected our community: loss of employment, food insecurity, and reduced access to essential medical and social services. In response, many of our nonprofit and community partners are discovering ways to adapt, innovate and heal as we chart our path to recovery.
In a virtual panel discussion, four community partners alongside the Community Foundation’s Kirsten Russell, Vice President of Community Impact, dove in to explain challenges encountered by adapting the human service model during a pandemic. Speaking from their experiences on the frontlines, each panelist shared meaningful insights and stories on how the needs in our community are changing, what is on the horizon, and how each of us can offer support.

Meet the Panelists:

Sandra Frank
All Faiths Food Bank
Dr. Kameron Hodgens
CEO/Executive Director
Glasser- Schoenbaum Human Services Center
Dr. Lisa Merritt
Founder & Executive Director
Multicultural Health Initiative
Dr. Janet Taylor
Psychiatrist, Self-Care Expert, Culture Shift Educator
Centerstone of Florida
Community Foundation of Sarasota County Board Member

The Changing Landscape of Education: Adapting and Innovating During a Crisis  
July 28, 2020 

The challenges facing our education sector are revealingFrom overcoming technology barriers to fulfilling the basic needs of our families, the students, parents, teachers, and providers within our community are working hard to create a constant learning environment for our children. With all this effort, the question remains: how can we adapt and innovate to transform these challenges into lasting opportunities that reflect our genuine care and value for education?

In a virtual panel discussion, four community partners alongside the Community Foundation’s Kirsten Russell, Vice President of Community Impact, and Nicole Light, Education Officer, shared valuable insights and lessons learned on how our community can respond and thrive as we approach the upcoming 2020-2021 school year.

Meet the Panelists:

Chris Renouf
Executive Director of Elementary Schools
Sarasota County Schools
Khea Davis
At Risk Specialist
Booker High School
Dawn Page
Vice President of Operations
Boys and Girls Club of Sarasota County
Great Futures Academy
Beth Duda
Director, Suncoast Campaign for
Grade Level Reading
The Patterson Foundation
This Book is Cool!

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Kirsten Russell 

Vice President, Community Impact