Photo: Mangrove Walkway at The Bay

Private Donors Achieve Third $1 Million Gift for The Bay

Posted on May 18, 2021
Sarasota is realizing the possibilities within the 53 acres of city-owned land that comprise The Bay. The ongoing revitalization of this land through Phase 1 of The Bay's master plan has given people of all ages their first opportunity to experience the new realities that will be created through this transformative community-led effort, most notably through the opening of its Mangrove Bayou Walkway in April 2021.

Community donors have now achieved a third $1 million gift from The Patterson Foundation to The Bay by contributing $5 million in private funding toward Phase 1, creating a 10-acre community park stretching from U.S. 41 to the bayfront along Boulevard of the Arts. This milestone — achieved amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic — brings the private philanthropy's investment into Phase 1 to $20 million, which includes $5 million total from The Patterson Foundation.

The momentum behind The Bay continues to be generated by The Bay Park Conservancy (BPC). Their years of diligent visioning, planning, and civic progress have given Sarasota a sound path toward realizing our community's aspirations for the future of the space. Their approach has been affirmed by people throughout our community who have invested the funds necessary to bring that vision to life throughout Phase 1.

The Bay beautifully intertwines with many of The Patterson Foundation's initiatives. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build something that both preserves and enhances the Sarasota Bayfront for all to experience and enjoy at no cost. That alignment undergirds The Patterson Foundation's long-time role as a catalyst funder and thought-partner for this effort. The Patterson Foundation provided technical assistance to the initial Bayfront 20:20 organization to help its committed volunteers to plan effectively for what would be needed to create The Bay's master plan — a $2 million endeavor. With an initial investment of $100,000 followed by an additional $100,000 match for each $1 million raised through private philanthropy toward the master plan's development, The Patterson Foundation invested a total of $300,000 into The BPC's precursor, the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization (SBPO), to spearhead the master plan.

The Patterson Foundation's leadership and catalytic investments have helped The BPC develop strong partnerships and alliances with government, foundations, and citizen donors while strengthening its support network within the community. The community's response to BPC's guidance and approach demonstrates its awareness of The Bay's value and importance to generations of visitors from all walks of life.

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