That’s A Wrap! Better Together 2024

It was a beautiful, sunny afternoon on Thursday, April 4, 2024, when our team at Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) transformed State Street in downtown Sarasota into our annual, vibrant Better Together Block Party. Approximately 450 of our closest friends, including philanthropists, nonprofit partners and the community at large, gathered to celebrate the transformational impact we have when we work together.

One young girl stands next to big blue cotton candy. She has butterfly painting on her cheek.
Better Together 2024. Photo by Harry Sayer Media.

Spheres Bubble Show by Blaise Ryndes delighted attendees of all ages with his magnificent bubbles that glistened down the block. Guests had the opportunity to get up close and personal with nature's best example of transformational change, the butterfly. Local Butterfly Famer, Cathleen Strong, and a team of butterfly gardeners shared their love of these beautiful creatures through educational and interactive butterfly activities, including a beautiful butterfly release on stage. Better Together highlighted all the positive, transformative changes Gulf Coast, along with our donors, nonprofit partners, and local government, can accomplish when we work together.

Our focus areas of Arts, Education, Environment, and Health and Human Services were showcased through activity booths spread throughout the event.

Health and Human ServicesGuests created beautiful origami hearts and butterflies with Megan Howell from Second Heart Homes. This activity not only represented the transformation of the paper from something unremarkable into something amazing, but also the transformation that happens when someone experiencing homelessness is safely housed in a place they can call home.

EducationStudent teachers from the Suncoast Science Center Faulhaber Fab Lab led attendees through transformational science experiments turning yeast and peroxide into colorful, foamy, elephant toothpaste.

EnvironmentA single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water per day! Attendees along with Oyster Boys Conservation built 100 vertical oyster gardens which will be placed throughout the region to renew our waters.

ArtsParticipants created unique digital art that celebrated this year’s theme “Transform Together” using laser spray paint cans on a giant digital graffiti wall.

Man leans over oyster shells while baby wears headphones and watches.
Better Together 2024. Photograph by Harry Sayer Media.

Following the event, we asked participants what “transformation” meant to them, and we were inspired by the responses we received. Attendees said that transformation means: “Working with all areas of the community - government, corporations, foundations, non-profits and the residents of the community to create a place to live that is physically and mentally strong and healthy for ALL.”  Another reply simply stated, “Transform to create a more supportive and connected community here in Sarasota.” And lastly, “Working together to identify and prioritize needs, and to find measurable, sustainable solutions.” We could not have said it better ourselves.

Smiles, genuine joy, and curiosity were sparked in people of all ages as they danced in the street to the live music from talented Florida Reggae Band Jah Movement. The energy in the air was almost tangible, full of positive, collaborative, and contagious happiness.

Thank you for being an intrinsic part of Better Together 2024. See you next year!

We hope you'll click here to relive all the fun from Better Together through our photo galleries!


Three Team Members Join Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort

Published: Three Gulf Coast team members (Kelly Borgia, Hollie Mowry, and Sasha Pyatte) have joined the Council on Foundation's Bridging Differences Leadership Cohort to enhance our work with philanthropists and the community.

That’s A Wrap! Better Together 2024

Published: Read how our Better Together Block Party on State Street vibrantly celebrated the transformative philanthropic and nonprofit impact in our region.

HEALing Together

Published: Learn how Gulf Coast’s Project HEAL (Helping Everyone Align with Love) is working with local nonprofits to address the root causes of homelessness.