36,400 Expressions of Love for Our Community

Guest Correspondence


A lot of magic happened on September 1 and 2 when members of our community gave more than 36,400 gifts in just 24 hours, infusing large and small local organizations with funding and affirmation of their important impact. We love to reflect on the dollars generated for diverse and meaningful missions in our community from so much generosity: $6,674,614, including individual donors’ gifts, matching dollars from The Patterson Foundation, and grant incentives from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, Manatee Commuity Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

But what’s the story behind the Challenge? It’s actually much bigger.

In 2011, a group of foundations wanted to elevate every citizen’s power of choice in philanthropy. Hundreds of nonprofits have taken long hours to detail their impact, financials, leadership and strategies on The Giving Partner to help all of us understand who is doing what in our community, how we are different and how we work together.

And qualifying organizations had the opportunity to participate in the Giving Challenge earlier this week. They are a mighty bunch. Staff, volunteers and board members rallied behind their causes. Staying true to their missions, these nonprofits developed entertaining, educational, and emotional (often a mixture of all three) campaigns to inspire both loyal and new donors to give during the short amount of time. 22 participating nonprofits partnered with another participating nonprofit to achieve joint goals in their campaigns, 26 nonprofits found a committed business partner to increase their exposure to new audiences, 35 had stand-out boards of directors who developed creative outreach strategies, 33 organizations submitted comprehensive fund and communications strategies for their campaigns and 46 submitted creative videos that evoked emotions in powerful storytelling about their missions. 

Although the Giving Challenge was driven and operated online, the movement wasn’t just about technology. Thanks to all the efforts of the participating organizations, the Challenge was brought to life. Through concerts, celebrations, food and drink events, walkathons, pajama parties, and even pie throwing, people were able to personally experience the excitement of the 24 hours firsthand. 

The movement isn’t over. The impact of what each organization accomplished goes beyond the dollars, and it’s going to make a difference for a long time. Even now, the participating charities are thanking their loyal donors, fostering the new relationships they worked hard to gain and amplifying the good they are able to achieve.

The donors who believed they can be the ones to make a difference and gave during the Giving Challenge can follow the impact of their investments using The Giving Partner. Unrestricted funding can be hard to come by—nonprofits need them for operations. By investing dollars into our community through local nonprofits, those who contributed during the 24 hours demonstrated their passion for our region and added a vote of confidence for the impact that our organizations are achieving.

SRQ Daily Columnist Roxie Jerde is the president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County

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