More than $2 million in hurricane relief provided to more than 50 nonprofits in Sarasota County

Gulf Coast Community Foundation presents grants to wide array of organizations helping people who suffered from storm’s strike

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation, based in Venice, has given more than $2 million to more than 50 nonprofit organizations to provide “life-sustaining support” in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, the Foundation has reported.

The funds were made possible thanks to generous donors’ contributions and Gulf Coast’s matching funds, a news release points out.

“Our team has been diligently working around the clock to assist our region as it recovers from this monstrous storm,” said Foundation President and CEO Mark Pritchett in the release. “We are grateful to work with such inspirational and resilient nonprofit partners who utilize the initiative’s funding to provide opportunities for all,” Pritchett continued in the release. “Our commitment will be steadfast into the future,” he added.

Recent grants from Gulf Coast’s initiative are as follows, the release says:

  • Venice Theatre received $200,000 to sustain the staff and operations. The “distinctive building in downtown Venice is inoperable,” but the staff is “working rigorously to develop a plan to rebuild,” the release notes.
  • The Boys and Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties Inc. received $230,000 for ongoing efforts to rebuild the destroyed Gene Matthews Club in North Port.
  • When All Else Fails, a North Port-based organization, received a $5,000 grant for housing repairs and basic needs for North Port residents who suffered damage from Hurricane Ian.
  • The Gulf Coast Partnership received a $15,000 grant to build its capacity to respond to individual requests for basic needs and to coordinate volunteer efforts in Charlotte County.
  • Veterans Outreach received a $10,000 grant to assist veterans affected by the hurricane. The organization is “a long-standing national model” that provides financial assistance to veterans in need as part of its service to them in the Sarasota area, the release explains.
  • The United Cajun Navy, an all-volunteer group of veterans and other individuals from Louisiana who are committed to helping neighborhoods recover from storms, received $20,000. The grant will help “the boots-on-the-ground organization meet the humanitarian needs (search and rescue operations and debris removal, for examples)” resulting from Hurricane Ian in Southwest Florida.
  • MEANS Database was awarded a $10,000 grant to recover food in Charlotte, Lee and DeSoto counties that would have been wasted and then distributed it to food pantries to assist communities that suffered negative consequences as a result of the hurricane.

The impact of the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund is also made possible by gifts that came in from people and organizations from other parts of the United States — from as far west as Oregon and from as far north as Atlanta, the news release points out. “They heard the call for help and reached out to Gulf Coast as a trusted partner,” the release adds.

For example, the Atlanta Braves Foundation partnered with Gulf Coast to provide a $20,000 grant to the Florida Center for Early Childhood to assist families at that nonprofit’s Starfish Academy in North Port, which was damaged by Hurricane Ian, the release continues.

“The unfortunate impact of Hurricane Ian affected a lot of Southwest Florida,” said Michael Dunn, vice president of Florida operations for the Braves, in the release. “The Atlanta Braves Foundation is proud to help support recovery in North Port and Sarasota County through Gulf Coast Community Foundation,” he added in the release.

Further, collaborating with the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation, Gulf Coast awarded a $25,000 grant to First Step of Sarasota to assist staff and clients in recovery, as well as a $25,000 grant to Premier Mobile Health Services to support clients in Lee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties who were affected by Hurricane Ian, the release says.

“With continuing generosity from our community, additional support will be provided,” the release points out. “The transformative Hurricane Ian recovery from Gulf Coast Community Foundation will be ongoing for many months to come.”