Education Foundation of Sarasota County establishes Hurricane Ian Disaster Relief Fund for schools

Donations to be used to support school district and its 5,000-plus employees

The Education Foundation of Sarasota County has established a Hurricane Ian Disaster Relief & Recovery Fund to accept monetary donations to support Sarasota County Schools and its 5,000-plus employees, the Foundation has announced.

“The ferocious hurricane caused widespread damage with areas in South Sarasota County receiving the district’s worst impact,” an Oct. 3 news release pointed out. “Full assessments of damages to schools are underway and will be ongoing as district officials are able to access campuses and receive updates from teachers and school support staff,” the release added.

Several schools operated as emergency evacuation centers “before and during the onslaught of Hurricane Ian,” while two schools continued to serve as shelters for displaced residents for a period after the storm, the release noted. “In addition to debris removal on each campus and comprehensive cleaning and disinfecting required for each building,” the release continued, “individual classrooms will need to be restored and basic supplies replenished.”

Recovery updates are available on the school district’s website.

“We are working in partnership with Superintendent [Brennan] Asplen, the Sarasota County School Board, and the Education Foundation Board of Directors to align our collective efforts to help ensure our students can continue to learn, teachers can continue to teach, and schools can become operational as quickly as possible,” said Jennifer Vigne, president and CEO of the Education Foundation, in the release.

Online gifts may be made through this link:

Donors who wish to mail contributions are asked to make checks payable to the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and include Hurricane Relief Fund in the memo field. Checks may be mailed or dropped off at the Education Foundation’s LaunchPad4U location in the Rosemary District, north of downtown Sarasota, at 1413 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, Fla., 34236, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, the release added.

“We know the indomitable spirit of generosity is more powerful than any storm could bring, and we appreciate the outpouring of concern we already are receiving,” Vigne said in the release.

“Our road to recovery will be long,” she continued, “but we will get there faster when we unite to help our schools, students, and teachers rise again.”

“The Education Foundation of Sarasota County ( is an independent, philanthropic partner with Sarasota County Schools,” the release explained. The Education Foundation’s mission is to enhance the potential of all students, promote excellence in teaching, and inspire innovation in education, guided by strategic philanthropy and the belief that each and every student is prepared for life beyond high school.