Nearly $1 million from Gulf Coast Community Foundation used to transform lives in aftermath of Hurricane Ian

More than 20 grants awarded, primarily to organizations providing post-storm health and human services

“Together with its generous donors,” the Gulf Coast Community Foundation has provided nearly $1 million in immediate relief to area nonprofits devastated by Hurricane Ian, the Foundation has announced.

“In the days following the storm, these grants have provided life-sustaining support to families and community members in the region who were left with uninhabitable homes, no food, and just the clothes on their backs,” a news release points out.

More than 20 grants awarded directly through the Foundation’s initiative went primarily to organizations to assist with post-storm health and human services needs, the release explains. The funds not only supported families and individuals in the community, but also the staff members “of those nonprofit partners who are working tirelessly to further their mission while recovering from a disaster themselves,” the release says.

“It is gratifying to see our region come together to help those in desperate need after this horrible hurricane,” said Mark S. Pritchett, president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, in the release. “The impact of these grants can be felt all the way down the Gulf Coast,” he added in the release. “We are providing immediate humanitarian relief to those who need it most.”

Pritchett also noted, “We have received over $1.6 million in gifts to support Hurricane Ian relief from generous donors.”

Many nonprofit organizations requested grants for gift cards to provide to their staff and clients so they could access basic needs such as gas, food, clothing and diapers, the release explains.

“One of the first grants awarded was $50,000 to All Faiths Food Bank to provide food and water to southern Sarasota County, and to support expanded hunger relief efforts to Charlotte County,” the release adds. For another example, Tidewell Foundation received a $10,000 grant to meet the basic needs of its staff members, many of whom “continued to serve their patients and families after having lost their homes.”

Lift Church of Venice received a $10,000 grant, “which supported shelter to lineman throughout their time serving our communities, offering them a place to sleep, eat, and have morning coffee,” the release continues.

Awaken Church of North Port, which rents a city building next to the social services and health department, received a $10,000 grant to assist its North Port Food Pantry “to meet the dramatically increased need,” the release says. The church runs a full-time food pantry in partnership with All Faiths Food Bank and has been providing residents of the community “with hundreds of hot meals, in collaboration with Laurel Civic,” the release adds.

Moreover, the release points out, the “impact the storm has had on the mental health of our community will be felt for years to come,” with the region having witnessed “devastation so great,” including loss of life, homes and livelihood, the release says. Therefore, the Foundation has provided a $15,000 grant to Tri-County Counseling to support mental health and substance abuse counseling in its North Port office, the release continues. “Additionally, Centerstone received a $10,000 grant to meet the emergency needs of patients impacted by Hurricane Ian.”

Additionally, a $25,000 grant went to Valerie’s House to support families in North Port and Charlotte County,” in recognition of the “[g]rief and loss felt by the youth in our region,” the release continues.

Further, “The YMCA of Southwest Florida is providing community hubs with free emergency childcare and food,” the release adds. The Foundation awarded it “a $100,000 grant to continue this great work,” as it provides services “all the way down to Bonita Springs, in addition to Charlotte County, Englewood, and Venice,” the release notes.

“Children First received $50,000 to support the basic needs of families and staff impacted [by Hurricane Ian],” the release says. That organization’s reaction was “[t]ears of happiness. Words cannot express our deep appreciation for your support,” the release points out.

“This small snapshot of the impact provided by the Hurricane Ian Relief Fund also sheds light on the resilient and strong nonprofit community,” whose staff members “work tirelessly to support our region in times of need,” the release notes.

Tri-County Counseling Chief Executive Officer and Clinical Director Dr. Charlton Cerbone shared the following: “The way people are coming together and helping others after this storm is a blessing in disguise from a painful Hurricane.”

To learn more about the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, visit and follow it on Facebook at @GulfCoastCommFnd.

A video shows the thank-you message from Lift Church of Venice: