Michael Saunders, our 2019 Hero of History, has stepped forward this holiday season and has issued a challenge to the community to help the Historical Society raise the final $50,000 of the total $100,000 needed to preserve and protect the Crocker Memorial Church. She has graciously offered $25,000 to match your donation one-for-one, allowing us to begin the lengthy and pain-staking job of getting this historic building repaired and restored.
We were so proud to have March 20, 2019 proclaimed as Michael Saunders, Hero of History, Day. But she’s not a one-day hero: Like diamonds, Michael Saunders is a Forever Hero. With her support of our historic building, she continues her century-long family legacy, contributing to the development of Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Ms. Saunder’s love of Southwest Florida shines on.
Ms. Saunders has served on community boards including The Argus Foundation, The Gulf Coast Community Foundation, The Bradenton Area EDC, the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, The Education Foundation of Sarasota County, SCOPE, Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, Tampa Bay Partnership, and The John & Mable Ringling Museum. She chaired the Capital Campaign to restore Ca’ d’Zan.
Ms. Saunders has made it her life’s work to connect new people coming to our region with homes, neighborhoods and the wider community while also connecting them with the area’s rich history. She has brought countless people to her hometown ready to secure their own future in paradise.
In addition, she has developed corporate philanthropy through the establishment of the MSC Foundation, giving the company’s associates, staff and leadership an opportunity to join together and support local charitable organizations through the company’s regional network of 24 full-service real estate offices and a team of over 900 professionals.
As our President, Marsha Fottler, wrote on the occasion: Michael Saunders has made it her life’s work to connect new people coming to our region with homes and neighborhoods while also connecting them with the area’s rich history. Her passion for the environment led her to serve on the board of Mote Marine Laboratory and The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for eighteen years, where she was instrumental in the inception of the Children’s Rainforest Garden. This Hero of History has spent her life in Southwest Florida and she has provided exemplary stewardship of history and demonstrates giving back to the community. Her foundation’s philanthropy to children and families in need has made her a hero to all.
Please join Michael Saunders, a Hero Forever, with your donation to keep the Crocker Memorial Church an ongoing community gathering place so that our children and our children’s children will honor as a tangible link to the pioneer spirit that has built Sarasota County into the community we are proud to call home.
Ms. Saunders has put the final support beam in place to finish our fundraising to Save The Crocker Church, if you will help us to our final $100,000 goal.
Please donate today. Your contribution will go twice as far with Michael Saunders’ generous challenge. You may donate securely online or, if you prefer, mail a check to the Historical Society of Sarasota County, 1260 12th Street, Sarasota FL 34236. For more information, email Linda Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her during our curtailed pandemic hours, Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 2pm at 941-364-9076.
UPDATE JANUARY 17 2021: A Message from our President:
Michael’s Match Met!
A short time ago Hero of History Michael Saunders notified the Historical Society that she wanted to help with the Save The Crocker Church project. We were $50,000 short of our goal to raise the $100,000 needed for our contractor to be able to pull the permits and get started on shoring up the building and then making the foundation sound with a new foundation beam. From there, we could move on to all the urgent repairs that will rejuvenate this 1901 historical icon that has been so intrinsically woven into the everyday past and present lives.
Michael immediately came up with a plan. “If you can raise $25,000 from our community,” she said on an early morning phone call, “I will match it with a check for $25,000.” We put out the word and friends of history all over responded. With checks came handwritten notes saying they wanted to be part of Michael’s Match and saying what a great idea this was. In two weeks, HSOSC collected $25,000 in donations, both online and through the mail. Some people brought their donation the Historical Society in person. Michael’s Match has been an unqualified success. Our heartfelt gratitude to Michael Saunders and to all the wonderful donors who stepped up to be a part of this fundraising project with her. What you’ve done is history making.
Marsha Fottler, President HSOSC