Foundations award grants to PLANit Sarasota for regional initiative

Jul 18, 2023

SARASOTA, Fla. (June 30, 2023) – PLANit Sarasota, the local college access network (LCAN) for Sarasota County, is partnering with State College of Florida and nearby LCANs Complete Tampa Bay and Reach Manatee to help support “stop-outs” (students who have attended college but have not attained their degree and are no longer enrolled) and “summer-melts” (students who graduated high school and were accepted to college but never enrolled).

Building on the successful work of Complete Tampa Bay, this regional initiative will provide free individualized coaching for Sarasota County and Manatee County students who have encountered challenges that have led them to stop attending college or to not complete enrollment.

This two-year pilot initiative will focus on students who have attended or who have been accepted to State College of Florida. A completion coach will identify and work with stop-out and summer-melt students to find ways for them to resume or to begin their studies and go on to earn a college degree.

In addition to one-on-one coaching, this project creates the Student Assistance Fund to help students cover expenses that hinder their abilities to continue with their education.

At the heart of this initiative is removing barriers so that more students across the region can achieve their dreams of completing postsecondary education. Upon the completion of the pilot, PLANit Sarasota hopes to expand this important work to include Ringling College of Art and Design, New College of Florida, University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, Suncoast Technical College, and Manatee Technical College.

Three of our generous local philanthropic organizations have made this work possible: Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, and Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Their financial support will help ensure that more students who most need extra help can reach their full potential.

“We are thrilled and honored to have the trust and support of these amazing foundations,” said Thomas Williams, director of PLANit Sarasota and the Education Foundation of Sarasota County’s chief collaboration officer. “We’re taking a regional approach to a national problem, which is exciting and hopeful. And this initiative will help students complete their education and graduate more prepared to enter the workforce.”

A college degree or high-value certification can dramatically alter the trajectory of a student and that student’s family for generations to come. This exciting initiative aims to do just that.

About PLANit Sarasota
PLANit Sarasota is an alliance of 49 youth-serving, education, philanthropic, and business partners collectively working to create educational pathways for students, especially those most underserved. With the Education Foundation of Sarasota County serving as the convening organization, PLANit Sarasota collaborates with organizations to increase its impact and do more to eliminate barriers that hinder young people from pursuing education after high school.

About the Education Foundation of Sarasota County
For over 30 years, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County (EdFoundationSRQ.org) has supported students and teachers because education transforms lives. As a champion for life readiness, the Education Foundation provides personalized, comprehensive resources and relationships so that students can find their purpose and progress intentionally through their K – 12 schooling. Its mission is to enhance the potential of students, promote excellence in teaching, and inspire innovation in education, guided by strategic philanthropy.

About Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation
The Charles and Margery Barancik family has long believed in the power of philanthropy to shape our world and enrich the lives of all people. It was the expression of this belief that led them in 2014 to establish Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation—a private, family foundation located in Sarasota, Florida. Barancik Foundation creates initiatives and awards grants in Sarasota and beyond in the areas of education, humanitarian causes, arts and culture, the environment, and medical research. For more information, visit barancikfoundation.org.

About Community Foundation of Sarasota County
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County is a public charity founded in 1979 by the Southwest Florida Estate Planning Council as a resource for caring individuals and the causes they support, enabling them to make a charitable impact on the community. With assets of $460 million in more than 1,570 charitable funds, the Community Foundation awarded grants and scholarships totaling $45.3 million dollars last year in the areas of education, the arts, health and human services, civic engagement, animal welfare and the environment. Since its founding, the Community Foundation has been able to grant more than $396 million to area nonprofit organizations in our community thanks to the generosity of charitable individuals, families, and businesses. For more information, visit www.CFSarasota.org or call (941) 955-3000.

About Gulf Coast Community Foundation
For more than 25 years, together with our 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, we have become the philanthropic home of nearly 1,000 families, individuals, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds here. Together, we have invested over $425 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at GulfCoastCF.org.