Photo: Season of Sharing

Season of Sharing: A Trusted Resource for Community Caring Amid Disaster

Posted on November 15, 2020 by Debra Jacobs, president and CEO of The Patterson Foundation
If nothing else, 2020 could be defined by its unpredictability. Each and every one of us found ourselves in circumstances that would have seemed unfathomable prior to COVID-19. While immense in scope and effect, the pandemic is an example of a destabilizing disaster that can dramatically impact our lives. For too many of our neighbors, this threatens their very safety and stability.

Fortunately, in our region, there is another attribute that rises to the top: Caring. While this is not a new attribute by any means, it has perhaps never resounded as loudly as it has this year — a feat owed to our caring community’s inspired response to strengthen others coping with unforeseen financial hardship due to COVID-19. Of the ways our region has put its generosity into action, the reactivated Season of Sharing campaign stands out for the $2.8 million it helped generate in the early months of the pandemic — providing a vital safety net for families and individuals in Charlotte, DeSoto, Manatee, and Sarasota counties when government or other private assistance is exhausted.

Amid the uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Season of Sharing has stood in stark contrast by offering a time-tested, trusted network to help neighbors, individuals, and families with immediate basic needs regain stability through community philanthropy.

The Patterson Foundation has long supported Season of Sharing, which launched in 2000, through a collaboration between the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and the Herald-Tribune Media Group. In the decades since, the annual campaign has raised over $26 million — helping more than 35,000 families and individuals restore their safety and security by covering rental assistance, utility bills, child-care, transportation, food vouchers, and other crucial expenses. Every dollar raised in that span has gone directly toward helping our neighbors in need through the tireless efforts of multiple nonprofit agencies working to help families and individuals get back on their feet.

Since 2010, The Patterson Foundation has provided $5.6 million in matching funds to incentivize donors who contribute to the Season of Sharing. The consistent support over the years reflects the threat disasters pose to us all, along with the steadfast generosity of our region in responding to help those affected.

As we embark on a fresh iteration of the annual holiday campaign, The Patterson Foundation is honored to continue strengthening giving during Season of Sharing with $100,000 gifts triggered each time our community raises $500,000 between now and Jan. 31, 2021. We are thrilled to share that the first of these contributions has been achieved in record time, thanks to an initial $500,000 in community and legacy giving from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County to kick our region’s generosity into high gear.

Previous campaigns have affirmed our shared aspiration to ensure that our neighbors in need are taken care of following a disaster. These matching gifts are inspired by that generosity, demonstrating The Patterson Foundation’s care for the donors who continue to support Season of Sharing to help families and individuals respond to community crises, whatever their form.

While 2020 has seen Season of Sharing soar to new heights, we have also seen the need rise in equal measure. The unique challenges families and individuals face today makes Season of Sharing an invaluable system of support. As we enter the holiday season and the hope that accompanies it, The Patterson Foundation is ready to help our region’s givers achieve their aspirations for their neighbors. As I make my contribution, I hope you will join me in triggering the match dollars from The Patterson Foundation.

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