Giving Challenge, Giving Partner, GuideStar… what’s going on?

The big hullabaloo (now, there’s an historic term!) in Sarasota/Manatee Counties this week is The Giving Challenge, an online promotion whose wonderful motto is

Unleash your inner generosity!

Several of our most fervent supporters have asked me to explain what’s going on, and I defer to this concise definition of all the excitement in town today by Susie Bowie of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County:

“GuideStar is a national nonprofit organization revolutionizing philanthropy by providing information that advances transparency in the charitable sector.  (This is the site where you can pull up the IRS Form 990s and other information about millions of nonprofits across the country.)

The Giving Partner is a GuideStar tool fitted just right for our community. It currently includes profiles for nearly 300 local organizations, enabling donors, foundations, businesses, interested citizens and others to learn more about the causes they care about in Southwest Florida and to make more informed choices about their philanthropy.

It is nonprofits that have taken the time to develop these in-depth profiles detailing their management, governance, impact, finances and needs in The Giving Partner that are eligible to participate in the 36-Hour Giving Challenge.

Six funders in our region—Community Foundation of Sarasota County in partnership with The Patterson Foundation, along with sponsors Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, Charlotte Community Foundation and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation—have come together to support this online fundraising campaign for three main reasons:

To engage our entire community in giving.
To inspire philanthropy on all levels.
To elevate The Giving Partner as tool to empower informed charitable giving.”

The Historical Society was one of about 100 local non-profits to complete the vetting process when The Giving Partner debuted in 2012. (See our profile.) We’re delighted to be joined by almost double that number for this year, and proud to be part of the fund-raising campaign. Did you know Sarasota raised more money in 2012 than even such large cities as San Francisco?

If you’re reading this post during the Challenge… 7 am Tuesday March 5 to 7 pm Wednesday March 6, 2013, you can donate $25 or more on your credit card to the Historical Society using this link: (Note: if you’re early or late, this link doesn’t go to our donation page but simply to their home page.)

If you missed that window of time, or if you’d rather not use your credit card online, please call Linda Garcia, our Site Manager at 941-364-9076 on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday from 10 to 2 or email her right now, or anytime night or day at and she will help you donate in a manner that you feel comfortable with. Rather simply drop a check in the mail? Lovely! Our address is 1260 12th St., Sarasota 34236.

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