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.
Ed Town and Steve Rubin don’t describe themselves as philanthropists. The couple, originally from New York City, retired in 2000 to the Sarasota area, and say they fell in love with the city and its caring nature. Upon moving to the area, they became involved with several local organizations, such as the Sarasota Ballet, the Suncoast Humane Society and Planned Parenthood. They say their main focus lies not in being recognized, but in helping others.
For the past five years, Town and Rubin have made an annual donation to Season of Sharing. Town says he first became aware of the campaign through his involvement with the Community Foundation.
An ALSO Out Youth board member, Town often submitted grant requests for the organization to the foundation, and he found that it was supportive.
“I’ve always been a strong supporter of them,” he says. “I really like what they do and the way they do it. They were always very supportive of ALSO, so when I was looking for things to support, financially, it was a no-brainer.”
The couple says the ability to do the most good with a single donation provides them with a unique philanthropic opportunity.
“Five years ago, when the economy was really bad, there were a lot of people suffering, and this was the perfect opportunity to help,” says Town. “People are still in need — people always will be. So, you give once to the Community Foundation, and the money goes directly to the organizations they support. It’s a one-stop donor opportunity.”
The couple also feels confident in their donation, knowing that all the money is going directly to benefit needy families in the area.
“You don’t have to worry that the money is going to the right place,” says Rubin. “That’s critical.”
Town and Rubin have seen the campaign continue to grow, which they say is an indication of the community’s willingness to help those in need.
“It’s clear that Sarasota is a caring community,” says Town. “It’s gratifying to read the stories in the paper each week and learn about a different person who benefitted from this. You know that you played a part in the greater good.”