It may shock some people to learn that in Sarasota County, 50 percent of children – that’s 21,000 students – qualify to receive free or reduced meals at school. This fueled the creation of the Student Emergency Fund in 2010 to benefit financially needy students in our community.
The fund provides last-resort, one-time funding for area students that pays for eyeglasses, shoes, asthma inhalers and other critical items that keep students in school and ready to learn.
The Student Emergency Fund endowment, which is managed and administered by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, ensures the long-term availability this funding for area students.
The Patterson Foundation recently contributed $163,301 in matching funds for donations made to the Student Emergency Fund endowment, bringing the total endowment to $332,002.
“The goal of the Student Emergency Fund is to help children from challenging economic circumstances focus and learn – this occurs when their immediate needs are met,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “Thanks to our caring community’s generous support, the successful completion of the Student Emergency Fund endowment match will help remove barriers for decades to come that keep children from being engaged in school.”
In partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, The Patterson Foundation established the Student Emergency Fund endowment recognizing that the Community Foundation is well positioned to manage and coordinate aid delivery due to its successful management of other community resources. Through the Student Emergency Fund and its endowment, The Patterson Foundation has invested more than $444,000 benefiting students in our community.
The success of the endowment is largely due to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s commitment to supporting and managing the fund. The Community Foundation works with school principals to ensure that funds are quickly and efficiently distributed to help children receive what they need to learn without distractions caused by their economic circumstances.
Children face many challenges on a daily basis, the Student Emergency Fund aims to eliminate at least one of them. Use of the fund has positive, long-term implications for the community because children who can focus on learning grow up to become more active and engaged members of society.
“We’re grateful for The Patterson Foundation’s support in building this vital endowment,” says Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Thanks to the Student Emergency Fund, principals and teachers can now swiftly address obstacles that can drastically affect a child’s learning when their family may be in challenging financial situations.”