Foundation Grants $470,000 to Arts Groups in Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our regional economy has hit arts and cultural organizations among the hardest.

To help key nonprofit arts groups weather this crisis, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded $470,000 in new Arts Appreciation Grants to 10 of our region’s cornerstone arts organizations. These emergency grants, approved by our Board on Tuesday, represent an unscheduled second round of Arts Appreciation grants during our current fiscal year—effectively doubling Gulf Coast's investment in these organizations at a uniquely difficult time.

“This pandemic hit at the very height of the performance and fundraising season, so the blow has been devastating for our signature arts and cultural organizations,” said Mark S. Pritchett, President | CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “By advancing this funding now, the Gulf Coast Board aimed to provide needed cash-flow to these beloved institutions as well as help energize their donor bases to lean in too right now.”

Gulf Coast typically awards its Arts Appreciation Grants once a year to key arts and cultural partners. With minimal paperwork and wide flexibility for how the funding is used, the grants are designed to let the organizations focus on what they do best: advancing their artistic missions. Gulf Coast awarded the same amounts to the 10 grant recipients earlier in our 2020 fiscal year.

The emergency round of Arts Appreciation Grants was quickly approved by our Board in response to the unprecedented effects of the coronavirus pandemic. While Gulf Coast’s joint COVID-19 Response Initiative with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation has prioritized funding for the health and human-service safety net, Gulf Coast and our donors recognize the acute needs across our region’s entire nonprofit sector. The Sarasota Ballet, for example, not only had to cancel revenue-generating performances and events, but also is supporting a group of international dancers stranded here by travel restrictions.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic increased dramatically a month ago, Gulf Coast and its donors have invested $2.4 million in safety-net supports and vital nonprofit organizations,” said Pritchett. “Our donors’ support has gone to a variety of organizations, ranging from All Faiths Food Bank and Suncoast Humane Society to arts groups like Asolo Repertory Theatre.”

The following Arts Appreciation Grants were awarded by Gulf Coast Community Foundation this week:

Asolo Repertory Theatre - $70,000

Sarasota Ballet - $55,000

Sarasota Opera - $50,000

Sarasota Orchestra - $50,000

The Ringling Museum - $50,000

Venice Theatre - $50,000

Florida Studio Theatre - $45,000

Embracing Our Differences - $40,000

Venice Symphony - $30,000

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe - $30,000


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Hearing the Screams

Published: The following guest column by Gulf Coast President and CEO Mark Pritchett appeared in the June 20 edition of SRQ Daily: