This week Florida Philanthropic Network hosted a reception in Washington, DC with special guest of honor Congressman Vern Buchanan, who voiced his support for philanthropy and shared his views about the important role that philanthropy plays in our communities. The event was held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Council on Foundations, and was co-hosted by FPN members the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Florida Blue Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and The Patterson Foundation.
Congressman Buchanan is the only Florida member of the House Ways and Means Committee, which has oversight of federal tax issues that can be critical in ensuring that philanthropy remains strong in Florida and across the country. So it’s good to know that he is a true friend of philanthropy, particularly as discussions about tax reform continue to take place in Congress.
Serving his fourth term in Congress, representing Florida’s 16th District, Congressman Buchanan told the audience of FPN members and invited guests that he has seen firsthand how philanthropy has made a positive difference in his district, and spoke in particular about the importance of endowed philanthropy to provide charitable resources to our communities for many years to come. He cited the example of The Patterson Foundation in Sarasota, which he said has become such a valuable long-term philanthropic resource in his district because of the generosity of founder Dorothy Patterson, who left her estate to the foundation when she passed away in 2007.
Congressman Buchanan also pointed to the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation in Sarasota, which its founders endowed nearly 50 years ago with an investment of $19.5 million to help future generations. Since that time the Selby Foundation has provided charitable assistance of more than $83.5 million in the region – more than four times the original investment – while maintaining a corpus currently valued at more than $72 million to ensure continued future support for the region. Congressman Buchanan wondered aloud to reception attendees where else you could make an investment that would provide such powerful long-term benefit for a community.
Congressman Buchanan’s commitment to philanthropy no doubt stems at least in part from the fact that he is a dedicated philanthropist himself. He and his wife Sandy have committed their time and resources to a diverse range of community causes, including the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Boys and Girls Club, the Walk to Cure Juvenile Diabetes, the American Heart Walk, the Mote Marine Laboratory, and the Ringling Museum of Art, to which they gave a $1 million gift. They have also created their own family foundation.
At the closing of his reception remarks, Congressman Buchanan expressed his commitment to continue working with me and the members of Florida Philanthropic Network to support proposals that will help philanthropy grow and thrive in Florida. We greatly appreciate his support of our ongoing efforts to build philanthropy to build a better Florida.
– David Biemesderfer, President & CEO, Florida Philanthropic Network