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Local Foundations Commit $1 Million for Experiential Learning Opportunities

December 07, 2017
SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 7, 2017) – The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation will make a combined $1 million investment in EdExploreSRQ over the next five years. These gifts will help ensure that local students have access to hands-on learning opportunities for years to come.

Launched in 2011 through a collaboration between The Patterson Foundation and Sarasota County Schools, EdExploreSRQ is an online search platform connecting teachers, principals and parents with experiential learning “explorations” available throughout the community. Since the platform’s creation, 69 organizations have posted more than 250 explorations vetted by Sarasota County Schools for alignment with curriculum standards. More than 60,000 local students have experienced an exploration since EdExploreSRQ’s inception.

“Students in our community have the good fortune of learning from a wealth of arts and culture organizations both in and out of the classroom,” said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. “EdExploreSRQ was created with the aspiration that our students, regardless of background, would have access to the unique educational opportunities Sarasota has to offer. Through this latest contribution, The Patterson Foundation will strengthen EdExploreSRQ’s ability to provide these opportunities for future generations of students.”

The Community Foundation has extended its annual $100,000 contribution to EdExploreSRQ for an additional five years, which will continue to be matched dollar for dollar by The Patterson Foundation — resulting in a $1 million total gift. The Community Foundation of Sarasota County’s new annual $100,000 contributions will be used to support current explorations and develop new ones — particularly for students from low-income families. The Patterson Foundation’s 1:1 match of these contributions will go toward the EdExploreSRQ Endowment Fund for unrestricted use to ensure sustainable access to experiential learning opportunities in perpetuity.

“The magic of this partnership is thanks to the Leslie and Margaret Weller Fund at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, as we are able to continue their legacy of support of the arts and education, demonstrating the importance of experiential learning in and out of the classroom,” said Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. “Thanks to the world-class cultural experiences we have in this region, our main objective is to ensure that the arts and cultural learning experiences through EdExploreSRQ are open and accessible to all our school children.”

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EdExploreSRQ is facilitated through a community partnership between Sarasota County Schools, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, the Science and Environment Council of Southwest Florida, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation.

“In the years since EdExploreSRQ's launch, thousands of students have been exposed to hands-on learning opportunities that expand upon their lessons in the classroom," said Dr. Laura Kingsley, assistant superintendent and chief academic officer for Sarasota County Schools. “Educators in our community value the possibilities EdExploreSRQ unlocks for their students, and the ongoing support from partners like the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation will fuel the platform's continued growth and expansion."

According to educational research, arts, science and cultural experiences support children’s intellectual development through sensory engagement and creative thinking.

“Children who take part in experiential learning opportunities have a better chance of achieving greater academic success and growing to become active and engaged members of our community," said Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. “Sarasota offers a plethora of these opportunities through its cultural resources, and EdExploreSRQ is an essential tool in making these opportunities accessible for our children."

Visit EdExploreSRQ.com to learn more about EdExploreSRQ. To make a contribution benefiting the EdExploreSRQ Endowment Fund, visit CFSarasota.org. Visit thepattersonfoundation.org to learn more about The Patterson Foundation.

About The Patterson Foundation
The Patterson Foundation strengthens the efforts of people, organizations and communities. The Foundation focuses on issues that address common aspirations and foster wide participation, along with ways organizations learn and share as they evolve. For more information, please visit www.thepattersonfoundation.org and connect with @ThePattersonFdn on Twitter.

About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County
The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of over $333 million in more than 1,400 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling more than $33 million dollars this past year in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, animal welfare, and the environment. Since our founding, more than $217 million has been invested back into the community through grants and scholarships. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org.
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