What happens when the power of the press ignites the compassion and generosity of a community like Sarasota? Would you believe more than $1.5 million in emergency funds raised to help thousands of our neediest neighbors pay their rent, keep their lights turned on, put gas in their cars and food in their refrigerators? (That’s more than similar campaigns in far bigger cities such as Boston, by the way.) Kudos to Herald-Tribune Media Group publisher Diane McFarlin, above center, who last fall, knowing that needs would be huge in such a tough economic year, invited other media to join in the fund-raising campaign she and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County created 10 years ago. That got things going in a big way, and when the Patterson Foundation challenged the community to match its $250,000 grant toward the close of the campaign, giving soared even higher.
This year, 11 different media partners, pictured above, have joined with McFarlin and the Herald-Tribune for a campaign that launches with this edition of Charity Register and runs through the holiday season (although, since the need is vast, donations are accepted year-round). The Community Foundation of Sarasota County worked with 13 nonprofit agencies in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties to put that $1.5 million into the grateful hands of more than 1,500 families last year. You can help us reach even higher; please visit the Community Foundation’s website at cfsarasota.org to make your donation.