VENICE, FL (October 20, 2022) – Together with its generous donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) has provided nearly $1 million in immediate relief to area nonprofits devastated by Hurricane Ian. In the days following the storm, these grants have provided life-sustaining support to families and community members in the region who were left with uninhabitable homes, no food, and just the clothes on their backs.
Over twenty grants directly from Gulf Coast’s initiative were primarily awarded to organizations to assist with post-storm health and human service’s needs. These grants not only supported the families and individuals in the community, but additionally the staff of those nonprofit partners who are working tirelessly to further their mission while recovering from a disaster themselves.
“It is gratifying to see our region come together to help those in desperate need after this horrible hurricane. The impact of these grants can be felt all the way down the Gulf Coast. We are providing immediate humanitarian relief to those who need it most,” said Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, President|CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “We have received over $1.6 million in gifts to support Hurricane Ian relief from generous donors,” added Pritchett.
Many nonprofits requested grants for gift cards to provide to their staff and clients so that they could access basic needs such as gas, food, clothing, and diapers. One of the first grants awarded was $50,000 to All Faiths Food Bank to provide food and water to southern Sarasota County, and to support expanded hunger relief efforts to Charlotte County. Tidewell Foundation received a $10,000 grant to meet the basic needs of their staff, many whom continued to serve their patients and families after having lost their homes.
Lift Church of Venice received a $10,000 grant which supported shelter to lineman throughout their time serving our communities, offering them a place to sleep, eat, and have morning coffee. Awaken Church of North Port, who rent a city building next to the social services and health department, received a $10,000 grant to assist their North Port Food Pantry to meet the dramatically increased need. The church runs a full-time food pantry in partnership with All Faiths Food Bank and has been providing the community with hundreds of hot meals, in collaboration with Laurel Civic.
The impact the storm has had on the mental health of our community will be felt for years to come. The region witnessed devastation so great including loss of life, homes, and livelihood. Gulf Coast has provided a $15,000 grant to Tri-County Counseling to support mental health and substance abuse counseling in their North Port office. Additionally, Centerstone received a $10,000 grant to meet the emergency needs of patients impacted by Hurricane Ian. Grief and loss felt by the youth in our region is being supported by a $25,000 grant to Valerie’s House to support families in North Port and Charlotte County.
YMCA of Southwest Florida is providing community hubs with free emergency childcare and food. Gulf Coast awarded them with a $100,000 grant to continue this great work as they provide services all the way down to Bonita Springs, in addition to Charlotte County, Englewood, and Venice. Children First received $50,000 to support the basic needs of families and staff impacted. Their reaction: “Tears of happiness. Words cannot express our deep appreciation for your support.”
This small snapshot of the impact provided by the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund also sheds light on the resilient and strong nonprofit community who work tirelessly to support our region in times of need. Tri-County Counseling’s Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Director Dr. Charlton Cerbone shared, “The way people are coming together and helping others after this storm is a blessing in disguise from a painful Hurricane.”
About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
Headquartered in Venice, Fla. and with a second office in downtown Sarasota, Fla., Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed the region through bold and proactive philanthropy for over 25 years. Serving the needs of the region as a partner in philanthropy, and leader in community initiatives, Gulf Coast has granted nearly $500 million in the areas of: health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Gulf Coast was named one of the “Best Nonprofits to Work For” nationally by The Nonprofit Times in 2010, 2011, 2017, 2020, and 2021. To learn more visit GulfCoastCF.org and follow us on Facebook at @GulfCoastCommFnd.