A Culture of Philanthropy

I often hear people compare their former home cities to our community with some version of the following: “This area has so much more than ‘insert city’. A wide variety of nonprofits with uniquely different missions, and great collaboration. It’s truly incredible.”

When they ask ‘why’, I am reminded of the history of philanthropy in our community that developed this characteristic. According to Florida Trend, “In 1997, there were 12 community foundations in Florida with approximately $323 million in assets. By 2005, 26 Florida communities had foundations, and their collective assets exceeded a billion dollars.” Today, “Florida is home to approximately 9,100 foundations. Among them are 150 community foundations.” 

The establishment of our very own three, local community foundations,Community Foundation of Sarasota County (1979), Gulf Coast Community Foundation (1995), and Manatee Community Foundation (1998), changed the fabric of our society. Their missions to connect donors to successful nonprofits, and their ability to gather philanthropists and nonprofits, big and small, has filled gaps in human services, enriched our lives through the arts, maintained a strong focus on education, facilitated policy change, and made strides forward in the fields of conservation and health.

Add a number of private and family foundations of all sizes who have fortuitously settled in Sarasota and Manatee counties, the thousands of donors who’ve become champions by answering the call time and time again, the dedicated work of thousands of people, and you have a community who, though hasn’t fixed every problem, has made remarkable advances and is ready, willing, and able to continue. A community with a rich culture of philanthropy, volunteerism, and a strong sense of hope for the future.

Thank you to everyone who has gone before me to forge this path for decades, who’s created and sustained a community that cares for itself. You give me hope. Harvest House is one of the many organizations that thrive in carrying out its mission today because of you. May we continue to weave this beautiful tapestry with our generosity of spirit, resources, trust, and kindness.

Erin E Minor
Chief Executive Officer

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