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Transform Together: COVID-19 Response Initiative

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  • | 2:00 p.m. April 23, 2020
  • Sarasota
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Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation have awarded over $900,000 in grants from their joint COVID-19 Response Initiative, providing relief to nonprofit organizations leading the region’s COVID-19 assistance efforts. 


Additionally, donors to Gulf Coast have directed nearly $1 million in grants from their donor funds at the foundation for COVID-19 impacts locally and beyond.


“Together with Barancik Foundation and many other generous donors, we have been able to invest over $2.4 million in relief for community organizations and regional residents hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Mark S. Pritchett, president and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “Our nonprofit partners are being forced to innovate as demand grows for their safety-net services, so we had to change our own grantmaking model to ensure they could put philanthropic dollars to work even more quickly in our community.” 


More than 30 grants have been awarded from the foundations’ COVID-19 Response Initiative to date, falling into several high-need areas. Almost 40 percent of the funding is supporting emergency assistance like food and housing. About a quarter has helped sustain vital health care and behavioral health services, often through telemedicine and virtual counseling. 


Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center received a $10,700 grant last week for new expenses and challenges posed by the pandemic, including deep cleaning its shelter, providing food and supplies for clients, and offering therapy by video. “We are deeply concerned about the barriers that those in abusive relationships face as they experience increased fear and isolation, and we are working on new ways to reach those who need us,” said Jessica Hays, president and CEO of SPARCC. “The fast, flexible process through which these funds are being made available allows us to focus on the needs of our staff and those we serve.”


Grants from Gulf Coast donor funds, meanwhile, are supporting everything from basic needs to animal welfare and arts organizations that have been staggered by coronavirus impacts. In addition to those direct grants, nearly 100 donors have contributed a total of more than $1 million to the foundations’ COVID-19 initiative fund. Those gifts have come from individuals and families as well as funding partners such as Bank of America Charitable Foundation, FCCI Charitable Foundation, Jane’s Trust Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, and the Truist Charitable Fund.