$2.7 Million in Direct Grants to Nonprofits for COVID-19 Relief


Together with its donors and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded over $2.7 million in grants to nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 relief.

That total includes more than $1.1 million funded from the COVID-19 Response Initiative, a joint initiative of Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation designed to support immediate and long-term needs in the region stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. Grants awarded in the past two weeks from this initiative are funding services such as virtual mental-health counseling for children and for veterans, childcare for first responders, and emergency food and financial assistance for displaced hospitality workers, foster families, and others.

Right now, many families are experiencing a level of stress and hardship unlike any other time—especially those already struggling with poverty, mental-health issues, or other challenges. A $25,000 grant from Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation to The Florida Center for Early Childhood is funding much-needed mental-health resources for young children and their families who are not fully covered by Medicaid or other insurance.

“These funds will ensure that vulnerable families with young children can receive the professional support they need to cope with the isolation, unemployment, and food insecurity they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19,” said Kathryn Shea, President and CEO of The Florida Center. “Many were already facing stressors like poverty, domestic violence, and physical or mental health challenges, so our goal is to provide them with positive strategies to manage their emotions and ultimately avoid child abuse or neglect.”


The foundations also awarded grants to Operation Warrior Resolution ($3,200) to provide telehealth counseling to Sarasota-area veterans, and to the Family Network on Disabilities ($5,000) to provide relief for caregivers of children with disabilities through virtual respite care.

Another ongoing need amid the pandemic is childcare for essential personnel who must continue to work outside their homes while schools are closed. To provide relief, the foundations awarded a second installment of funding to SKY Family YMCA ($75,000) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County ($80,000) to support their respective programs to provide no-cost childcare for essential safety and healthcare workers. “We are honored to continue providing free care for children of first responders thanks to the COVID-19 Response Initiative,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs. “We’re proud to do our part in keeping our local heroes’ children safe while they keep our community safe.”

While the foundations have awarded dozens of grants for immediate relief from COVID-19 impacts in the region, they also are preparing for the significant challenges of recovery and rebuilding from the pandemic. Generous donors and other funders have contributed an additional $1.5 million in support of what they anticipate will be a multiyear initiative. “As phased ‘reopening’ begins in our state and our region, we will focus on helping nonprofits increase their capacity to serve people who are struggling with lost wages over the long term,” said Mark Pritchett, President|CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “The recovery will demand innovation by our strongest nonprofit partners, and we are confident they will continue to deliver on their missions.”

Other recent funding from Gulf Coast Community Foundation for COVID-19 relief includes $470,000 awarded to arts & cultural organizations that have lost significant revenue from canceled performances and events, and over $1 million in grants recommended from donor funds within the foundation to various nonprofit organizations.

Latest COVID-19 Response Initiative Grants

The following grants were awarded from the COVID-19 Response Initiative Fund since April 20:

Basic Needs

The TWIG Cares – $10,000 to provide “TwigBoxes” filled with personal-care items, gift cards, and other support for young adults who have aged out of foster care

UnidosNow – $10,000 to provide culturally competent case management to Spanish-speaking individuals and families who need critical services and resources

All Faiths Food Bank – $7,000 to distribute meals to furloughed restaurant workers

Laurel Civic Association – $10,000 to aid displaced, low-income workers and their families through rental/mortgage assistance, utility assistance, and supplemental access to food

Health Care and Mental Health

Florida Center for Early Childhood $25,000 to provide much-needed mental health resources for vulnerable young children and their families not fully covered by Medicaid or other insurance providers

Tri-County Counseling and Life Skills Center $15,000 to cover fees for mental-health and substance-abuse counseling for low-income clients in North Port

Tidewell Hospice $10,000 to fund medical supplies and additional staffing to serve the surge of patients in our region

Family Network on Disabilities $5,000 to provide relief for caregivers of children with disabilities through virtual respite care

Good Samaritan Pharmacy & Health Services $4,000 to meet increased demand for prescription medications amid the pandemic

Operation Warrior Resolution $3,200 to provide telehealth counselling sessions to Sarasota-area veterans and their families

Jobs and Financial Security

Women’s Resource Center $5,000 to assist hospitality-industry workers who have lost jobs or wages

The Salvation Army of Sarasota – $20,000 to reemploy furloughed workers so the agency can meet increased demand for its services across Sarasota County

First Responders

SKY Family YMCA – $75,000 to continue offering childcare services and educational programs for children of essential employees, first responders, and healthcare providers

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County – $80,000 to provide childcare to essential healthcare and emergency response workers on the front lines of containing and treating COVID-19 in our region

Youth Services

Safe Children Coalition – $17,800 to provide every foster family in the 12th Judicial Circuit with a $100 gift card to assist with unplanned needs


Hurricane Ian Recovery Delivers

Published: Our Hurricane Ian Relief continues to make an impact across the region, including in this story on Kiwanis Club of North Port Foundation.

A Thriving Work Culture: The Right Mix of Compassion, Values, and Leadership

Published: Read about Gulf Coast's renowned work culture and the importance of a healthy, thriving work culture.

Gulf Coast Community Foundation Continues Support to Reduce Recidivism

Published: Through a unique, dynamic, three-way partnership, Gulf Coast, CASL, and the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office continue support to reduce recidivism.