Season of Sharing: Building a safety net for a safety net

Season of Sharing: Building a safety net for a safety net

Posted on March 27, 2013 by Nancy Henry, office manager for The Patterson Foundation

With just days left  in the 2012-2013 Season of Sharing (it ends March 31!), the results to date indicate it is on track to be another milestone campaign, surpassing last year's $1.71 million! What a testament to the generosity and caring nature of our community to keep individuals and families in their homes rather than becoming homeless.

In February, due to a surge of generosity from our community, TPF's $500,000 match was reached. The further inspired The Patterson Foundation to contribute an additional $45,000 in matching funds for new or increased donations.

Even though SoS’s level of success in funds raised (nearly $8.5 million since its inception in 1999) and the magnitude of collaboration involved is phenomenal, the need in our community continues to outpace the funds available. It is an unfortunate fact that our area's homeless population far exceeds the parameters of a community our size.

2011 statistics in Sarasota County showed an estimated 11.1% of the total population was below poverty level. The SoS is not a welfare “crutch." It is a one-time emergency gift to keep individuals and families in their home by covering rental assistance, transportation, utilities, etc. In fact, SoS statistics reflect that 86% of those helped through SoS do not return the following year.

The SoS is our community’s safety net for those that have fallen on hard times. And to ensure that no one is left without assistance, the Diane McFarlin Season of Sharing Endowment Fund was created by TPF and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. It is essentially the safety net for the SoS safety net!

The support for this Endowment, named in honor of former Herald-Tribune Publisher Diane McFarlin’s philanthropic work, has been incredible. Less than three months after TPF offered a matching challenge of $250,000, the match was a success! And the contributions continued to come in through December 2012 totaling $253,845. In keeping with TPF's history of matching beyond the goal, TPF increased its commitment to $255,000 - seeding the Endowment with $508,845.

Seventy-seven donors contributed to the endowment with donations ranging from $10 to $78,365, proving that you don’t have to be rich to help others. Anyone can be philanthropist. Whether you make a donation to help those who need it now, during tough times – or held in perpetuity, ready and available should the need surpass SoS funds. Through Season of Sharing or the Diane McFarlin Season of Sharing Endowment Fund the opportunity for 100% of your donation – big or small – to reach those in need and make an impact is nothing short of fulfilling.

With just days left to make a new or increased donation, visit the Season of Sharing donation page.


  • Learn about these and other concepts used in TPF's approach to philanthropy.


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