Editor's Note: This article is written by Roxie Jerde and Debra Jacobs and was originally published by the Herald-Tribune.


On April 9 and 10, our community displayed an extraordinary sense of unity and purpose during the 2024 Giving Challenge. This remarkable event, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and powered by The Patterson Foundation, proved once more the undeniable strength of collective action. Over 24 hours, our community raised a staggering $17.2 million for 724 nonprofit organizations.

The Giving Challenge is not just an annual event; it's a testament to what we can achieve together. Since 2012, over nine Giving Challenges, our community has rallied to support local nonprofits, amassing a total of $92 million in unrestricted funds. These funds have been pivotal in enhancing the quality of life in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties.

One of the most inspiring aspects of the Giving Challenge is The Patterson Foundation's innovative matching strategy, which offers an unlimited dollar-for-dollar match for all donations between $25 and $100. This approach not only maximizes the impact of each donation but also encourages a broader spectrum of donors to participate, contributing to this year's total of $6.7 million in matched funds.

Nonprofits are the lifeblood of our region. They protect our environment, enrich our lives with high-quality arts performances, and provide care for those in need, from people to animals. These organizations often operate on minimal budgets and rely heavily on volunteers to fulfill their missions. The Giving Challenge provides a crucial lifeline, bolstering their ability to serve and innovate.

This year, a record 53,305 donors participated in the Giving Challenge, creating a groundswell of support that will fuel the vital work of our nonprofits. This event is more than just a fundraiser; it's a celebration of our shared values and a reaffirmation of our commitment to community welfare and prosperity.

The success of the Giving Challenge reflects the spirit of our community. It's a powerful reminder of our potential when we come together. We extend our heartfelt thanks to everyone who participated, from the donors to the volunteers to the nonprofit staff. Your efforts have truly made a difference.

As we look to the future, let us carry this momentum forward. Let's continue to support, engage, and uplift one another. After all, this is the place we call our home, and together, there's no limit to what we can achieve.

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