Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Board of Directors approved nearly $12.6 million in grants and initiative funding last month at its final meeting of the foundation’s 2021 fiscal year. Some highlights of these community investments are detailed below.
Catalytic, collaborative initiatives provide some of Gulf Coast's greatest impact in our region. Informed by our regional scanning process and built through coalitions with trusted nonprofit partners and governmental agencies, our initiatives target regional priorities with strategic and nimble solutions. The Gulf Coast Board earmarked $1.9 million for this work in our 2022 fiscal year (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022). Among the initiatives to which we've committed new funding are:
• $300,000 to address adult homelessness and housing
• $250,000 for criminal justice reform
• $200,000 to protect and improve our region’s natural environment
• $200,000 for mental health through the Here4YOUth initiative
• $210,000 for nonprofit capacity-building through the Invest in Incredible initiative
Our Board also approved nearly $1 million in responsive grants to area nonprofits through our Leveraged and Community Grants programs. These grant awards included:
• City of North Port - $25,000 to assist seniors with rental deposits and individuals participating in the Skills for Life program offered by the city’s office of Aging and Community Resources
• Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Foundation - $125,000 for continued support of the CareerEdge workforce innovation initiative as it partners with employers in targeted growth sectors to train new workers and upskill incumbent workers
• Gulf Coast Partnership - $35,000 for a two-year project in collaboration with the school district tor end homelessness for families in Charlotte County
• Peace River Community Housing Partners - $45,000 to support design fees and other costs to develop an affordable housing triplex for veterans
• Sarasota County Parks, Recreation, and Natural Resources - $50,000 for enhancement amenities on the North Port Connector of The Legacy Trail, including an ADA-accessible stop station with benches, an information kiosk, and a bike rack
• The Bay Park Conservancy - $300,000 for continued support of Phase 1 of The Bay Park, a 53-acre signature public park being developed on the Sarasota Bayfront
• United Way of Charlotte County - $34,374 to support the economic stability of Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) women and mothers to increase their financial security.
• USF Foundation - $25,000 to support a pilot project to enhance the local nursing workforce during and beyond the pandemic
• Venice Area Beautification, Inc. - $100,000 matching grant to support Phase 2, Segment 2 of the 1.75-mile-long Venice Urban Forest being created along an old railway corridor adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway
Grant guidelines and application deadlines for our 2022 fiscal year are now available on our website.
Arts Appreciation Grants
Gulf Coast’s Arts Appreciation grants are awarded through a streamlined process and with minimal restrictions to enable cornerstone arts organizations to further their artistic missions and maintain our region’s brand as an arts and cultural destination in southwest Florida.
• Asolo Repertory Theatre - $70,000
• Sarasota Ballet - $55,000
• Sarasota Opera - $50,000
• Sarasota Orchestra - $50,000
• Ringling Museum - $50,000
• Venice Theatre - $50,000
• Florida Studio Theatre - $45,000
• Embracing Our Differences - $40,000
• Circus Arts Conservatory - $30,000
• Hermitage Artist Retreat - $30,000
• The Venice Symphony - $30,000
• Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe - $30,000
The Gulf Coast Board also ratified the following grants made in April and May 2021:
• $7.8 million in grants awarded from donor advised funds
• $1.4 million in grants awarded from project funds administered by Gulf Coast on behalf of community collaborations and activities with a charitable purpose
“Over the past year, our donors on average granted out well over a third of the balances that were in their donor advised funds at the start of the year, which was well above the rate we've seen nationally,” said Gulf Coast President | CEO Mark Pritchett. “And total grants from our donors' funds this year was up about 30% from two years ago. That just goes to show how exceptionally generous Gulf Coast donors are!
"Donor advised funds enable philanthropists to prepare to meet future needs through their giving, and that future was now once the pandemic hit," Mark continued. "We are so grateful for our donors and the way they've stepped up for our community, and we're equally proud of how our region’s nonprofits have innovated to continue to meet their missions.”