Editor's Note: This article is written by Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and was originally published by the Herald-Tribune.

Giving money to a cause is easy, but when you see yourself as an investor in creating good for the people, places or animals you care about, giving can become even more meaningful.

Since 2012, donors throughout our region have shown their love for local nonprofit organizations by providing more than $28 million in unrestricted funding through the Giving Challenge, a 24-hour regional day of giving presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Huge thanks and gratitude are owed to The Patterson Foundation, which has incentivized donors to give over the past six years with more than $11 million in matching funds.

While the numbers are impressive, the real story behind the Giving Challenge is what organizations can do with the support they receive and how the impact is realized locally.

Funds raised through the Giving Challenge are flexible and provide an influx of cash flow. Funding has allowed nonprofits to fill gaps, fund passion projects, and experiment on innovative programs. They’ve helped fix leaking roofs, provide hope for homeless youths, purchase adoption vans for animal shelters, and protect wildlife on land and in water. The stories of impact are endless.

Plus the Giving Challenge is an exciting, fun way for people to be engaged in philanthropy and build a genuine sense of community. By joining together to give, our community demonstrates with pride that our philanthropic heartbeat is strong and vibrant.

One distinction we often have to make is the difference between the Giving Challenge and The Giving Partner, so here goes.

In 2011, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County saw a need for a tool by which everyday citizens could make informed choices in their charitable giving. There was no local source for in-depth information on local nonprofits’ programs, impact, leadership, needs and financial information.

In response, the foundation established The Giving Partner as a free, online source for in-depth information on local nonprofits’ programs and impact, leadership, needs and financial history available to everyone in the community.

A commitment to transparency by having an up-to-date profile in The Giving Partner is the only qualification for nonprofits participating in the Giving Challenge. While The Giving Partner is online and active all through the year, the Giving Challenge is only active during 24 hours.

As you get ready for the 2018 Giving Challenge, from noon May 1 to noon May 2, remember to be generous, but informed.

Once you know the perfect charitable cause that speaks to your heart, find the right organization for you. Chances are, more than one nonprofit addresses the mission you care most about. Know which nonprofits are working in the area you are interested in, how they are unique and whether their programs and services are making a difference. The Giving Partner is a great tool to aid you in this discovery.

This year, The Patterson Foundation is strengthening giving during the 2018 Giving Challenge by providing a 1:1 match for all donations made up to $100, per donor, per organization. This is an incredible opportunity to double your impact. And of course, you can give more than $100.

At our foundation, we believe that every person can impact another person, a cause, and our community. The combination of responding to needs that resonate with your heart, and considering how you can be intentional about your personal giving through planning and self-reflection, will be rewarding. Whatever you choose, you can be the one to make a difference.

Leave a comment

You are commenting as guest.