Better Together: Harnessing the Power of Collaboration

Guest Correspondence

Photo of Gulf Coast Block Party. Photography by Harry Sayer Media.

“Better Together” is a term that is ingrained in everything we do at Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) from our work culture, to the relationships we have with our donor families, to the support we provide nonprofits who are transforming our region for the greater good of all. Better Together means coming together to share ideas and listen to each other to strengthen bonds, collaborate and work synergistically. This concept is powerful.

On April 4, State Street in downtown Sarasota, next to our Sarasota Philanthropy Center, transformed into our annual, vibrant Better Together Celebration. Approximately 450 of you (philanthropists, nonprofit partners, elected officials, government staff, other foundations and the community at large) gathered to celebrate the transformational impact we have when we work togetherOur focus areas of Arts, Education, Environment and Health and Human Services were showcased through activity booths spread throughout the event, which enabled participants to immerse themselves in experiences of transforming together. As Jah Movement played one of my favorite songs, I watched kids in awe of bubbles twice their size, heard laughter from the Oyster Boys Conservation tent where attendees learned to build 100 vertical oyster gardens that will renew our waters and saw at least 10 butterflies land on willing hands. Because of you, the mood was happy, contagious, and electric. Thank you for joining us for this special annual event.

Synergy can be seen across our entire community when we all come together to create impact that will provide opportunities for all for many years to come. I want to thank our friends at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation on a successful Giving Challenge advancing collective togetherness. A record 53,305 donors raised more than $17.2 million in unrestricted resources for 724 nonprofit organizations in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto and Charlotte counties. This outpouring of generosity and care is the perfect example of togetherness that uplifts our region and inspires current and future philanthropists.

Together, we have an opportunity to double the impact at The Bay Sarasota, our region’s “one park for all.” Our Board of Directors approved a $1 million grant, doubled by a $1 million contribution by anonymous Gulf Coast philanthropists, to make a $2 million matching grant to support continual expansion of The Bay Park. I hope this moves you, our readers and philanthropists, to donate an additional $2 million for a total of $4 million in support by the end of December 2024. Donations can be made via The Bay’s website: www.thebaysarasota.org/support-the-park. Green spaces are shown to increase mental health benefits, and they last for generations of families to treasure.

We can accomplish more together than we could ever dream of alone. The idea of “Better Together” celebrates the multitude of ways we can heal, thrive, and work in tandem to foster strong relationships and create positive change. Onward.

Phillip P. Lanham is President and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Photo of Gulf Coast Block Party. Photography by Harry Sayer Media.

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