Watching Philanthropy in Action in Southwest Florida

Last week I had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand the last few hours of the 36-Hour Giving Challenge, an amazing two-day marathon of charitable giving to benefit nonprofits in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. The second annual Challenge, which started at 7:00 a.m. on March 5 and ended at 7:00 p.m. on March 6, broke its own record by raising more than $2.78 million for 285 nonprofits. Even more impressive, the Challenge generated 17,626 donations from 50 states and 24 countries – a 65% increase in donations from last year. Continue reading

Southwest Florida’s Giving Challenge Was One for the Record Books

I’m not sure what’s in the water in the Sarasota/Bradenton area, but we need to bottle it up and spread it around. Late last month the region set a new philanthropic record when four FPN members – Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation and The Patterson Foundation – came together to put on the 36-Hour Giving Challenge. This first-of-its-kind online fundraising event in Southwest Florida raised a staggering $2,401,601 through 10,705 gifts in just one and a half days, breaking a record for this type of event previously held by San Diego – a city with a population more than eight times that of Sarasota.

Watching the Giving Challenge unfold, I came away with a number of key lessons and observations for our state’s philanthropy and nonprofit field: Continue reading