In Tune with the Heartbeat of Sarasota

Guest Correspondence


Anniversaries are unique moments in an individual or organization’s life, pauses that encourage personal reflection on what has come before and excitement for all that lies ahead. This year, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County is celebrating a milestone anniversary: 40 years of uniting people and organizations to create opportunities for families across generations to improve lives and create lasting impact in our community. 

In anticipation of our 40th Anniversary, we have taken a thoughtful look back at all the donors, nonprofit partners, local professionals, and community members who have partnered with us over the years, and we are proud to see that this legacy of trust and partnership has only strengthened over time.

As a testament to this, just this week we were able to share that the Community Foundation of Sarasota County is recognized as a national leader among community foundations for overall community impact and donor satisfaction by a 2019 Donor Perception Report conducted by the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP), an independent industry analyst that evaluates philanthropic funders for effectiveness. Ranking in the top 99th percentile in these respective fields, our Community Foundation was described as an effective, trustworthy, and responsive partner, with our donors viewing us as a key resource based on our strong understanding of community needs.

However, the most rewarding aspect of this report was reading the constructive remarks and comments from the donors who partner with us. As part of our continual aim to grow as community needs evolve, I view listening and considering these thoughtful responses as a crucial process. Reflection often brings insights and renews our team’s dedication to build bridges between past and future opportunities. One comment in particular continues to spark my imagination: “The Community Foundation is in tune with the heartbeat of Sarasota [County] and its community.”

This begs the question: what is the heartbeat of our community? From my perspective, it is the collective efforts of community members and organizations working hand-in-hand to foster a community-wide culture of caring, empowerment, and belonging and build the community we all want to live in. And this starts with expanding opportunities for families and individuals across our area to ensure they can reach their full potential.

In our pursuit of these efforts, our Community Foundation has also been ranked locally as the largest community foundation in Florida by asset size and nationally as second in total number of giving transactions by the 2018 Columbus Survey, which collects and compares data metrics from 250 other community foundations nationwide.

While we are tremendously proud of these results, these numbers ultimately reflect the generosity of our community and the passion of our donors who are making a difference every day. We continue to feel honored and humbled that donors have chosen us to be their partner in charitable giving, and we remain committed to listen with open ears and an open heart to continuously strengthen our community knowledge and relationships.

While anniversaries present an opportunity to reflect on the past and reenergize for the future, I encourage every one of us to embrace a spirit of continual improvement for the betterment of our community by celebrating achievements and inviting constructive feedback in all you do. And, if you listen closely, you will hear the heartbeat of our community.  

Roxie Jerde is president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

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