Each week through December, The Observer will feature a local donor who is involved with Season of Sharing, a 13-year, community-wide fundraising partnership created by The Community Foundation.
Barbara Blumfield has had a giving spirit since she was a child. She says that seeing her parents help friends and relatives move from Germany to the United States, to escape the Holocaust, inspired her to start helping people in any way possible, so she started donating to her temple and the Jewish Federation.
“That stuck in my mind the most,” she says of her parents’ generosity. “It just became the natural thing to do — the thing you wanted to do. My father was in a position in which he was lucky enough to have some money, and he wanted to be able to help those in need.”
Born and raised in Chicago, Blumfield moved to Alton, Ill., a small town, which she says helped her be more aware of issues taking place on a local level.
She began visiting Longboat Key in 1993 as a snowbird, and she says it wasn’t long before she fell in love with Sarasota’s local arts scene and thriving culture, in which she became involved.
Despite its reputation as a relatively affluent area, Blumfield also realized that there were a lot of local families in need of help, and when she read about the Season of Sharing campaign in the newspaper, she saw an opportunity to put her giving nature to use.
“Season of Sharing caught my attention immediately,” she says. “When I see the families, and I realize they’re the ones being helped, there’s a real one-to-one relationship. There’s an opportunity to help right here in Sarasota.”
Now, 10 years later, Blumfield continues to donate to the campaign annually. She says that though she’s also involved in donating to the local arts scene, supporting organizations such as the opera, ballet and orchestra, the Season of Sharing campaign offers a unique philanthropic opportunity that keeps her donating each year.
“It’s such a worthwhile cause,” she says. “One hundred percent of the money goes to charity. It reaches so many so many people — it’s beautiful.”