MANATEE -- After Black Friday and Cyber Monday, an idea was hatched for something completely different: Giving Tuesday.
Held the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, the event was imagined as a global day of giving that urges individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy, said John Annis, a senior vice president for the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
"It's a way to use philanthropy to think about others," Annis said.
On Tuesday, Just For Girls Charter School in Manatee County and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County are among the groups reaching out to people who believe in Giving Tuesday.
Just For Girls is hoping to tear down its building at 3809 59th St. W. in Bradenton, which is more
than 40 years old, and replace it with a $7 million, 26,390-square-foot facility that will house a new Just For Girls Academy, said Andi Watson of Just For Girls.
Just For Girls has outgrown its present academy, now located in 9,000 square feet on 21st Street East in Bradenton, which serves 111 predominately at-risk girls who come from lower socioeconomic homes. The program would be moved to the new building.
Meanwhile, the Community Foundation of Sarasota County has announced it will match donations it receives Tuesday up to $100,000 for its Season of Sharing, which helps struggling families in Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto and Charlotte counties remain in their homes, Annis said.
Last year, the Community Foundation of Sarasota received $100,000 from 250 donors during its first Giving Tuesday, said Murray Devine of the Community Foundation of Sarasota.
"As far as I am aware, the Giving Tuesday website doesn't accept donations and is mainly as a resource," Devine said.
"We like to stress that donors wanting to support local organizations on Giving Tuesday can use TheGivingPartner.org to find detailed information on over 450 local nonprofits."
Just For Girls has been around since the late 1960s, when it was known as the Manatee County Girls Club. Under the direction of Becky Warne Canesse, its chief executive officer, the nonprofit changed its name and has grown into a kindergarten through fifth-grade charter school as well as having three "leadership" centers where 450 to 500 girls get instruction before and after school, Watson said.
The building to be torn down, which was the old Manatee Boys & Girls Club, is one of those leadership centers.
"Not only will the new building provide more space and new technology for our students and vastly improve the aesthetics of the neighborhood, but it will be hardened and also serve as a shelter for first responders and displaced families during a disaster," Watson said.
Just For Girls has already raised $2 million of the $7 million needed, and hopes Giving Tuesday will add about $5,000 to add to the building campaign, Watson said.
"I'm really excited about us being part of it," said Watson, adding that even $25 donations add up.
To donate to Just For Girls on Giving Tuesday or afterwards, go to justforgirls.org, which includes a "widget" for donating and a chart of the building campaign progress.
Cuts homeless population
When Manatee and Sarasota residents experience unforeseen circumstances, like the sudden loss of a job, the serious illness of a spouse or a vehicle that quits running, it may make it impossible to pay rent or utility bills, Annis said.
But the Season of Sharing Fund keeps families in their homes by offering one-time assistance to those working directly with case workers at a local service organization, Annis added.
"This helps prevent homelessness in Manatee County," said Marilyn Howard of the Manatee Community Foundation, which partners with Community Foundation of Sarasota County on Season of Sharing.
Last year, Season of Sharing raised $500,000 for Turning Points and $200,000 for the Manatee Community Action Agency to distribute to needy Manatee families through caseworkers, said Patricia Martin with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.
Those who donate can designate funds either go to help families in Manatee, Sarasota, Charlotte or DeSoto county, or simply "greatest need," Annis said.
To give to struggling Manatee families go to CFSarasota.org/SeasonofSharing and designate Manatee County, Annis said.
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond