Each week through December,
The Observer has featured a local donor who is involved with Season of Sharing, a 13-year, community-wide fundraising partnership created by The Community Foundation.
Marian Kessler is no stranger to public charities. The Manhattan, N.Y., native spent 20 years living in Chicago, during which time she served as the senior program officer at the Chicago Community Trust, a non-profit organization similar to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
During her time as senior program officer, she was involved in Basic Human Needs: the organization’s safety-net program for those in the region on the verge of homelessness.
So, after she and her husband moved to the Sarasota area, it seemed only natural for her to become involved with the Community Foundation.
“I have great respect for the Community Foundation,” says Kessler. “I’m very enthusiastic about it. They know the most about this community, and they use their resources efficiently. The money they raise stays here, which isn’t something you see with a lot of national organizations.”
When she read about the Season of Sharing campaign shortly after its inception, she knew she wanted to donate. A health economist by trade and with a physician husband, Kessler says the decision to get involved was an easy one.
“I think those who are fortunate should help those who are less fortunate,” says Kessler. “These people have no safety net, and they’re in very desperate circumstances. Many times, it’s by no fault of their own.”
Kessler is also involved in donating to organizations, such as All Faiths Food Bank, the Ringling Museum and Planned Parenthood, but she says she’s glad to see a unique campaign, such as Season of Sharing, in place to help those in the community who need it the most. In a place like Sarasota, she says the realities of the problems many people face aren’t always apparent on the surface.
“I see it as a problem,” she says. “Many people live their lives in very sequestered areas, and they don’t see the problems. In my daily life, I don’t see a lot of it, either. But if you get involved, you see how important it is to have this life line.”