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Lakewood Ranch Community Fund to Award $83,500 in Grants

On Friday, September 14, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund will award $83,500 in grants to nonprofit organizations serving people who live or work in Lakewood Ranch and east Manatee and Sarasota counties.

Grants include investments in food security, supporting individuals and families with Parkinson’s disease, environmental education, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math), family fostering experiences with homeless pets, therapeutic riding sessions for children with disabilities, a mobile mammogram unit, epilepsy support services for families, arts enrichment camp for Lakewood Ranch area students, respite for parents of children with special needs, and camp for children with special needs.

Nonprofits receiving grants are: Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast, Children’s Guardian Fund, Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast, Easterseals Southwest Florida, Family Network on Disabilities, Foundation for Dreams, Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, Giving Alliance of Myakka, Honor Animal Rescue, InStride Therapy, JoshProvides, Junior League of Manatee County, Manatee Arts Education Council, The Mark Wandall Foundation Nature’s Academy, Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s, Rowlett Academy, SMART, St. Joseph’s Food Pantry, Stillpoint Mission, Take Stock in Children Manatee, and WeCare Manatee.

Children experiencing grief caused by the death of a parent, sibling or primary caregiver will receive equine therapy sessions in a partnership between The Mark Wandall Foundation and Sarasota-Manatee Association for Riding Therapy. Both organizations have also received support from the Fund in past years.

“Your belief and efforts in our program are enabling us to help children in our community connect, grow and grieve together,” said Melissa Wandall, founder. “We can take 20 children ages 4-18, and we fill early each month. The parent/guardian needs to stay on the farm while children are out with the horses and counselors, so we added an adult component. This program positively impacts the whole family.”

Attorney Amanda Tullidge of Blalock Walters is grants committee chair and Lakewood Ranch Community Fund board of advisers member.

Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is a field of interest fund of Manatee Community Foundation. Established in 2000 by the Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the Fund has awarded more than $1.2 million.  To learn more about the Fund or to make a tax-deductible gift, call (941) 747-7765.