Gulf Coast Community Foundation reflects on year of helping post Hurricane Ian

WWSB ABC7 News at 6pm
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 9:57 PM EDT
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VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - As residents and businesses continue to rebuild and recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Ian nearly one year ago, one local foundation is continuing their efforts to help. Gulf Coast’s Hurricane Ian Recovery Initiative officials said they’ve pledged over 200 grants totaling $3.5 million in relief.

Much of that money focuses on health and human services agencies hit hard in southern Sarasota County.

Spokespersons told ABC7 that they’ve made a funding commitment of $1 million over three years to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota and DeSoto Counties. Another pledge of multiple grants totaled $640,000 for the Venice Theater to support staff and the rebuilding of the Jervey Theater.

“We know that many families and non-profits are continuing to rebuild and recover particularly in south Sarasota County. We’re hopeful our long-term recovery group that’s through the United Way of south Sarasota County can continue to help not only with the current need, but preparedness for future storms,” said Jennifer Johnston with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

Johnston said the Gulf Coast’s Board of Directors approved funding efforts immediately following Ian, while donors locally and from across the country matched those dollars.

Johnston added Children First, the Sarasota Head Start provider, received a $50,000 grant, along with Tri-County Counseling who received a $15,000 grant supporting the rebuilding in their North Port offices.

The Gulf Coast Community Foundation was launched in Venice 25 years ago with the mission of transforming the region through active philanthropy.