Children First Recognized at Change Agents in Philanthropy Awards Luncheon

The Giving Coast

Pictured: Members of Children First. Photo by Noah Magnifico.

On March 10th SRQ Media recognized five local nonprofits who have leaned into change, particularly after an extremely challenging year, at the SB2 Transformation in Philanthropy luncheon and panel discussion. The event took place at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota where all parties were thrilled to be gathered together in person. The Change Agents in Philanthropy Awards focus on the capacity of the independent sector to be innovative in the face of change in fundraising, donor cultivation and development, mission, programming, branding and visibility and operations. We are pleased to highlight each of the nonprofit groups recognized at the luncheon as part of our Wednesday Philanthropy edition.

Throughout the pandemic and 2021, Children First has been there to push for the betterment of children across Sarasota and empower future generations. In 2021, celebrating 60 years of commitment to their mission, “Strengthening children and families by improving the quality of their lives through a comprehensive approach to development, education, health, and well-being,” Children First partnered with Key Supporters to launch a public challenge match campaign, The Challenge for Changing Lives. The campaign raised more than $2.3MM towards Children First programs, which include early educational services like Head Start - for which Children First Sarasota is ranked in the top 1% of all Head Start programs nationwide - as well as family education programs. Over the course of the past year and a half, Children First continued to hire Vocational Family Advocates, which allowed them to design a Parent Training Program to help the families they serve overcome economic effects of the pandemic. Additionally, Children First was able to garner support from the community to continuously employ their staff of more than 200 employees. Children First also secured the funding to employ and pay the salaries of their 45 teachers and caseworkers throughout July and August of 2020. In turn, this allowed Children First to maintain services for all families enrolled in their care over the course of the pandemic. Philip Tavill, President and CEO credits his colleagues for stepping up during an enormously challenging time. “Our leadership team communicated five days a week with our staff, updating them on important information. This open communication was critical in terms of our staff feeling supported.”

Pictured: Members of Children First. Photo by Noah Magnifico.

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