2020 Giving Challenge Prizes Award More than $286,000 to Local Nonprofit Organizations in Virtual Celebration

The Giving Coast


During a virtual celebration with some 450 attendees, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, alongside other foundation and media partners, awarded more than 260 prizes totaling over $286,000 to nonprofit organizations in recognition of their efforts and achievements during the 2020 Giving Challenge. Nonprofit award recipients demonstrated excellence in transforming planning, strategy, and creativity into successful campaigns through several superlative prize opportunities, such as Best Overall Campaign, Best Nonprofit Partnership, and Best Turnaround. All prize opportunities are designed to strengthen the capacity of nonprofit organizations, ensuring they have the skills and abilities to thrive.

“For months, nonprofit organizations thoughtfully developed fundraising plans, communications campaigns, and collaborative events to connect with donors and grow their involvement with causes close to their heart, and then COVID-19 uprooted all of that,” said Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “In a matter of weeks, nonprofits bravely pivoted their strategies with no small amount of flexibility and creativity to create and executive some of the most successful campaigns we have seen in the last six challenges combined. This effort speaks volumes to our community’s desire to overcome these challenging times and move forward together with our nonprofit partners, stronger and more united than ever before.”

New prize opportunities this year included: Best All Volunteer Organization and Best Online Event, which arose out of the emerging realities of social distancing to ensure our community could remain digitally connected.

Volunteer committees made up of community leaders reviewed and judged the more than 430 applications submitted by participating nonprofit organizations to determine the final award recipients. Nonprofits were divided into three categories: Small (annual operating budgets under $60,000), Medium (annual operating budgets between $60,000 and $500,000) and Large (annual operating budgets greater than $500,000).

All prize opportunities were made available through the generosity of local foundation and media partners. The Community Foundation’s Board of Directors approved $200,000 to be awarded for this year’s prizes, with additional funding support from The Patterson Foundation, the Manatee Community Foundation, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Charlotte Community Foundation. Media partners included: Harbor Style Magazine, the Herald-Tribune Media Group, iHeart Radio, Observer Media Group, Sarasota Magazine/Sagacity, SCENE Magazine, SNN TV, Solmart Media, SRQ Media, WUSF, and WWSB-TV/ABC7.

Overcoming the uncertainty of our times, the 2020 Giving Challenge raised $18.4 million in just 24 hours for 686 local nonprofit organizations serving Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. With $10.9 million provided in community support from 58,947 donors and 106,570 total gifts, along with $7.5 million in matching funds from The Patterson Foundation, the 2020 Giving Challenge set a new standard for community generosity, outperforming the previous six challenges. In total, seven Giving Challenges have collectively provided more than $58 million in unrestricted funding since 2012.

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