Manatee Community Foundation enables a merrier Christmas for needy

$100,000 from MCF's Baden Fund to go a long way with 10 Manatee nonprofits

vmannix@bradenton.comDecember 21, 2013 

Sara and Ray Baden enjoyed handing $10,000 checks to 10 Manatee County nonprofits Friday at the Manatee Community Foundation. VIN MANNIX/Bradenton Herald

BRADENTON -- It will be a merrier Christmas for Adopt A Family, Family Partnership Center, Turning Points and seven more Manatee County nonprofits and those they serve, thanks to the generosity of Sara and Ray Baden.

Original founding members of the Manatee Community Foundation, the longtime donors and Bradenton natives were spreading the spirit of giving at the holidays with a major distribution of $100,000 Friday afternoon at the MCF offices.

Ten area nonprofits each received $10,000 from the Sara and Ray Baden Fund.

"The Badens exemplify the generous spirit of a family that has lived in this community for generations," MCF Executive Director Marilyn

Howard said. "Giving back to help the community be a better place is important to them."

Especially at the holidays.

"We've given out $100-$500 things now and then, but don't make an impact," said Ray Baden, 84. "But $10,000 makes an impact and 10 of them makes an bigger impact. We saw what we wanted to do for Christmas and we didn't want to wait until we're dead and somebody else decides where it goes. We like this."

Sara Baden served on the MCF board for six years and was president from 2008-09.

The Badens' donation was a lifesaver for Adopt A Family, an all-volunteer organization in existence for 31 years.

Executive Director Kim Duty said this might have been its last Christmas buying toys for needy children, otherwise.

"Our donations were down, we couldn't sustain it anymore, but this has made all the difference," she said, holding a check. "It will enable us buy what we need for children and families next year."

The check Adele Erozer received will enable Turning Points to buy more basics in bulk like soap and toiletries, as well as getting Florida IDs for agency clients.

"This will take care of a lot of expenses," said the agency executive director.

That $10,000 will enable Family Partnership Center to pay for parenting educators to work in-home with 20-30 more needy families.

"A donation this size will build us back up to where we need to be," said executive director Katrina Bellemare.

The other nonprofit recipients were:

• Salvation Army Manatee County -- Provide general program support and help fund the Angel Tree program.

• The Food Bank of Manatee County -- Support the Mobile Pantry program.

• Palma Sola Botanical Park -- Support the rehab and refurbishment of the building and facilities.

• Just for Girls -- Support scholarships and the new science-based Literacy Program, KidzLit, in addition to child safety training opportunities for parents and enhanced intervention of domestic abuse for families in crisis.

• Season of Sharing (Sponsored by MCF and Community Foundation of Sarasota County) -- Provide resources for one-time emergency assistance for clients of numerous agencies working to prevent homelessness.

• Florida United Methodist Children's Home -- Provide general program support

• South Florida Museum -- Provide general program support.

Over time, the Badens established separate funds at MCF:

• The Baden Family Fund at MCF in 2002.

• The Sara and Ray Baden Fund in 2005.

• The Baden Family Scholarship Fund in 2007.

"They have broad charitable interests and felt the best way to work through MCF was to create three different funds," Howard said. "One is an endowed donor advised fund, one is a nonpermanent donor advised fund that they can use to distribute larger grants, and the scholarship fund is endowed and supports adult learners returning to school such as Manatee Technical Institute."

Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter: @vinmannix

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