When Chuck and Margie Barancik learned about Season of Sharing in early January, they immediately wanted to donate — anonymously.
Then, a friend approached the couple and suggested they could “help accelerate” the fundraising if they’d put their names behind their money.
So, the Baranciks came up with the idea of a capping grant. They publicly pledged $100,000 for the fund that helps needy families in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties, but they stipulated that other first-time donors add another $62,000 before their check gets deposited.
“It worked,” Chuck Barancik told the Longboat Observer. “I’ve had at least 20 or so emails and phone calls of people offering four- or five-figure amounts for the fund.”
“‘Wow’ — that word summed up my first reaction,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “What they’ve done, by going public with their extraordinary act of generosity, is really to inspire people to step up. We know they probably would have preferred to give it anonymously, but we’re so appreciative that they didn’t, because it’s really encouraged others to give.
“It shows their deep love and concern for our community.”
The Baranciks, philanthropists who divide their time between Longboat Key and Chicago, have donated to several local causes, including Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee, All Faiths Food Bank, the YMCA and the arts. Chuck Barancik said Season of Sharing, which pays for daily expenses such as utility bills, child care and transportation, stood out to him because it had no operating expenses.
“How often can you contribute to a cause and know that every dime goes straight to the hands of people who most need it?” he asked. “That’s the beauty of this.”