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Sarasota’s Giving Challenge

Sarasota’s Giving Challenge

For more than a decade, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has been presenting a Giving Challenge once a year to support local non-profit organizations. Non-profits sign up on their website, and for a 24 hour period, residents can give money to whatever organizations they also want to support. The cool thing is that The Patterson Foundation matches every unique gift between 25 and 100 dollars, and to date the Giving Challenge has raised over 75 million dollars for local non-profit organizations, or as I prefer to think of them, social profit organizations.

This year’s giving challenge is today, April 9, starting at noon and ending at noon tomorrow. Whenever I make money, I put 10% into my Community account and whatever I haven’t used to support my community come the Giving Challenge goes to the organizations I appreciate and want to help. This year, I’ve only got a bit over 700$, but last year I had a little more money and really enjoyed spreading it around to do the most good.

After scrolling through the first 400 organizations on the leaderboard, I’d selected 16 that I wanted to support. Considering that I had 1000$ to contribute, I could have just given 62.50$ to each of them. However, some had certain requests, which gave me something to work with.

For fifty dollars, I equipped a special needs kid with a hammock through the Foundation of Dreams, and as far as dreaming goes, I can’t imagine a better gift than a hammock.

For 25$, I became a Watermelon Warrior for Transition Sarasota, whose gleaning project kept me very well fed for my year without money and has provided nutritious, organic produce for many families who really need it.

As a former member of the Ridin’ Redneck chapter of the Sarasota County 4-H Club, I was grateful that I was able to raise the animals I did as a kid, and I think every kid should get to go to Camp Cloverleaf. Plus, I love their motto: I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to greater service, and my health to better living. Since I have a thing for 4s, I gave 4H 44$.

The All Faiths Food Bank is what made the gleaning project work, so I gave them 44$ too.

I was actually going to play at an event for Turning Points, and I know they provide a lot of help for the homeless community up in Bradenton, so I figured, I’d go ahead and give them 44$ too.

WSLR said that 25$ would allow me to be a voice for justice.

The folks at Project Pride said I could be their friend for 25$.

Sarasolo, where I created two shows, has ended its role as a festival and has more recently been getting the older and younger generations together and helping them to tell one another’s stories, which I think is an amazing way to promote empathy and understanding, so I gave them 88$.

The Players Theatre, where I’ve had wonderful experiences performing in and watching shows, said I could provide a kid with classes for a month for only 55$, so that seemed like a sound investment.

I practically grew up in Myakka State Park, and I still visit a lot of parks today so I figured I’d give each of them 44$ too.

Take Stock in Children said 25$ would provide school supplies for a student, and being a substitute teacher, I’ve seen that they do need supplies.

Hungers End feeds a lot of people who need it, so I sent them 44$ to help.

The Van Wezel Foundation, where I’d recently seen an incredible performance of Fiddler On The Roof, which was dedicated to the people of Ukraine, said that 50$ would promote reading by providing books for an entire classroom.

I think Second Heart Homes is one of the most effective organizations in helping with homelessness in Sarasota so I made sure to give them the full 100$.

I also think that Sunshine Community Compost is doing amazing things to promote regenerative living, so I gave them 100$ too.

I saw that 100$ would also provide critical care supplies for sick and injured seabirds so I supported Save Our Seabirds as well.

That brought me to 951$, and the transaction fees were just over fifty bucks.

We’ll see what happens this year, but I appreciate the opportunity to support my community, and I hope you make the most of the Giving Challenge this year as well.