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MCF: Your Partner in Philanthropy Since 1998

Sign in Front of Building

In 1993 Dorothy S. (Dot) Ridings, a former Publisher of The Bradenton Herald, proposed the concept of Manatee Community Foundation in connection with a potential grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Without adequate time to incorporate the new foundation, the grant was awarded to the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, subject to the provision that its assets would be transferred to the Manatee Community Foundation upon its formation. The Knight Donor Advised Fund was created and was directed by The Bradenton Herald for charitable purposes in Manatee County. Bob Blalock of Blalock Walters, P.A., Bob Christopher of CS&L CPAs, Bob Beall of Bealls Department Store, Greg Porges of Porges, Hamlin, Knowles and Hawk, P.A. and other local leaders were instrumental to our beginnings and progress.

In June of 1998, the Manatee Community Foundation was incorporated and classified as a supporting organization of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, capitalizing on its administrative and investment services. We were born!

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.

In 2000, the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was developed to serve the people and interests of the Lakewood Ranch community and to allow donor-allocated funds to stay in our region, serving a variety of charitable interests. The Fund was–and still is– set up under the umbrella of Manatee Community Foundation to reduce management costs and allow more assets to remain in the community.

The Manatee Community Foundation celebrated its 10th Anniversary in 2008. Key to the anniversary year was the successful completion of the “Moving Home, Moving Forward” Capital Campaign. A new and permanent office location for MCF was purchased and renovated and funds were set aside for expansion and ongoing building maintenance.

Eight years later, in 2016, MCF moved into a newly renovated 5,000 square foot building located at 2820 Manatee Avenue West near downtown Bradenton, the Gene and Anne Beckstein Center, allowing staff to grow and the organization to better serve the community. Before the pandemic in 2020, hundreds of people from local nonprofit and government organizations used the space for forums, important conversations, and learning opportunities at no cost to them with the support MCF had received from “Pillars of the Community,” and other contributors.

As of December 30, 2020, Manatee Community Foundation held more than $61 million in assets and had granted more than $38 million in grants and scholarships improving the quality of life in Manatee County and beyond through the vision of caring people.

As a local thought leader, convener, and knowledge base about community and philanthropy, Manatee Community Foundation’s role is much more than a grant maker and fund holder. We truly partner with nonprofits, public institutions, local businesses, and people who care to invest in gains for Manatee County.

Today the Foundation focuses on serving the community during the COVID19 pandemic, supporting donor visions through current and legacy giving, and developing greater capacity to do our work through a lens of diversity, equity, access and inclusion.