Victories

Guest Correspondence

Image courtesy Pixabay

As an ardent fan of the Kansas City Chiefs after living there for more than 35 years, this time of year leading up to the Super Bowl is full of anticipation and excitement for me. I’m not alone—as one of America’s most popular pastimes, football captures the hearts and minds of millions of viewers each week as teams make their way to a chance at the big contest. 

While fans root for their teams, it strikes me that one aspect of football that keeps people enthralled is that it is an opportunity for people to come together and unite for a common purpose, with hope in their hearts. Football endures because of the fans who have imbued it with a larger-than-life presence in our culture. 

That spirit of unity, of creating something larger than our individual selves through collective enthusiasm, is what makes Season of Sharing the monumental and magical phenomenon that it is. Over the past 24 years, this time-tested and trusted social safety net has captured the hearts and minds of tens of thousands of donors, each of whom has given to a goal—hope—that’s larger than themselves. Through these gifts, since 2000 Season of Sharing has raised more than $40 million (and counting!) that’s been distributed to more than 50,000 individuals and households to keep families in their homes and help them rebound from crises and regain stability.

This year’s Season of Sharing campaign just wrapped up, and the outpouring of generosity from our community has been astonishing. In a time of shifting economic realities, our community has stepped up once again and made it clear that each and every one of their neighbors’ well-being is their priority, that they recognize our overall community strength comes when our neighbors can step beyond setbacks and into security.   After all, a community is only as strong as all of us are.

Giving has been catalyzed through stories that have given us an insight into what led people to the point of needing assistance, illustrating that often circumstances beyond any person’s control—like floods, fire, family tragedy—drive them to the brink of losing everything. The stories, written by Saundra Amrhein at the Herald Tribune, also underscore the fact that sometimes all it takes is a small boost to allow families to maintain dignity and gain a foothold to solid ground. We are grateful for those who have courageously shared their stories to help our community understand both the urgent needs and unflagging resilience of our neighbors. 

Again, this year, The Patterson Foundation’s $100,000 in matching funds for every $500,000 raised by the community has incentivized giving and amplified the gifts. We are so grateful for their longtime partnership in providing meaningful help to our neighbors in need. 

Victory is irresistible; we all want to see and be a part of a winner’s story. Through Season of Sharing, our community has rallied for so many neighbors, keeping them going through generosity and caring hearts. And this encouragement has helped people achieve victories of their own, the opportunity to push forward to achieve their best lives, knowing their community is rooting for them.  

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

Image courtesy Pixabay

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