Photo: AG, Kathy, Ric, Debra

An Inspired and Engaged Community Sparks Additional $1 Million Gift to The Bay from The Patterson Foundation

Posted on October 10, 2019 by The Patterson Foundation
When we strive to bring communities together and engage them in a process toward achieving a shared vision, the outcome can be truly outstanding. Through The Bay, we continue to see firsthand how our community works together when it is included in such an aspirational process.

Private donors have invested $5 million into Phase 1 of The Bay's master plan, triggering the first of three potential $1 million gifts from The Patterson Foundation. Combined with a previous $2 million gift from The Patterson Foundation, this marks a total of $8 million raised toward the master plan for The Bay, the community's multi-year journey to transform 53 acres of Sarasota's bayfront into a public park that is free, open, and welcoming to our diverse region.

The Patterson Foundation has committed up to $5 million to the Bay Park Conservancy to catalyze support for the additional $15 million needed to fulfill the $20 million Phase 1 fundraising goal from private sources. The Patterson Foundation's investment includes an initial gift of $2 million, along with additional contributions of $1 million each time $5 million is raised in private support. There are two $1 million gifts from The Patterson Foundation remaining for private donors to activate by contributing to The Bay.

"In a matter of months, other donors have collectively contributed $5 million toward this legacy endeavor for our community," said Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation. "The Bay's commitment to engage the community throughout this process aligns with The Patterson Foundation's emphasis on addressing shared aspirations, and the foundation is proud to be a part of the journey."

Phase 1 will bring the first round of enhancements to the space and result in the creation of a 10-acre community park stretching from U.S. 41 to the bayfront along Boulevard of the Arts. The Sarasota City Commission unanimously approved the implementation plan for Phase 1 of The Bay in September. This latest approval followed the City Commission's unanimous approval of a partnership agreement with the Bay Park Conservancy in April, which outlines how both entities will work together to create, co-fund, build, and operate the park for the community.

"From the beginning of the bay park initiative, The Patterson Foundation has been a critical catalyst," said AG Lafley, founding CEO of the Bay Park Conservancy. "From the formation of the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization in fall 2016, through the master planning process and start up of the park conservancy in 2019, The Patterson Foundation has been a valued partner, providing counsel and access to important resources in addition to leadership and financial support. We look forward to continuing to work closely together to create a signature community park for Sarasota."

Enhancements to the site during Phase 1 include open spaces for a range of activities and events, restoration and activation of the land's natural mangrove habitat, a sunset boardwalk on the bay, and other public amenities. The Bay Park Conservancy recently updated The Bay's site plan to reflect community input gathered during extensive public outreach and community meetings. The design will continue to evolve based on additional input from ongoing community engagement.

For more information about The Bay, visit

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