Sarasota-Manatee Black-Led Nonprofits Make National Magic

Guest Correspondence

Many significant days in history are remembered because of the great difficulties or tragedies they mark. But how we choose to remember those events is where we can find power and purpose. Aug. 28 is an example of building traditions that are rooted in hope for the future while remembering the past.

On that date in 1955, the 14-year-old boy Emmett Till was killed. It was the same day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech during the 1963 March on Washington. The organization Young Black and Giving Back Institute recognized the tragedy and triumph of these and other events that took place on Aug. 28 and turned their focus three years ago to mark the date with a national day of giving during Black Philanthropy Month to support Black-led and Black-serving nonprofit organizations in greater support of an equitable society.

For the first time this year, 15 local organizations based in Sarasota-Manatee area took part in Give 8/28, joining nearly 500 other nonprofit causes across the country. Altogether the 15-hour digital event – similar to our local “Giving Challenge” - raised $253,694 from nearly 2,300 donors. Our local participants garnered more than $20,000 and competitive rankings on the leaderboard. When the final gift was made at 11 p.m. last Friday night, three local organizations found themselves ranked in the top 20 overall: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe of Florida (2nd), who also received a prize for Most Donors; Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative (11th); and, Gamma Xi Boule Foundation (18th).

Take a moment and reflect on the significance behind these applaudable numbers. In a moment where our nation is reckoning with a past and present riddled with racial injustice, Give 8/28 and its host, the Young Black and Giving Back Institute, provided a proactive way to offer support for organizations working to address past wrongs and for individuals and communities to actively shape and invest in our shared future.

If we are indeed made by our history, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once famously stated, then our intentions and actions now will define who we are to become as a community. Made clear by our region’s philanthropic enthusiasm, the unifying spirit behind Give 8/28 is alive and well in our area, and I expect will continue to grow. At its heart, charitable giving ensures everyone has an opportunity to thrive while being respected and encouraged. As our community grows, remember that the small steps taken by each of us will combine to drive macro changes for generations to come. After all, that is how history is made. Let’s choose to write it with action and compassion.

To learn more about Give 8/28 and view results, visit

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

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