Editor's Note: Thank you to these organizations, which are among the 42 nonprofits that received honorariums earlier this year from The Patterson Foundation for their work in processing and distributing Season of Sharing funds. More than $450,000 of unrestricted funds were given to these talented, hard-working organizations for their Season of Sharing efforts.
Nonprofits do a lot of good.
That's cliché and obvious, right? Well, of course they do a lot of good. They fill necessary gaps that businesses and government institutions can't or don't. They teach. They share. They help. They contribute. They give.
While we recognize that nonprofits do help and give, I admittedly forget the specifics. And I wonder if that's not a question we should be asking ourselves – not only do nonprofits give, but how do nonprofits give? How do they do what they do? How are they working to solve the problems in a community?
Through The Patterson Foundation's (TPF) Sparkle event and honorarium gift, we found out. We asked nonprofits to share how they will use/have used the honorarium.
We were also reminded that it's not just nonprofits who give to the community. The City of Sarasota has a staffed homeless outreach program, as does the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office. The City of North Port has a social services unit that serves residents in need. School districts also use Season of Sharing funds to help students and families. They demonstrate that we all have a role to play, and it's heartening to see different sectors contribute to addressing issues.
Overall, the uses and stories by all are touching. What made my heart especially light was that TPF did not require nonprofits to spend the money on programs. TPF purposely made the gift unrestricted so the nonprofits could further their mission in whatever ways they saw fit. Some used it for programs, others used it for administrative expenses, and some used it to invest in technology upgrades.
From my experience and to my dismay, foundations don't generally provide operating support, even though it's absolutely essential for nonprofits. So it gave me joy to see them using these funds in ways they deemed best.
Some Season of Sharing organizations submitted a written story, and some (after another ask!) created a video for us to share.
Watching the videos made me so thankful to live in such a generous, thoughtful community. Thank you to the following organizations for your willingness to share!
- Turning Points
- United Way of Charlotte County
- Goodwill of Manasota
- Florida Center for Early Childhood
- Sarasota County Sheriff's Office's Homeless Outreach Team
- Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul
- City of Sarasota's Homeless Outreach Team
We also had a number of organizations submit their stories online.
The ones below used the honorarium for existing programs or to create new ones.
- First Step will use the honorarium for a new initiative to continue to offer innovative and comprehensive mental health and substance use programs for adults and children, including inpatient, outpatient, and telehealth services.
- Harvest House will use the funds to seed their Benevolence Fund–which fills gaps when Season of Sharing funds are maxed out, for areas not covered by other funding sources, and for immigrant families who cannot access many other funding options.
- Children First will use its honorarium to assist the agency in providing comprehensive services for children and families living at-risk in Sarasota County. These services span from early childhood education to nutrition to healthcare screenings to emotional and behavioral support to family strengthening services.
- The City of North Port will use the funds to establish a Skills of Life series of workshops that will assist attendees in acquiring skills for money management, resume building, dressing for success, and employment interviews.
- The Laurel Civic Association used the money, along with other funds, to hire a part-time, Spanish-speaking, adult-crisis services program assistant who will offer Spanish-speaking services as part of LCA's crisis intervention program.
These organizations assisted specific clients with some or all of the Season of Sharing honorarium.
- Sarasota County Schools used part of its honorarium to pay for a student's unresolved dental issues—the student did not have health insurance, and the family, despite their hard work, could not afford the cost of the necessary root canal.
- UnidosNow used part of the honorarium to serve one of its clients. He's self-employed and uses construction tools to make a living. One day, he found all of his tools stolen from his car. Reaching out to their network, UnidosNow was able to find and purchase replacements for the individual. Now, his business is thriving, and he has hired two more individuals to fulfill orders.
Two organizations used the funds to help their current staff or add to their facilities.
- Catholic Charities: Diocese of Venice – During the pandemic, nonprofit staff have faced increasing need, decreasing revenue, and challenges in service delivery. To account for the stressful nature of this time, Catholic Charities used the honorarium to give each member of its staff the opportunity to have one of two Wellness Retreat Days.
- Sacred Heart Catholic Church – The church will upgrade its facilities with new lights.
Many thanks again to the agencies and organizations who submitted a video or a written story. We're grateful that you're willing to do the work and share your story and successes with us.
- Turning Points: Kathleen Cramer, Margi Dawson
- First Step of Sarasota: Marlene Hauck
- United Way of Charlotte County: Angie Matthiessen, Jen Coalwell, Dawn Forlini
- Goodwill Manasota: Margie Genter
- Harvest House: Erin Minor
- Children First: Jessica Rogers, Evan Ackerman
- Florida Center for Early Childhood: Dr. Kristie Skoglund, Kristen Thiesen
- Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Homeless Outreach Team: Lt. Shawn Johnson, Kaitlyn Perez
- City of North Port - Social Services Division: Janet Carrillo
- Laurel Civic Association: Michael Fluker
- Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center: Dr. Kameron Hodgens, Sarah Glendening
- Sacred Heart Church, Punta Gorda: Dani Culver
- Sarasota County Schools: Deana Gozder, Debra Giacolone
- Society of St. Vincent de Paul: Diane Clark, Jane von Hahmann
- Catholic Charities: Sr. Ann DeNicolo
- UnidosNow: Beatriz Paniego-Béjar
- City of Sarasota: Krystal Frazier, Jan Thornburg, Kevin Stiff