VENICE, FL (January 26, 2023) – Gulf Coast Community Foundation (Gulf Coast) has surpassed $500 million in grants awarded marking a significant moment in the foundation’s 27 year history. On the heels of providing over $3 million to help families and businesses through its Hurricane Ian Recovery Initiative, Gulf Coast reached this milestone together with its donors.
“In 2010 we celebrated our $100 million mark in grants made,” shared Gulf Coast Community Foundation President|CEO Mark Pritchett. “Together with our donors, in 12 short years, we have quintupled our impact.”
Established with an $85 million endowment from the sale of the Venice Hospital, Gulf Coast’s $500 million achievement reflects the incredible power of partnership, philanthropy, and endowment.
Gulf Coast has grown to nearly 1,000 funds that support a wide range of nonprofit organizations in addition to its own endowment. “Our donor families are dedicated to making this world a better place than when they found it,” continued Pritchett. “Not only are our donors giving today, but they are setting up endowments at Gulf Coast that will support good causes and their favorite charities in perpetuity.”
The $500 million mark signifies the deep impact the foundation has made together with thousands of generous donors. In reflecting on its impact, the foundation noted:
· Gulf Coast catalyzed the vision of our communities being connected by a beautiful bike and pedestrian trail. In 2016, Gulf Coast supported the creation and expansion of the Legacy Trail by funding the initial surveys and engineering to help realize the best path forward. In 2018, Gulf Coast provided a grant to Trust for Public Land to increase public awareness of the economic, recreational, health, and quality of life benefits of the Legacy Trail and its extension. That same year, following Gulf Coast’s advocacy work, a referendum passed overwhelmingly with 99 out of 100 precincts voting to approve public funding of the extension of the Legacy Trail. To date, together with its donors, Gulf Coast has provided over $300,000 in monetary support, and countless hours of advocacy and partnership to realize the continued expansion of this community asset.
· Gulf Coast has invested significantly in its home city of Venice. As one example, since 1998, Gulf Coast has provided over $1.5 million dollars in their historic partnership with Venice Area Beautification, Inc., including $400,000 in grants to support the Venice Urban Forest. The Venice Urban Forest sits along an industrial corridor and is home to over 90 different species of birds and over 3,000 native trees.
· Through a five-year, $18-million collaborative investment in our students’ future, Gulf Coast partnered with the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the school district, and generous donors to establish the STEMsmart and 21st Century Schools initiatives. These two initiatives transformed over 300 Sarasota middle school classrooms, revolutionizing how math, science, and language arts and social studies were taught.
· As a founding partner, Gulf Coast has invested over $1.7 million in our regional workforce development program, CareerEdge. To date, CareerEdge has invested $14.5 million to train over 6,600 workers, create over 1,600 new jobs, and realize $35.2 million in new wages and raises for our local workforce.
· Together with its donors, Gulf Coast has committed over $3 million in recovery aid after Hurricane Ian decimated our southern region. Through its Hurricane Ian Recovery Initiative, over 50 nonprofit organizations have been provided with transformational assistance post-storm.
· More than $10 million has been awarded in scholarships to help students of all ages pursue their dreams of higher education since Gulf Coast established its scholarship program in 1997.
· Over $6.3 million has been invested by Gulf Coast and its donors since 2012 to support local service providers to help families and individuals overcome homelessness.
· Nearly $5 million in unrestricted Arts Appreciation grants have been approved by Gulf Coast since 2014 to world-class arts and cultural organizations.
· Together with Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast assisted 60 different organizations and invested $7 million in total for COVID-19 relief locally and beyond.
Gulf Coast’s values of integrity, leadership, collaboration, and excellence are not only woven into the fabric of the organization, but are a part of everything the foundation does. Surpassing $500 million in grants awarded shows the impact Gulf Coast has had on transformative change in our region.
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 surpassed granting $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.
Photograph – attached:
Cyclists and the public gather at the Legacy Trail North Port Connector Ribbon Cutting in September 2022.