Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund offers way to help after Ian

Guest Correspondence

SRQ: How did the Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund come together?

Roxie Jerde: Earlier in the week we knew this was an impending storm that was looking to be really disastrous. We are fortunate that the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has been around for almost 45 years and we have got 21-plus years of our Season of Sharing network of 50-something human service  agencies. We'll be able to really tap into them. We determined what the longer term recovery efforts are. I spoke with Debra Jacobs and the Patterson Foundation, and much like we have worked with the Season of Sharing and after COVID shut everything down, that was a partner we have worked with in the past.

SRQ: What support for this fund are you looking for immediately?

RJ: At this point, monetary support. We know the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, our local, state and federal governments are all rallying for the relief part, which is the immediate need. This fund is intended for those longer term needs that we will learn about as we really understand the extent of how our community has been impacted. This fund is for Charlotte, DeSoto, Sarasota and Manatee counties. We will work with our partners to determine as the longer term needs begin unveiling themselves how best to utilize the funding so that we can, through our nonprofit partners, help our community recover from this.

SRQ: What sort of support do you expect to surface from this community?

RJ: We know inherently the generosity of our community. They have stepped up time and time again. The Season of Sharing and the Giving Challenges have demonstrated that. As we're starting to see the extent of this, if you weren't yourself personally impacted in a severe way, you want to do something to help. Given the trust we have with our partners and others that we know will be great stewards, this is an opportunity for people who want to do something. Those who have caring hearts want somehow to take action. We just feel so privileged to be in a position in the community where we're trusted. We will make good use of the funds as we work with our partners on what the longer term needs are going to be to get our community back. We're resilient. We're adaptable. This is going to obviously take the efforts of all of us. Philanthropy is one piece of it, but we can help jumpstart so much through our nonprofit partners and by being good listeners to those on the ground in the greatest need and understanding how best we can support our community.

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

Learn more about the Suncoast Disaster Recovery Fund

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