The James M. Doss Charitable Foundation Helps Build a Culture of Student Success

May 19, 2023

Since 1985, Marla Doss has been involved in nonprofits—always on the side that was seeking out donor funding. That is, until 2016, when she and her husband, Jim, learned that Jim’s father, James M. Doss, Sr., had left them a charitable foundation to provide valuable support to those who need it most.

“We had no idea that he was leaving this legacy,” said Marla Doss. “I mean, no idea.”

James M. Doss, Sr., had lived in the Bradenton and Sarasota area and understood the importance of giving back to the community that had given him so much. Of his father, Jim said, “He wanted to distribute it out to people who really needed it.”

In addition to supporting Florida State University athletics and Catholic faith-based organizations, the foundation has assisted local youth-serving organizations in the community, including the Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

This year, the James M. Doss Charitable Foundation provided a grant of $15,000 to the Education Foundation to support its new Student Success Center at Sarasota Military Academy. Having previously visited a Student Success Center, having experienced the buzz of activity, having watched students working one-on-one with Student Success Coaches and accessing other resources to plan and prepare for life after high school, the Dosses understood the power of an accessible, inviting space where students can get ready for life after high school.

Jim and Marla believe that education changes lives, especially for low-income students, and that there are multiple pathways that students can take, including specialized training at trade schools. They also understand that many students need extra help in finding the best fit and then navigating the application process and finding ways to pay for school. They are excited to help make that possible for the cadets at SMA.

The Dosses love what they’re doing. They love supporting organizations that make a difference in the lives of young people who just need a little extra help to reach their full potential. They especially enjoy the opportunities to see their funding in action. As Marla said, “I love… when we can go see it and meet the participants, to be a part of it.”

Seeing firsthand the difference they are making means so much, and the Dosses are grateful to have this opportunity. Of the amazing gift that James Doss, Sr., left in the form of this foundation, Marla Doss said, “It was unbelievable.”