Wreck and Recovery



Every resident in our region faced their own challenges and perils in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Even though we did not experience the brunt of the full storm, the significant fallout, physical damage and power outages left the region anxious, roofless and literally, in the dark. We braced for the worst, we hoped for the best and we counted our blessings when we came out of it reasonably unscathed compared to the predicted alternative. A great sense of relief permeated throughout this entire community.  But what about the unforeseen issues that continued to plague the community after the life-threatening scare of a Category 4 hurricane? Since safety was not guaranteed, many residents were forced to take crucial and expensive precautions to safeguard their homes and families from the unknown. And many lost income from an extended period when businesses closed down. Despite the comparatively favorable outcome, action was still needed to support the region’s recovery process.

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County never missed a beat. They created the Hurricane Irma Relief & Recovery Fund in early September as a response to Irma’s projected path to secure a place for funding. Donations were collected locally as well as nationwide, from individuals, businesses and other funders who wanted to support the community during the crisis. Immediately following Irma, the Community Foundation sent out a survey to more than 600 local nonprofits to assess their needs related to recovery from the storm. The response caused a follow-up grant application sent in December inviting nonprofits to request funding for hurricane-related expenses. A committee made up of CFSC staff, board members and district leaders met to review and make recommendations for allocating that funding. Particular emphasis was put on requests that focused on long-term resolutions and preparedness for future disasters.

After a long-awaited approval process, the Community Foundation awarded $322,924 in funding to 41 local nonprofit organizations for Hurricane Irma recovery as of last week.

“We wanted to ensure that we kept a pulse on the needs of our local nonprofits, and how they were doing addressing the various needs that arose before, during, and after the storm,” says Roxie Jerde, President and CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are grateful and fortunate that so many stepped up in at a time of need, and contributed to the fund in preparation for what could have been much worse, and now our nonprofits are able to get back on their feet because of it.”

Assistance was provided for expenses including evacuation costs, lost wages, overtime costs, equipment and preparation costs, relief for clients, business property damage and lost revenue. Ultimately, the fund will strengthen the community in its ongoing recovery from the effects of Irma and more importantly, better prepare us for formidable dangers yet to come.

About the Community Foundation of Sarasota County: The Community Foundation is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of over $333 million in more than 1,400 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling more than $33 million dollars this past year in the areas of education, health and human services, the arts, animal welfare, and the environment. Since our founding, more than $217 million has been invested back into the community through grants and scholarships.

Community Foundation of Sarasota

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