Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

$2.7 Million in Grant Funding for COVID-19 Relief

May 08, 2020

VENICE, FL (May 7, 2020) – Together with its donors and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has awarded over $2.7 million in direct grants to nonprofit organizations for COVID-19 relief.

That total includes more than $1.1 million funded from the COVID-19 Response Initiative, a joint initiative of Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation to support immediate and long-term needs in the region arising from the coronavirus pandemic. Grants awarded in the past two weeks through the initiative are funding services including virtual mental-health counseling for children and for veterans, childcare for first responders, and food and financial assistance for displaced hospitality workers, foster families, and others.

“This fast and flexible process has quickly filled gaps to ensure people have the social services they need,” said Teri A Hansen, President | CEO of Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation. “As our partners begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, our focus will move from relief to recovery.”

Many families are experiencing a level of stress and hardship unlike any other time—especially those already struggling with poverty, mental-health issues, or other challenges. A $25,000 grant to The Florida Center for Early Childhood is funding much-needed mental-health resources for children and their families who are not fully covered by Medicaid or other insurance. “These funds will ensure that vulnerable families with young children can receive the professional support they need to cope with the isolation, unemployment, and food insecurity they are experiencing as a result of COVID-19,” said Kathryn Shea, President and CEO of The Florida Center. “Many were already facing stressors like poverty, domestic violence, and physical or mental health challenges, so our goal is to provide them with positive strategies to manage their emotions and ultimately avoid child abuse or neglect.”

The foundations also awarded grants to Operation Warrior Resolution ($3,200) to provide telehealth counseling to Sarasota-area veterans, and to the Family Network on Disabilities ($5,000) to provide virtual respite care for caregivers of children with disabilities. Another ongoing need amid the pandemic is childcare for essential personnel who must continue to work outside their homes while schools are closed. To provide relief, the foundations awarded a second installment of funding to SKY Family YMCA ($75,000) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County ($80,000) for their respective programs that offer childcare for essential safety and healthcare workers. “We are honored to continue providing free care for children of first responders,” said Bill Sadlo, President/CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs. “We’re proud to do our part in keeping our local heroes’ children safe while they keep our community safe.”

While Gulf Coast and Barancik Foundation have funded dozens of grants over the past six weeks for immediate COVID-19 relief, they also are preparing for significant new challenges as communities begin the process of recovery and eventual rebuilding from the pandemic. Generous donors have contributed an additional $1.1 million in support of what the foundations anticipate will be a multiyear effort. “As phased ‘reopening’ begins in our state and our region, we will focus on helping nonprofits increase their capacity to serve people who are struggling with lost wages over the long term,” said Mark Pritchett, President | CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “The recovery will demand innovation by our strongest nonprofit partners, and we’re confident they will continue to deliver on their missions.”

Other recent funding from Gulf Coast for COVID-19 relief includes $470,000 awarded to arts organizations that have lost revenue from canceled performances and events, and over $1 million in grants recommended from donor funds at the foundation to a wide range of nonprofit organizations.

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