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9 Winners Announced in Manatee Millennial Challenge


Nine nonprofits serving Manatee County that leveraged the power of Millennial leaders will be receiving grants for their work in the 2016 Giving Challenge.

Altogether, $20,000 is being awarded from the Knight Donor Advised Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation for this separate grant incentive in the 2016 Giving Challenge.

Winning organizations are: UnidosNow and PACE Center for Girls ($5,000 grants); Easter Seals Southwest Florida and Literacy Council of Manatee ($2,500 grants); Forget-Me-Not, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Manatee County Agricultural Museum, Realize Bradenton, and The Mark Wandall Foundation ($1,000 grants).

Participating nonprofits utilized the creativity and connections of Millennial staff, board members, and volunteers to develop new strategic partners, increase brand awareness among young people, and increase new donors, in addition to raising more money.

“The Manatee Millennial Challenge was really important to me because it gave the younger future leaders of the community a tangible voice that allowed them to take on responsibilities in a way that usually they would not get the chance to,” said Amy Phillips of NDC Construction, who led the Challenge for PACE Center for Girls as a board member.

Juan Arcila led the charge for UnidosNow, an organization that seeks to elevate the quality of life for the local Latino community through education, integration, and civic engagement.

“It was an amazing effort on everyone’s part, and I feel so proud and privileged to have been a part of such a dedicated team. I learned so much from this experience,” said Arcila.

In Manatee County, government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations are on the move to find ways to better recruit and retain Millennial talent. Judges for the Manatee Millennial grants were Jacki Dezelski, Executive Vice President at the Manatee Chamber of Commerce; Bob Turner, Publisher of the Bradenton Herald; Karen Windon, Deputy County Administrator, Manatee County Government; and John Hornberger, Financial Advisor, Edward Jones Investments.

“It’s a natural for Millennial leaders—who think in new and creative ways to leverage social media and peers—to find a voice in the Giving Challenge,” said Susie Bowie, executive director of Manatee Community Foundation.

“Our staff was pleased to see the level of participation and we hope it will not end here. Keeping 18-34 year olds involved in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors is such an opportunity for us. Let’s keep giving them opportunities.”

Local organizations raised more than $13 million in the 2016 Giving Challenge, presented by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with giving strengthened by The Patterson Foundation, as well as support from Manatee Community Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, William G. and Marie Selby Foundation, and the Herald-Tribune Media Group.

Manatee Community Foundation connects the charitable interests of donors with needs in the community. Since 1998, the foundation has awarded more than $16 million in grants and scholarships, working as partners with donors to make the most of their philanthropy during their lifetimes and to ensure their charitable legacies last for good, forever. For more information, visit