Photo: The Bay

Celebrating Another Milestone for The Bay Park Conservancy

Posted on January 09, 2024 by The Patterson Foundation

In a remarkable demonstration of community commitment and philanthropic collaboration, The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC) has once again illustrated how a community dream is realized. The Conservancy, renowned for its dedication to transforming a 53-acre city-owned land into a vibrant public park along Sarasota Bay, has reached a new fundraising milestone. Thanks to the unwavering support of local donors, businesses, and community members, The Bay has successfully raised an additional $5 million from private sources. This accomplishment has triggered a third $1 million match from The Patterson Foundation, bringing their total cumulative gift to $8 million.

This fundraising triumph marks the third major milestone in The Patterson Foundation's challenge for the $24 million campaign launched in July 2021. So far, the campaign has garnered over $15 million from private philanthropy, community sources, and matching funds. These funds are earmarked for the operation, maintenance, and programming of the first 10 acres of The Bay, which has already welcomed over 300,000 visitors.

Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation, expressed her admiration for the region's generosity, acknowledging The Bay as a beneficiary and exemplar of outstanding stewardship. "Over the last five years, generous donors have enabled 'one park for all' to become a reality," she said.

AG Lafley, CEO of The Bay Park Conservancy, also highlighted the foundational support The Patterson Foundation has offered since The Bay's inception. "The Patterson Foundation has been inspiring and steadfast in its support of The Bay Park Conservancy and The Bay Park," Lafley noted.

The Journey of The Bay
The Bay's journey began with a generous $5 million gift from The Patterson Foundation, supporting the initial $20 million challenge campaign to kickstart the park's development. In July 2021, the Foundation further committed up to an additional $4 million in matching funds to boost private donations for the park's first phase.

Following a successful previous $5 million challenge match achieved in July 2022, The Bay Park Conservancy is now poised to raise another $5 million to earn the fourth and final $1 million match from The Patterson Foundation by the end of 2024.

The Bay: A Blue and Green Oasis
The Bay, envisioned as a park for everyone, is an open, accessible, and welcoming space celebrating the community's diversity. It aims to transform 53 acres along Sarasota Bay into a sustainable, vibrant gathering place offering a variety of free programs and events. The park, which celebrated the one-year anniversary of its first 10-acre phase in October 2022, has already become a beloved destination, attracting more than 250,000 visitors in its first year.

The ongoing development of Phase 2, a 14-acre, $65 million project, began last summer. The completed park, estimated to cost $175–200 million, will unfold over approximately 8–10 years in four or more phases.

Looking Ahead
As The Bay Park Conservancy marches towards its next fundraising goal, every contribution, big or small, plays a crucial role. "There is still one more $1 million on the table, so I encourage you to be part of donating the next $5 million to make that match happen," Jacobs urges.

The Bay Park Conservancy's latest achievement is not just a fundraising milestone; it's a testament to the power of community engagement and a shared vision for a greener, more connected Sarasota. As the park continues to grow, it stands as a beacon of what can be accomplished when we come together for a common cause.

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