“Another word for creativity is courage”   – George Prince

CYD HeroesAs Southwest Florida prepares for a first-of-its-kind 36-Hour Giving Challenge in our region, extreme creativity reigns.

One hundred nine charitable organizations of every mission focus and operating budget have taken great time and care to complete profiles in The Giving Partner, our local brand for GuideStar’s DonorEdge.  The reward is a more sophisticated way to communicate with funders and the growing number of donors who want to know more about the charitable investments they are making.

To launch The Giving Partner, each of these organizations has an opportunity to claim its share of $501,000 in matching funds and special grants, made possible by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, and Manatee Community Foundation—with support of The Patterson Foundation.

If an organization spends a few moments contemplating how small or how big it is and what an advantage or disadvantage that can be, it’s a few moments too many—time that could be better spent creating a good strategy to romance new donors and embrace existing ones. It has been amazing to watch the videos, web designs, e-mails, partnerships with businesses, event planning and social media strategies unfold—but surprising? Not in the least.

Our tri-county area boasts some of the best arts, health and human service, animal welfare and environmental organizations in the country—with so many innovative leaders, program staff, development and communications professionals.  It’s only natural to expect some of the entertaining, poignant and compelling ways this 36-Hour Giving Challenge is being leveraged.

From Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County’s clever and hilarious Inspector Gadget video, decoding the 36-Hour fundraising mission to The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art’s announcement of a dunking booth with museum staff and community members, creativity is alive and well.

We’ve kept up with We Care Manatee’s video campaign featuring doctors sharing why it’s important to give and Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center’s videos, introducing volunteers and staff members stocked up on 5 hour energy drinks.

Community Youth Development is enticing its supporters to be superheroes.

Realize Bradenton Ladies Wake Up EarlyRealize Bradenton’s classy ladies dressed up in their PJs and face cream in a fun photo shoot illustrating their anticipated early morning. Their website promo rocks.

Take Stock in Children of Sarasota County and Loveland Center have each been sharing their own thoughtful approaches to coordinated campaigns, complete with fabulous digital media components, events and messaging.

Humane Society of Sarasota County’s adopted pooches are sporting their best Giving Challenge attire.

It’s not about size, it’s about the courage to put your best foot forward and see what happens. The payoff of creativity in philanthropy is inspired giving. But creativity also gives us the drive to stick with compelling but tough missions in the best and the worst of times.

Let’s all enjoy watching the 36-Hour Giving Challenge unfold this week, knowing that at the end of the day, we’ll make history together on March 27 and 28, 2012. Thanks to all of our local nonprofit heroes for doing your best to encourage informed giving.  You’ve been awesome.

-Susie Bowie, Director
The Giving Partner
Community Foundation of Sarasota County


Just a couple of weeks away from our region’s first 36-hour giving challenge, I’m reminded that philanthropy is something that is embedded in our cultural DNA as Americans. It can be traced to generosity during the first Thanksgiving.

The United States is one of the most philanthropic nations in the world, with its citizens donating more than $300 billion a year. The vast majority of donations do not come from corporations or foundations but from individual donors. This means each of us has the ability to make an impact and help create a New Realities for our local communities.

In our region, there is an opportunity to continue to be a model for others. To help leverage the generosity of those who want to make contributions within our four-county region, The Patterson Foundation is proud to support The Giving Partner. To celebrate and inspire philanthropy, we will be matching donations made during The Giving Partner’s 36-hour Giving Challenge, which kicks off on March 27

The Patterson Foundation is matching the contributions made by collaborating funders of The Giving Partner two-to-one to create the pool of dollars that will be available for donor matches and prizes for nonprofits in a variety of categories.

The Patterson Foundation dollars will be used to match dollar-for-dollar individual contributions up to $1,000 per donor per organization listed on The Giving Partner – with The Patterson Foundation investing up to $334,000 in this community-giving event.

Join your friends, neighbors and community members as we all give on March 27 and 28 and build a stronger community vision of philanthropy.

-Debra Jacobs, President and CEO
The Patterson Foundation

Thanks to Debra Jacobs, President & CEO of The Patterson Foundation, for this insightful contribution about the vision behind The Giving Partner:


Today each and every one of us has instant access to information and knowledge that 20 to 30 years ago would have been next to impossible to find. This certainly applies to philanthropy in communities. Now more than ever, donors demand more information and transparency from the nonprofits they care about. This is part of a growing demographic that asks questions and makes informed decisions.

This brings me to our support of the community collaboration around The Giving Partner, the online knowledge tool connecting donors and funders with local nonprofits in our community. Our region’s community foundations — The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Manatee Community Foundation – and others are collaborating to rollout this platform in our community.

Our region is so blessed that they have committed to support and uplift our community’s long-term vision of philanthropy, one that is informed, transparent and connected for the greater good.

Inspired by this, we are providing strategic communications, financial thrivability and technology expertise in support of the collaboration for a more effective and efficient nonprofit sector.

What are the benefits of this community collaboration?

  • A trusted online resource for donors to connect with nonprofits and make informed decisions
  • Transparent, in-depth information on nonprofits that make a difference in our community
  • A third-party credibility element, as each nonprofit profile is reviewed to verify key documents and fields
  • A better understanding of the social sector assets and needs in the community

An interesting fact to note, our region — comprised of Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties — is the 12th to embrace this platform, and the only region with funding support from more than one community foundation.

This speaks volumes of the philanthropic support and vision in our vibrant community, and setting the standard for others to follow!

To join the conversation as The Giving Partner moves toward its launch this spring, follow The Giving Partner on Facebook or continue to join the conversation on this blog.

How do you think you’ll make a difference in your community with such a resource at your fingertips?