A year of inspiration – SRQ daily June 15, 2024

Guest correspondence

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Anniversaries are a time for reflection. A year ago I shared how excited I was to join your community. Today I really enjoy looking back at the past year at home:us community. The impact we have had together with our donors this year has been transformative for the greater good of our region.

Over the past year I have had the pleasure of building meaningful relationships with many of you. One of the first things I learned about this region was its inspiring sense of solidarity and generosity. We live in a place full of compassionate individuals who make this community the best place to live, work and play.

Our philanthropic partners serve as a force for good with their generous investments in projects and opportunities that will have a lasting impact on our region. This past year, our donors invested more than $30 million in philanthropic resources in the community.

For example, the Gulf Coast project HEAL: Helping Everyone Align with Love is funded by an anonymous donor and provides training to four homeless service providers to become trauma-informed organizations – Family Promise of South Sarasota County, Suncoast Partnership to End Homelessness, Community Assisted and Supported Living (CASL) and Harvest House. Trauma-informed care aims to create safe environments that promote healing and recovery. Organizations that are trauma-informed realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand possible pathways to recovery.

Through Heroes’ Village on the Gulf Coast, ten rental properties are under construction in the city of Sarasota to provide transitional, life-changing housing for veterans. In partnership with the nonprofit organization St. Vincent de Paul CARES, Heroes’ Village will provide housing for veterans and their families, while also offering full support services. With the support of the City of Sarasota, the Office of Housing and Community Development, donors and our board, the complex is expected to be move-in ready in the fall of 2024. In addition, we support the expansion of The Bay Park, where all programming is free and accessible to everyone, truly ‘One Park for All’. The Foundation, along with anonymous Gulf Coast philanthropists, has organized a $2 million community challenge that will match every gift to The Bay dollar for dollar for the rest of the year. This important milestone funding will be used to support the design and development of a new resilient shoreline, as well as the continuation of free park programming. The living coastline will provide critical habitat for wildlife and allow nature to cope with the flooding and storm surges inherent to Florida’s hurricane season.

The incredible work of our nonprofits continues to amaze me. The support of foundations, government and donors like you makes their impact possible. While my past year has been filled with celebrations, there have also been moments of sadness for our community. Recently, a budget vote affected 300 families who will lose child care subsidies, ending 20 years of funding for the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County and exacerbating the ripple effect of lack of access to child care.

As we face these challenges, we stand strong in investing in the future of our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Our board and employees have drawn up a roadmap for the future, Transform, Together Strategic Plan 2024-2027, that will put us on the path to deeper connection, workforce alignment, and greater impact. I am energized by many more years of collaboration, partnership, inspiration and impact – together. I am optimistic about the future and the importance of continuing to advocate for unity at the community and government levels.

Phillip P Lanhamcap, is president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Gulf Coast Community Foundation.