Embracing Our Differences and Louie’s Modern are pairing up during the Giving Challenge, just one of the 28 nonprofit/business partnerships

We couldn’t be more thrilled to see the various ways in which local businesses are partnering with nonprofits to help them increase their exposure in the 2014 Giving Challenge. Hosting events, developing promotional materials, sharing the giving opportunity with their employees and customers, these businesses have stepped up to support nonprofits with missions they believe in.  Here is the eclectic list of business/nonprofit partnerships setting the stage for success in our community’s biggest day of online giving:

  1. Agape Flights and Tri-County Air Conditioning
  2. Girls Inc. of Sarasota County/ Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County and Nickel Media
  3. Community Youth Development and Westfield Mall, Sarasota Square
  4. Embracing Our Differences and Louie’s Modern
  5. Fuzion Dance Artists and Daniel Perales Studio
  6. Pines of Sarasota Foundation and Morton’s Market
  7. Take Stock in Children and Sarasota Architectural Salvage
  8. The ABA Academy and Jaco’s Boxing, MMA and Fitness Gym
  9. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida and Florida Community Bank
  10. Visual Arts Center and Red Hat Studio
  11. We Care Manatee and Grapevine Communications
  12. Learn to Fish and Gulf Coast Window Cleaning
  13. Goodwill Manasota, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida and Children’s World, Short Giraffe and Dry Cleaning to Go
  14. Make A Wish of Central and Northern Florida and The Ritz-Carlton
  15. Sarasota Audubon Society and Johnson PhotoImaging
  16. Sarasota Crew and SunniBunni
  17. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Michael’s on East
  18. USF Sarasota-Manatee and Furniture Warehouse
  19. Vintage Paws Sanctuary and Cha Cha Coconuts
  20. Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota and Whole Foods Market Sarasota
  21. Charlotte Local Education Foundation and Fawcett Memorial Hospital
  22. The Literacy Council of Sarasota and A. Parker’s Books
  23. Family Resource and Amerigroup/ Amerigroup Foundation
  24. Gulf Shore Animal League and Veterinary Emergency Center
  25. Lighthouse of Manasota and Gulfcoast Eye Center
  26. Fairy Tail Endings and Gorilla Kleen
  27. Cat Depot and Bayside Pet Resort & Spa
  28. Beyond the Spectrum and Penzeys Spices

A hotel, restaurants, a furniture store, a book store, a grocery store, a photography studio—even a pressure washing company—will be working to drive donations to their nonprofit partners during the 2014 Giving Challenge. Kudos to the nonprofits that will be building or expanding relationships with these businesses to increase the impact they make in our community. Be sure to learn more about each nonprofit organization online at www.thegivingpartner.org. When you think about your choices for dining, shopping, and local services, consider supporting these local establishments. And remember to stand behind the causes you care about on May 6 at noon through May 7 at noon on www.givingpartnerchallenge.org!



Armed with aligned vision, goals and messaging, these nonprofit teams have set out for success in the 2014 Giving Challenge by working together:


Dr. Sandra Hughes, one of our community’s favorite governance consultants, and Michael Corley, senior consultant at The Patterson Foundation, will be judging this competition and awarding a $5,000 grant to the winning team.

They will be looking for the overall impact of the partnership through the lens of the goals and strategies set forth by the participating organizations.

Regardless of the outcome, major cool points to all of these nonprofits and their leaders–way to work together for the greater good of our entire community!

Preparing for our third year of an online community Giving Challenge supported by six foundations, we are looking forward to witnessing another outpouring of support for the causes near and dear to Southwest Florida.

The first year we embarked on this adventure together, a few participating nonprofits expressed some concern about the competitive nature of the Giving Challenge. The Leaderboard listing the names of all participating organizations and the total amount of dollars and gifts each raises can make the event feel a bit competitive.  Indeed, this lighthearted competition is what drives some people to give in the spirit of supporting their favorite nonprofit “team.”

Responding to the ideas of our nonprofit colleagues, last year we tried something new. A grant incentive of $5,000 was offered to the nonprofits that demonstrated the best nonprofit partnership. The outcome of this mini-contest within the Giving Challenge was determined by an independent panel of judges.

We did not know what to expect, but we were pleasantly surprised with the diverse examples of collaboration. Twenty of the 287 nonprofits participating in the Giving Challenge chose to work with another organization.

In the 2014 Giving Challenge, we are once again encouraging nonprofits to find creative ways to partner. We hope an expanded group will pair up and work together, based on clear goals they co-create for mutual benefit.  Other than the potential to receive a $5,000 grant, why might two nonprofits collaborate in a community-wide giving event?

Here are a few reasons:

  • Extend the reach of an existing program.
    Fuzion Dance Artists partnered with New Gate School in the 2013 Giving Challenge, teaching students modern dance by preparing them for a fun flash mob performance outside of Lakewood Ranch Cinemas to spread the word about their giving campaign. New Gate students had never received modern dance instruction, and Fuzion was able to extend the reach of its fine dancers to a student population.

  • Broaden understanding of your services to target audiences.
    SCOPE and Goodwill Manasota partnered in an unusual pairing led by canine ambassador Stella, a miniature dachshund who traveled all over town with organization representatives visiting with community leaders. The four-legged ball of happiness was leveraged as an opportunity to share information about the services of both organizations in a casual visit—a little pet therapy with a new purpose!

  • Fund a specific project that is mutually beneficial for each organization.
    Realize Bradenton and Manatee Players partnered in last year’s campaign to raise the funds for a curtain to dress the stage of the newly opening performing arts center. The success of the theatre has a direct relationship to the mission of Realize Bradenton, tasked with creating a vibrant downtown Bradenton.

As our judges look to this year’s potential winners, they will look at the strategy behind the partnerships: why two nonprofits decided to work together, how their partnership helps them achieve more success than they could on their own, and whether the partnership and its results carry promise for future possibilities–beyond the Giving Challenge.

Consider giving up the fear of “losing” your donors and imagine what might be possible through an unconventional approach, fundraising in collaboration with another nonprofit.  Our hope is that you will create a synergy expanding far beyond the walls of the Giving Challenge.

-Susie Bowie
Community Foundation of Sarasota County