Local non-profits bank on generosity

Wildlife Inc.
A fox squirrel enjoys a pet from Ed Straight of Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Inc., one of several donation recipients in the Giving Challenge.

BRADENTON BEACH – The groups that serve dogs, cats, horses and other animals attracted most of the donations among the 400-plus not-for-profits registered with the 2018 Giving Challenge on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Two of the top three agencies that brought in more than $100,000, Honor Sanctuary Inc. and Cat Depot, were animal-based.

The same was true for the 12 barrier island groups.

Mote Marine Laboratory got $49,308 from 430 donors and they also made $28,096 in matching funds for a total of $77,404.

Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation Inc. of Bradenton Beach made $14,780 from 198 donors and $12,955 from matching grants for a total of $27,735.

Florida Institute for Saltwater Heritage in Cortez attracted 178 donors for $14,860 and matching grants of $13,710 for a total of $28,570.

Gail and Ed Straight, of Wildlife Inc., need money to treat and house injured animals from all over the county, and when Hurricane Irma came through, they suffered damage to cages.

“This will come in handy,” Ed Straight said. “In addition to filling a void left when the Island Blood Drive ended, the hurricane made our situation urgent.”

The Friends of the Florida Maritime Museum collected $6,025 from 90 donors and $5,475 from the match for a total of $11,500. Museum Director Kristin Sweeting said they have plans for that money.

“We’re looking to build three traveling exhibits about the village and the role of fishing in Florida,” she said. “We also applied for a grant and if we get that, we’ll spend some money for education projects, so the money will come in handy.”

Another Cortez group, Cortez Village Historical Society, made $3,735 from 65 donors and a match of $3,735 for a total of $7,470.

The Center of Anna Maria Island collected $10,925 from 109 donors plus a $7,825 match for a total of $18,750. Center Interim Director Chris Culhane said that was a little less than last year, but last year was a triple match instead of a double match this year.

“We need a new van for the children and we applied to the county for some money,” he said. “If we don’t get money from the county we’ll spend some of it on that and if the county comes through, we’ll spend it somewhere else.”

A total of $11,733,241 was raised in the challenge from 74,684 donations this year. Last year they raised $13.4 million last year, but the match was higher last year.

The Giving Challenge is sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with additional support by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

Giving Challenge 2018