SARASOTA, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2020) – A $50,000 grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation has helped the Education Foundation of Sarasota County open LaunchPad4U, an innovative education center in downtown Sarasota’s Rosemary District, and broaden the array of services offered to students, especially disadvantaged youth.
“Gulf Coast’s support of LaunchPad4U helps us provide a centrally located facility that serves as a hub of continuous student success services where students from all walks of life can optimize their full potential,” said Education Foundation President Jennifer Vigne.
In addition to serving as a place to prototype innovative programs and initiatives, LaunchPad4U expands the reach and impact of PLANit Sarasota, the rebranded name of the Sarasota County Local College Access Network (LCAN).
Gulf Coast is a long-time supporter of the collective that is comprised of education and youth services organizations and funders focused on increasing the percentage of students who obtain a high-value postsecondary certificate, degree, or training experience to 60% by 2030.
“We recognize the importance of supporting this work because it helps to harness and elevate our community’s resources—including financial means, intelligent innovation, and human intervention,” said Gulf Coast President and CEO Mark S. Pritchett. “It also prevents overlap in services while extending the reach and impact of each group involved.”
PLANit Sarasota’s intent is to close achievement gaps and improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those who are first-generation college students and economically disadvantaged students.
The collective’s goals center on increasing FAFSA applications, assisting students in developing a plan for life after high school, persisting in the face of adversity, career exploration, and data collection—services that will be more widely available at LaunchPad4U.
Studies have shown that face-to-face interaction is critical for disadvantaged students who often do not have Wi-Fi access for virtual support and are experiencing a high level of anxiety in the pandemic.
“Reaching students, wherever they may be, requires us to be agile and creative in quickly developing virtual platforms for advising, mentoring and instructive workshops,” Vigne said.
About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County
The Education Foundation of Sarasota County has swiftly adapted its delivery methods to continue supporting Sarasota County students, families and educators during the COVID-19 crisis. The EFSC is an independent, philanthropic partner of Sarasota County Schools with a mission to enhance the potential of all students, promote excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in education, guided by strategic philanthropy and the belief that education changes lives. For more information, visit EdFoundationSRQ.org.
About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
For 25 years, together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, it has become the philanthropic home of nearly 1,000 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds there, and together they have invested $400 million in grants and initiatives in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.