MSC Foundation: Mid-Year Charitable Grants Awarded

MSC_Foundation_July2013_33Nothing has made me more proud to be a part of Michael Saunders & Company then a one-hour meeting that was held July 12 at the downtown Sarasota headquarters.

The MSC Foundation – the philanthropic arm of Michael Saunders & Company – awarded nearly $30,000 in charitable grants at a mid-year gathering. The funds were disbursed to leaders of over 20 charitable organizations from Sarasota, Manatee and Charlotte Counties.

What, to me, is equally impressive is that the Foundation is only in its 2nd year and it has already channeled nearly $80,000 in charitable grants to over 35 not-for-profit organizations! It is supported entirely through voluntary donations from the agents, staff and management.  Those who contribute to the Foundation are then eligible to petition it for grants to their favorite local charity, provided the charity’s goals are consistent with the Foundation’s mission of improving lives through shelter, sustenance, education and a path to self-sufficiency. 

Making a Difference

From left to right: Ashley Brown with Women's Resource Center, MSC Realtor Ann DeBellevue, Foundation Council Chairperson Amy Drake, and MSC Realor Jaymie Carter

From left to right: Ashley Brown with Women’s Resource Center, MSC Realtor Ann DeBellevue, Foundation Vice President/Council Chair Amy Drake, and MSC Realtor Jaymie Carter

I spoke with a number of people at the July 12th event – from contributing agents to representatives of the organizations that received grants.

Jaymie Carter is a Michael Saunders & Company Realtor in the Bradenton office. She petitioned the Women’s Resource Center of Manatee County.  “I’ve been involved as a volunteer with the Women’s Resource Center for twelve years,” she explained. “I love that MSC has the Foundation and that it consistently gives back to the community. It warms my heart that our agents and staff are making a difference. Then, to see the Women’s Resource Center receive a grant today…it’s absolutely wonderful.”

Organizations that received grants at the mid-year event included:

• Southeastern Guide Dogs (for visually impaired veterans)
• HOPE Family Services
• FELT Inc. of Manatee (Feeding Empty Little Tummies)
• Women’s Resource Center of Manatee County
• Manatee Education Foundation
• Manatee County Habitat for Humanity
• Temple Emanu-El Pre-School (kids backpack food program)
• Miracle League of Manasota
• Family Partnership Center
• Salvation Army
• The Children’s Healthy Pantry/Community Foundation of Sarasota
• Joining Our Youth (JOY)
• Turning Points (Formerly Community Coalition on Homelessness)
• Laurel Civic Association
• Community Youth Development
• St. Vincent de Paul
• Charlotte County Homeless Coalition
• Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota
• Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Sarasota-Manatee (military family assistance program)
• ITN Sarasota
• Women’s Sertoma Club of Venice, Inc.
• The Venice Symphony (summer music camp for grades 4-12)


A Local Cause

Remarkably, Michael Saunders personally knew the faces and missions of many of the organizations to which the Foundation council awarded grants. (Although perhaps it’s not so remarkable given her longtime involvement with our local community.)  

“As overjoyed as we are that the region is in the throes of a major economic recovery, our commitment to those who continue to experience tremendous human need remains no less resolute or compassionate,” she said in her opening remarks.  “We can never do too much to help these organizations obtain the funding necessary to effectively carry out their missions. Needless-to-say, I am enormously proud of my agents, staff and leadership team for pitching in to keep the Foundation well-funded and operating efficiently.”

Temple Emanu-El President Michael Richker and Emily Tennenbaum with Gloria Weed, MSC Lakewood Ranch Manager and Temple Emanu-El Petitioner

Temple Emanu-El President Michael Richker and Emily Tennenbaum with Gloria Weed, MSC Lakewood Ranch Manager and Temple Emanu-El Petitioner

After the grants had been issued, I spoke with Michael Richker, President of Temple Emanu-El and representing their Kids to Kids Backpack Program. This vital service centers on children who meet the federal poverty guidelines and provides weekend backpacks of food when there are no school breakfasts and lunches.

“This grant we are receiving from Michael Saunders & Company today helps fund a very important program,” he explained. “We fill the backpacks of 60 children with food. What could be more important than feeding children?”


Drayton Saunders, Michael Saunders, MSC Realtor Jennifer Calenda, and Tina Figliuolo with Charlotte County Homeless Coalition

Foundation Vice President Drayton Saunders, Foundation President Michael Saunders, MSC Realtor & Council Member Jennifer Calenda, and Tina Figliuolo with Charlotte County Homeless Coalition

  • User Gravatar Sheila Garbade
    July 15th, 2013

    I would like to know if is possible to nominate a local nonprofit for your consideration.

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