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Our Mission & History

The mission of Manatee Community Foundation is partnering with our citizens to strengthen and enhance our community through philanthropy, education, and service—now and forever.

We value leadership, transparency, trust, integrity, loyalty, respect, and inclusivity in our work.

Dorothy S. (Dot) Ridings, a former Publisher of The Bradenton Herald, originally proposed the concept of Manatee Community Foundation, and in June of 1998, the Manatee Community Foundation was incorporated. Bob Blalock, Bob Christopher, and Bob Beall– referred to with gratitude as “The Three Bobs,” led the way in our establishment. First classified as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we capitalized on its administrative and investment services.

As part of an initiative to start, support and grow community foundations in its 26 newspaper communities, the Knight Foundation challenged the new Manatee Community Foundation’s board to raise the first $1 million of endowment funds for Manatee County.

Fast forward to 2016 after we occupied several buildings, partnered with hundreds of donor advisors, and created many legacy funds, Manatee Community Foundation moved into a newly renovated 5,000 square foot building on Manatee Avenue, the Gene and Anne Beckstein Center. Our building allows staff to grow and the organization to better serve the community with meeting room space.

In 2023, we celebrated our 25th anniversary, with a milestone: having invested over $55 million in the communities we serve.

MCF is a 501(c)(3) public charity. As a supporting organization to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we benefit from an administrative support relationship with pooled assets, shared financial and legal services, and other resources. This allows us to focus on donors who live and give in Manatee County and nonprofits that build a thriving community.