In Sarasota County, 52% of babies are born into low-income families who often lack stable housing, food, health insurance and other resources needed for a child's development. On April 25, 32 organizations led by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation launched the First 1,000 Days Sarasota County campaign, which will seek ways to support low-income families during their babies’ most critical period of development.
What the coalition will develop is yet to be determined, but the conversation has revolved around two themes: early education to prepare children for kindergarten and literacy programs to combat the summer learning loss.
This is a disparity predicted to hit 16 million by 2025, according to a Lumina Foundation report. Access to higher education has become progressively challenging for those in the lower socioeconomic groups. Poverty rates have also increased for Americans 25 years or older without a university degree.
All the grand images of regal waterside homes, posh boutiques, manicured lawns and tony restaurants often obscure the fact that some people struggle in Naples and Collier County, a philanthropic leader said Saturday.
Thousands of needy people — some poor, some elderly, some women, some mentally ill — struggle just to get by.
“People think, ‘Oh, we live in paradise, and the needs are not there, because everybody’s the same as we are,’” said Eileen Connolly-Keesler, president and CEO of the Community Foundation of Collier County.
Earlier this month, about 100 people gathered at Mt Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church to celebrate a recent update from the federal Census Bureau showing the lowest poverty rate ever recorded for African Americans in the City of St. Petersburg.
Cory Adler, Executive Director of the 2020 Plan Taskforce notes, “You know the old saying ‘Success has a thousand fathers?’ Well, it happens to be true in this case. Over 100 organizations are working together to speed-up the pace of poverty reduction. While 2020 keeps the torch lit, we are one small part of this network.”
On the leading edge of this growing movement as investors are the City of St. Petersburg, Allegany Franciscan Ministries, United Way Suncoast, Mt. Zion Progressive, Pinellas Opportunity Council, Bon Secours, R’Club, The 2020 Fund, the Tampa Bay Rays, and Tampa Black Business Investment Corporation, among others.
The Jacksonville-based Women’s Giving Alliance kicked off its new five-year focus on breaking the cycle of female poverty by awarding $450,000 in grants to Northeast Florida nonprofits.
Founded in 2002, the alliance is a group of 400 women who pool their philanthropic giving under the auspices of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. Each member contributes $1,500 annually to participate in collective grant making — $5.45 million to date — as well as building an endowment.