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SRQ DAILY–Hope in the Face of Opportunity

Posted on May 14, 2024 by Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of Community Foundation of Sarasota County

Editor's Note: This article is authored by Roxie Jerde, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, and was originally appeared in SRQ Daily.

 

It is human nature to rush in to help in the aftermath of a crisis. We see it time and again after natural disasters or accidents, the immediate aid given to help restore normalcy.

While this is a beautiful response to life’s dark moments, there is something to be said for contributing to future well-being during a bright time.

That is what happened on April 9 and 10, when our community came together to support 724 nonprofit organizations during the 2024 Giving Challenge, raising the second-highest total in Giving Challenge history, $17.2 million. The only Giving Challenge that raised more money was in 2020, in the first terrifying weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, during a global societal shutdown and mass uncertainty.

There are clearly aspects of present-day society that are challenging; however, this year’s Giving Challenge came at a calmer time when we could celebrate the vital nonprofits in our community. How about 53,305 neighbors—another second-place record, only outdone by 2020—coming together, aligned with the purpose of strengthening the nonprofits that contribute so much to the quality of life we enjoy here?  Bravo to all the donors who supported our community!

We are grateful to our partner, The Patterson Foundation, for inspiring giving through a generous and unique unlimited dollar-for-dollar match, a hallmark of our Giving Challenge that has amplified its impact since the first challenge in 2012. Over nine Giving Challenges, The Patterson Foundation’s matching dollars have contributed more than $37 million in funding to nonprofits.

Much more than money was raised during those 24 hours—the Giving Challenge was an event that affirmed our community’s belief in the value of the unique and vital role our nonprofits play. It bolstered hope for the future of our community and was a testament to the generous character of those who live here. It showed that we can and do unite for a good cause: safeguarding the rich social, historical, cultural, and environmental assets of our community.

A dive into the results for individual nonprofits show that each has cultivated its own community of supporters and is considered worthy of support. This is true for all of them, whether their individual missions involve protecting animals, our environment, people living with disabilities, or religious freedoms.

The vast array of services and goods provided by our nonprofits is key to the tremendous quality of life we enjoy here. That much was clear from the Giving Challenge results.

Another key to our quality of life that became clear in those 24 hours is the deep connection we have to our community and one another, our belief in the greatness of this place we call home, and our commitment to ensuring a future full of possibility. This is all the more powerful because that commitment to tomorrow’s brightness was made on a perfectly sunny day.


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