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Acts of kindness help neighbors

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  • | 5:00 a.m. November 30, 2011
  • Longboat Key
  • Neighbors
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’Tis the season for sharing.

Last year, several donors to The Community Foundation’s Season of Sharing campaign told The Observer what donating meant to them.

One donor had never forgotten the way his family struggled during his childhood when his father lost his job. Another always had a passion for helping others, and, because he’d been fortunate throughout his life, felt obligated to pay it forward. A third donor simply believed in the spirit of giving.

Season of Sharing is an 11-year, community-wide fundraising partnership created by The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. The program provides emergency last-resort funding to families in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.

Since the program’s inception in 2000, more than $5.5 million has been raised and distributed. In the last year more than 2,500 individuals and families were able to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads.

In 2010-2011, Season of Sharing received $400,000 in donations from new donors and $100,000 in increased donations from past donors to reach its $500,000 goal for matching funds from The Patterson Foundation.

“Our residents open their hearts and wallets in the giving spirit of the season to help thousands of families in Southwest Florida on the verge of homelessness,” says Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of The Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “This year, The Patterson Foundation will again match new and increased donations up to $500,000. Not a penny donated ever goes to administrative fees or overhead, so that the maximum number of families can be helped to the fullest extent possible. We are grateful to The Patterson Foundation, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Catlin Fund, Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Stockton Charitable Fund of J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, The Griffin Endowment, the Herald-Tribune Media Group and its partners, The Observer Group, Gulfshore Media, as well as the thousands of donors that have made Season of Sharing a success in our communities since 2000.”

This year, 10% of all gifts made to Sarasota County (donors can designate which county they would like their funds to benefit) will be given to the Student Emergency Fund, in partnership with the Sarasota County schools. The Patterson Foundation has created this fund because many public school students are in desperate need of basic necessities. The fund will provide last-resort, one-time dollars for emergency needs for students at six schools in a pilot program.

Donations to the Season of Sharing fund may be made by check or credit card, payable to The Community Foundation of Sarasota, or online at For information, call 955-3000.

By the numbers
12 — number of nonprofit agenices distrubuting Season of Sharing funds
$5,586,903 — funding SOS has received since inception
2,500 — number of families on the verge of homelessness in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties last year
$119,800 to $140,800 —  average funding each agency received from SOS in 2010-2011
3,000 — individual gifts in 2010-2011, a 20% increase from the previous year 


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