Sarasota Remembers The Baranciks

The Giving Coast

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

As Charles and Margery Barancik sat down with SRQ MEDIA for a rare interview early this year, the couple spoke joy about seeing the work their philanthropic dollars achieved. At one point, Charles said, they had planned the traditional endowment route so familiar in Florida philanthropy—write a will and have the endowment fund good work after you die. But he became convinced speaking with local philanthropic leaders it would be better for the couple to form a foundation and see the work in their lifetime.

The time ended suddenly this week. Sarasota Police say around 6 pm Wednesday, a Longboat Key Police patrol vehicle traveling south on Gulf of Mexico Drive collided with a Tesla with the Baranciks inside. Charles Barancik, 91, died at the scene. Margery Barancik, 83, was transported to Sarasota Memorial Hospital, where she died from injuries Thursday night. The police officer involved in the crash was also taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries and has not been identified.

The Foundation ultimately allowed five years for the couple to witness education innovation, award research grants, and become celebrated among the region’s greatest philanthropists. The couple in 2014 founded The Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation, donating wealth and mentorship. Charles once described scrutinizing the impact of nonprofits and making sure the money did the most good. “Do they really fit what we’re trying to do?,” he said. “What's their risk-reward ratio?”

The Baranciks even now continue to be an enormous force in philanthropy within the Sarasota-Bradenton region. But they started out giving anonymously. Mark Pritchett, CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, worked with the couple on funding tech in Sarasota classrooms.

“Chuck Banancik brought joy and inspiration to philanthropy in our Sarasota region,” Pritchett said. “He was one of the smartest and most generous people I have ever known. Chuck’s positive philanthropic impact in the arts, education, human services and the environment will be felt for generations to come... I will miss his wonderful sense of humor and his insightful thinking.”

The couple actively participated in much of the good work being done. Margery of the rewards visiting children in reading academies at low-income Sarasota schools. “Seeing a smile on little kids faces that don't have much to smile about,” she said, “how can that not be the most satisfying thing in the world?”

Jennifer Vigne, President of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, feels honored to have worked with the Baranciks in life.

“Just last week he and Margie were smiling and clapping along at the Teacher of the Year event as the Oak Park student choir serenaded the crowd,” Vigne recalled. “While the CMBF has transformed our community with their personal philanthropy, Chuck and Margie have, along the way, touched hearts and transformed lives.”

Photo by Wyatt Kostygan.

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