VENICE, FL (June 22, 2023) – Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s (Gulf Coast) Board of Directors approved over $1.5 million in grant awards this week. The funding, approved at the final Board meeting of the foundation’s 2023 fiscal year, included grants supported by legacy donors who established funds that allow Gulf Coast to fulfill the donors’ philanthropic goals and support the causes most important to them in perpetuity.
“I am pleased to share that our Board of Directors have approved nearly $40 million in grants to our nonprofit partners this past fiscal year,” shared Phillip Lanham, president | CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “I am grateful for the Board’s support, as these contributions will provide nonprofits in our region with meaningful financial resources to create transformative and positive impact.”
Grants approved by the Gulf Coast Board were made to support instrumental community projects and causes. These grants include:
• $440,000 to support Venice Theatre and rebuild the Jervey Theatre destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Venice Theatre attracts thousands of visitors each year, generating revenue for local businesses and restaurants, and providing job and educational opportunities. Venice Theatre is now, per capita, the largest community theater in the United States and is a vital part of the cultural, educational, and economic landscape of Sarasota County. Supported by Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund, this grant brings the foundation’s total support since last year to over $600,000 to help in this critical rebuilding project.
• $150,000 to Bay Park Conservancy to support the operations, maintenance, and care of key features at The Bay Park so that they may be preserved for future generations to enjoy this blue and green oasis. Gulf Coast has invested over $1.2 million into The Bay to ensure it remains a thriving and sustainable community asset for years to come. Generously supported by Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund and the Katherine Naismith Witten Fund.
• $50,000 to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast to support year-one staffing of its expanded Mentoring Center. The new 100-person capacity center will be a transformative space that will increase their reach from 1,500 to 2,000 youth, their families, and the community. Supported by the generous Gould Family Trust Foundation and Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund.
• $340,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties for the second installment of Gulf Coast’s $1 million commitment to support the rebuilding of the Gene Matthews Club in North Port destroyed by Hurricane Ian. The new club will provide services to 575 members annually, approximately 300 youth in the summer, and over 250 during the school year. Supported by Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund and the generous Gould Family Trust Foundation.
• $50,000 to Education Foundation of Sarasota County to support at-risk students with resources to graduate and to create seamless pathways for students to move into higher-skilled, higher-wage jobs. This grant will enhance student outreach and facilitate communication between partners, enabling Education Foundation to hire a part-time collaboration coordinator to assist the director of PLANit Sarasota in engaging with over 40 partners. Supported by Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund, the Odile Robertson Field of Interest Fund, and the Arthur E. and Audre B. Smith Charitable Fund.
• $18,000 to Ringling College Library Association to support and sponsor the 2024 Town Hall Lecture Series which brings influencers from the world stage to Sarasota, with a goal to expand horizons, stimulate conversation, and inspire the community. Supported by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation Fund and the Joseph A. Schasney and Marion W. Schasney Endowment.
• $125,000 to Sarasota Chamber of Commerce to continue support for the regional workforce development program, CareerEdge Funders Collaborative. Established in 2010 as Gulf Coast’s nationally acclaimed workforce and business innovation initiative, Gulf Coast has given over $1.7 million to this program. Support for the $125,000 grant comes from Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund and the generosity of the A. Hamilton and Edith T. Gardner Fund.
• $75,000 to State College of Florida Foundation. The grant will provide instructional equipment for nursing students and aspiring nursing students to continue to address the critical shortage of registered nurses in Southwest Florida. Supported by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation Fund, Gulf Coast’s Venice Endowment Fund, and the Ed and Barbara Strobel Fund.
• $710,000 in Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Arts Appreciation Grants across 13 cornerstone arts organizations in our region to bring world-class talent and beauty to Florida’s Cultural Coast. Those grantees are: Asolo Repertory Theatre, Sarasota Ballet, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Ringling Museum, Venice Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Embracing Our Differences, Circus Arts Conservatory, Hermitage Artist Retreat, Venice Symphony, and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe.
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 $510 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, 2021, and 2023. To learn more visit GulfCoastCF.org and follow us on Facebook at @GulfCoastCommFnd.